Cinque Terre – A man-made landscape between Sky and Sea

Posted On February 1, 2010 

The Cinque Terre means the five lands, which here refers to five villages of Montesso Al Mare, Vernazza, Coriglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – from north to south, perched on the cliffs over the Mediterranean.  The entire Cinque Terre Coastline is a National Park and a Protected Marine Area. Portovenere encompasses the three villages of Cinque Terre ManarolaFezzano, Le Grazie and Portovenere and the three Islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.


Eleven miles of coastline on the northwest of Italy, between the Genoa and La Spezia cities, is the stretch of The Cinque Terre, facing the Mediterranean. Portovenere is located in the Italian coast of the Liguria, in the La Spezia Province. Portovenere, Cinque Terre and the Islands are enlisted as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.


In the months of May and June, it’s usually sunny and warm here, with short spells of rain. The temperatures are cooler in the months of September and October.

Getting there and getting around

A journey by train is the best way to reach Cinque Terre. The airports in proximity to Cinque Terre are in Genoa and Pisa, well connected to this destination by train.

The sites of Cinque Terre itself can be best explored by train, with each of the five villages having their own stations, by foot; which is what most tourists come here for, and by boat.  Within the villages, there are local buses you can use to explore that particular village.

The attractions of this coastline

Among the major attraction of Portovenere are the Gothic Chruch of St Peter, built in 1198, the Doria Castle,  the now collapses Grotta dell’Arpaia, known as Bryon’s Grotto and the Romanesque Church of St. Lawrence.  A number of medieval sites can be found in the villages of Le Grazie and Fezzano.

Tinetto IslandThe three Island of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto are the heart of the Portovenere archipelago. Tino has a number of relics dating back to the 11th century and a church dedicated to San Venerio.  The islet of Tinetto again has remains of religious communities from earlier times. The Palmaria Island is the most popular of the three Islands, with cliffs dropping down to the Mediterranean Sea, quarries of black and gold marbles, Mediterranean  vegetation and everything that makes up for a panoramic Island.

The Cinque Terre coastline is purely a walker’s delight. Passing through the villages, you just don’t pass by different scenic routes – the vineyards, the Mediterranean, the sunsets, the olive grooves, the orchards, you also cover a wide range of culture these villages are home to.

The northernmost part of this plain is the village of Monterosso Al Mare. Most of the beaches of this coastline are found here including the stabilimenti beach and the strips of spiagga libera. This village is also where you will find the art treasure – a crucifixion by Flemish Master Anthony Van Dyck, in the Convento dei Cappucini, on a hillock in the centre of the Old Town.

Further ahead is Vernazza – a small and laidback fishing port, home to a fortified tower of the Castello Doria. The piazza harbour here is a good place to hang out at, with some good restaurants and bars here. Next comes the only Cinque CornigliaTerre perched above the sea level – Corniglia, another pretty village of this coastline.

Further south is the little more modern village of Manarola, with a rocky cove that attracts swimmers, bars and restaurants overlooking the sea. Known for fishing and wine-making, Manarola is region’s major wine cooperative.

The last of the villages on this coastline is the Riomaggiore village, a pretty town up on the hill.

Along the coast, you will come across rocky protrusions, harbour quays and pebble beaches. One such beach is by the Corniglia railway station.

The terrain of this coastline is such that driving a car beyond Monterosso Al Mare is impossible. Consequently, as an automobile free region, Cinque Terre Coastline offers the tourists here a rustic, though a beautiful hiking experience.

Eleven miles of hiking trail seem to be long, but if there are pretty villages with historical sites on the way, good local food to feast at, plenty of wine to drink en-route and fellow ‘strange’ travelers to give you a company, and this coastline has many of them; the journey becomes easily possible and memorable. Definitely a must visit for eco-tourists and those who like exploring a place leisurely – on foot.  The entire region takes you through a journey of the past and you are left immersed in memories to cherish forever.

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7 Responses to “Cinque Terre – A man-made landscape between Sky and Sea”
  1. Lampard says:

    I became so eager to read this article from its heading only. It completely resembles the place!

  2. Terry says:

    How can people even think that the world is coming to an end. Stilthere are many places which has not even developed properly so that they can come into limelight.

  3. Mbangwa says:

    I always like to see this website because it always gives information on the places which are rarely seen or visited by people. It always gives a decision to plan your holiday.

  4. Henry says:

    There are not many places worth to visit here but its historical constructions, people’s way of living, temperature and the surroundings are the major attractions.

  5. Thiery says:

    I always find such places where you learn something new. That learning is a major priority to boost u up and become more enthusiastic to explore.

  6. Zinadine says:

    This place is just a perfect destination for removing all your stress from work and just relaxing all day!

  7. Sylvestre says:

    rated as UNESCO world heritage, it has to have something extra ordinary!

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