Ok, so my last blog leaped into Riomaggiore and Cinque Terre without so much as an explanation about where or what the Cinque Terre is. So here it is - according to wiki:
The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. "The Five Lands" is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. 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.
Ok, so now you know. The villages are located in a national park and are joined by hiking trails. What I learned was that the hiking trails were there before the trains and the roads, it was how the villages had to travel - by foot - centuries ago. The trails are still used by the locals to access the terraced farmlands.
Warning- there are a lot pictures in this blog! The views were just wonderful.
I had wanted to hike the distance between each of the 5 villages but discovered that two of the trails were closed, the trail from Manarola was only open half way and the trail from Corniglia to Verazza was entirely closed so I would need to take the train between those villages.
The lovely path between Riomaggiore and Manarola is called Via Dell'Amore or the Love Walk. The story goes that the two villages were joined only by the path and the young folk for the villages used the path as a "lovers lane" and enscribed words of love along the pathway. The idea caught on and when the path started attracting tourists it was publicized as a place for lovers to go.
Manarola is just as pretty as Riomaggiore but a bit smaller.
I set out on the path from Manarola but was turned back 2/3rds as the path was closed. I took the train from Manarola to Corniglia.
The stairs up to the path from the train station to Cornigila, high on the hill. It is the only town not on the sea.
I had one hour between trains from Corniglia to get to the next village - Vernazza. There were nearly 400 steps up to the village. It was worth the effort.
The village of Vernazza is very pretty, but they are still recovering from a flood/mudslide last year. The photos below are then and now.
I did the hike for Vernazza to Monterosso de Mare. It brought back memories of hiking over the mountains when I did the Camino.
I was able to take off my shoes and dangle my toes in this nice stream.
I samples several of the Cinque Terre wines and they were very good. This viynard was was high up on the hiking route.
Down the steep steps to Monterosso del Mare.
I would have liked to buy this to hang in my kitchen at home. The ceramic lemons would not have made it intact in my backpack, so I took a picture instead.
I took a boat back to Riomaggione.
WWII bunkers and pill boxes.
Back to my favourite place - Riomaggiore.
I am in Florence as I write this blog. I have lots of things planned for the 4 days I am here before I move onto Venice. Stay tuned!