One of the five medieval villages of the Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Coast
September 2018 – We were up early, as we decided to catch the first train to ‘The Cinque Terre National Park’ a Unesco World Heritage Site, as we knew it was going to be busy, because we had seen the large cruise ships in La Spezia the day before. We drove down to Deiva Marina on the coast, which has a train station in the centre of the town. The town is located between Portofino and Cinque Terre, allowing access to many of the beautiful seaside villages and towns. Deiva Marina is not one of the five, but it does have a wonderful long sandy beach and idea for beach lovers, and a good place to stay for trekkers, who come to the area to hike the wide network of walking paths that are always open.
Our Train to the Cinque Terre
It is a little complicated buying train tickets, we had to buy a ticket to Monterosso from Deiva Marina, get off the train and then buy tickets for the Cinque Terre National Park, then get back on the train. If only it was that simple, most people could not understand that they had to buy separate tickets for the Park. We got our tickets, which you can use all day long, hoping on and off where ever you like, and thats fine if you can get on one. We gave up and decided to catch a small cruise boat all the way to the last village, and then work our way back using the train. I must say that if you ever get to visit, this was the best thing we did, the coast line is stunning and the views are breathtaking from the sea. We did think about walking from Monterosso to the next village, but I was still suffering with my cold from hell and the tempuatre was over 34 degrees, and getting hotter by the minute…….so that was a definite no, a cooling boat cruise would be so much nicer. Luckily our cruise was only half full and reminded that way until the end of the trip.
The history of Monterosso dates back to 643 when the people living in the hills moved down to the sea, hiding from barbarian tribes. The village is named Monterosso because the ruling family used to have red hair. “Monte dei rossi” means “Mountain of the ginger-haired”.
We didn’t really explored the village as we intended to come back on the train and do it later. There is the old village and the new, modern area (Fegina) are separated by the San Cristoforo hill and are connected by a pedestrian tunnel. Fegina is more like Deiva Marina, but once into the older village it got a bit more interesting. The promenade is very nice with oleanders, bougainvilleas and palm trees, but not so as exciting as the other four village, no tall houses that look they are about to tumble down into the sea. I just had to be patience, you could see them in the far distance hugging the coastline.
Some information ………The Cinque Terre can be found in the eastern part of the Riviera di Levante, close to the border between Liguria and Tuscany. The name Cinque Terre literally means “Five lands”, but in this case stands for “Five small medieval villages”. These unique villages hide between green, steep hills and the turquoise Ligurian sea, their pastel-coloured houses are built on top of rocks or in little bays.
With 1,000 years of extremely hard work local people have turned the natural forests and rough, rocky, steep slopes into lush cultivated terraces. They have built about 7,000 kilometers of dry stone walls, carrying millions of baskets of stones and soil on their heads and shoulders, up and down the hills, climbing more than mountaineers. Once a terrace was ready, they planted vine, vegetables and basil, as well as different types of trees: mainly olive, lemon and orange. In the photos below you can see some of the terraces and also the walk way to the next village.