what is cinqueterre?
Ahh CinqueTerre! Name doesn’t need an introduction or Explanation. One of the well-known most visited holiday places in the planet.
Cinque means Five. Terre Means land. This place is a string of 5 villages in the Liguria region on the coast of Mediterranean Sea. Well known for its unique colorful stone houses on the cliffs of the hills overlooking the ocean.
The five villages of Cinqueterre are :
Monterosso Al Mare
Train is the easiest way to get here. From North of Italy, specially from Genoa then Monterosso will be the first. And from Florence, it will be Riomaggorie. We were coming from Bologna. We had to change our train at Milan which brought us to Monterosso via Genoa. The whole coastline of Cinqueterre, all the 5 villages, and hills around it are officially “World Heritage Site” and protected by the Italian government by creating ‘Cinqueterre National Park’ (Parco Nationale Delle Cinqueterre). Therefore Cinqueterre’s landscape, ecological balance and everything around it are very well protected.
Once we walked out of the Monterosso train station, the mother ocean welcomed us with a magnificent view. There was a gigantic piece of rock come to the shore. Which was splitting the constant waves in to two parts. From far distance and from certain angles it looks like the top part of the Heart. Left and right, we could see the cliffs. We missed ocean. It’s peaceful. And in this off season, it was almost empty.
Monterosso happens to have the biggest beach and the only real beach out the five villages. In summer time understandably the beach is fully packed with millions of holiday makers every year. Lucky for us, it’s off season and everything was wide open and empty. Yes!!
Our accomodation of Monterosso was 9 minutes of walk inside the beautiful old village side of Monterosso.. The path was alongside the beach. Which allowed us to take advantage of the beautiful ocean view. The apartment was cute. And the owner lady was Italian who chosed to speak French with us. We had an electrical problem. So we could leave only at 4 pm after the sitiation was resolved.
We explored the old town of Monterosso before heading out to the ocean. Town is filled with multicolored old buildings. There were clothes hanging out of the window to dry them. The majority streets are very narrow. They are called carruggi. They are very unique and very picturistic. There was a church inside the old town. It’s a 12th century Church of San Giovanni Battista. It has green and white stripes design.
Oh! Forgot to mention an important fact about Monterosso. The town is divided in to two parts.
Old Town and New town.
The train station is in the New town. And our Hotel was in the old town. Which are connected with a narrow tunnel under the mountain. The new town is called Fegina, where the beach is located. The front of the old village, there is a Clock Tower of the City Hall. However, the town is dominated by a seaside castle. It’s called Torra Aurora. Or Dawn Tower. Dated from 16th century, it is the only remaining tower out of 13 built to protect Monterosso from Invaders and pirates. It’s situated right in the middle of the two towns. It is easy to reach at the bottom via the shore next to any of the entry of the tunnel. Enter to the castle was not possible because it’s private property today. But from the edge of the cliff, we certainly did have the view of the ocean as the sun was setting.
For dinner, we were obliged to eat out. For two reasons. There was no kitchen in our apartment hotel.
And we wanted to try the local seafood dishes of course. Our waiter as well somehow realized we could speak French. So, he started to speak manageable French with us. It’s bizarre. Because, all the time we were speaking in English with each other. As we always do.
After a nice meal, we took a walk back to the ocean side. We couldn’t see the ocean properly. But we did hear and feel it. It was glorious and peaceful. And the stars. We could see stars in the sky. All of those are very rare in our daily noisy life. We didn’t want to get back to hotel too soon. But it was getting cold a little bit.