La Spezia, my home town, and the Cinque Terre !!
La Spezia, Italy
La Spezia, my home town, and the Cinque Terre !! Reviews
Incredibly beautiful Feb 24, 2009
On Northwest Italy, Cinque Terre lies along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Named after 5 villages, built into the mountains that are connected by rail or you can walk along a roped off walkway along the mountains and on the water. La Spezia has beautiful views and also along the Tyrrhenian Sea, huts are set up where grapes are grown to make wine and when I was walking along different paths I passed houses where they made there own wine and gave bottles to me for free
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Jul 13, 2007
La Spezia, My hometown ..
La Spezia (Spèsa in the local dialect of Ligurian) is a city in the Liguria region of northern Italy, at the head of La Spezia Gulf, and capital city of the province of La Spezia.
It is one of the major Italian military and commercial harbours, located between Genoa and Pisa on the Ligurian Sea.
The area of La Spezia was settled since pre-historic times. In Roman times the most important centre was Luni now located in the vicinity of Sarzana (small city near La Spezia).
La Spezia is a point of departure for the Cinque Terre, either by train or boat. The boat also leads you to Lerici and Portovenere before turning into the open sea towards the Cinque Terre.
Both Lerici and Portovenere are reachable by public transport (15 km) from the central station of La Spezia.
Castle of San Giorgio, recently restored. Probably originated from a watchtower, a first castle is known to have been built by Nicolò Fieschi in 1262. In 1273 the Genoese destroyed it, and a new fortification, along with a new line of walls, was erected by the podesteria of La Spezia from 1371. Annexed to this edifice, the Republic of Genoa added a new castle starting from 1607.
The Cinque Terre are five coastal villages in the province of La Spezia in the Liguria region of Italy. "Discovered" by foreigners, namely rich English travellers, in the early 20th century, they have come to be among the most popular areas of Italy among tourists. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all encapsulated in a national park by the same name. The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The five villages are, from west to east (i.e., from Genoa towards La Spezia):
Monterosso al Mare
Transportation and tourism :
A local train line from La Spezia to Genoa connects all five villages. The train connecting the five villages runs in what is mainly a tunnel for the full distance between Riomaggiore and Monterosso, emerging from the rock infrequently for quick glimpses of the Mediterranean sea.
There is a passenger ferry service running between the five villages, providing a different vantage point of the rugged coastline and shore line at each village. Ferries do not stop at Corniglia because it does not have a natural harbor or marina. The boat leaves from Genoa's Old Harbour and La Spezia, Lerici or Portovenere.
There are well-laid out walking trails connecting each village to its neighbors. The path from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via Dell'Amore (roughly, "Lovers Walk"). This winds along the shore, is very picturesque and is very easy to hike. The stretch from Manarola to Corniglia is also easy to hike, although the main trail into Corniglia finishes with a climb of 368 stairs. The trail from Corniglia to Vernazza is steep at certain places. The trail from Vernazza to Monterosso is by far the steepest. It winds through olive orchards and vineyards and is rough in places, but offers the best view of the bay and the spectacular approaches to both Monterosso and Vernazza. There are nominal fees to use the more popular walking trails, but the less frequently travelled (and most arduous) are free of charge.
All the villages have small hotels or inns, as do some of the smaller villages near the Cinque Terre. There are many bed and breakfasts throughout the area that offer excellent service and frequently beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding hills.
Food and wine :
Food and wine from my hometown and the surrounding areas are really amazing, one of the top reasons to come here.
Given its location on the Mediterranean, seafood is plentiful in the local cuisine. Anchovies of Monterosso are a local specialty designated with a Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union. The mountainsides of the Cinque Terre are heavily terraced and are used to cultivate grapes and olives. This area , and the region of Liguria, as a whole, is known for pesto a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Focaccia is a particularly common local baked product. Farinata is also a typical snack found in bakeries and pizzerias- essentially it is a savoury and crunchy pankcake made from a base of chick-pea flour.
The grapes of the Cinque Terre are used to produce two locally made wines. The eponymous Cinque Terre and the Sciacchetrà are both made using Bosco, Albarola, and Vermentino grapes. Both wines are produced by the Cooperative Agricoltura di Cinque Terre (“Cinque Terre Agricultural Cooperative”), located between Manarola and Volastra. Other DOC producers are Forlini-Capellini, Walter de Batté, Buranco, Arrigoni.