[Updated for 2022] PARKING: A great alternative for those driving to the Cinque Terre

TIP: Staying in the Cinque Terre?  First, check with your host to see if they offer or if they can help you arrange nearby parking for your stay.  If not, keep reading for details on where to park in nearby La Spezia.  

You may or may not know that arrival by car to the Cinque Terre can be a bit hairy and anything but convenient.  The roads are very narrow and winding, parking is extremely limited and quite expensive, there’s a pretty high risk of getting a ticket (if you accidentally enter the ZTL zones or park where it’s not allowed) and the historical centers of the villages are pedestrian-only.

My advice?  Ditch the car before hitting up the Cinque Terre.  If that’s not feasible, you can do the next best thing and park it at the Park Centro Stazione underground parking garage at the La Spezia Centrale train station.

Current published rates for Park Centro Stazione for 2022 are €1.50 per hour from 8am to 8pm and €1.00 per hour from 8pm to 8am. That means the daily rate (for a full 24 hours) is €30.

This parking garage, thanks to its recent construction, is pretty avant-garde for these parts with an elevator that will take you directly to the station, restrooms, 64 closed-circuit cameras to monitor the garage, PIN code access (to both the restrooms and the garage in nocturnal hours) and full automation. Of course, you’ll still want to follow common sense rules of thumb like locking things up and not leaving valuables in sight.

The underground parking garage actually has two entrances:

  • The -1 level is accessed by Via Paleocapa, 7 or latitude: 44.110633 | longitude: 9.815174
  • The -2 level is accessed by Piazzetta Ancona or latitude: 44.110692 | longitude: 9.814421

There are automated signs near each entrance indicating how many spaces are still available for that level. If one level is full, be sure to check the other entrance to see if that level is full, too.

LA SPEZIA PARKING photo credit: ATC La Spezia

If you’re a planner and don’t like the uncertainty of showing up and hoping to find a space (believe me, I get you) you might want to look into booking a space at a private garage just a few blocks (circa 200 meters) from the station:

Private Parking Le 5 Terre La Spezia

Via Migliari, 15 (La Spezia)

latitude: 44.110141 | longitude: 9.817427

Keep in mind that they have only 10 spaces available and it’s mandatory to book and pay online in advance (don’t just try and turn up). The 2022 daily rates range from €10 to €38 (depening on the season). Do keep in mind that they don’t offer hourly rates. You can arrive any time after 10am (you’ll be provided with an access code after you’ve booked) and you’ll need to retrieve your car no later than 10am on your day of departure. Heads up: If you plan to leave later in the day, you’ll need to book & pay for an extra day.

Wherever you decide to park, afterwards you can hop on the Cinque Terre Express train to the Cinque Terre.  To reach the Cinque Terre villages from the La Spezia Centrale train station, travel time is as little as…

  • Riomaggiore: 7 minutes
  • Manarola: 10 minutes
  • Corniglia: 14 minutes
  • Vernazza: 18 minutes
  • Monterosso: 22 minutes

Download the TrenItalia app in advance so you can purchase train tickets on the fly (like I do!), or if you want to plan things out in advance you can check the timetables and purchase tickets online on the official TrenItalia website here.  If you don’t mind standing in potentially long lines you can also wait and purchase your tickets directly at the station.

Want a Plan B (or C) option in case the garage is full when you turn up? Read my blog post detailing parking for free at the La Spezia Migliarina station here. If you’re not a fan of streetside parking, check out my post on two other public payment parking garages in La Spezia.

Buon viaggio!

Cinque Terre National Park guided tours & excursions: September 2017

Aaaaaaaah! September is *finally* here. After a scorching summer I’m ready for at least a slight drop in the temperatures. If that happens, hiking will be a pleasure again!

With that in mind, here’s the September schedule for the Cinque Terre National Park guided tours & excursions:
 Keep in mind that if you’ve purchased a Cinque Terre Card then the scheduled tours and excursions are free for you! If you don’t have the Cinque Terre Card you can still participate at the price of €6.50 per person.

