“Mankind’s World Heritage”, this is what UNESCO states about special places all over the world. Cinque Terre is a very special place (it is not one place, indeed) and is, as you probably have understood, on that UNESCO list. It is also a national park and protected marine area.
Recently, someone would call this landscape architecture. It is. But not only that. Let’s take a look at one of the best loved places in Italy.
And along the coastline there are five castles, at nearly the same distance one from the other: ‘Rubra, Vulnetia, Cornelia, Manium Arula, Rivus Maiorche which now are commonly called Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore not only known in Italy but also the Welsh and British praise them for their wine’s nobility. Note worthy to see like a spectacle, the mountains not only in sweet incline but also quick so that even the birds flying over tire. Covered with stones that don’t hold back water, vineyards cover the land, so meagre and delicate that seem more like ivy than vines. From here comes wine for the table from a King”.
G. Bracelli, “De bello hispaniensi orae ligusticae descriptio”, 1448
Le Cinque Terre
Vernazza, Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia. In the Middle Age ‘terra’ (land) meant ‘village’ This is the origin of the name of this beautiful area: Cinque Terre (Five Villages). The agricultural origins of the inhabitants of these places made them live on the hills. They chose the coast once the Saracens had finished invading, when the sea became a safe place to stay. Men managed to create this landscape (the only one of its kind in the world) over the centuries. Through constant collective work.
Beaches, rocky sea, five lands on this amazing coast. An hidden riviera, as someone defined it. High cliffs dropping down into the cobalt blue depths of the sea, hiding magic coves at Riomaggiore and Vernazza. Or tiny ports like Manarola. The steep terraces (over 7000 km of dry stone walling) slope down to the sea and the panorama is breathtaking.
Pastel coloured tower houses and beautiful churches built on the cliffs, charming paths partially cut out of the steep cliffs overlooking the sea. Isn’t it a perfect snapshot?
Don’t forget to visit Cinque Terre on foot in this regard. This area is full of beautiful paths and routes to discover and from which you will be able to have unforgettable views overlooking the sea!
Cinque terre and hiking: incredible paths and beautiful views
Do you like hiking and trekking? Cinque Terre is the trip for you!
Logical start is Monterosso. The most difficult section is Monterosso to Vernazza. Try to start early around 7.30am or so in the cool of the day. Best view is between Monterosso and Vernazza, just before you get into Vernazza – it is just breathtaking. That is the view that is on so many post cards you can buy around this area. The coastal path from Monterosso to Riomaggiore is also astonishing.
Cinque Terre and Ligurian food & cuisine
Food can be a unique experience. We really believe in power of gastronomic experience! Liguria probably has one of the most varied Italian cuisines. The Ligurians are seafarers and here fish-dishes are fantastic, but this region’s inhabitants use everything, including all meats, fish, vegetables, herbs, cheeses and so on.
Due to availability of this ingredient, catch of the day in this region is daily baked, fried, roasted, stewed, added to salads or pasta! Among the seafood specialities fish soups, fried fish, and dishes such as some fish stews (ciuppin and buridda) and capponadda (with its enriched version, the cappon magro), a seafood salad.
Salt cod – dried and then reconstituted in water – is another speciality used to prepare many variants of stockfish alla genovese.
Our favorite are mixed fried platters, where locally caught fish reign supreme: red mullet, bogue, picarel, pignoletti, squid, flying squid, anchovies and sardines, all deep-fried in olive oil.
You cannot mention Liguria with mentioning pesto. Basil grows freely on the hillsides of this beautiful region. Basil is used in many Italian traditional dishes and gives them a distinctive flavor.
This herb is the main ingredient of pesto: basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan combined into a superb and smooth paste. It is often added to pasta and is a very typical Italian food. Easy to make also at home.
Liguria’s most famous specialities are pesto and focaccia. Focaccia bread comes from this region and although similar to pizza its origin is believed to be about two thousand years older.
Ligurian style focaccia has a crisp crust anointed with plenty of tasty olive oil and salt. Soft and crunchy at the same time. Good with meals or as a snack, the focaccia can be also turned into a pizza base with melted cheese and different toppings.
Take a look
Read also our article about Italian food rules.
Read also this article on NYT about Regional Food in Liguria
Cinque Terre national park official website
36 hours in the Cinque Terre, on NewYorkTimes