Cinque Terre Map (source: Consorzio Turistico Cinque Terre)
Cinque Terre, which means «Five Lands», comprise the five small coastal villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Monterosso al Mare located in the Italian region of Liguria. (See Map) The Cinque Terre is a portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Transportation in Cinque Terre
The five villages are connected by a mostly underground railway and a series of hiking trails along the coast and in the terraced hillsides above the villages. «There are few roads into the Cinque Terre towns that are accessible by car: the one into Vernazza is open as of June 2012, but very narrow at many repair spots. It leads to a parking area 1/2 mile from town. It is best to plan not to travel by car at all, but to park at La Spezia, for instance, and take the trains. Local trains from La Spezia to Genova and the rest of the region’s network connect the «five lands». Intercity trains also connect the Cinque Terre to Milan, Rome, Turin and Tuscany. The tracks run most of the distance in tunnels between Riomaggiore and Monterosso. A walking trail, known as Sentiero Azzurro («Azure Trail»), connects the five villages. The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via Dell’Amore («Love Walk») and is wheelchair-friendly. The stretch from Manarola to Corniglia (still closed in June 2012 for ongoing repairs since the October 2011 damage) is the easiest to hike, although the main trail into Corniglia finishes with a climb of 368 steps.»(via Wikipedia).
Quick Facts About Cinque Terre
The main way to travel from village to village is walking paths, such as the Via dell Amore (Lovers Path) towards Riomaggiore.
The originality of Riomaggiore’s houses is due to the fact that each one has two entry: one is at level of one street the other is at level of the upper street.
The ancient Roman village of Corniglia is situated on an impressive cliff about 100 meters high. It’s the only town in the Cinque Terre that can’t be reached from the sea.
Monterosso is the place that Eugenio Montale loved most: here the Italian writer(who won the Nobel prize in 1975) used to spend its summers. Monterosso inspired some of its verses as: «rocky stern town, asylum for fishermen and farmers.»
The via dell’amore it’s a suggestive and romantic path where you can find the original «bar dell’amore» (love bar) that has a beautiful balcony that overlooks the sea.
History of Cinque Terre
The area that is Liguria today was inhabited already in the Bronze Age as proven by findings of bones and tools. The historic remains founded here, such as bones and primitive tools found, prove the presence of the primitive individuals. The ancient Romans occupied this zone by taking it with great complication from the Ligurian inhabitants. Harsh conflicts on a hostile war round that was a tempting conquest for who aspired to tactical points on the Mediterranean Sea. This strategic coastline played an important role in the Roman Empire. Then in the IXth century, the Saracens occupied the region and demolished the small villages around here. In 1870, Italy was unified; many rail lines were built. The coastal line between Genoa and Rome passed through the Cinque Terre so the villages could be reached by train.
By the 1960s, the winding coastal road was finished; it offers amazing views over the villages and the sea. Since 1997, the Cinque Terre has been a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 1999, the Cinque Terre National Park was founded.
Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso al Mare is a town and comune in the province of La Spezia, part of the region of Liguria (northern Italy). It is one of the five villages in Cinque Terre. The origin of this village dates back to the Roman times. The oldest core, formed on the hill of S. Cristoforo, began to play a significant role of protection in the 7th century, during the Longobard attacks. In the Middle Age, the zone was disputed by various noble families, but it was at last ruled by the Republic of Genoa. In 1870, the Italian government built a railroad line into the city, which opened it up to the outside world. It is the main way in which people enter the city.
Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre. Photo by © Cosmin R Roman, 2012.
Things to see in Monterosso al Mare
The Castle, partially ruined, built by the Genoese
The striped church, the Chiesa di San Francesco, dates from 1623 and has a painting attributed to Van Dyck (Crocifissione) to the left of the altar.
Vernazza is a town and comune located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northwestern Italy. It is one of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre region. Vernazza is the fourth town heading north, has no car traffic, and remains one of the truest «fishing villages» on the Italian Riviera.
Its origin dates back to the Roman age, but until the year 1000 B. C. due to security reasons the population lived more inland, on the heights of Reggio. During the Middle Age Vernazza was an important harbour ruled by the families of Da Passano, Ponzò and Fieschi, until it was finally owned by Republic of Genoa starting from 1276. The importance of Vernazza in the history of Liguria is highlighted by its urban arrangement.
Cinque Terre, Italy. Photo by © Cosmin R Roman, 2012.