The National Park of Cinque Terre with its 3,868 hectares is Italy’s smallest National Park yet the most densely populated, with about 4,000 residents in five villages: Riomaggiore , Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Here, man has changed the natural environment by cutting the steep slopes of the hills for more than a thousand years to obtain strips of arable land, the so-called ciàn, supported by kilometers of stone walls. This is the true identity mark of Cinque Terre, man-made unusual landscape, a beautifully carved territory that became a Unesco World Heritage Place.
Riomaggiore is the easternmost and the southernmost village of the Cinque Terre; the town is built along parallel paths of colorful and typical houses, tipical Genoese towers, a true delight for the eyes. Caught between two hills, the seaside village impresses the visitor with the particular construction of the houses that are built vertically on three or four floors. One of the attractions of Riomaggiore is the Church of St. John the Baptist built in 1340 in Ligurian Gothic architectural style. Riomaggiore is the town that houses the National Park of Cinque Terre.
Manarola is the second village of Cinque Terre on the side of La Spezia with access to the sea, a small paradise of colors, vines, lemon and olive trees, a delight for the eyes and the soul of the visitors. Ancient Manarola owes its name to the agricultural tradition of the inhabitants: magna rota or the big wheel from watermill was used traditionally in agriculture here; in fact, the old mill in Manarola still be seen thanks to the restoration of the National Park of Cinque Terre. While in Manarola one can visit the Church of San Lorenzo, building that dates from 1338, built in Gothic-Ligurian architectonic style whose facade in local sandstone is indeed of great value.
The Way of Love
The Way of Love, as it is known is the most classic and known among the tours available to visitors while in holiday in Cinque Terre: it connects all the five villages together and it is made even more spectacular by its coastal settings: a walk in between the blue sea and the sky, this is The Way of Love. Each of the villages the visitor crosses is worth the stop: enjoy delicious dishes and excellent wines, all locally made. The first part of Via dell’Amore as it is called in Italian, between Riomaggiore and Manarola, is a comfortable walk of less than one kilometer lose the sea waves, known worldwide as ” Way of Love “.
Corniglia is the village located in a central position, in between the other towns of the Cinque Terre and is distinguished by the fact that is not directly facing the sea. As the other ones do, it has its own railway station and the center of the village develops along a main street leading from the parish of St. Peter to the beautiful terrace Santa Maria.
Vernazza , for many years the Cinque Terre village of the most touristic interest along with Monterosso, is the village with the most spectacular view for those arriving by sea or from the Way of Love. The typical Ligurian architecture, and especially Goenoa tower architectural style, it adds a very elaborate and detailed elements: arcades and castles, the characteristic sign of Vernazza testifies the ancient prosperity of the village under the rule of Genoa.
The most western village of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare is the most tourist equipped, being the bigger one of the five villages, to accommodate tourists. True marine paradise of colors and scents, Monterosso has beautiful beaches, lovely city center with small restaurants and traditional trattorias, cliffs overlooking the sea and crystal clear water, all the ingredients for a perfect summer holiday. The above hills embracing the Ligurian village are widely cultivated with vineyards, lemon trees and olive trees; in the restaurants of the village the visitors can taste the best traditional Ligurian dishes and the famous Cinque Terre wine, the Sciacchetrà.