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Most beautiful trail in Cinque Terre

Old Jul 30th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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Most beautiful trail in Cinque Terre

Which trail is the most beautiful? We are not in the best shape and don't want to die in the proceess. Maybe the path with the 400 stairs should be taken off the list before we start?
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Old Jul 30th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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They're all stunning... I don't think I would choose them based on the beauty so much as the intensity of the walk, if being in shape (or not) is a factor.

I enjoyed the one leaving Vernazza for Monterosso.. there are some nice places along the way to stop and have a snack or pincic, and I enjoyed walking down into Monterosso through vinyards. But it's not easy. It's also not the hardest.

Of course, the easiest is the paved one from Riomaggiore to Manarola... Via del Amore. It's flat and paved... probably the least beautiful.

The hardest for me was Vernazza to Corniglia...the straight up steps at the beginning killed me the first time I went to the Cinque Terre, so I prepped a little more for my next visit and I did it fine.

One thing you probably know is that you can train and boat between the villages... so you can hike one way, and hop on a boat or train back. The boats are a particularly nice way to arrive in a village if the weather is nice. Depending on when you're going and the weather, sometimes the trails or parts of them are closed due to erosion... keep that in mind.

There's a great website about the Cinque Terre with good descriptions and pictures.
http://homepage.sunrise.ch/homepage/avong/cinque_terre/

Have a great time! This is an area not to be missed, even if Rick Steves has turned it into a daytrip for a lot of overzealous college backpackers who like to race through all 5 trails and get to their hostel before nightfall. (The folly of youth.)

~kat
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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 12:17 AM
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I think the first reply gives you really good information but personally the trail from Monterosso to Vernasa is my favourite. It is a killer though, I really thought it was my end several times whilst doing this walk but the sense of satisfaction at the end, not to mention the large cream cake!
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Old Jul 31st, 2004, 09:08 AM
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We will be there in Oct. so I am hoping that the weather will be on my side. I was there in Aug. and had to take the train with my youngest daughter, who was sick, but my husband and older daughter did the last trail to Monterosso. They were beet red and their legs were shaking for a half hour, but their pictures made me jealous all year.
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 02:41 PM
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TTT for Huitres. Where is the best place to buy a few bottles of very good wine while walking through the CT ? Thanks again.
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 02:58 PM
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They sell wine in all of the towns and the wine from that area is wonderful. It is also more expensive due to the way they have to harvest the grapes from the side of the mountain (hills, I'm from the midwest so everything is a mountain to me). Don't drink too much until you are done with the hikes!
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 03:05 PM
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Hi panucci. My understanding is that there are very few wines of serious quality in Liguria given the difficult maratime and soil conditions, but just over the border in Gavi and places like that I believe there are some good ones. Please post any wines from Liguria that you really like and we'll try while we are there. I was looking for a bottle shop that might sell me a good barolo,pinot griggio,brunello and amarone for when we get thirsty from these great hikes. Thanks again.
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 04:26 PM
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I'm in my early 50s and not in the best of shape and did the walk starting from Vernazza to Manarola in June. Getting to Corniglia was the most difficult, by the final town, my legs were pretty shaky even tho it was an easier walk. I did the tour with Sean Rosati who has been recommended here(cinqueterretrek). I think if I had done it own my own, I would not have finished the hike. Taking the tour, was well worth the cost and I'm proud of myself for finishing it and Sean made it one of the more memorable days in Italy. You have some time, start walking more to get ready. It will be worth it.
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 05:25 PM
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Is Corniglia worth all those stairs? I would be OK hoping on a train and missing that one.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:10 AM
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I thought Corniglia was lovely... bigger than Vernazza or Manarola but not so crammed with hikers, and less touristy and smaller than Monterosso. But it's not a port village, it's up in the hill and not on the water, so it just depends on what you want to do and see. I'm sure others would say just skip Corniglia altogether, but it felt very nice all perched up in those beautiful hills. I recall it had a few more restaurants that I would have wanted to explore if we hadn't been eager to move on to the other villages. And the walk down out of Corniglia toward Manarola and Riomaggiore seemed less steep to me, but also a little less picturesqu than the othe walks. (It's the steep climb from Vernazza to Corniglia that's a real killer.)

I also think I remember seeing a van or taxi or shuttle or something like that from the train station up to Corniglia for people who don't take the stairs... though don't quote me on it.

The other thing I wanted to mention is you can always go just part of the way on any of the trails, then turn around, if the climbs are worrying you.

It's also entirely possible that in October, especially later in October, you could get some rain that makes some of the trails closed or certainly less comfortable. In that case, you might just want to explore each village and use the trains a lot.

No matter what you do, I forgot to add... BRING water!!! Those trails always took me twice as long as what other hikers would say... and I'm in decent shape. I just like to dawdle and enjoy the view a bit and I was only caught without water once and I was miserable.