Many of the dates on the Cinque Terre Walking Park calendar offer the possibility to tack on a wine tasting at a local cantina (recommended!) at the end of the tour or excursion for an additional fee. The fee for the wine tasting varies (depending on which cantina will be visited and which wines will be tasted), but most are right around the €10 mark (per person). This is a great way to get to know our territory and all that it stands for while also helping to support our local winemakers.

The Cinque Terre Walking Park calendar is color coded so I’ve created a key for you. First, look at your interested date(s) on the calendar above and then take note of the color for that day.

BLUE = Walking tour. This is going to be the least strenuous of the guided options available. The tours are of the five main villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza & Monterosso (just one village per day).

YELLOW = Hiking excursion. The days highlighted in this color will get you off the beaten path (as they are secondary trails rather than the popular coastal trail).

GREEN = Hiking excursion with mandatory purchase of either the hiking pass or Cinque Terre Card. This requirement is due to the fact that the excursion will take place on the coastal trail (Sentiero Azzurro), which is the only trail within the national park that requires a pass.

PINK = E-bike tour. This option is brand new for 2017! While traditional cycling of the Cinque Terre sounds like (and is!) hard work, these new bikes have power assisted pedaling when the going gets tough. I’m seriously going to try this out myself this year! Keep in mind that there are only eight (yes, EIGHT) spaces available per E-bike tour so you’ll want to act quickly and book your spots ASAP. IMPORTANT: The minimum age for this tour is 14 years.

RED = Expert hikers, only. For Septembe, there are currently no red dates on the schedule.

Be prepared

  • For the village tours, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • For the hiking excursions, either hiking boots or trainers with decent tread are required. Trust me, you’ll want all the grip you can get!
  • For the E-bike tours, you’ll need to wear comfortable athletic shoes.
  • All of the aforementioned tours & excursions take place in good weather. In case of rain or wet conditions, the tours & excursions will be cancelled.

BOOK IN ADVANCE. Don’t expect to show up and find a spot available. Reserve your spot in advance by ringing (+39) 0187 743 500 or emailing visiteguidate@ati5terre.it

Keep up with Cinque Terre Walking Park on Facebook by liking and following their page! Chiara (one of the local guides) does a great job of posting updates, schedules, photos and more.

While you’re at it, have a look at my post on the 8 things you need to hike the Cinque Terre.

Enjoy!

Amy

Crowds in the Cinque Terre

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The Cinque Terre are by no means a hidden secret like they were yesteryear.  Thanks in part to the Internet, social media and Rick Steves, the Cinque Terre are now a fixed destination on the itinerary of most international travelers coming to Italy.  There’s every reason to visit our area.  It’s just that beautiful.

Riomaggiore's marina, Cinque Terre

But if you’re traveling in peak-season (think: Easter week through the end of October) and you think you’re going to find five sleepy fishing villages, you’re wrong.  You’ll find five lovely and picturesque but highly visited villages.  If you’re planning to be here on a weekend during peak-season or a national holiday period (see my post on holidays in Italy for more details) you should by all means expect to find the streets and the trains connecting the villages teeming with visitors.  The good news is that the majority of these people will not actually be staying here (as there’s just not enough lodging to accommodate them) so things go back to their normal, slow place in the early evening when all of the day-trippers head out.

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Part of the reason for the crowds…

The Cinque Terre villages are popular in their own right and attract thousands of visitors each year.  But just a few years ago La Spezia (the nearest city to the Cinque Terre, just 8 minutes by train from Riomaggiore) rolled out the red carpet for a new port facility for the large cruise ships which now regularly dock there overnight.  As La Spezia is a working city (and by no means touristic) the city and its residents were beyond ecstatic about this development as it promised the creation of new jobs and tourism to an otherwise off the map city.  Taking advantage of the close proximity to the Cinque Terre, the different cruise lines offer their passengers the possibility to take a day tour of the five villages.  These guided groups are large and can overwhelm and congest the narrow streets and tiny villages of the Cinque Terre.  This is not what we consider “sustainable tourism” and the topic is currently a tasto dolente (sore spot) with locals.  The five villages of the Cinque Terre are a national park and as such it is believed that the park should take responsibility and action in controlling the influx of these large groups rather than leaving the flood gates open.

