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The Cinque Terre


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  The Cinque Terre is a beautiful, rugged landscape that has defiantly yielded to the agricultural practices of a population determined to make this scenic, rocky, craggy, coastal area their home and  livelihood.  Over a thousand year period, the residents eked out a comfortable existence by taming the hillsides with terraces for growing grapes, olives and other agricultural products.   In addition, the buildings comprising the famous  five villages of the Cinque Terre were constructed from local materials. The interaction of humankind with nature has produced an environment in the Cinque Terre that is beautiful and relatively unique.


Please note that the towns on Monterosso and Vernazza were seriously damaged during mud slides in October or 2011.  The disaster was quite serious and not all areas have completely returned to their normal, idyllic state.

The five towns of the Cinque Terre (from the north to the south) are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia (the only town not built on the coast), Manarola and Riomaggiore.  These compact little villages take advantage of the limited space available to them for settlement.  The cities were established within a hundred years of each other, most dating back to a period between 1000 and 1200, although specific information on the dates of their founding is lacking.  Each of the towns is clustered around  a church or other religious buildings constructed during the Middle Ages.


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                  Vernazza is striking village whose identity is inseparable from the sea.                       

                    Vernazza's coastal setting fits the town like a well-made glove

The Cinque Terre is both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Park of Italy.  In addition, it includes the Cinque Terre National Marine Park.

The area has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy due to its unique setting, natural beauty and wonderful culture.  In some ways, visiting here is like taking a page out of the past, especially since the most pleasant way to wander between the towns is to use the thousand-year-old hiking trails that connects all five villages.  For those looking for easier duty, train service is available to all towns and in good weather, mainly the summer, you can "ferry" between some of the towns.

If you want to hike between the villages and are in good shape, you can make the walk in around five hours.   During the summer, it is quite hot and the trails can be extremely crowded.   However, in order to really enjoy the Cinque Terre, you should consider spending the night in one of the towns to sample the local culture.   Make your reservations well in advance or face disappointment.

Tourism has become an important part of the economy, especially in Riomaggiore and the Cinque Terre appears to be  slowly losing some of its charm.  So, don't delay, see it this year!


                   Hiking between the villages of the Cinque Terre is a wonderful experience

One of the great attractions of the Cinque Terre is the ability to hike between the towns.

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The Cinque Terre has a rugged but attractive coast

The Cinque Terre coast is rugged and attractive, revealing a unique geography


Boats, beaches and villages are the hallmark of the Cinque Terre

Vernazza's float-up boat park.


Both scenic and popular, Riomaggiore attracts many visitors

Riomaggiore intensely utilizes its limited coastal area

Click here for the website provided by the consortium of towns in the Cinque Terre.  It is a useful, detailed  site available in multiple languages.

Best Places to Visit in Italy

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Campania and the Amalfi Coast
Liguria and the Cinque Terre
The Italian Lakes
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Cinque Terre Small Group Day Trip from Florence

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