Le Cinque Terre
Would you like ‘prendere due piccioni con una fava?’: literally means ‘take two pigeons with a bean’, but you’d probably say ‘catch two birds with one stone’ (poor birds). If so, follow Anna and Carlo‘s recommendations and get the ferry boat from Lerici which will take you to Porto Venere and Cinque terre tour: you will have a wonderful sea and sightseeing experience. This is probably the most evocative and effortless way to see and visit these beautiful and enchanted medieval villages which have been declared a Unesco world Heritage site. In addition, it is also relatively cheap (here are prices and timetables) and stress free as you won’t have to bother looking for a parking spot under the Italian sun (remember that you can’t travel through the villages by car), but you’ll enjoy a cool breeze on the ferry, this is a certainty. It is also a great experience for children who love watching the captain manoeuvring at the helm and all the rest. They could not possibly undertake the long walk and would probably get bored in the car.
If you decide to take the ferry in the morning you’ll be able to get off the boat at each village and spend lots of time there, while taking the afternoon boat you will be able to stop at only one of the villages and enjoy the others only from the ferry. Remember that if you decide to go in the afternoon, you have to get off at Monterosso in order to see all the others villages.
On your way out of Lerici’s marina you’ll see the Palmaria Island. It appears that the name Palmaria comes from a Celtic dialect spoken in Liguria and it means cave as there are many located there. You’ll also have a chance to view the other two smaller islands Tino, Tinetto (those 3 islands are also Unesco world Heritage sites) and the curious fortress built on a rock which used to host Napoleon’s officers school (Terra Scola) and that has been transformed into a light house more recently. You can see beautiful pictures of these places at this link
Let the waves rock you while enjoying this wonderful view, and breeze. After crossing this crystal blue sea you will be enchanted by the view of Porto Venere which is even more beautiful from here, with the great Castle of the Doria family and San Pietro’s church which was firstly built as a temple dedicated to Venus in 150 A.D.
From Rio Maggiore you’ll see the train which is an alternative to the ferry boat or the foot path and it hugs the coast by the sea for most of the time. We decided to stop in Vernazza, therefore we got to see Porto Venere, Rio Maggiore, Manarola and Corniglia; this one is on the mountain, so it can be reached only on foot, but it is nevertheless beautiful from the sea.
Once you stop at your destination you’ll have the time go for a walk, a bit of food and a swim if you want. You’ll have about an hour before the boat comes back to collect you and bring you back to Lerici or to the next stop.
We have had a wonderful day and this is why we decided to share this experience with you. One of my friends and students went there last year and she said that the sentiero dell’amore (the love path) is a beautiful path and the sights are breathtaking from there, too… Morale della favola (moral of the fable/story) on foot, by boat or by train these are wonderful places which you shouldn’t miss!