My tips on how to avoid the crowds

  • Visit during the off-season.  It’s amazing the difference between peak and off-season.  Even if you come on the cusp of the peak-season you’ll notice the difference (March/April and October).  See my previous post on the different seasons in the Cinque Terre here.

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  • Hike trails other than the Sentiero Azzurro.   Did you know that the Cinque Terre are crisscrossed with a plethora of trails besides the famous coastal trail (Sentiero Azzurro)?  And that all of these trails are FREE to hike?  Some of these trails are just as beautiful (if not more so!) than the coastal trail but they are simply not as well-known.

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  • Try to avoid the main drags during peak hours.  I know this isn’t an easy feat, but if you can avoid the main streets midday you’ll miss out on most of the day tripping crowds.

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The Cinque Terre villages are as gorgeous and fascinating as ever.  Despite the potential crowds, it doesn’t take much to get off the beaten path to get a glimpse of  real life in a small Italian village.  However, it’s my hope that the Cinque Terre National Park will take action to protect the natural beauty and delicate nature of these villages and spare them from being overwhelmed with rampant, unsustainable tourism.

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Stairs, stairs, everywhere

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I imagine you’ve seen plenty of picturesque photos of the Cinque Terre villages with their colorful buildings that defy gravity as they cling to the cliffs. Keep in mind that while you’re appreciating the beauty of these villages you will also be climbing the stairs & inclines that go along with such unique geography. 

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These stairs and inclines are just a part of what makes this area unique (and traffic-free).

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For most people, the stairs are really only an issue upon arrival/departure as that’s when they have their luggage in tow.  Here’s my advice to help you lessen that burden:

less luggage = less stress = HAPPIER TRAVELER! 

  • Pack light.  There’s really no reason why you should bring everything but the kitchen sink with you.  It’s easy to do laundry here (you can either hand wash or hit up the local wash & dry) so that should help you cut back significantly on what you need to bring.  Avoid packing for “what if” scenarios (e.g. “What if I get invited to the opera and need black tie attire?”  “What if it snows in August?” etc.).  If in a pinch, you can always buy whatever you need here.
  • Know your limits.  You should only pack as much as you can carry (and carry relatively easily, at that).  Ladies, the damsel in distress act won’t work every single time so don’t count on it.  Be self-sufficient and able to handle your own luggage, without breaking your back.  Remember:  Less is more!
  • Ask about porter services.  So, you didn’t take my advice and you’ve overpacked.  Unless you are staying in a 4 or 5-star hotel, you shouldn’t be expecting other people to schlep your bags for you.  Ask your host if there’s a porter available for hire.  It will be money well spent!

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Speaking of luggage, avoid committing these social blunders while in Italy:

  • Letting your bags *bang* down the stairs is considered rude and makes Italians cringe.  This faux pas is magnified by 100 if you’re doing it inside a building (as chances are you’re going to chip the stairs and disrupt the neighbors).
  • Oftentimes people will offer a hand to help you with luggage if they see you struggling.  But never, ever assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility to carry your luggage for you.

A word to the wise…

If you are physically unable (or just plain unwilling) to climb stairs or inclines, perhaps Monterosso is the best Cinque Terre village for you.  It’s the flattest of the five villages & the most developed (so it’s more likely that you’ll find modern conveniences like elevators, taxis, etc.).

