Breathtaking views, beaches with deep water and rocky bays. Trails, mule tracks and dry stone walls. Five villages synonymous with a charming friendly atmosphere, a natural charm and traditional cuisine. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore: these are the Cinque Terre, declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and all located in the protected natural area of the National park bearing their name. Literature reminds us that they have been praised by many poets and writers: from Dante and Boccaccio to Lord Byron, from Percy B. Shelley to Eugenio Montale, with an eponymous Literary Park dedicated to Montale himself. During the 19th century they were one of the most recurring landscapes portrayed by the Macchiaioli painters, including Telemaco Signorini, who was born and brought up here, and one of the must-see stops of the Grand Tour.
Even now, one can easily meet naturalist artists from all over the world holding their notebooks or in front of an easel while they are reproducing the marvels of this scenery. The steep and yet picturesque streets of Riomaggiore, the wonderful Via dell’Amore, the water mill of Manarola, the 18th century square of Largo Taragio in Corniglia, the Santuario di Nostra Signora in Reggio with its tree-lined square in Vernazza, Fegina beach in Monterosso: these are just some of the sights that embellish these villages.
Oil and wine, like the world-famous Sciacchetrà, which are cultivated in area’s typical terracings, are among Italy’s most valuable oils and wines, as are the lemons of Monterosso and the aromatic essences one can often find in large amounts in vegetable and ordinary gardens. Of course fish is a staple of the Cinque Terre’s food: anchovies, sea bass, gilthead, cuttlefish, squids and redshanks are the absolute stars of the local cuisine.