In medieval times, the word 'terra' (land) meant 'village.' This is the origin of the name of this beautiful area: Cinque Terre (Five Villages).
The inhabitants of these places had agricultural origins and lived on the hills. They came down to the coast once the Saracens had finished invading, when the sea became safe; they populated the villages at the mouths of the rivers along the shore. Cinque Terre's landscape is harsh and wild and the coast reflects this. High cliffs dropping down into the cobalt blue depths of the sea, hiding minute coves at Riomaggiore and Vernazza, or tiny ports like Manarola.The Cinque Terre, is recognized by UNESCO as a 'World Heritage Site', and is a national park and protected marine area.After meeting your driver on the pier at 8.00 am, you will set off on the 60 minute drive to La Spezia. Here (9am) you will meet your professionally trained local guide and proceed to Portovenere , a world Heritage Site since 1997(9.30 arrival). Its is characterized by pastel coloured tower houses and a beautiful church built on the cliffs. From there (10.30) you'll reach by a private boat Vernazza.The boat ride is approximately one hour and once you arrive in front of Riomaggiore, you'll see the captivating Via dell'Amore (The Lovers' Lane), a charming path connecting Manarola to Riomaggiore, partially cut out of the steep cliffs overlooking the sea. It was once a narrow track built for the railway towards La Spezia. But soon, the romantic pathway became 'Via dell'Amore', and that is the name that has remained.Manarola will be then visible as well as Corniglia before you'll reach Vernazza. This tiny resort is located at the mouth of a river and is naturally protected from the threat of the sea by a rocky promontory making it the only major landing point in the Cinque Terre. Vernazza has always had a strong political and economical importance which is witnessed by the style of its houses and streets, decorated with loggias and refined arcades giving it the appearance of a noble and elegant village, located on a steep cliff.After a brief orientation, you will enjoy lunch (12.15) in a very exclusive restaurant located in a medieval tower.After lunch you will board a train (13.34 )to Manarola (13.45) to walk along the Lover's Lane to Riomaggiore (14.15) and meet the driver (14.40) to begin the return to the port of Livorno (16.15). Enjoy also our "Florence and surroundings" section to find other tours in FLORENCE.