The coastal section of the Italian Riviera which encompasses the five villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore is commonly known as the Cinque Terre (Five Lands). These villages have been vulnerable to pirate’s raids for centuries, but as soon as the menace expired they began to grow. You can visit these villages by boat or by foot, in fact there are fourteen paths that go from town to town. The view is breathtaking with its characteristic vineyards covering up the mountains that end up right in the sea. The Cinque Terre is been declared World heritage and is a National Park and a Protected Marine Area.
The town of Monterosso is the biggest and has the only one of them with a proper beach. Nearby Fegina’s beach you can see the Statue of the Giant, a sculpture which dates back to 1910, represents Neptune it’s been damaged by WWII bombing and by strong sea in 1966.
You can visit the Church of St. John the Baptist , Romanesque black and white church which dates from 1307.
Taking the Switchback of the Friars you are going to reach a convent church and a cemetery within a ruined castle. Inside the 18th century Church of the Capuchin Friars is located a great painting of the Crucifixion which is attributed to the Flemish painter Antony van Dyck. The Ruined Castle with the Cemetery are the oldest parts of the town, from up there you can also enjoy of a stunning view from the top.
The town of Vernazza is the only one with a natural harbor, the little square in front of it is a popular place for socializing and hanging out. The Castle used for pirate sighting as a way to protect the town from raids. Corniglia is the only one which is not on the seaside but it’s well-known for its wine. In the village centre you can go to the Belvedere Santa Maria for a panoramic view.
One of the best experiences in Manarola is the Vineyard Walk, enjoy the smell, the view and discovery the neighborhood. The highlight is surely the well-known Lover’s Lane (Via dell’Amore) which links together Manarola and Riomaggiore: it’s a lovely flat path 1 km long which is flat and suited for everybody. The Lovers’ Line is part of the Blue trail (Sentiero azzurro) that goes from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, but if you want to take the whole path you are going to need proper hiking equipment.
Riomaggiore is called like (Major River) because once the biggest river of this region used to pass from here. In town you’ll see colorful murals picturing the construction of the dry stone walls which characterize the vineyards and the countryside all around the Cinque Terre.