On the Italian Riviera in Liguria, Italy, there are 5 very special little towns that were built by their inhabitants to be perfectly integrated into the landscape. Today, building in the area isn't allowed because it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can, however, enjoy lots of delicious restaurants with amazing views (they're all built with views over the sea). If you pass through the towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, you're going to remember it for the rest of your life.
Located near Génova, Ligura in the north of Italy, Manarola is part of the "Cinque Terre" national park, a small group of cliff-side villages built on steep ravines and surrounded by incredible mountains by the sea. Throughout the region, there's an incredible variety of vineyards and olive groves and all the towns are connected by labyrinthine trails. Of all the towns in the area which I was lucky enough to visit, my favorite was Manarola, a place to forget about the daily hustle and hustle.
Also, as is common in Italy, the regional food and wine are fantastic. The famous "lovers trail" begins here and heads towards Riomaggiore...it's a paved trail which skirts the coastal mountains and has amazing views of the colorful villages cascading down the mountainside. Although the five villages are connected by a train which literally wraps around the mountains, you can (and should) do the route by ferry at least once. The views from the ferry are just spectacular.
Take your time, walk, enjoy the beach, have a glass of wine and visit some of the historic churches. You're in a perfect place to disconnect.
It's easy to arrive at this precious little enclave from Genoa (1.5hrs.). The village still holds on two its "chic" charm and exclusivity which attracts jetsetters from around the world. The train left us in Santa Margarita Ligure, and from there we took a 10-minute bus along a scenic coastal highway and finally arrived in Portofino.
The village is a small group of buildings and homes full of high-end stores, fine restaurants, and a small harbor for sailboats and yachts. If you head up to Catestelo Brown on the hill opposite Portofino, you'll have great views of the village
Vernazza is one of the five villages which make up Le Cinque Terre (The Five Lands) in the Liguria coast in Pcia. De Le Spezia, Italy. This beautiful region was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, along with some islands and other areas of Italy. Vernazza is perched on a rocky peninsula jutting out into the sea and you can only get there by a regional highway. It's believed that the name comes from Vernaccia, a type of wine typical of the region. There's a small harbor where you can take small boat trips along the coast. The views, especially those from boats, are among the most beautiful I've ever seen.
Riomaggiore is the town located further east of the five that make up the Cinque Terre (The Five Lands), on the sea of Liguria, in northwest Italy. It was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997 . Its historic center dates back to the 13 century and is located in the valley of the Rio Maggiore from which the town takes its name. The colorful houses are grouped into several levels, following the route of the river. Like the other 4 towns forming Le Cinque Terre, it has a particular charm and you will not regret seeing this beautiful area.
Genova has always been a passageway between the Mediterranean and Europe. Today, the port of Genova is the largest in the Mediterranean basin. It houses a large number of commercial vessels, and a large number of cruise ships as well. In the port is also the famous Aquarium of Genova, the largest in Europe, and the "Bigo", where you can enjoy very nice views all around.
The trail is now known as the "Via dell'amore" (the path of love, in Italian) was the path used by the railway workers of the Italian State to move between Riomaggiore and Manarola stations. Today it is one of the most popular tourist routes in Italy. In fact, the path was opened for a special circumstance: the refurbishment and extension of the railway line between Genoa and La Spezia in the decade of the 20 th century. In order to safeguard Riomaggiore and Manarola during the development of the works decided to house the explosives needed to carry them out in a powder keg halfway between both locations. To join the two ends two small trails were opened in the rock. It was not until some time after the completion of the railway works the locals got the idea to use the paths as links between both locations. Until then the only form of communication between the two locations was the path through the valley of the Rio Finale and Corniolo Coast, so contact between the two communities was almost nonexistent. In fact, in each locality two different dialects of the Ligure language were spoken, difference in the lexicon and phonetics. Soon the path became a meeting place for young couples in love the path gained its current name: the Way of Love ("Viaeu de l'amuu" in Ligurian dialect and "Via dell 'Amore" in Italian). Currently it is the busiest path of the Cinque Terre, the most famous and easy to walk along as it is almost completely flat. A highly recommended walk for incredible views of the Ligurian coast.
Undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions of Genoa, so it was impossible to stay six months in this city and not visit the largest aquarium in Europe. At least 10000 animals, 800 different species. You can eat there. Entry is 14 euros for adults and 8.50 children of 12 years and under.
