Cinque Terre, Italy, April 8, 2022

Tony Crocker

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While there was a storm in the Alps we spent 3 nights/2 days in the Cinque Terre. The drives from both Verbier before and the Tarentaise after were about 6 hours. In the map below the red lines are hiking trails and the yellow are roads.

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The contour lines show how steep the topography is in the towns. The easiest way to reach the Cinque Terre is by train, which is at least 90% buried in the mountains not far above sea level. If you drive, you leave your car outside the own and take a shuttle. All five of the towns are car free aside from morning delivery hours.

We stayed in Vernazza, the second town from the north, as recommended by Rick Steves, who popularized the area to Americans 20+ years ago. We arrived mid-afternoon on April 7 and devoted all day of April 8 to visiting the 3 towns farther south. Here’s our parting view of Vernazza as we head south.

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We ascend rapidly.

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And soon reach the high point of the hiking trail.

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The middle town Corniglia is on the point in the background.

Closer view of Corniglia and terraced farm plots:

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Narrow street in Corniglia:

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Central square in Corniglia:

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View south to the next town Manarola:

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The view directly down in that direction is to the train tracks coming into Corniglia’s station.

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Here’s the walkway to the Corniglia train station.

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There’s a road for shuttling arrivals with luggage. Corniglia’s beach is on its north side and with the weather we did not hike down there. But if you’re visiting the Cinque Terre at an especially busy time, Corniglia would likely have the most laid back ambience with its isolation.

The hiking trail continues under the train tracks here.

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Farther along were these deserted ramshackle beach shacks.

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Not much farther the hiking trail was blocked. Winter landslides blocked trails in both directions from Manarola. So we retreated and took the train from Corniglia to the southernmost town Riomaggiore.

Riomaggiore’s train station is separated from most of the town by a rugged ridgeline. We took an elevator up there for the views. This is the view north of the blocked hiking trail with the train tracks below.

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View south with rough seas pouring over the breakwater:

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On calm days sightseeing boats run between the Cinque Terre towns, but not today.

Here’s a view of the town of Riomaggiore.

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Faded mural:

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We took another elevator down to this church plaza.

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Inside the church the crosses were shrouded for Lent.

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We had fresh fish and chips for lunch.

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We went back over the ridge, which had the old fortress tower.

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We walked to the blocked hiking trail before taking the train to Manarola.

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Manarola’s train station is connected to the town by a walking tunnel. We walked through this plaza on the way to the harbor.

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Harbor overview:

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View north to Corniglia:

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The surf was hammering the breakwaters on the north side of Manarola.

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We passed this mausoleum on the way back into town.

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This outdoor restaurant overlooked the harbor.

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We then walked through town.

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While climbing we passed this house with a water wheel.

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Overview of Manarola from above:

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It was now about 6PM so we took the train back to Vernazza to clean up before dinner.
 
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