|Cinque Terre. Vernazza.|
I beg for your pardon. I have not heard of Cinque Terre until I have signed up for the group tour package to Dynasty Travel's "11D8N Best of Italy". To satisfy my curiosity, I googled for Cinque Terre.
Wikipedia's description of Cinque Terre is as such, "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 coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site."
|An artist practising his art at Cinque Terre.|
The five villages are namely Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. A walking trail, known as Sentiero Azzurro ("Light Blue Trail") connects the five villages.
|Setting off from La Spezia.|
For our tour group, our expedition went as such:
We took a train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore. From Riomaggiore, our group took a leisure walk along the well-paved coastal path of Via dell'Amore (Lovers' Lane) to get to Manarola. Along the way, we enjoyed stunning oceans views.
From Manarola, the group headed to Monterosso al Mare for lunch. After lunch hours, the group headed for Vernazza which has a nice beach in a protected harbour before returning to La Spezia. Our group gave Corniglia a miss as one would need to walk up 382 steps from the train station to reach Corniglia.
|Monterosso al Mare.|
Food wise, seafood is plentiful since Cinque Terre is located on the Mediterranean. You are wise if you have guessed that my tour-mate and I had seafood for lunch.
|Black squid ink pasta.|
Cinque Terre area is also known for its pesto, a sauce that is made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. The most common bread that is baked here is the Focaccia bread. For folks who like savoury and crunchy pancake, they may like to sample Farinata, which is made from a base of chick-pea flour. Time was limited and appetite was not huge, so I did not feast on all the specialties of Cinque Terre.
|Mussels and clams.|
The charm of Cinque Terre could be due to the lack of visible corporate development. I thought it was very wise that the community decides to preserve the elements that form the strengths of this region. The landscape is charmingly beautiful with carefully built terraces being built on the rugged landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea.
A Cinque Terre card with train travel is recommended for visitors to Cinque Terre. I have learnt Cinque Terre is quite protected from strong winds. I did not get to use any of the warm clothings that I had brought along. As such, it may help to dress in light layers of clothes at Cinque Terre.
DK Eyewitness Travel: Italy. (2011)