Liguria

Showing all 7 results

Portovenere

Portovenere - panorama

Located at the south end of a peninsula stretching from the La Spezia coast is Portovenere, an ancient fishing village with a charming beauty. Its commune of the same name also includes the nearby villages Fezzano and Le Grazie as well as the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.

The first settlements date back from the 1st century, the village’s name supposedly a reference to the goddess Venus. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Portovenere was taken over by the Byzantine as a dock for their fleet, later destroyed by the Lombards and then targeted by Saracen raiders. During the middle ages, the city rebuilt and expanded, adding fortifications and towers. Unfortunately much of the old town was destroyed during the Genoa war during the later 15th century. The old part of town was abandoned and a new one was built beside it, growing from around the Church of San Pietro; the division between the two sides is still visible today.

Points of interest

Among the sights offered by Portovenere is Santuario della Madonna Bianca, a 2nd century Romanesque church built by the Genovese. In the historic centre is the city gate guarded by a tower, the fortified wall climbing all the way up to Castello Doria above the city. Castello Doria is the largest and most impressive castle in the commune, built some time in the 2nd century by the Genovese to protect the area from attacks.

Corniglia

Corniglia - Cinque terre - view

Unlike the other towns in the Cinque Terre, Corniglia is not on the coast but rather on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, its position granting it a stunning view of the area. Around are vineyards and natural terraces that provide the town with wine and grain. To reach Corniglia, visitors can take a bus from the train station or brave the Lardarina, a brick staircase with nearly 400 steps.

Things to see

The first settlements of Corniglia date back to the Roman Age, the village expanding during the Middle Ages until it became what we see today. Narrow streets are lined with colorful houses, and remnants of Genovese fortifications that once protected the town from pirate raids can still be seen, most notably the tower near Piazza Fosso. Some other particular sights in Corniglia include the Church of San Pietro, built in the 14th century in the Gothic style but its interior decorated in the Baroque style. From the terrace of Santa Maria, it is possible to view the Marina di Corniglia, a little naturally occurring gulf filled with turquoise waters.

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso - Cinque Terre - panorama

Monterosso is the largest of the five Cinque Terre towns; it was erected right in the center of a gulf of the La Spezia coastline. It is the only village in the Cinque Terre to have a large sand beach, which locals and tourists alike take full advantage of during the summer months.

The towns is famous for its beautiful lemon and olive trees and its white wines!

It is divided into two sections: the old town and the new town. The old town is the original settlement, dating as far back as the 1st century. This part boasts ancient architecture such as the Torre Aurora, a Genovese castle that protected the coast from pirate raids, and the Church of San Giovanni Battista, built in the 13th century in the Gothic style and particular for its black and white striped façade. The two parts are divided by a small tunnel.

Famous is also the Convent of Monterosso that it is possible to admire from many different points of the Cinque Terre area.

Things to see

In 1910, an impressive statue of Neptune was constructed on the western end of the beach out of cement and iron. This statue used to hold up a shell-shaped terrace but much of it was lost during bombings in World War II.

For centuries it was possible to reach Monterosso only by sea or mule paths. The situation changed in 1870 when the newly born Italian government decided to built a railroad line. Today the mule paths are perfect for hiking: the views that they offer are breathtaking!

Vernazza

Vernazza - Cinque Terre - boats
Vernazza - Cinque Terre - view

Located along the coast of La Spezia is the gorgeous Vernazza, one of the five Cinque Terre towns.

This tiny fortified fishing village dates as far back as the 1st century A.D.. Vernazza was used as a naval base tasked with protecting the coast from pirate attacks, taking advantage of the natural moor created by the cliff arching into the sea.

The name Vernazza derived from a local grape variety: the Vernaccia.

Like the other towns in the Cinque Terre area, Vernazza experienced a sharp economic decline between the 17th and the 19th century. However thanks to the construction of the Genova–La Spezia rail line the town isolation ended and it started to prosper again. Vernazza returned to fishing, wine and olive oil making as main industries, remaining much the same as it has been all these centuries. It has no cars and it is still considered among the truest fisherman villages of the Riviera.

in 1997 the UNESCO named the Cinque Terre a World Heritage Site; a couple of years later the National Park of the Cinque Terre was created.

