The Cinque Terre, or ‘Five Lands’ is just that: five little village towns on the Ligurian Coast. The villages that comprise the stunning Cinque Terre are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso.
Sitting in a cafè in any one of these five lands, sipping on a cool drink in summer or throwing back a hot espresso coffee in true Italian style when the weather is cold, it is wonderful to just relax and enjoy some intensive people-watching!
Strolling along the cobbled streets, disappearing down alleyways, chatting with locals about hand-made items for sale, seeing the historic buildings backdropped by the ever-changing hues of the clearest skies, even the washing strung out on balconies seems fantastic!
The Cinque Terre has a way of making you truly grasp the meaning of ‘la vita è bella’ – life is beautiful.
OK, so if you climb the near-on 400 steps to get to Corniglia, you may be feel like that life is about to flash before your eyes, but you will feel fantastic once you glimpse the spectacular view over the Ligurian coast.
Here is a little bit of information about what there is to see and experience when visiting the Cinque Terre…
Riomaggiore: Believed to date back to the 8th century, this little village today has a population of just over 1700 people. See the church of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), erected in 1340, the town’s castle, and other historical locations.
Via dell’Amore – the ‘trail of love’: Just over a kilometer, this narrow path connects Riomaggiore with Manarola and forms part of the Cinque Terre’s National Park that has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the trail was a popular romantic walkway for couples, it became known as ‘Via dell’Amore’, and subsequently adorned with a series of benches dedicated to Greek and Roman gods. The Via dell’Amore is part of the Sentiero Azzurro (“Light Blue Trail”) that connects all five lands.
Manarola: Sights to see include the Oratorio dei Disciplinati (‘Oratory of the Disciplined’), and the gothic-styled San Lorenzo Church, complete with bell tower, which dates back to 1338. It would also be opportune to try the famous and well-appreciated sciacchetrà wine that is produced here on the sheer cliff-face vineyards.
Corniglia: The view is not the only thing about this town that can take your breath away – to get to the town would require climbing up some 382 large steps called the Lardarina! Just 240 people call Corniglia home. Surrounded by steep vineyards and on one side, a cliff that overlooks the sea and no beach area, this is the least visited of the Cinque Terre. Please note: a visit to this town is not included in the Artviva Best of Cinque Terre tour, rather we see it from the spectacular vantage point of the water below.
Vernazza: With a population of just over 900 people, Vernazza features churches, towers and even a 13th century castle to see. The Santa Margherita d’Anticochia was started early in the 14th century, and is complete with bell tower. The Doria Castle was constructed in the 1400s, in a desperate measure to save the town from attacks by pirates. For the really energetic, there is a heavy inclined trail lined with the stations of the cross, which leads to the Santuario di Nostra Signora di Reggio shrine. The view may well be worth the effort!
Monterosso: With the best beach of all towns in the Cinque Terre, it is nonetheless the incredible ‘Il Gigante’ that most people remember about Monterosso, a huge Giant carved into a cliff-face, who looks out to sea. This particular village has become known for its production of olives, lemons and grapes, as well as the ensuing wine produced.
If you’d prefer to have our fabulous Cinque Terre tour guide all to yourself, you can choose the My Exclusive Best of the Cinque Terre tour.
You’ll see the Tuscan countryside from the train on the Best of the Cinque Terre Tour. But if you’d like to explore Tuscany at a slower pace, we also have:
The Best of Tuscany Tour – Siena, San Gimignano & Monteriggioni (small-group): visit three of Tuscany’s most picturesque hilltop towns in one fabulous day on this original Best of Tuscany tour. With a small-group guarantee, savour lunch at an historical Tuscan Villa, as well as a wine tasting and cellar visit. This is a great day to allow you to experience the best aspects of this wonderful region!
The Best of Tuscany Tour – Siena San Gimignano & Pisa (up to 50 people): see the Best of Tuscany at the best price! See the world’s most famous architectural blunder, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, visit the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano, and explore the Tuscan town declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Siena.
Taste of Tuscany at the Villa Wine Tour – Savour the tastes and views of sublime Tuscany with the best value Tuscany wine tour that also includes a famous ancient winery on the grounds of an exclusive private Renaissance Villa in the heart of Chianti.
We also have small-group guided tours of Florence, small-group tours in Rome with an expert guide, skip-the-line guided tours for Venice things to do, and many other things to ensure you have the best time in Italy!