Meaning “Five Lands,” Cinque Terre comprises the five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso and Corniglia. Located in Italy’s northwestern coastal region of Liguria, the villages of Cinque Terre feature some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes that include steep cliff sides and wine terraces dating back to hundreds of years.
The inhabitants of Cinque Terre benefite not only from its pristine waters, but from its natural environment, where wild nature is interspersed with vineyards, olive groves and citrus orchards, creating a precious bond between man, his traditions and this breathtaking stretch of coast. Among its many gems, Cinque Terre boasts a centuries-old complex of hiking paths that offer some of Italy’s most stunning coastal views. The Blue Trail is a paved trail connecting all five of the villages and is suitable for all ages.
Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination. Given its location on the Mediterranean, seafood is plentiful in the local cuisine. Anchovies of Monterosso are a local specialty. This area, and the region of Liguria, as a whole, is known for pesto, a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Focaccia is a particularly common locally baked bread product. Farinata is a savoury and crunchy pancake made from a base of chick pea flour. The town of Corniglia is particularly popular formiele di Corniglia, gelato made from local honey.
Depending on the time of the year there are some specific things to see:
- The lighted Nativity in Manarola (Dec. 8th till late Jan.). The world’s biggest Lighted nativity.
- The patron festivity of the 5 towns (all between late May and Aug.), a mix of religious ceremony and popular parties.
- The pirates attack in Vernazza (mid summer), a celebration of the succesful defence of the town from a Saracen attack occurred during the middle age.
- The harvest (early/mid Sept.) and wine making, when men’s shoulders and women’s heads are still used as they were hundreds of years ago.
- The sea storms (frequent in winter), a great show of nature’s power.