Monday, June 2nd, 2008



La Spezia is the port, Cinque Terre is the attraction. Cinque Terre is a UNESCO-protected area that for most of its existence was cut off from civilization. Cinque means “five” in Italian and Terre refers to “towns” in this vernacular. Cinque Terre consists of five towns that are small villages that literally cling to the cliff side… much like the Almafi-Positano area, only more dramatic.


This is harsh terrain… only accessible by train or boat. There is one way in and one way out and it used to only be accessible via a six hour hike on foot. Today there is a train that provides service up and down the Cinque Terre via tunnels dug into the side of the cliff.


The land is terraced and the original residents “farmed” the area as it is lush in vegetation… the original reason the area was inhabited all those years ago. Original settlers lived in caves that were dug into the hillside and it was so remote that it protected them from their enemies. In most areas you cannot even approach one of the villages from boat unless the weather conditions are favorable. Fortunately, the weather gods were with us again today.


Being Italy’s Independence Day today, it was busy on the ship and busy in the town. All of the Italians from the north decided to come to Cinque Terre today!


We all took the day-trip boat from La Spezia and had a beautiful coastline journey seeing four of the five towns. The weather was a bit overcast, but it only added to the drama of the area. Once we landed in MANAROLA, we quickly disembarked off of the ship and were given a quick tour of the area. The town is small and evenmoreso than Positano, wasn’t much to behold past the harbor and a few quaint shops that lined the main “road”.


Quickly the town filled with tourists, and it was a bit of a crush to be honest. After several days in towns similar to this, we headed back to the harbor to wait for the local ship to return. The highlight was definitely the journey and not the destination.