Cinque Terre is a collection of 5 villages located on the Italian Riviera that appears from the water as a colorful natural outcropping of the coast’s jagged mountains. The 5 villages of Cinque Terre—Monterosso Al Marne, Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomagglore, and Manarola—date back to the 11th century. Cinque Terre remained isolated from most of Italy until a railroad built in the 1970s connected the secluded region to the rest of the country. Cinque Terre is still a little tricky to access. A rail or boat trip to Cinque Terre is certainly worth your time so you can enjoy the region’s world famous hiking trails, exceptional wine, and brightly colored dwellings that face the sea.
One of Cinque Terre’s most striking features are the densely clustered red, yellow, and pink homes that are visible from the sea. Legend has it that fishermen applied colorful paint to their homes so that their dwellings were visible when they were out at sea. The truth is that Cinque Terre residents didn’t repaint their homes until the 1970s, when the railroad came to town. Traveling to Cinque Terre by boat is a breathtaking experience, because a boat ride offers the most stunning view of Cinque Terre’s iconic architecture.
If you’re a food and wine lover, a visit to Cinque Terre is a must. Cinque Terre’s humid seaside air and proximity to rugged mountains is highly conductive to growing plump olives and juicy grapes. Monterosso Al Marne is known for its fresh anchovies. A fresh anchovy is a far cry from any freeze dried anchovy that you may have had as a pizza topping. Corniglia is celebrated for its heavenly gelato which is made from local honey. Manarola is famous for its magnificent Vermentino wine. Vermentino is a woefully underrated white wine that drinks like the finest Sauvignon Blanc.
Cinque Terre offers beginning and advanced hiking trails, leafy vineyards, white sandy beaches, and some of the most charming small town architecture in all of Italy. An ancient religious sanctuary nestled in the mountains allows a temporary escape from the noise of modern life. Traveling to Cinque Terre is a rugged journey that requires some planning, but this quaint collection of Italian villages is sure to steal your heart. The winding streets of Cinque Terre are a wonderful place to step back in time and reflect on how the world used to be before every city was connected by congested highways.