Linda Thatcher Raichle
Exploring this gorgeous stretch of Italy’s northwest coastline by foot is exciting and exhilarating. My husband and I were on a cruise and had the opportunity to explore this wonderful part of our favorite country. We hiked all 5 towns of Cinque Terre in one day! Each small town is connected by foot paths along the cliffs overlooking the sea. Even though we spent only a short time in each town, we discovered hidden treasures of Cinque Terre including a wonderful little coffee shop with amazing views of the coastline through a sculpture of 2 lovers, a bakery fulling our ongoing quest for green olive bread, bathers lounging like seals on the warm rocks, colorful homes nestled into the high, steep cliffs and lush, terraced vineyards.
While in each town, we sought out a café, a piazza or simply strolled the streets along the harbor. We sometimes had to weave our way among fishing boats moored along the roadside because the harbor was not large enough to accommodate all the boats.
The 5 “lands” or “earths” comprising Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Trains are an easy and convenient way to travel to the towns. Start at either the most northern or southern town and hike the paths connecting each town. We took the train from the seaport and started in Riomaggiore and ended our hike in Monterosso where we wished we had time to enjoy a quick dip in the sea at the end of our hike. Or, you might start in the other direction and enjoy a refreshing aperitif in Riomaggiore at the end of the day.
If you have time, consider staying longer in Vernazza, the most popular town with its meandering streets and colorful houses or Riomaggiore with its castle and church of San Giovanni Battista. Be sure to save your energy to climb the 377 steps to the town of Corniglia, the only town not directly on the sea.
Cinque Terre is beautiful, sometimes rugged and always breathtaking with amazing hidden treasures. See if you can find more of them on your next trip.
About the Author: Linda Thatcher Raichle
Linda’s quest to become an Italian citizen began when she found her Sicilian grandfather’s birth certificate (born: 1858) in the back of her cousin’s closet. She is now a proud dual citizen of the US and Italy. Linda and her husband, John, an avid photographer, have enjoyed their retirement years “Dolce far niente”(the sweetness of doing nothing) by traveling extensively throughout Europe and Asia. Italy is a frequent and favorite destination.
Green Olive Bread Recipe: https://www.instructables.com/Herbed-Green-Olive-Bread/