The Cinque Terre Located on the eastern end of the “Italian Riviera”, the Cinque Terre is a band of five scenic towns nestled along a hilly, dramatic coast overlooking the Gulf of Genoa on the Ligurian Sea. The uniqueness of the Cinque Terre is reflected in the fact that it is protected both as a National Park of Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The five towns of the Cinque Terre (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Rigmaggiore) are noted for the harmony of their relationship with the surrounding environment and the scenic beauty that surrounds them.
- The towns are connected by trails and a great way to experience the area is to hike between the towns. Alternatively, a train connects the towns. In some locations you can also catch a boat and cruise between the towns.
- Please note that Vernazza and Monterosso were seriously damaged by mud slides in October, 2011. Although much of the damage has been repaired, some sections are still being rehabilitated.
- Although we have given top billing to visiting the Cinque Terre, other sections of the Ligurian coast are also top attractions and travel to Liguria is quite popular. The Ligurian Alps deflect the cool, winter winds from the north and coastal Liguria benefits with a delightful climate most of the year.
- Liguria, is known by most vacationers as the home of the Italian Riviera. The Riviera is an arc of shoreline broken into two main sections.
- Genoa, located in the central section of the Ligurian coast, was one of the most powerful cities on the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. Genoa became known as a sea power after defeating both the Republic of Pisa and the Republic of Venice in sea battles during the 13th century. Genoa is also known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.Today the city is a sprawling industrial area, but tourists are attracted to its Old Town, which is one of the largest in Europe
- Genoa’s Old Town has a variety of architectural treasures and fine museums awaiting your exploration. It also is a warren of narrow streets, so be sure to have a good map or a great sense of direction.
- Be sure to see the Palazzo Ducale., which was the seat of power and the home of the Genoese Doge. The palace still bears the look that resulted from renovations in the 16th century.
- In addition, take time to tour the Porto Antico area, renovated for Expo 92. One of the most popular attractions in this area is the Acquario di Genova, rated as one of the best aquariums in the world.
- San Remo carries on the tradition of the Italian Riviera of turning quaint fishing villages into spectacular resorts. Gardens, casinos, and an interesting Old Town are part of the attraction of San Remo. If you are looking for a place to “be seen”, this is a good place to start.
- Starting at the French border is the Riviera di Ponente, which continues to the Genoa area. The Riviera di Ponente is more developed from a tourism point of view than the eastern section of Liguria and has much the same feel as the French Riviera. The Riviera di Ponente includes the popular resort towns of San Remo and Ventimiglia as well as scenic, small villages.
- The eastern section of the Riviera (Genoa to La Spezia), is known as the Riviera Levante and is more rugged than the Riviera di Ponente located to the west.
- In addition to the Cinque Terre, the Riviera Levante is known for the famous resort towns of Portonfino, Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo, which are closely-nested on a scenic peninsula to the east of Genoa. All three towns are very popular with mariners and the area is a prime vacation destination. As you might suspect, this is the place to have a boat or to know someone who does.
- Portofino is the top-rated town of the three and its harbor is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Although Portofino is a scenic and elegant town, it is, also, where the elite meet and is too expensive a place to stay for all but a few luminaries. A quick walk around its scenic harbor and a drink at one of the many harbor-side cafes is a pleasant way to spend an hour or two.
For more information on Liguria, visit the official website of the Ligurian Tourism Agency.
In addition, About Liguria (not an official website) provides interesting details about things to see and do in Liguria.