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Traveling with kids? How best to enjoy the Cinque Terre

I wasn’t always a mom.  And to be honest, I think lots of things you really and truly don’t understand until you are one.  Like traveling with a baby/toddler/small child.  It’s not a matter of bending your child to fit your itinerary so much as bending your itinerary to fit your child. So this is my advice to you, fellow parents, for your time spent here in the Cinque Terre with your little ones.

  • Less is more.  Pare down your itinerary so you can stop and smell the roses (or lemons, in this case).  Your child will thank you for not cramming 10,000 things on the agenda for the day.

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  • Ditch the stroller. Seriously, it’s a bad idea.  With all the stairs, steep inclines and cobblestone streets (not to mention the hassle of getting on & off the trains) having a stroller here is a nightmare.  Instead, opt for a baby carrier or sling.  Our little tornado is 3 1/2 and we still use a carrier for those moments when he’s too tired to walk/hike/climb the stairs.

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  • For the love of all things holy, take them on the boats!  Kids love the boats.  I mean, really LOVE them.  And the ferries are a nice and relaxing way to visit the Cinque Terre.  You can find the latest schedule for the ferries here.

Ferry boat in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

  • Remember the sunscreen.  And preferably, bring it from home (I have no idea why but sunscreen is super spendy in Italy).  Your little one will definitely need it, especially in the summer months.
  • IMG_3943Hit up each village’s playground. All five villages have a playground for children.  Ask a local where the nearest parco giochi can be found and they’ll point you in the right direction.  My absolute favorite is located in Manarola at Punta Bonfiglio.  It’s maintained by a local retiree who volunteers his time for the joy of the children (do him a favor and be sure to throw trash in the bins and leave things tidy upon departure).  The location is stunning so it’s not just enjoyable for the kids but also for parents (and did I mention there’s a wine bar just beneath the playground?!?).

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Monterosso’s playground in the historic center of the village

Manarola's playground at Punta Bonfiglio offers fabulous views

Manarola’s playground at Punta Bonfiglio offers fabulous views

Riomaggiore's playground is located off the beaten path (but the views make it worthwhile!)

Riomaggiore’s playground is located off the beaten path (but the views make it worthwhile!)

  • Sample lots and lots of gelato.  Your kid will love you for it.  Make a point to try as many different flavors as possible.  If you are traveling with a school age child, have them keep a “gelato journal” so they can remember of all the different flavors they’ve sampled (and where).  They’ll love sharing their journal with friends and loved ones when they get home.

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  • Practice la dolce vita.  Take your little one to the piazza to play with the local children.  Grab some towels and head down to the beach.  Be an example to your child that vacation is all about relaxing and unwinding and soaking up the local culture.

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Helpful pricing info for those traveling with children


Keep in mind that the age ranges for reduced rates for children vary widely.  I’ve done my best to explain and simplify here for reference.

Train travel

  • Kids under 4 travel free on the TrenItalia trains (both regional and national).  Technically, that’s so long as they don’t occupy a seat (but I’ve never had an issue with my son sitting in a seat so long as the train isn’t packed).
  • Ages 4-11 pay half price for regional trains and ages 4-13 pay half price for national trains (think: faster trains like InterCity and Freccia).
  • Kids 12 and up on regional trains and 14 and up on the national trains pay full price.

Cinque Terre ferries

  • Kids 5 and under travel on the ferries for free.*
  • Ages 6-11 pay a reduced price for tickets (ask for the ridotto rate).*

*Valid only if traveling with at least one adult.

Cinque Terre National Park passes

  • There’s no charge for kids age 3 and under to walk the Sentiero Azzurro (coastal trail).  For ages 4-17 the discounted rate for the hiking pass is €4.50/day.
  • The Cinque Terre Card (which includes the hiking pass + trains between the five villages) is €7.30/day for kids age 4-11.  Kids 12 and up pay full price (which is currently €12 per person, per day).
  • A special family rate (for 2 adults and 2 children ages 4-17) for the hiking pass is available for €19.60 per day (this would save you €4.40 off the normal rate).
  • The family rate for the Cinque Terre Card (which includes the hiking pass + the trains between the villages) is available for €31.50 per day.  This pass is valid for 2 adults and 2 children ages 4-11 (and would save you €7.10 off of the normal rate).

