Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia
Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia
Riomaggiore
Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria

Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia

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Cinque Terre National Park
Cinque Terre is a small stretch of coastline just west of La Spezia in Liguria. It is named after five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. It has a unique charm and was established as a National Park in 1999 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The villages are set on the steep hillside where cultivated terraces cascade down to the sea. No cars are allowed into the villages, but there is a local train that runs from La Spezia to Genoa that connects them. There is also a passenger ferry that runs between the five villages, except Corniglia. You can get the ferry from Genoa's Old Harbour, La Spezia, Lerici or Portovenere.

For more energetic visitors, there is a trail, known as the 'Sentiero Azzurro' (The Blue Trail), that connects the five villages. It is 10 kilometres long and the height difference is over 600 metres throughout its length. It takes approximately five hours to complete. The stretch between Riomaggiore and Manarola is called the 'Via Dell'Amore' (The road of love) and varies in difficulty from easy to extremely difficult. The stretch between Manarola to Corniglia is the easiest part, although the main trail into Corniglia does end in 368 steps. The trail between Corniglia and Vernazza is steep at certain places but the stretch between Vernazza and Monterosso is by far the steepest. It winds through olive orchards and vineyards and can get rough but walkers are rewarded with the best view of the bay and the spectacular views of both Monterosso and Vernazza.

Although the whole of the Cinque Terre is interesting and full of trails and excursions it is well worth taking time to examine each of the villages as a separate entity. They are all within the province of La Spezia and running from north to south they are:

Monterosso al Mare
Divided by a tunnel for pedestrians and cars (there are very few cars in this village) Monterosso is divided into two parts, the old town and the new town.

Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia
Monterosso al Mare - Photo: Carla
The beach is the only large sand beac in the whole of the Cinque Terre which makes it popular with tourists during the summer. Originally the village was only accessible either by boat or along one of the tiny mule tracks which have been maintained and are now used as hiking tracks. Monterosso al Mare is famous for its lemon trees which can be seen growing in profusion around the whole area. There is a partially ruined Genoese castle and the Convent of Monterosso al Mare which has many historical treasures within its interior. The church of St. John the baptist has four marble columns and a square, medieval bell tower with four merlons on top.

Vernazza
Little has changed in Vernazza which was, and still is, a small fishing village with no cars. This village is considered to be the most beautiful of the five, if not one of the most beautiful in Italy.

Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia
Vernazza - Photo: Luca Casartelli
In the past it had constant problems with pirates and in the 15th century it built a fortified wall to help them in their defence against the onslaughts. Later in history they terraced the land and planted vineyards creating a successful wine industry. In 2011, on October 25th, Vernazza was hit by torrential rain which caused extensive flooding and mudslides which left the village buried under four metres of mud and rubble. The village had to be evacuated and was classed as a state of emergency with over one million euros worth of damage. After a lot of hard work is now almost restored, the people have returned, businesses have reopened and it is once again ready to receive visitors.

Corniglia
This is the only one of the five which is not directly next to the sea but is perched on a promontory which is around 100 metres high.

Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia
Corniglia - Photo: Camilla Reenberg
One side is excessively steep and drops straight down to the sea, the other three sides are terraced and covered in vineyards. To access the village without a car you must climb up 382 steps or wind your way up the narrow road leading from the station. There is a bus which runs sporadically from the station to the village. Corniglia has narrow streets, the main one being Fieschi along which all the houses of the village run. One side of every house faces this road and the other side faces the sea. There is a small terrace in the rock from where it is possible to see the other four villages, Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza on one side and Manarola and Riomaggiore on the other.

Manarola
Built on a rock 70 metres high Mararola is the second smallest of the five villages and also the oldest.

Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia
Manarola - Photo: Chensiyuan
The local church, San Lorenzo, has a cornerstone dated 1338. Although the village is above sea level, unlike Corniglia, it does have direct sea access although not a proper beach. It does however have very clean, clear and deep water making it an excellent place for swimming. It is a charming village with narrow streets and pretty multi-coloured houses all facing the sea. It is a fishing village and is also famous for its production of wine, in particular a wine called Sciacchetrà.

Riomaggiore
The southernmost of the five, Riomaggiore is also the largest and the unofficial headquarters of the Cinque Terre with the office of the National Park being based there.

Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Riviera Levante, La Spezia
Riomaggiore
It has tall, multi-coloured houses with slate rooves lining steep, narrow roads interconnected by steps. Riomaggiore is pretty by day but when it is lit up at night it appears even prettier. It is also, due to its position, renowned for its beautiful sunsets.

