Cinque Terre is a collection of 5 Towns on the west coast of Italy. We came here, I think, because we’d heard of the place through Jae Dennis and Kim Cook’s adventures.
We stayed in the southern most town, called Riomaggiore. It is very cute and a lot smaller than I had thought it would be. It is a UNESCO site and because of this, no amount of tourism can really change the landscape of the town too much (they cannot build any new building or tear old ones down, they can only maintain what is there). In this town, you find a walking track linking it with the next town, Manarola. All of the towns are in fact linked with walking trails, but this one is the most famous.
The Via dell’Amore, or “lovers lane” is a super easy walking trail along the coast line, or cliff side. It was constructed as a way of connecting the two towns in around the 1920’s and as young couples formed between the towns the trail became an easy meeting point or place for them to walk together. So we walked the trail, seeing the amazing view and looking at all of the lovers’ graffiti and padlocks chained to the fences and walls.
After arriving in Manarola, we needed to make a choice. To take the train, or to hike the 2.5 hour trail to the next town, Corniglia. The easy walking trail was closed after rock falls. We decided to take the hiking trail and kept on the path looking for it. It turns out that no one was too interested in signposting where to find the path, so after a frustrating hour long search, we jumped on the train (not that I was overly disappointed about missing the hike, it was sad not to see the view).
We adventured between the towns over the couple of days we were in Cinque Terre, and Andrew had a swim at Monterosso next to the Monterosso Giant while I lay on the sand (it was freezing in the water, ok?!).
In October 2011, a number of the towns were affected by devastating rains and landslides that flooded the towns. Verrazano and Monterosso, were the most affected and about 10 people died as a result of the disaster. It was still evident that the town was hugely affected, you could see the water markings on the buildings, and the land that had slipped, but the people are working hard to rebuild the town and there didn’t appear to be a shortage of tourists.