Monday, May 20, 2013

Cinque Terre

Commander K. Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera is simply one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world.    The Cinque Terre is made up of five towns -- Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglio, Manarola and Riomaggiore -- on the Ligurian coast.  The Cinque Terre is a designated Italian National Park ( and a Unesco World Heritage site.  I had the good fortune to hike part of this trail with my beautiful bride and a local guide last week.  We started in Levanto which is actually north of the official five towns that make up the Cinque Terre.

We only had time for a one day trip, but the many charming hotels and excellent restaurants made the idea of a longer overnight stay very compelling.

In 2011 a severe flash flood caused landslides in the area which claimed four lives  (,0,6964678.column).  Happily the area has bounced back and life has, more or less, returned to normal.   Some parts of the trail must still be navigated by boat or the nearby train.  We started in Levanto which is actually north of the official five towns that make up the Cinque Terre.

Welcome to paradise!,  Cinque Terre, Italy
You will see dramatic views of the Mediterranean ocean.  You will find charming and colourful Italian villages.  The scenery just can't be beat.

Atlas shrugged...?
Near Monterosso you will statues of giants built into the rock!

A memorial to the fallen sons of Monterosso
from WWI and WWII
Even in this peaceful and serene location you will find reminders of how war (guerra) has scarred the face of Italy.  You will find World War I and II memorials in most of the towns.

Ships of the Marina Militare, La Spezia
Just a few miles south of Riomaggiore you will find the city of La Spezia which continues to be the arsenal of the Italian Navy (Marina Militare).  During World War II, the Italian fleet left from La Spezia to defect from the Axis to the Allies.  The Royal Navy's Admiral Cunningham on September 3, 1943 signalled the Admiralty, "Be pleased to inform their Lordships that the Italian battle fleet now lies at anchor under the guns of the fortress of Malta" (See earlier post Malta in WW II, 5/19/13).

Travel notes: I highly recomnend our local guide Michele Colloca for your tour of the Cinque Terre.  He can be reached at

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