It is possible, even in Europe, to discover lost paradises, charming places at the seaside, without much tourism, beautiful, authentic, amazing, havens of peace and tranquility where you feel like you can finally breathe and these moments remain engraved in your memory as one of the most magical moments and one of the most meaningful and memorable "snapshots" of your life. Even more difficult still ... It is possible that that place and that time can take place in the middle of August in Italy, in one of the most touristic countries in the world? For me that place is "The Five Lands" , situated in the Riviera Liguria, Italy.
Monterrosso al Mare is one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre (The Five Lands in Castilian), which are on the coast of the province of Le Spezie Liguria area. It is an area of indescribable beauty that I had the great fortune to visit at the invitation of a friend, who was born in Liguria but has now been living in the United States for a few years. He rents a cottage on the coast when he can and he goes there for a month to enjoy walking and remeniscing about old times. In 1997, Le Cinque Terre was declared a World Heritage Site, along with some other islands and some regions in Italy. Monterrosso is the westernmost town and enjoys the larger beaches, where you can take advantage of the wonderful summer season by taking a refreshing dip in the Ligurian Sea. It is an area blessed by nature and unparalleled in its natural beauty.
This town is on the southern end of a peninsula where the Ligurian rivera on one side and the western Gulf of La Spezia (also known as the Gulf of Poets) on the other, converge. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Porto Venere was a major attraction with famous guests such as Lord Byron. Currently its charm is still intact and its popularity has increased in recent years thanks to its declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 (with the Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto islands and the Cinque Terre zone).
This square is one of the most important ones in Genova and is in the heart of the city. Many Genovese meet here both in the morning and afternoon to speak, read, or go have a drink or snack. It has a beautiful fountain in the center and from the square you will also see the Via XX Settembre, where there are shops of all the important brands.
In addition to the visit to Portofino, the bus took us close to Camogli, which is a small fishing village that thanks to its clean water, has actually become a beach destination for people from Genoa. In this beautiful place several films have been shot like Ink Heart (Inkheart). You can enjoy a spectacular ice cream cone while strolling along the promenade. Besides, several restaurants and pizzerias with Italian décor and the beautiful view of the sea.
La Grotta Byron is located after passing the Porto Venere channel and when the the navigation path to Riomaggiore begins. The "Grotta" (grotto, or cave in Italian) is a dive site that's part of the eponymous creek. In his time, it was very dear to Lord Byron, ve used to spend long and intense moments of meditation there. The cove is protected from inclement weather by a rocky cliff, on which the Church of San Pietro stands on one side, and the city's ancient walls stand on the other. It's a lovely spot, ideal for spending some time after a day of visiting Porto Venere and Palmaria Island.
Corniglia is the smallest town of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre (The Five Lands) and is the one situated in the middle of the five. It is a place of outstanding beauty. Le Cinque Terre was declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1997. Corniglia is not directly connected with the sea, in the same way as the other four towns are, but it is on a rocky promontory, surrounded by vineyards, something very unusual. You can access it climbing a steep staircase .... Or by car coming from the train station. It is a worthwhile trip.
Portofino is one of those places that as you get closer on the boat, you will like more and more of what you see. It's a tiny harbor with many yachts and sailboats anchored in the colors. It is surrounded by hills with majestic villas painted pastel. While walking you will see tiny shops and cafés typical of the Italian Riviera. Portofino is divided into two zones, Portofino Vetta is the town itself, and the port is a luxury area, with yachts and people arriving from various cruises. It is kind of funny that the enormous yachts float right there next to the tiny fishing boats.
Located on an inlet of the Ligurian Riviera Levante, Lerici is one of the many gems to be found in the territory over which it stands: the Gulf of Poets, in its day was a spot for established poets. The mild climate year-round and the beauty of the green hills that surround Lerici make it an ideal destination for either long stays or for weekends. It is a great spot to enjoy sun, art, and great food. The municipality includes not only the Gulf between the castles of San Terenzo and Lerici - including Venere Azzurra beach - but also small towns scattered across the hills. In fact, Lerici is located in the Regional National Park Montemarcello-Magra (http://www.parcomagra.it/), a large protected area. Ultimately, Lerici is perfect for anyone looking for tranquility, relaxation, contact with nature and the sea, also offering full proposals and unique to sports lovers, gastronomy, art and culture .
Via Garibaldi it is one of the most impressive streets in Genova. Formerly known as Strada Nuova, it was built in the sixteenth century and is an outstanding example of urban planning. You can admire palaces including the Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Tursi. Today, these houses have been converted into museums or entrusted to private institutions to share and protect this heritage.