We've been in Riomaggiore now for 5 nights. We leave tomorrow. This region is called the Cinque Terre (5 lands) and is made up of 5 mountain villages connected by trails.
Starting from the South, Riomaggiore, Manorola, Corniglia, Varnazza, and finally Monterosso al mar, all located on the rugged coast in the Liguria region of Italy. These are steep mountains, and the route to housing in these villages is steep and often twisty turny.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. It was amazing as we hiked to see the people tending their terraced gardens and see the hens pecking under the growth. There were olive groves, grape vines, and more.
Part of the charm here is the lack of visible corporate development. There are almost no roadways connecting the villages. Paths, trains and boats connect them, and almost no cars can reach them from the outside.
The Cinque Terre has become a popular tourist destination and attracts hikers from around the world. Columbia should come here and shoot a commercial.
One day we took the ferry and ventured up the coast to visit other villages, and enjoy the scenic coastline from the sea.
We've ventured by train between the villages, and have taken a day trip up to the "Italian Riviera" area of Santa Marguerita de Ligure, and Portofino.
The coastline here is absolutely beautiful, all rocky, with crystal clear, and with waves pounding.
We've really enjoyed our time, and the exercise has been challenging. Today, we did our 'hike', and after returning I swore, once we had scaled the streets to get to our hotel that I wasn't going up or down again till tomorrow. Never say never!
Well, we had to go back down to the train station to buy our tickets to get to Lucca tomorrow.
So our hike today, we took the train to Corniglia where we bought our trail pass (6€) which also entitled us to one full day on the trails, and to ride the shuttle up to the village itself, and the trail head.
I was actually a bit worried, the advertising about the extreme nature of the trails and such had me doubting my sanity. The trail is strenuous, and I would seriously counsel those with serious knee or hip issues. There are lots n lots of rock cut steps, of varying heights, and levelness. The inclines and grades are do-able for most, but the steps will put you to the test. So it took us between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. We stooped and took pictures, we stopped to let groups go by or pass on narrow sections. It was challenging, but mainly because I am quite sedentary at home.
Today was quite overcast, and mist were rolling over the mountain tops. They were advertising that the trails would be closed the next two days due to weather advisories.
Ok, so here are some fotos