Ciao Bella Cinque Terre!
The Cinque Terre (“Five Lands”) is a ‘must see’ for every traveler to Italy. Five beautiful villages perched on the rocky coast of the Italian north west, connected to each other by the Sentiero Azzura, a meandering trail that takes walkers through hillside vineyards, olive groves, deep chasms and past remarkable views of the sea. The region is a photographer’s banquet – you’ll need days here to soak in the scenery, bask in the sun and find amazing vantage points (of which there are many) to capture the magnificent lay of the land.
This is one of the destinations in our “Cinque Terre – Tuscany Photo Expedition” of 2013. Manarola, the second of the Cinque Terre towns, is my favourite of the five. It’s a laid back place, with some of the best gelato on offer and a superb deep harbour in which to dip your body on a hot day.
Like the other towns of the Cinque Terre, Manarola is built on the top of a ridge, with roads and buildings spilling down the rambling cliff side to the water’s edge. The path through town leads through the village piazza and down to the harbour before winding its way up along the side of the cliff to continue on to the village of Corniglia, the third of the five villages along the coast.
Keen walkers can hike the trails that wind their way through wooded hills, vineyards and olive groves to the other villages, or explore the streets of Manarola, which will take you to some of the most remarkable lookouts. Those seeking a more sedate way to spend their day can lounge by the harbour, or relax with an refreshing aperitivo at a bar or cafe.
Our stay in the Cinque Terre won’t be all swanning around with a bottle of wine or licking gelato, though. We’ll be taking you along the Via dell’Amore (where lovers swear their undying loyalty to each other by hanging locks written with their names along the path) to beautiful Riomaggiore.
The most colourful and rugged of the villages, Riomaggiore is an absolute delight to the eyes, with its red, yellow and orange buildings cascading down to the cliffside to the sea. You’ll have time to explore this wonderful village, photograph the stunning harbourside sunset and wine and dine there (we recommend La Lanterna, overlooking the boat harbour).
You’ll also visit the last of the five villages, Monterosso al Mare (probably the most “touristy” of the five), where you will walk the Sentiero Azzura from Monterosso to the quaint but jaw-droppingly beautiful village of Vernazza.
The trail takes you through lush hills and vales, where you can rest in an olive grove, or gaze into deep gorges, before you finally crest a hill and see the village of Vernazza rising above the emerald waters in the distance.
Vernazza has a wide and sparkling harbour (perfect for swimming) and winding alleyways to explore. For those with a lot of energy, we plan on taking you on a walk to the Castello, a tower and fortress perched high above Vernazza, that will give you an inspiring bird’s-eye-view of the village and its surrounds.
The colours, the light, the sights of the Cinque Terre will wear your shutter button down — but don’t get too snap happy as we’ll be taking you next to the sublime vistas of the Chianti. But that’s for another blog post.
If this has made you yearn to join us on our Italian photographic expedition, you can book online here. Why wait?