CINQUE TERRE, ITALY
-SEP. 2012-

ALL PHOTOS © RUUD LEEUW

 

 

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.
We intended to stay at Cinque Terre for 4 days, 5 nights, but cut it short because we did not much like our hotel (La Rossola Resort was not much of a resort..).

 

Cinque Terre, Italy
This is the basic idea: a village on the coast and people have carefully built terraces
on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea.
Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development.
Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach most of them from the outside.

 

Cinque Terre, Italy
We stayed in La Rossola Resort, which is located outside the park, passed Levanto and
high up in the mountains from Bonassola. It was about a 30 minute drive to Monterosso Al Mare.
The first day we drove here, but noticed how fortunate we were to find a place to park our car,
so on other days we parked in Levanto and took the train into the park. This worked out quite well.
We arrived at Monterosso Al Mare with a modest market going on.

Cinque Terre, Italy
Some bartering going on, I guess.

Cinque Terre, Italy
One market stall with few customers, but she was making the best of it.

Cinque Terre, Italia
The smallest of two churches in Manarola al Mare.

Cinque Terre, Italy
The churches here still bore the ravages of the torrential rains which caused floods and mudslides on October 25, 2011. Nine people were killed by the floods, and extensive damage was caused to the villages, particularly Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. The personification of death looking down on the dilapidated walls fitted rather well.

Cinque Terre, Italy
The beach of Monterosso Al Mare.

Cinque Terre, Italia
Time to consider the trail.. You have to pay a fee (€ 5) at a checkpoint further down.

 

 

Cinque Terre, Italy
A walking trail, known as Sentiero Azzurro ('Light Blue Trail'), connects the five villages.
It was time we tried a trail and set out for the hike between Monterossa al Mare to Vernazza.
We found little information available on the particulars of this stretch or others.
We found out the hard way it was one of the toughest hikes. The worst we did, anyway.
But at first it wasn’t so bad.

Cinque Terre, Italy
The trail was steep in some places and we quickly gained height, climbed the seeming endless set of steps.

Cinque Terre, Italy
In many places the trail was like this: small and primitive.
We were wheezing and puffing, struggling with the heat.
We let people pass but we one also had to wait for oncoming traffic.

Cinque Terre, Italy
We also stopped for the view and sights like this, of course.

Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza, our goal is in sight.

Cinque Terre, Italy

I found it a beautiful trail, but had I known it would take us more than three hours I would have taken more water with me. The published time to hike this trail, we later found, was 01h30 or 2 hours, depending on the breaks one took or had to take.
This photo shows the trail had climbed considerably, it was up and down all the way.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza. From up here it is quite captivating. But in the streets (in fact just one main street) of these
villages we found them overrun with tourists. Perhaps september isn’t the best time of year to visit this region.

Cinque Terre, Italy
Witness to the ravages of the torrential rains on 25Oct2011, when floods and mudslides caused so much damage. Imagine to find your house like that!

 

Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza; people enjoying the sun and some cooling wind from sea.

Day pass for Cinque Terre Nat'l Park

Cinque Terre, Italy

Main street overrun with tourists. Shops had little more to offer than the most obvious trinkets as souvenirs. Not much of interest here, really.
We waited for the boat, intending to return by sea, take the weight off our tired feet. But no boat arrived. And no information available on the status or delay.
So we took the train. Later we overheard someone crying out load that the boats would start to run soon: they had stopped because of high winds, but the information hadn’t been made available to the public.

Cinque Terre, Italy
Another day, another village. Riomaggiore.
We had arrived here by train from Levanto. Parking at the trainstation is cheaper and at the station
one can buy a day-ticket for the park, which includes the train fare but also the fare for the trails.
And the local busses, though I forgot about those at the time. Should have used that in Corniglia.

Cinque Terre, Italy
No doubt she is well familiar and used to the steep streets here.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy
Sandy beaches are rare here, it is a rocky coast.

 

 

Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola, seen from the trail to Corniglia.
This footpath was blocked because of unrepaired flood damages; this was a pity because
this was a flat trail too and quite easy to walk.

Cinque Terre, Italy
We liked Manarola better than Monterossa or Vernazza.
This place was a nice souvenirshop (see also below) and I bought a few English books in a small store nearby,
run by an Australian woman. She told me to try bookdepository.com (free shipping), they should have
a wide range of books. But I haven't tried them yet as I buy a lot secondhand.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy
In spite of the midday heat, they playing football. One even on flip flops…

Cinque Terre, Italy
Dogs are not forgotten here!

 

 

Cinque Terre, Italy
The trail to Riomaggiore, Via dell’Amore… easy going, flat and wide.
An easy stroll instead of a tough hike. A bit too easy, actually.

Cinque Terre, Italy
Via dell’Amore and you can see the signs and symbols everywhere!

Cinque Terre, Italy
There seem to be a tradition of putting these locks up, as a sign of ‘locked hearts’. 

Cinque Terre, Italy
To pick a prickly cactus plant to carve a heart and your names in, seems to me an awkward choice!

Cinque Terre, Italy
A nice photo in its simplicity, I think.

 

 

Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola

Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola

Cinque Terre, Italy
The captain is taking a rest.

Cinque Terre, Italy
Nicely done!

 

Cinque Terre, Italia
Tickets are not expensive, but some people like to take a chance. Like this man said afterwards to his wife:
"You can always argue with the guy.." She didn’t seem to happy with his approach.

Cinque Terre, Italia
The drive back to Bonassola and onwards to our hotel was a nice one.

Cinque Terre, Italia
The view down on Levanto.

 

 

Cinque Terre, Italia

Corniglia. Mostly remembered by us for the long (endless!) stairway. And the lousy service we had at the place we had a quick lunch: avoid Locando Dau Tinola.
One very narrow street winded to the seaside. Corniglia is a nice place too, but is quickly covered.

Cinque Terre, Italia
Church in Corniglia. Rather a harrowing statue there.
I think the statue says 'Corniglia. Al Svoi Carvty'.

Cinque Terre, Italia
Inside the church seen on the photo above. The fresco on the ceiling
seems to commemmorate some war battle..?

Cinque Terre, Italia
A cat holding its pose..

Cinque Terre, Italia
Once more at Manarola. Note the path Corniglia - Manarola in the top of the photo.

Cinque Terre, Italia
What do you think this is? Would you have recognised it as a waiting room?

Cinque Terre, Italia

The boat arrives. Its lines have been put on the moorings and the boat is moving back, tightening the lines. Next that gangway will be thrown onto the dock and one has to board or disembark while the ship is moving up and down quite wildly, lashing at its moorings.
Only in Italy!

 

 


Sailing away from Manarola. Ticket Manarola - Vernazza was 11 euro p.p.

Cinque Terre, Italia
Sailing past Corniglia.

Cinque Terre, Italia
Arriving at Vernazza.

Cinque Terre, Italia
Another way to move from village to village is by kayak..

 

Cinque Terre, Italia

In Vernazza, at a nice café near the railway station, we had a cappuccino.
A young couple (he was an American) owned and ran the place.
She enjoyed a quiet moment, staring out of the window.
The coffee we had was our closing ceremony, we had a long drive home to contemplate.

 

 

More photos taken at Cinque Terre on my Flickr.com account.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Created: 27aug12 - Updated: 1 November, 2012