Cinque Terre

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  • 1. Corniglia

    Stone buildings, narrow lanes, and stairways are strung together amid vineyards high on the cliffs; on a clear day views of the entire coastal strip...

    Stone buildings, narrow lanes, and stairways are strung together amid vineyards high on the cliffs; on a clear day views of the entire coastal strip are excellent. The high perch and lack of harbor make this farming community the most remote of the Cinque Terre.

    Corniglia, Liguria, 19010, Italy
    0187-812523
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  • 2. Manarola

    Enchanting pastel houses spill down a steep hill overlooking a spectacular turquoise swimming cove and a bustling harbor. The whole town is built on black...

    Enchanting pastel houses spill down a steep hill overlooking a spectacular turquoise swimming cove and a bustling harbor. The whole town is built on black rock. Above the town, ancient terraces still protect abundant vineyards and olive trees. This village is the center of the wine and olive oil production of the region, and its streets are lined with shops selling local products.

    Manarola, Liguria, 19017, Italy
    0187-760511
  • 3. Monterosso al Mare

    Nestled into the wide valley that leads to the sea, Monterosso is built above numerous streams, which have been covered to make up the major...

    Nestled into the wide valley that leads to the sea, Monterosso is built above numerous streams, which have been covered to make up the major streets of the village. Via Buranco, the oldest street in Monterosso, leads to the most characteristic piazza of the village, Piazza Matteotti. Locals pass through here daily to shop at the supermarket and butcher. This piazza also contains the oldest and most typical wineshop in the village, Enoteca da Eliseo—stop here between 6 pm and midnight to share tables with fellow tourists and locals over a bottle of Cinque Terre wine. There’s also the Chiesa di San Francesco, built in the 12th century and an excellent example of the Ligurian Gothic style. Its distinctive black stripes and marble rose window make it one of the most photographed sites in the Cinque Terre. Fegina, the newer side of the village (and site of the train station), has relatively modern homes ranging from the Liberty style (Art Nouveau) to the early 1970s. At the far eastern end of town, you'll run into a private sailing club sheltered by a vast rock carved with an impressive statue of Neptune. From here, you can reach the challenging trail to Levanto (a great 2½-hour hike). This trail has the added bonus of a five-minute detour to the ruins of a 14th-century monastery. The expansive view from this vantage point allowed the monks who were housed here to easily scan the waters for enemy ships that might invade the villages and alert residents to coming danger. Have your camera ready for this Cinerama-like vista. The local outdoor market is held on Thursday and attracts crowds of tourists and villagers from along the coast to shop for everything from pots, pans, and underwear to fruits, vegetables, and fish. Often a few stands sell local art and crafts, as well as olive oil and wine.

    Monterosso al Mare, Liguria, 19016, Italy
    0187-817059
  • 4. Riomaggiore

    This village at the eastern end of the Cinque Terre is built into a river gorge (hence the name, which means "river major"). It has...

    This village at the eastern end of the Cinque Terre is built into a river gorge (hence the name, which means "river major"). It has a tiny harbor protected by large slabs of alabaster and marble, which serve as tanning beds for sunbathers as well as being the site of several outdoor cafés with fine views. According to legend, the settlement of Riomaggiore dates as far back as the 8th century, when Greek religious refugees came here to escape persecution by the Byzantine emperor.

    Riomaggiore, Liguria, 19017, Italy
    0187-920633
  • 5. San Pietro

    On a pretty pastel square sits the 14th-century church of San Pietro. The rose window of marble imported from Carrara is impressive, particularly considering the...

    On a pretty pastel square sits the 14th-century church of San Pietro. The rose window of marble imported from Carrara is impressive, particularly considering the work required to get it here.

    Via Fieschi 19, Corniglia, Liguria, 19018, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
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  • 6. St. Catherine's Monastery

    The very image of the walled monasteries pictured in luxurious medieval tapestries, Saint Catherine's rests at the foot of Mount Sinai, nestled in a valley...

    The very image of the walled monasteries pictured in luxurious medieval tapestries, Saint Catherine's rests at the foot of Mount Sinai, nestled in a valley between jagged granite mountains. The monastery-cum-fortress was commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in AD 530 to protect those of Greek Orthodox faith. It also served as a strategic post on a bandit-ridden caravan route connecting Africa to Asia. About 12 Greek Orthodox monks live and work here; the archbishop, who resides in Cairo, visits at Easter and other important holidays. Outside and around the monastery live the Christian Bedouins of the Jabaliyeh tribe, who have long served the monks by working in the gardens and orchards. Buildings within the monastery have been erected and expanded upon throughout the centuries. The most important of these are the basilica, the Chapel of the Burning Bush, the monks' quarters, the Skull House, and the library, with its treasury of rare books that includes a 4th-century translation of the Hebrew Bible commissioned by Constantine the Great (the library is closed to the public). All buildings are enclosed by the fortress wall, which ranges in height and thickness as it adapts to the shape of the encompassing mountains. Stepping through the modern-day north-side entrance, you see the fountain of Moses to your left. It serves as the main source of fresh water. To the right, a minaret of a mosque was built in the 10th century in order to protect the church from the Fatimid Caliph's order to destroy all churches and monasteries. After passing the fountain, step through to the basilica, also known as the Church of the Transfiguration, in which the apse is adorned with an ancient mosaic of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Chandeliers and decorated ostrich eggs hang from the ceiling, and gilded icons from Crete decorate the walls. Take your time in here—there are treasured works of art all around. The basilica doors date to the 6th century. The Chapel of the Burning Bush, behind the basilica, is the most sacred of the buildings in the monastery. Unfortunately, it's not always open to the public. Dating from the 4th century AD, the chapel is the oldest part of the church, and its walls are covered with icons, of which the monastery itself has 2,000. (You can see yet more icons in the hall next to the library; the rest are kept in secured rooms, closed to the public.) Outside the chapel, you can see the bush where it is believed that God spoke to Moses. Many attempts to transplant branches of the bush have failed. The Skull House is a chamber to which the bones of deceased monks are transferred from the cemetery after five years of interment. (The burial plot is very small and must be constantly reused.) The skulls number around 1,500 and are lined up in neat rows.

    Egypt
    069-347–0346

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Mon.–Thurs. and Sat. 9–noon
  • 7. Vernazza

    With narrow streets and small squares, the village that many consider to be the most charming of the five towns has the best access to...

    With narrow streets and small squares, the village that many consider to be the most charming of the five towns has the best access to the sea—a geographic reality that made the village wealthier than its neighbors, as evidenced by the elaborate arcades, loggias, and marble work. The village's pink, slate-roof houses and colorful squares contrast with the remains of the medieval fort and castle, including two towers, in the old town. The Romans first inhabited this rocky spit of land in the 1st century. Today, Vernazza has a fairly lively social scene. It's a great place to refuel with a hearty seafood lunch or linger in a café between links of the seaside hike.

    Vernazza, Liguria, 19018, Italy
    0187-028316
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