Village spotlight: MONTEROSSO

My last village spotlight was on Corniglia, the Cinque Terre’s smallest and most remote village.  For my second spotlight, I chose the perfect juxtaposition: Monterosso.

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Monterosso is the largest and most bustling of the Cinque Terre villages.  It is considered either the first or fifth village, depending on what direction you are arriving from (it’s first from the direction of Genoa or fifth from the direction of La Spezia).  It’s the only flat village in the Cinque Terre and also offers the Cinque Terre’s best beaches.

IMG_3382This place is paradise for those looking for the “Italian Riviera experience.”  

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The village is split into two distinct neighborhoods: the more modern (and very beachy) Fegina and the historical center, oftentimes called Monterosso Vecchio.  These two sides of the village are connected by a picturesque promenade and a tunnel that cuts through the rock cliff.

IMG_3492-0When you arrive by train to Monterosso you will come out into the modern Fegina neighborhood.  As you exit the train station, make a left and walk along the promenade (and then through the tunnel) and you will connect to Monterosso Vecchio (about a 10 minute walk).  If you’re strapped with luggage you can actually take a taxi (which is a luxury offered only in this Cinque Terre village).

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If you take a right as you exit the train station you will head towards the heart of modern Fegina where you will find lots of private beaches (and a few small public sections) and a promenade dotted with playground equipment (this is also where you’ll find two of my recommended restaurants).

 

Monterosso, although not as characteristic and quaint as the other four villages, is ideal for those wanting modern comforts and those looking for a relaxing, beachy holiday. Monterosso is chock-full of shops, restaurants, hotels and beaches.

IMG_3470 One of my favorite artisan shops in Monterosso, located on via V. Emanuele
IMG_3474 Monterosso’s San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) church

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Italians LOVE Monterosso.  In fact, in the summer months you’ll find more Italian vacationers here than in any of the other villages of the Cinque Terre.  Italians adore modern comforts and conveniences (and minimal effort), including the use of the stabilimenti balneare (the private beaches where you can rent a lounge chair and a beach umbrella + have access to showers, changing cabins and a snack bar).

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My personal recommendations in Monterosso


Sweet treat:

IMG_3758My absolute favorite local dessert is the torta Monterossina which you can get a slice of at Pasticceria Laura in Monterosso Vecchio. The torte has a pastry crust and layers of sponge cake, apricot preserves, pastry cream and dark chocolate.  My favorite is when it’s served warm and gooey.  It’s rich and decadent and something I crave.  Beware that the bakery  is closed on Tuesdays.

IMG_3441 Pasticceria Laura via V. Emanuele 59, Monterosso

Focaccia:

The best focaccia I’ve had in Monterosso can be found here:

IMG_3415 Il Frantoio via Gioberti 1, Monterosso

It’s called Il Frantoio but you won’t see signs saying that anywhere.  A local tipped me off about this place a few years back and, as usual, locals know best!  To find this hidden gem just walk up the main street in Monterosso Vecchio and keep an eye out for via Gioberti on the right.  You’ll see the doorway located just off the main street on the narrow medieval lane. This is one of the few places that still sells focaccia by weight, which I admire (and pocketbooks appreciate).

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I also love the pizza by the slice and focaccia at Il Massimo della Foccacia in Monterosso Fegina (on the promenade, directly beneath Monterosso’s train station). Their pizza margherita (cheese pizza) served by the slice is delicious!

Gelato:

Tasty gelato and friendly faces await you at Gelateria Golosone in Monterosso Vecchio.  The entrance to the gelateria is just off the main street (blink and you’ll miss it!).

