Want to see as much of Italy as possible on your vacation? The five villages of Cinque Terre are only a two-hour drive away from Florence.
Riomaggiore, the most southern of the villages, is a good starting point for a quick tour to this magic corner of Italy. Stroll along the small beach, pop in to one of the local bars for an energising espresso coffee an you are ready to set off on a hike. All five villages of Cinque Terre are linked by an 11-kilometre long hiking trail with spectacular sea views. “Via dell’Amore”, the stretch of the trail connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola is an easy 45-minute walk on the cliffs above the turquoise waves.
Manarola is small, you can walk up and down the main street in 20 minutes. Check out the local museum devoted to sciacchetrà, the famous delicious dessert wine made in Cinque Terre. The village is home to the wine cooperative where 300 local growers bring their harvest. Linger on the by the sea looking up the neat terraced vineyards clinging precariously to the cliffs. Up there you can spot one of the world’s smallest monorails that is used for transporting grapes from the vineyards.
|Via dell Amore|
When you are ready to continue your journey, hop on the train to Vernazza. This picture-perfect town has great seafood restaurants and cosy cafes where you can enjoy local dishes. Vernazza was badly hit by flash floods in 2011 but the town is slowly getting back on its feet.
If you have time and sun is shining, relax on the tiny beach and swim between the fishing boats before heading off to explore another little gem of Cinque Terre – Portovenere. This historic town is packed with treasures: ancient churches, medieval buildings, Roman ruins. Breath in the fresh sea air, sip a glass of wine and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere before heading back to Florence.
Photos via Flickr by: Sean Munson, Ellie LoNardo, Sarah Tzinieris.