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  • Regional Information

    • Area: 5,420 km²
      Population: 1.6m
      Density: 297/km²
      Capital: Genoa

      National Parks:
      Cinque Terre
Location of Liguria
Provinces of Liguria
  • Comunes of Liguria
    • Genova
      • Arenzano
        Avegno
        Bargagli
        Bogliasco
        Borzonasca
        Busalla
        Camogli
        Campo Ligure
        Campomorone
        Carasco
        Casarza Ligure
        Casella
        Castiglione Chiavarese
        Ceranesi
        Chiavari
        Cicagna
        Cogoleto
        Cogorno
        Coreglia Ligure
        Crocefieschi
        Davagna
        Fascia
        Favale di Malvaro
        Fontanigorda
        Genova
        Gorreto
        Isola del Cantone
        Lavagna
        Leivi
        Lorsica
        Lumarzo
        Masone
        Mele
        Mezzanego
        Mignanego
        Moconesi
        Moneglia
        Montebruno
        Montoggio
        Ne
        Neirone
        Orero
        Pieve Ligure
        Portofino
        Propata
        Rapallo
        Recco
        Rezzoaglio
        Ronco Scrivia
        Rondanina
        Rossiglione
        Rovegno
        San Colombano Certenoli
        Santa Margherita Ligure
        Santo Stefano d’Aveto
        Sant’Olcese
        Savignone
        Serra Riccò
        Sestri Levante
        Sori
        Tiglieto
        Torriglia
        Tribogna
        Uscio
        Valbrevenna
        Vobbia
        Zoagli

    • Imperia
      • Airole
        Apricale
        Aquila d’Arroscia
        Armo
        Aurigo
        Badalucco
        Bajardo
        Bordighera
        Borghetto d’Arroscia
        Borgomaro
        Camporosso
        Caravonica
        Carpasio
        Castel Vittorio
        Castellaro
        Ceriana
        Cervo
        Cesio
        Chiusanico
        Chiusavecchia
        Cipressa
        Civezza
        Cosio d’Arroscia
        Costarainera
        Diano Arentino
        Diano Castello
        Diano Marina
        Diano San Pietro
        Dolceacqua
        Dolcedo
        Imperia
        Isolabona
        Lucinasco
        Mendatica
        Molini di Triora
        Montalto Ligure
        Montegrosso Pian Latte
        Olivetta San Michele
        Ospedaletti
        Perinaldo
        Pietrabruna
        Pieve di Teco
        Pigna
        Pompeiana
        Pontedassio
        Pornassio
        Prelà
        Ranzo
        Rezzo
        Riva Ligure
        Rocchetta Nervina
        San Bartolomeo al Mare
        San Biagio della Cima
        San Lorenzo al Mare
        Sanremo
        Santo Stefano al Mare
        Seborga
        Soldano
        Taggia
        Terzorio
        Triora
        Vallebona
        Vallecrosia
        Vasia
        Ventimiglia
        Vessalico
        Villa Faraldi

    • La Spezia
      • Ameglia
        Arcola
        Beverino
        Bolano
        Bonassola
        Borghetto di Vara
        Brugnato
        Calice al Cornoviglio
        Carro
        Carrodano
        Castelnuovo Magra
        Deiva Marina
        Follo
        Framura
        La Spezia
        Lerici
        Levanto
        Maissana
        Monterosso al Mare
        Ortonovo
        Pignone
        Portovenere
        Riccò del Golfo di Spezia
        Riomaggiore
        Rocchetta di Vara
        Santo Stefano di Magra
        Sarzana
        Sesta Godano
        Varese Ligure
        Vernazza
        Vezzano Ligure
        Zignago

    • Savona
      • Alassio
        Albenga
        Albisola Superiore
        Albissola Marina
        Altare
        Andora
        Arnasco
        Balestrino
        Bardineto
        Bergeggi
        Boissano
        Borghetto Santo Spirito
        Borgio Verezzi
        Bormida
        Cairo Montenotte
        Calice Ligure
        Calizzano
        Carcare
        Casanova Lerrone
        Castelbianco
        Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena
        Celle Ligure
        Cengio
        Ceriale
        Cisano sul Neva
        Cosseria
        Dego
        Erli
        Finale Ligure
        Garlenda
        Giustenice
        Giusvalla
        Laigueglia
        Loano
        Magliolo
        Mallare
        Massimino
        Millesimo
        Mioglia
        Murialdo
        Nasino
        Noli
        Onzo
        Orco Feglino
        Ortovero
        Osiglia
        Pallare
        Piana Crixia
        Pietra Ligure
        Plodio
        Pontinvrea
        Quiliano
        Rialto
        Roccavignale
        Sassello
        Savona
        Spotorno
        Stella
        Stellanello
        Testico
        Toirano
        Tovo San Giacomo
        Urbe
        Vado Ligure
        Varazze
        Vendone
        Vezzi Portio
        Villanova d’Albenga
        Zuccarello
Hotels in Liguria
LiguriaWEATHER
Liguria Climate (Genoa)
  High Low Sun Rain
Jan 11 2 3 55
Feb 12 3 4 53
Mar 14 4 5 63
Apr 18 7 6 55
May 22 11 8 35
Jun 26 15 9 44
Jul 29 17 10 34
Aug 29 17 9 54
Sep 25 14 7 61
Oct 21 11 6 74
Nov 16 8 4 71
Dec 12 3 3 77
Table Key:
High - Average monthly high temperatures
Low - Average monthly low temperatures
Sun - Average hours of sunshine per day
Rain - Average monthly rainfall in mm
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