IMG_3421 Gelateria Golosone via Roma 17, Monterosso

Dining:

“Muscoli” at La Cantina di Miky

One of my favorite restaurants in Monterosso is La Cantina di Miky, where the fish is fresh and the pasta is handmade each day.  Expat Christine (from New Jersey) and her Italian husband (son of the proprietor of Ristorante Miky, see below) run this little place in Fegina. They have outdoor seating on the promenade with sea views but I personally prefer to dine inside as I love the intimate atmosphere they’ve created.  Christine is knowledgable not only about their menu items—which she conveys in perfect English—but also about each ingredient used in every dish.  Michele (that’s the Italian version of Michael and pronounced Me-kay-lay), one of their wait staff, exudes professionalism and warm Italian hospitality.  Ask about their locally-sourced daily specials and don’t shy from trying their acciughe (anchovy) sampler appetizer so you can walk away with a better appreciation of the little fish that made Monterosso famous throughout Italy.  Heads up: La Cantina di Miky is closed on Wednesdays.

La Cantina di Miky located at via Fegina 90 in Monterosso, phone: +39 0187 802 525

If you’re a foodie or just looking for a fine dining experience, check out Ristorante Miky in the Fegina neighborhood of Monterosso.  It’s a bit pricey but worth every cent.  Things here are made to order so don’t expect it to be speedy.  This is the type of meal where you sit back, relax and savor the meal.  While Cinque Terre is typically casual, you’ll want to dress a little nicer (or risk feeling out of place).

IMG_3584 Ristorante Miky via Fegina 104, Monterosso tel. +39 0187 817 608 (reservations recommended)

If you’re wanting to eat in Monterosso Vecchio (the historical center) my favorite eatery there is Ristorante CIAK. Some might see this place as cliché but I can’t help but love the owner in his sailor garb and the fact that you can peek into the kitchen from the main street. This is classic Italian seafood, served in generous portions.

Ristorante CIAK piazza Don Minzoni 6, Monterosso tel. +39 0187 817 014 (reservations recommended)

Do you have any other recommendations in Monterosso? Do you find my blog helpful?  Please do tell!

Updated Cinque Terre ferry schedule (valid from April 18 to June 5, 2015)

As promised, I’m here to post the latest schedule for the ferries between the Cinque Terre villages (minus Corniglia) and Portovenere.  They change these schedules a gazillion times during peak-season so I’ll be sure to keep making updates.

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For help on deciphering the very interesting Italian –> English translations regarding the pricing, I recommend having a look at my previous post.

SciaccheTrail: The success of a grass roots vision

On March 29, 2015, emotions ran high while 200 ultra trail runners raced through the Cinque Terre for the first ever SciaccheTrail marathon (which I talked about here).  The weather was absolutely perfect that Sunday;  after days of variable weather, the sun shining down on the runners seemed to denote Mother Nature’s approval.

SciaccheTrail was a grass roots success.  Complimenti to those who had the vision, dedication and desire to turn a dream into a reality.   It’s always heartwarming to see a community band together for a mutual cause, and the SciaccheTrail was no exception.  It is our hope that the marathon will become a proud annual tradition in the Cinque Terre.

And it wasn’t just locals that were inspired by the race.

“The spirit of the Cinque Terre humbled me and it became clear that this event wasn’t just another line on my race schedule, it was an arrow through the very heart of why I run.”  –Sally McRae

I don’t think a more flattering compliment could have been paid.

Bravi, ragazzi! 

Village spotlight: CORNIGLIA

Corniglia (pronounced core-neel-ee-uh) is the smallest of the Cinque Terre villages and arguably the most underrated (as it is oftentimes overshadowed by its larger and easier to reach neighbors).

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If you are a numbers person, Corniglia is considered the third village in the Cinque Terre (from either direction).

There are a few things that set Corniglia apart from its more popular neighbors:

  • Its location off the sea.

