The Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore Travel Blog

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Rickety train we took to Riomaggiore.

This past Sunday we got up early to catch a train to the Cinque Terre, the Five Villages. The day started off cloudy, but that turned out to be a good thing because then we didn’t have to battle the heat. We began our journey in the first village, Riomaggiore.

The hike to the second village is more like a leisurely stroll along the coastline. The trail is fairly high up but it hugs the coast so the view is gorgeous. It didn’t take long for us to make it to the second village Manarola.

After each village, the hike gets more and more difficult. The trail to Corniglia, the third village, wasn’t that bad until we got to the set of stairs leading up to the village. It was only 382 steps, so you know, it was no big deal.

Beginning of the trail from the first village (Riomaggiore) to the second (Manarola).
Haha, I’m kidding of course. We ate lunch and then had the option of taking a boat to the final village to enjoy the beach, or to continue hiking. I was up for the challenge and I continued with some of the group.

Let me tell you, they are not messing around when they say this hike is difficult. There is a defined trail, but at some points the trail gets kind of rough and rocky. And then there are the stairs. So many stairs. More stairs than I have ever seen in my life. And then we got to the fourth village, Vernazza. Here we were sort of hungry and got some gelato, but we realized later on what a mistake this was. Hiking and gelato do not mix very well.

The group got even smaller setting off for the fifth and final village, Monterosso.
Most people wanted to lay out on the beach, but the sun wasn’t even out and it made more sense to me to continue hiking. I wanted to finish the entire hike because how many people in the world can say they hiked the entire Cinque Terre? So on we went.

The final leg is supposed to take about 2 hours, but we managed to do it in an hour and a half. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we ran the trail because we were actually the slow pokes of our group. Four of us lagged behind and took our time taking water breaks and taking pictures. And when I say we stopped to take pictures, I mean we stopped to take a break. Let me just say that we took A LOT of breaks.

Again, the scenery was amazing. You felt like you were in the middle of nowhere, exploring Italy and going places no one else has been before.

Via Dell'Amore (Lovers Walk)
It felt very remote. About an hour into the trail we noticed the trail getting narrower. We thought this was no big deal, until the trail went a long a far drop off into the forest below. It was a little scary, but thrilling at the same time.

The closer we got to Monterosso, the more houses, gardens, and vineyards we saw. The trail went in and out of a few vineyards and it was really cool to see all of the grape vines. After we climbed down more and more steps, we finally made it to our destination. We finished hiking the Cinque Terre! I was so relieved. It was totally worth it, but at certain times during the hike I was wondering what I had gotten myself into.

The four of us in the “slow group” had a light dinner because we had to get back to the train in an hour. I had a nice bruschetta and a refreshing glass of Vino de Cinque Terre, which was most likely the kind of wine we passed on our hike.
I loved every crumb of that dinner.

I’m glad the sun didn’t come out on our hike because I didn’t feel guilty about not getting in the water. But I’ll have another chance to jump in the Mediterranean when we got to Pisa. Don’t worry Mom, I’ll find me a beach somehow. The total hike was about 9km which is about 5 ½ miles. My body didn’t hurt yesterday, but I’m starting to feel the soreness today. It was still an amazing day and a beautiful part of Italy. I would definitely like to go back sometime. Maybe with the family!

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, we are planning to go to the opera! We’re going to see La Traviata in the Boboli Gardens. These gardens are part of one of the largest palazzos in the city limits and I’m so excited! Then this weekend we are going to Venice. We hardly get a rest now that we are full into classes. Tomorrow we start the Villas and Gardens portion of our class with our instructor Axel. The Art, Architecture, and Interiors portion was amazing. I learned so much and I’ll actually miss Stewart, our instructor, and his British phrases. I can’t believe I’m reaching the halfway point; I feel like I’ve been here for so long already. I still have 2 ½ weeks left!

Lolita930 says:
I can't wait to go... but I don't think I'll do the whole hike!
Posted on: Aug 15, 2009
the_bill says:
Great photos and blog! I'm going back to see this someday, so I was glad to see your entry on it. :)
Posted on: Jul 26, 2009
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Rickety train we took to Riomaggio…
Rickety train we took to Riomaggi…
Beginning of the trail from the fi…
Beginning of the trail from the f…
Via DellAmore (Lovers Walk)
Via Dell'Amore (Lovers Walk)
Via DellAmore (Lovers Walk)
Via Dell'Amore (Lovers Walk)
photo by: Grpablo