Road Trip to Cinque Terre
If you are searching for the ultimate Italian road trip itinerary, then you are in the right place!
We will be documenting all of the great wonders that Jennifer and her family visit whilst on their road trip. First stop Cinque Terre, so here we go!
Famous all over the world, the Cinque Terre is a coastal area within Liguria in the northwest of Italy. This area is characterised by the presence of five ancient villages overlooking the sea: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, surrounded by Genovese-style pastel houses perfectly clustered together.
These little towns are well known in the world for their rare beauty, and they are considered one of the most attractive Italian tourist destinations thanks to their crystal clear waters, beaches, rugged coasts of unparalleled charm and a large network of paths. Sure enough, in 1997 they were included by Unesco in the World Heritage List.
Jennifer and her family were staying at the ‘Grand Hotel Portovenere’, which is located in a very good position right on the outskirts of Cinque Terre.
Oh! And we must highlight this lounge bar and restaurant in Portovenere called ‘Torre di Venere’! As the name implies, it is a small old tower situated just before St Peter's Church. The stunning view of the sea, the exceptional food and the breeze coming in from the sea waters makes it not only a great place to have a magical meal, but also a must-see spot on the coast.
They drove to the first village called Volastra and Jennifer just couldn’t resist stopping the driver and taking a short walk and taking snapshots of the splendid panorama!
They couldn’t wait to start hiking high up in the Cinque Terre with their private guide Boris, an excellent licensed tour guide and also certified hiking guide - available for tours also in Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, and other adjacent areas.
They saw the most magical vistas of the villages and the sea while also being able to watch people at work in their personal vineyards, which are also amazing terraces to the sea. It was quite unique and personal as they were the only ones there. After their exhilarating walk of 20-30 minutes, they finally reached their driver who was waiting for them in Corniglia.
Corniglia is the only village in the Cinque Terre that is not directly on the sea, instead, it is located on a rocky outcrop that juts out into the sea. Largo Taragio is the main square, the centre of the town, and the marina can be reached through a steep staircase with several ramps.
After Corniglia, they drove to Manarola where they walked around the town with their private guide, who explained the wonderful history. The must-see attractions of Manarola are mostly found by following the main street of the town. You can start from the top where the church of San Lorenzo was built in 1338, and which is known for its interesting Gothic style on the outside and its surprising Baroque style on the inside.
In the square, in addition to a magnificent panorama of the town and the sea, you will also find the bell tower that was built on the remains of a pre-existing lookout tower. Going down the street you will meet the building with the mill and its wheel, from which perhaps the toponym ‘Manarola’ derives - from ‘Magna Roea’, that is ‘Magna Rota’, which means ‘large water mill wheel’. Going further down you will meet several piazzas, and from there you arrive at the marina, the most scenic part of the village, and the most photographed part of the Cinque Terre.
With such a scenario they could not fail to end up on a private boat, visit caves, underwater rocks and jump into the crystal blue waters, taking in another stunning view point of Cinque Terre from the sea.
Then, they reached the coast of Vernazza, known for its steep and narrow alleys that go down to the main road via Roma, from where you can reach the lively piazza located in front of the small beach harbour where only super small boats can enter. Here there is also the romantic Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia, whose original Romanesque nucleus dates back to the XII century.
After their private guide, Boris took them through the internal carruggi, uphill, where you can reach the Doria Castle, the ancient ‘Castrum Vernatio’, built as the maritime base of the Obertenghi, lords of Vernazza. The symbol of the castle and the town is the tower that stands out at about 70 meters above the sea at the end of the town. While sitting on the piazza and having lunch or dinner you can observe the stunning scenery, filled with boats and tourists, and this is exactly what Jennifer and her family enjoyed before leaving this gorgeous village and heading back to Portovenere by ferry.
To sum it all up: they did a little bit of everything… driving, hiking, swimming, boat trips and history. They saw beautiful seaside villages and towns, and enjoyed breathtaking vistas from high to low, from the sea to the land. It seems the Cinque Terre has it all. It is the perfect place to spend a holiday immersed in nature and kissed by the sun!
Wandering what will be Jennifer’s next stop on the road? We don't want to spoil the surprise, but here’s a little clue: France!
If you enjoyed reading about the first part of Jennifer’s road trip and you would like to visit these wonderful places, we can definitely recommend the experiences Jennifer did and help you plan your trip in detail.
Here are some of the experiences mentioned above: Hiking & Trekking in the Italian Riviera, and Luxury Cruise in the Cinque Terre/Portofino/Golfo dei Poeti.