Someone asked about wines... the Ligurian region is known for their Schiacettra (I know I'm misspelling this) a sweet white wine. I do recall a little wine shop in Vernazza that had wines from all over Italy if you need a good bottle to drink to those tired feet. And I'm sure you can find plenty of wine in Monterosso.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:20 AM
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Here's another website you can check out

http://www.fishnet.it/
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 02:19 PM
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SydneySteve: Schiaccterra-the sweet, after dinner drink is more like a cordial or dessert wine. It is expensive, even in the CT, where it is sold in fancy, shaped bottles or even just small bottles. The average size (wine size) bottle costs ~ $25. They make a very good asti spumante locally in the region. I brought a bottle back a couple months ago and have yet to drink it (saving it for New Years!) Many of the shops ship internationally so you won't have to carry it back in your suitcase! As the others have said, there are numerous shops in the CT, in each of the villages. Wine made by the CT Co-op is a special wine of selected grape growers in the region, versus individually-grown grape farmers yield.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 02:52 PM
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Huitres, So is the CT Co-op harvested wine the Schiaccterra or is it called something else? I remember liking it very much and would like to ship some home this time. Does anyone know how much it costs to ship wine back to the states?
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 04:07 PM
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Hi panucci. We did the southernmost three segments two years ago. Of those three, we found the one between Vernazza and Corniglia to be the most scenic. I can't remember much about the scenery on the Monterosso to Vernazza segment but it's the longest and most difficult. I think it's most scenic to approach Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola from the North. Also, if you go that direction, you'll be going down those steps.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 04:42 PM
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We spent a day in the CT in early July (actually Fourth of July!) from our base in Lucca. We arrived early to Levanto by car and parked at the train station. We opted to train to the most southern town, Riomaggiore. From there we walked the easy path to Manarola and continued on to Corniglia. This was our favorite! It was clearly the least crowded but it was a summer Sunday and lots of Italians were out and about sunning and swimming in the other towns. The stairs to Corniglia from the path were not as bad as they look. They are not very steep so the walking is actually pretty easy. It is hot though. We had lunch in a wonderful restaurant - Da Mananan. I had read a review and we were not dissapointed! There was a bus every 20 minutes (I think) from the path if you don't want to walk up the stairs. It is free if you have a train ticket. We then took the train to Vernazza and from there took a boat (water taxi @ 3E each) to Monterosso. We did this all in about six hours. We looked around in each of the villages, poking into shops and eating gelato. It was a perfect day!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 05:10 PM
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Sounds wonderful! Thanks
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 10:07 PM
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panucci: the Co-op in the CT is near the hilltop town of Volastra, way above Manarola. A very loose comparison of the Co-op label is that it is similar to the Queen's label on products in England, it guarantees the highest standards of production, quality, etc. The local farmers pay to be in this Co-op "union" and grow/produce products only for the Co-op. The Co-op supplies/services the entire 5 towns of the CT so it has grown quite large. They have olive oil, wines, bottled olives, etc. Look for the Co-op symbol on the products to distinguish them from the others.

The schiacterra is separate from the other wines, it is a specialty drink only made in that region. Limoncino is also specially made in the CT. Be sure to try another local favorite, crema di limone, a cream-based limoncino drink that is served as an aperitif after a seafood/fish dinner. They serve it in small, shot-style (sometimes chilled) glasses and it is superb. Also, both the white and red wines made in the CT are good as well.

If you don't mind the bottles in your suitcase, you can save on shipping costs and bring them home yourself. I don't know what the shops would charge to ship stuff home. Maybe someone else can help with that info? According to United Airlines (my preferred airline), there is only a limit of 1 bottle as a carry-on; however they don't limit what is inside your suitcase. I carried 1 bottle of wine, then packed the remaining 3 bottles in bubble-wrap and put in my suitcase between sweaters and shirts. They all arrived home safely with me!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 11:50 PM
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Hi Huitres - I couldnt travel without bubble wrap - always carry a bottle or two. I dont think the desert wine will be to our taste but thanks for the tip on the local Asti. We arrive Sept 11 and leave 14th - drop me an email if you will still be there. SydneySue and I will have a few out of town bottles with us and will be in party mode. Have a good trip. Oh and just to let you know we are going to the Oyster Bar at Grand Central enroute !
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Old Aug 3rd, 2004, 03:03 PM
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Hi SydneySteve: I am there 2-8 September, then on to Lucca (another fav of mine) for 2 days....etc etc. looks like we will miss each other. Enjoy yourselves and the CT, definitely pick up some of the asti spumante and some crema di limone. The crema di limone is bottled similarly to the limoncino, and is sold in decorative glass bottles that make good souvenirs/gifts. Have fun!
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