It was day 1 of our trip and I was already fascinated by the beauty of Italy. Genova left a deep mark in my heart, but we had a plan to follow, so on the next day we headed to Cinque terre. It comprise the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Croniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. We intended to visit Manarola and to walk the famous path “via dell amore” to Riomaggiore. When we got there, however, it turned out that the path is closed in winter time, because it could be dangerous. At the beginning we were quite disappointed, but at the end everything turned fine. Instead of visiting Manarola and Riomaggiore, we visited Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza. It was raining the whole day, but this didn’t stop us to explore every one of them.
First, we’ve spend 2 hours walking around Manarola. It is the oldest and the second smallest from the five. During the winter period, it is a quiet and calm little village. There were barely any people on the streets except us and few Japanese tourists. We walked around just enjoying the view of its houses painted in bright colors. Well, I guess, in the summer when the sun is shining upon the roof tops, the view is even more spectacular, however, Im not a fan of crowded places, so I am perfectly fine with traveling during the winter months. In addition, I can say that walking around these cute little streets of Manarola in the rain was quite magical experience. We even had the time to grab a cup of nice Italian cappuccino before to take the train to Corniglia.
This village is not directly at the sea, but it is built on the top of a hill, so to go there you should either climb 365 stairs or take the vehicular road. We chose the second options and after 15 mins we were there. We read that Corniglia is famous for its special ice cream made of honey, but we couldn’t find it. In the village there were around 240 houses and only few restaurants and coffees shops and most of them were close. Here there were even less people on the streets, not even the Chinese tourist. In general, Corniglia is not so popular comparing to th others, so if you want to take an authentic look of the life of the Italians, you should visit Corniglia. We wondered around for an hour and then we took the train to Vernazza.
Just few weeks before visit it, I read an article about “100 places that you should visit in 2013” and Vernazza were among them. According to the original plan, we intended to visit only Manarola and Riomaggiore, however, the plan changed and I had the chance to score one point out of 100. Hahah, I will have to work a lot of I want to visit all these places, right? So, we arrived in Vernazza in the afternoon, impatient to discover its beauty. We read that few years ago it was destroyed by a massive flood, causing over 100 million euro worth of damage. Then all people in the village joined efforts to rebuilt it again. The village is on the cost itself and Vesi and me couldn’t help not to go into the sea. Our foot were so cold that the water felt worm! Unfortunately, it was already late in the afternoon and we had to head back Genova soon, so we took just a quick walk around the main street and square. Vernazza is really charming place with its colorful houses liying calmly on the rocks and with few moored boats waiting for better days to sail in the sea. Before to leave thought, we decided to climb the nearest hill and take a look over the whole village. With getting higher and higher the beauty of Vernazza reviled in its fullest magnificence. We were so enchanted by its splendor so we just stayed there in the rain, admiring the view. In this moment I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, with nobody else…
Cinque terre is one of these little pieces of paradise on earth that is destined to resist the changes of time. Year after year it calmly sleeps in the gentle embrace of the mountain hills from one side and the sea from the other and welcome strangers from all around the world with its warm colors…
Text by Neli