Hiking the Cinque Terre

June 18th-
We caught the train from Lucca to La Spezia before catching a bus to Biassa which is this tiny little mountain town a bus ride out of the Cinque Terre.

Biassa in the evening

Biassa in the morning with the fog rolling in.

After checking into the hostel, we went to the only little restaurant that exists in the town and had the best pizza we have had yet in Italy. It was a tomato/garlic pizza with no cheese and I also had a calzone the size of my head with gorgonzola, fontina, parm and mozzerella cheeses. The food was so good and I tried to tell the woman in my broken Italian and she just laughed and smiled at me. On the way home from the restaurant, we encountered a group of neighborhood kids who were about 8-10 and were so excited to speak English with us. They kept telling us how old they were and as we walked away the little boys screamed, “ I love youuuuu baby.” Obviously something they had heard in the movies.

We slept great and woke early to catch the 9:50 to Riomaggiore where we would base ourselves while in Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre( 5 lands) is composed of 5 villages that sit by the sea and are famous for their man-made vineyards and land. Between the five villages there are hiking trails that connect each village to each other and the hike between all the villages in 5 hours total. The hikes vary in difficulty and scenery with some that are flat near the ocean and some that are high in the mountains that resemble tropical rainforest scenery. We were staying in Riomaggiore, the first village along the hike. In the old days, there were only the trails connecting the villages but now there is also a train service that connects the villages to each other.

When we arrived at Riomaggiore, we walk down the steep main street (by main I mean the only street) towards our hostel. When we got to the office, we quickly followed the owner to a private apartment in an alley filled with other flats. It was amazing that we paid a hostel price and got our own place for just 20 euros each. It was a really nice surprise. We quickly changed into our hiking clothes, got some amazing focaccia which is one thing that the Liguria region which is the northern coastal region where Cinque Terre is located, is famous for. It was amazing. We split an onion, a veggie one and a pesto one(another thing Liguria is famous for).

Then we took the train to Monterosso, the farthest village from Riomaggiore, to begin our hike over there as we knew if was the most difficult trek and we wanted to get it over with. All of the villages are really quaint but Monterosso is the most touristic while Corniglia is the least as it is not on the ocean like the other 4.

Monterosso’s beach.

Church in Vernazza.

We stopped and checked out each village and got water along the way. The trek was pretty intense and challenging at some points with the sun beating down on us but we finished in 5 hours around 7:30 at night.

Ellie overlooking the man-made vineyards.

Walking the narrow paths.

Closing in on Vernazza in the distance, our first town on the walk from Monterosso.


Corniglia! The third village.

Scary bridge that actually swings back and forth.

Manarola, the town closest to Riomaggiore.

The last and easiest walk, the Via D’Amore(the tunnel of love). Notice the locks next to the little bench that I am sitting on. Couples come and put a lock together to signify their devotion or something.

We got some home-made gnocchi and some home-made pesto sauce and made pesto gnocchi along with a caprese salad and fell asleep early, exhausted from the hike.

The next day we wanted to take it easy so we woke up and had more foccacia and headed to Monterosso to go to the beach. Monterosso has the biggest sand beach but little beaches can be found after climbing on all the islands and every island has a pier to swim off of.

On the beach in Monterosso.

We stayed in Monterosso for awhile but got tired of all the tourists so we went to Manarola, the village closest to Riomaggiore. It was so good. We had a private little cove all to ourselves with just a few other people swimming there.

Kelly swimming in the water in the cove all alone.

There were caves and rocks and the water was so blue. Many kids jumped from the rocks 30 feet above into the water. The rocks even created a small waterfall. We spent the rest of the day there before getting a gelato and heading home to buy more gnocchi and special walnut sauce for dinner. We went out for a walk after dinner and sat on some cliffs watching the sunset, thinking that Cinque Terre was the most beautiful place we had been yet. We found a little bar that seemed to be suspended above the ocean and there was a guy playing beautiful Italian music on his guitar in a style that was similar to Santana except Italian and he was being recorded for his new CD. The bar was outside under the stars and you could hear the ocean hitting the cliffs below. We knew that the next day we were going to say good-bye to Italy and it was a perfect ending.


1 Response to “Hiking the Cinque Terre”

  1. 1 LaurenMoriah August 15, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    sometimes I like imagining the conversations when deciding what to wear. like “i think i’m going to wear the leggings for hiking” “that sounds like a good idea, they’re comfortable and breathe more easily than jeans and protect legs from cuts unlike shorts. i’m wearing mine too”

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