Cinque Terre

Posted by on Dec 24, 2013 in Personal, Travel | 1 comment

Cinque Terre – literally translated  as the “five lands” – are five beautiful villages on the Italian Riviera. All five villages are located within a national park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area has long been on my ‘bucket list’ of places to visit and we have been fortunate enough to have been able to explore Cinque Terre during the past couple of days. We have been staying in the village of Manarola which is by far my favourite of the five villages. Four of the five villages – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso are at sea level, with the fifth village of Corniglia located high on a hillside overlooking the ocean (and the other four villages). The land surrounding Cinque Terre is quite rugged and steep, however, that hasn’t stopped the industrious farmers who live here from constructing terraces to make the most of the land.

Here is a snapshot of our visit to Cinque Terre, starting in Manarola, with a view down the main road…

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I love all the different colours of the buildings.

 

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Manarola is home to the world’s largest nativity scene, on display on the hillside overlooking the village. This is the view of it by day…

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…and, much more spectacularly, at night

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On our first full day here in Cinque Terre, we decided to go for a little walk to the next village of Riomaggiore. Unfortunately the flat coastal path was closed, so we went cross country. The path resembled a goat track and was incredibly steep. Here is the view looking back down towards Manarola

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The sign is a good indication of the gradient…

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Riomaggiore

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Another view of Manarola

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Monterosso

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Inside one of the churches in Monterosso

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Vernazza

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When in Italy…

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Strawberry and lemon sorbet for me…

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…while Ian enjoyed a chocolate hazelnut gelato

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The food here in Manarola has been exceptional. We have a choice of two restaurants, both specialising in seafood. There are several others, however now is the time that many of the locals take their holidays as this is the low season for tourism…having written that though, there have been a surprising number of American and Asian tourists here. If you are keen to see a few more food-related updates, check out Ian’s blog!

Yesterday afternoon the sun finally decided to bathe Manarola in some beautiful light

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The local brass band showed up to entertain the locals and tourists. They wandered the streets of Manarola for several hours, creating quite a festive atmosphere!

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The sun stayed out long enough for us to enjoy it spectacularly set into the ocean

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Today we explored Corniglia

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Looking back towards Manarola from Corniglia. It was quite overcast and hazy

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Inside the church at Corniglia. It was actually quite dark inside the church – it’s amazing what the camera (and a bit of editing) brings out in an image!

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More colourful buildings, this time in Corniglia.

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Tomorrow morning we will sadly be leaving Manarola and Cinque Terre, heading to Florence for Christmas. Everything is beginning to close down here for Christmas (tonight we only have a choice of one restaurant for dinner – it is still going to be a delicious seafood feast so I’m not concerned!) so it will be good to be in a larger city that will hopefully be a little more tourist-friendly over the festive season. It will also be good to experience Christmas there – I’ve heard that Florence is home to a large Christmas market which we will hopefully be able to visit tomorrow. With the exception of the nativity scene in Manarola, it hasn’t felt as Christmassy here compared with France.

Like Provence, I’ve loved our time here in Cinque Terre and would love to visit again. I imagine that the place comes alive in the summer time but, similarly to Provence, it has been nice not to have to compete too much with lots of other tourists, particularly when photographing this beautiful area. The weather hasn’t been great – with the exception of yesterday afternoon it has been overcast and threatening to rain the whole time we’ve been here. Thankfully it hasn’t rained a great deal but having the sun out to illuminate the beautiful colours of the buildings would have been nice. It has been great to have taken things a little more slowly here. Having been on the go since we arrived in Nice, I’ve been quite tired, so it has been lovely to kick back with a good book out on our balcony overlooking Manarola. Like Rousillon in Provence, Manarola is a place that I could easily live. It’s tempting to stay here for good, however, we still have the rest of our adventure ahead of us. Maybe next time I visit I’ll stay for good.

One Comment

  1. Looks like you are having a wonderful time. Love all the photos. Hopefully we can talk on Christmas day. Missing you guys xxx

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