postcards from cinque terre

Cinque Terre is one of those places in the world you would want to keep a secret from trolling tourists, and yet is amazingly beautiful that everyone deserves to see something so picturesque and way beyond words. If I had one extra week to spend in Italy, there is no doubt I would choose to spend it here.

Strung along Italy’s Ligurian coast, Cinque Terre’s five Old World villages are listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. With regional trains running through La Spezia, Cinque Terre is easily reached from Pisa and Genova. One can hike from one village to the next, some taking hours, while it’s also possible to hop on and off each village with a local or regional train. It’s best to secure a Cinque Terre Card with several day-validity options so you can shuttle yourself at your own pace and convenience, maybe have breakfast in Riomaggiore, lunch in Vernazza, and dinner in Monterosso al Mare.

The first village from La Spezia, Riomaggiore, is characterized by a small beach and a wharf framed by brilliantly painted tower houses. From Riomaggiore one can reach the next village, Manarola (pictured above), by walking along the Via dell’ Amore (Path of Love), a winding cliff-side passage with romantic views of the Mediterranean Sea. Scribblings of love eternal are tagged on mountain walls, railings, and even on giant cacti. Corniglia is the only village that is not directly adjacent to the sea, but is perched on top of rolling vineyards and terraces. Vernazza, the fourth village, is a charming fishing village with a small harbour sitting under the shadows of an ancient castle and a seaside church. Monterosso Al Mare, the last village, has the only extensive sand beach in Cinque Terre (with the beach came the boys, too!). This is where we stayed during our trip, and we were billeted to a fantastic restored villa, equipped with modern facilities and balconies with views of the village and the sea. Each morning we were served freshly baked lemon pies and cakes, and we ended our stay with shots of orange liquor home made by our lovely hostess Maria.


If you’re a traveler who appreciates getting lost in small alleys, feeling a part of a world so remote on your fingertips as you brush them against old crumbling walls, and having a laid back vacation away from the hustle and bustle of big tourist city players, then Cinque Terre is definitely a place I would recommend. It is probably the most enchanting place I have seen in my life. I have been so lucky to have discovered and experienced the blinding beauty and sheer charm of the Five Villages. And if you’re lucky, you just might find yourself here one day too.


19 Responses to “postcards from cinque terre”

  1. 1 zocalo May 19, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    i love all the boy pics! hahaha The photos remind me of Amalfi Coast, where I was last year … steep drops into the ocean and houses stuck on the cliffs.. I’ve heard about Cinque Terre and would like to go someday. But isn’t it very touristy? Amalfi sure was but one cannot deny its beauty.

  2. 2 zocalo May 19, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    i’m actually going to be in norway all of july!

  3. 3 freshmess May 19, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Hahaha! I loved your Italy pics, zocalo! And I remember this pic of a guy on a scooter you took in Italy. I would imagine Amalfi Coast and Portovenere are more touristy than Cinque Terre, which rivals these two in beauty and mystique. Do fly there someday! We should meet up when you’re here in Norway!

  4. 4 wah May 20, 2008 at 3:43 am

    oh my goodness!!! i’ve always wanted to go there!!! lucky you!!!

  5. 5 freshmess May 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    If you could, get a chance to go there, wah! It’s really amazing and enchanting. :)

  6. 6 RennyBA May 20, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Your travel reports with this wonderful photos from Italy is amazing Mark – thanks so much for sharing!

    Btw: I do love your blogs top picture from Oslo’s New Opera House :-)

  7. 7 freshmess May 21, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Thanks so much, Renny! I hope you enjoyed my trip report. I’m proud of the new Opera, so it deserves a top spot in my blog. :) Norway made it to the Eurovision Finals!!!

  8. 8 Ryeness May 21, 2008 at 10:10 am

    ang busy naman nito masyado!

  9. 9 freshmess May 21, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Ahahaha, natawa ako dun ha rye!

  10. 10 dianeca May 27, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    OH MY GOD!!! This is like my total fantasy!! I am going to save the name if this place, never heard of it but this is exactly where I want to go on vacation someday. Was it expensive? Do you have any recommendaions on where to stay?? Email me if you get a chance…my brothers and I are planning to take a trip to Italy when we get our inheritance. We won’t be inheriting a lot of money, and we thought mom would like us to do something together. it was mostly mom’s travel money, but sadly she didn’t live long enough to use it up. Thankfully she made it to norway three times and loved it here. She would have liked this trip to Italy too!

  11. 11 freshmess May 27, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    That’s a nice way of spending time with your family, in remembrance of your mother. It’s like she’d be on that trip, too. Honestly, Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. I was lucky to stumble upon it on the internet, and it’s truly mindblowing being there. I couldn’t even believe it myself. I would definitely go back there again some day. That said, you and your brothers should definitely go! It’s not as expensive as Oslo, but it’s not cheap either. The views, the experience, priceless. ;)

  12. 12 danialma May 30, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    hej! mark, great pics!

  13. 14 r*yan May 31, 2008 at 7:54 am

    what a stunning looking village!

    the houses, the boys, the cobbled streets, the boys, the water’s edge, the boys… well, you get the point.

    but of course, not as stunning as that bespectacled tourist! ;)

  14. 15 freshmess May 31, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    awww, r*yan… you make me blush! ;) but yeah, it is stunning there!

  15. 16 gilda May 31, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    WHAT!!!!!! i have never heard of this place (well i’ve never been to europe yet) but this is soooo beautiful!!!

  16. 17 freshmess June 1, 2008 at 2:15 am

    Now the secret’s out, gilda. :) your party with pat field looked great! congrats on the internship!

  17. 18 kai June 29, 2008 at 1:31 am

    this place is fantastic! thanks for sharing..

  1. 1 travel totem: crete’s amirandes resort « fresh mess Trackback on March 11, 2009 at 6:49 pm

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