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Thursday, 31 August 2006

Le Cinque Terre - Page 3

Written by Sally Alfis
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Want to visit Florence and Tuscany, but are afraid of the damage to your wallet?  For a beautiful side trip from crowded and expensive Firenze, take a little detour past Pisa, and hit the gorgeous seaside villages known as Le Cinque Terre – the five lands.  This is an area in the province of Liguria, on the Italian Riviera, which consists of five villages along the coastline that are connected to each other only by footpaths and train tracks – no cars allowed



After we ate breakfast up on our terrace, we hiked further up the stairs past our apartment on the trail that led to the next town called Corniglia.  Up at the top of the stairs, right where the trail began was a big castello torre (castle tower) with a beautiful view of the village, and Monterosso down the coast in the distance.  We didn't walk anywhere near close to Corniglia, but we got up high enough for the beautiful views of the morning sun glistening on the coast.

Vernazza from Trail



As the town church and town hall bells rang, we went back down to the apartment to prendere il sole sulla terraza (take in the sun on the terrace) for a while. We said goodbye to Camere Elisabetta and the little signora across the way, heading down to the train to head back to the beach at Monterosso.


By the end of another cost-free and gorgeous afternoon on the beach, we headed on the ferry to the village of Manarola – our next overnight destination. The ferry passed pretty Vernazza, gorgeous Corniglia perched high on a cliff over the coast, and then finally into the rocky cove where the ferry just barely docked in Manarola.  We walked through beautiful rock formations, passing Italians jumping into the blue-green water off the cliffs, to ANOTHER huge set of stairs.


Once we got into the town filled with pretty pastel colored buildings, it took us about 45 minutes to find our next hotel for the night called Arpaiu.  It was a rough time finding it, as Manarola was also on a seriously steep hill, but we finally came upon the place. Oriana, the hostess and hotel owner, showed us to our beautiful, modern and very stylishly plain room overlooking the sea, with another terrace on the roof. This roof terrace was open to all three of the rooms and was gorgeous, with new wooden lounges and interesting sculptures.



Photo by Tara O'Conner

After having another small Ligurian dinner, we walked on the paved pathway around Manarola’s cove to a pretty park.  We watched the sunset with a few of the locals and a few young couples who climbed down the rocks to be closer to the water. The sun setting along the coast was the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen.  There are no words to describe the boldness of the reds and oranges, the softness of the pinks and purples, and the sea reflecting them all. Manarola a sleepy town, is perfect when you’re looking for peace and tranquility.



(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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