Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Destination: Cinque Terre, Italy

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
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Let's mix it up and take a trip abroad! One of my all time favorite cities abroad, Cinque Terre, Italy. Cinque Terre, meaning five lands, consists of five small, and beautifully quaint, coastal villages.  Starting up north the villages are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.  Located on the northwest coast of Italy, four of these villages lie on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and are connected by walking paths as well as a train.


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  • The most popular village for tourism, Monterosso has a beautiful, colorful umbrella lined beach which is also the largest of the villages.  Accommodations on Monterosso are more resort-like and less quaint than its other four counterparts.
  • Rated #1 for things to do in Monterosso are Angelo's Boat Tours, according to  Taking you out for breathtaking views of Cinque Terre, Angelo also provides you with great service and good food! 

Vernazza Harbor
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  • This charming little fishing village is more known for its sightseeing.  Sitting at the foothills of a mountain filled with gardens and vineyards, Vernazza also has a harbor filled with vibrant boats, climb the Doria Castle for an amazing view of the village. 
  • While there are no traditional hotels located in Vernazza, there are many guest rooms and botique hotels and is definitely the way to stay.  

  • My 'restful' night sleep.
  • My experience in Vernazza: This is where my friends and I stayed when we visited Cinque Terre in 2007 and it quickly became my most favorite city visited on our backpacking trip around Europe.  Flying by the seat of our pants, we arrived in Vernazza late (later than expected) on a Saturday night, with no place to stay.  Talking with some of the locals and now understanding that all the rooms were booked for the night (there was a wedding that weekend), they suggested we sleep on the park benches that night.  A few backpackers had done it the night before and they saw no problems with this.  Talking it out among ourselves, we decided that we would go for it and hunkered down with six bottles of wine and some pizza from the local pizzeria (amazing).  While it wasn't the most comfortable and it did get quite chilly at night, I by no means felt unsafe.  We woke with the sun rise the next morning and took in the views until the 'Pasticceria Siciliana', Sicilian pastry shop, opened.  Two twin brothers owned this shop and graciously helped us find room accommodations for the next two nights, as well as fed us their delicious pastries and cappuccino.  
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  • The only village of the five that is not directly adjacent to the sea, Corniglia sits atop a ridge over the sea which is approximately 100 meters high.  Three fourths of this village is also surrounded by vineyards and beautiful terraces while the other fourth overlooks the sea.
  • Visit Un Mare Di Yogurt for some of the best gelato in Cinque Terre!
  • As with the other villages of Cinque Terre, Corniglia's houses and buildings are beautifully done in vibrant colors built atop one another.

Local kids cliff jumping
  • The fourth town following Corniglia, Manarola is an extention of the other villages with its bright colors and beautiful sea side views.
  • My experience in Manarola: While we visited all of the villages, we stopped and spent most of one day in Manarola.  Here we enjoyed some more pizza, visited a few shops, and soaked up the sun.  Manarola has large cliffs that come up from the sea which is very useful and fun to cliff jump off of into the deep and clear blue sea.

Vineyards on the Cliffs of Riomaggiore
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  • One of the five that is know for its wine, Riomaggiore also has vineyards casting across the hills.  Try Cinque Terre's specialty wine, the 'Scaicchetra', which is a sweet white wine.
  • The restaurant Cappun Magru in Casa di Marin has been raved about on

Have you visited Cinque Terre? What were some of your favorite things to do and see? 


  1. Sounds amazing!!! Can't wait to travel to Cinque Terre some day! Will reread before I go. :)