Things to see

Among the historical sights to see is the gorgeous Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia, a 13th century Romanesque church near the edge of the water. It is worth a visit also the Doria Castle, built in the 15th century as a lookout tower to warn and protect the village from approaching pirates. It goes without saying that the natural sights are just as, if not more, breathtaking than the colorful town itself.

Manarola

Manarola - Cinque Terre - view
Manarola - Cinque Terre - day panoramaManarola - Cinque Terre - housesManarola - Cinque Terre - day view

The tiny lovely village of Manarola was built on the cliffs overlooking the Ligure Sea; it is the oldest of the five famous Cinque Terre towns.

Manarola traditional industries have always been wine-making and fishing; however in the last few decades tourism as grown exponentially especially during the summer time.

Visitors are welcome to stroll through the small medieval streets between brightly colored buildings, or to climb to the top of the hills to enjoy breathtaking views of the town and the sea. Near the city centre is located the beautiful Church of San Lorenzo, built during the 14th century, while in the lower part of the village tourists will find an ancient mill wheel that lies at the origin of Manarola’s name, in dialect it means literally “large wheel”.

Things to see

For the tourists who enjoy long romantic walks, there is the Via dell’Amore, a path approximately one kilometer long which runs along the coast and connects Manarola to Riomaggiore. Others interested in hiking will find trails and tours that lead to the hills and vineyards above the town.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore - Cinque Terre - view
Riomaggiore - Cinque Terre - seaRiomaggiore - Cinque Terre - sea viewRiomaggiore - Cinque Terre - houses

The first town in the Cinque Terre circuit is Riomaggiore, a colorful village built in a valley on the coast of the Italian Riviera. Dating back from the 13th century as a fishing village, it is now a favorite tourist location for both its charm and delicious local wine.

The village is traversed by the Rio Maggiore, which spills into the sea. Its wharf is bracketed by ancient tower houses that would defend it from raiders and seaside attacks. All around it and climbing up the valley sides are brightly colored habitations that make the town so lovely. Explore Riomaggiore’s medieval city center and nearby historical monuments such as the Church of San Giovanni Battista, built in the mid 14th century in the Roman-Gothic style and hosting several important artworks.

Things to see

Make your way through the narrow streets and steep steps to the top of the valley in order to enjoy the breathtaking view that it offers, or walk down to the coast and enjoy the turquoise waters. Via Colombo, the main street in Riomaggiore, offers visitors a number of cafes, restaurants and shops.

For the tourists who enjoy long romantic walks, there is the Via dell’Amore, a path approximately one kilometer long which runs along the coast and connects Riomaggiore to Manarola.

Cinque Terre

Manarola - Cinque Terre - view
Vernazza - Cinque Terre - viewVernazza - Cinque Terre - boatsManarola - Cinque Terre - housesRiomaggiore - Cinque Terre - sea viewCorniglia - Cinque terre - viewRiomaggiore - Cinque Terre - sea

A large area located on the Italian Riviera in Liguria, the Cinque Terre spreads over lush hills and the turquoise coast, and encompasses the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The land, coast and villages are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

The only ways to reach or explore Cinque Terre is by way of trains, ferries and hiking trails. Part of the appeal of the area is its relatively untouched and urbanization-free appearance, the villages having retained their rural charm throughout the centuries.

Things to see

Monterosso and Vernazza are the oldest villages, having been built during the 11th century. The others appeared later due to strong influences from the Republic of Genoa. These villages were relatively small, relying on fishing as their main industry, then later wine. During the 16th century, several forts and towers were built or renovated to defend against Turkish raids, a number of these structures still standing today.

The Cinque Terre area experienced a sharp decline during the 17th century, in part due to the villages’ isolation from the rest of the country. This did not change until the mid-1900s, when tourism developed and grew; today, the Cinque Terre National Park is one of the most popular attractions in Northern Italy, capitalizing on ecotourism and food & wine tourism