Cinque Terre: A Day Trip to the 5 Villages

“Go to Cinque Terre. It is the most romantic place on Earth,” I was told, repeatedly, by friends and colleagues. Even when I went to the bookstore while planning our trip, I picked up an Italy book, flipped it open and said “Cinque Terre – Best Time to Go: April”. All roads were leading to Cinque Terre, so I Googled and told the hubster. The next thing you know we’re on a train from Florence, with a transfer in Pisa, to a quick stop in La Spezia, before boarding a local train to Riomaggiore–the first of the five villages.

What is Cinque Terre? Well literally, it’s the “Five Lands” located on the coast of Italy that is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is not accessible by cars and was built on top of steep cliffs that overlook the sea. Picturesque for sure. Most stay a night or two, but decided to just make it a day trip and see what all the dreamy-eyed looks were about when people would describe this place.

The ride to Riomaggiore on the train was short. Through the tunnels we caught glimpses of the sea and knew we were in for a treat. But first we had to get past the hordes of high school students. Sadly we disembarked at the same village a few hundred students and their chaperons. Insert loud clambering Italian teenagers. Wait a while for them to a ramble past and then–there was the coast.

Cinque Terre

In Riomaggiore, the one thing I wanted to do was walk on Via dell Amore, the Lover’s Trail, because a friend had told me it was the most romantic hike ever. Yeah, I’ll give her that. It was gorgeous and every square foot of the path was covered in the graffiti of couples’ initials, poems, and declarations of affection. On the guard rail were locks that visitors left (throwing away the key), an expression of their love.

Cinque Terre

Yeah, this path was gushy but it’s Italy and we’re in Cinque Terre and you’re walking by the sea–does it get any better? I finally convince Ryan to put our names in stone and we take our time (mainly avoiding the crowds) walking on the path. A school teacher even offers to take our photo.

At the end of the path was Vernazza. A tiny village again beautifully placed atop cliffs. Here’s where my narrative drops off a bit and I’m going to rely on photos.

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Cinque Terre

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Cinque Terre

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