Unlike the other four villages, Corniglia sits on a mountaintop reigning over the sea.  When you reach the Corniglia train station you’ll find that you still have to climb 382 stairs (yes, 382, I’ve counted them myself!) to reach the village center.

The fact that it takes a bit of effort to reach the village tends to weed out visitors that can’t be bothered (which is a BIG plus in my opinion).  Little do these people know, you can actually “cheat” and take a bus up the hill to the village.

Despite that, I still prefer to take the stairs (probably because of my next point). 

  • It has my *favorite* gelateria in all of the Cinque Terre.   

 

You can get traditional homemade gelato in a plethora of flavors all throughout the Cinque Terre.  And to be honest, it’s all pretty delicious.  But in how many places can you get gelato al basilico, made with fresh basil from the owner’s garden?  Or, gelato al miele made with the honey harvested from local Corniglia bees?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  This place is unico.  What better way to treat yourself after climbing all of those stairs? 

  

  • Most consider Corniglia to be the only Cinque Terre village without access to the sea, which isn’t exactly true.  

They have this lovely little cove where you can swim off the rocks (granted you’ll have to hoof it up and down the hill but you didn’t come to the Cinque Terre to be sedentary, right?).

There’s also a famous/infamous nude beach called Guvano hidden beneath Corniglia (but you’ll need a boat to reach it).

  • Locals are so nice here.  

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While sitting at a tiny café I witnessed a foreign couple ask the barista to place a slice of savory cheese in a sweet croissant (I must be turning Italian as I winced simply at the thought!).  The barista didn’t bat an eye and accommodated their request with a smile.  I must admit, I was really impressed.

  •   It’s less commercial.  

You won’t find hotels here, just a scattering of affittacamere (room rentals).  It’s quaint and personable and you’ll feel like you’re staying amongst the locals.

  • It’s quiet when the sun goes down.

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And heck, it’s pretty quiet during the day, too.  If R&R is your scope and you like to turn in early, Corniglia could very well be your own little piece of paradise.

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My personal recommendations in Corniglia


Gelato:

Gelateria Alberto, via Fieschi (you can’t miss it!)  

A quick coffee or aperitivo:

Bar Pan e Vin, via Fieschi 123 (this place is tiny and gets cramped quickly… grab a coffee and sit on the bench outside to people watch)

Accommodations:

Affittacamere da Cristiana is family-run with love and care by friendly Cristiana and Stefano (they also run the bar listed above)

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Corte del Gallo offers a convenient location (an easy and quick walk from the Corniglia train station), beautiful views and comfortable accommodations.  Owners Roberto and Claudia are lovely, lovely people that I had the pleasure to meet when Roberto so kindly volunteered to be Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) for my son’s preschool.  Their stellar reviews just go to show what lovely hosts and people they are! Contact them directly at info@cortedelgallo.com 

The new extreme sport in the Cinque Terre: Trail running

The hiking trails in the Cinque Terre are world-famous and on just about every traveler’s bucket list that visits this area.  The trails throughout our territory vary in difficulty but the average Joe will find most to be a bit challenging.  Not so for the Cinque Terre trail runners, who take things to a whole ‘nother level.  This isn’t your everyday cross country running, it’s extreme trail running.

sciacchetrail trail runner

Trail runner with Vernazza in the background, photo credit: SchiaccheTrail

On March 28 & 29 the Cinque Terre will host its first ever SciaccheTrail marathon & festivites.  The name of the event is a play on words, combining that of the famous and prized local dessert wine Sciacchetrà (pronounced Shock-eh-trah) and the English word trail.

sciacchetrail trail runners

Trail runners training in the Cinque Terre, photo credit: SchiaccheTrail

The race, which will take place on Sunday, March 29, is 47 kilometers long (29.2 miles) and with 3000+ meters (9,843+ feet) of level changes.  Two hundred trail runners will make their way through the Cinque Terre vineyards on the cliffs above the Ligurian Sea; to call it picturesque is an understatement. 

For those not up for the extreme challenge, festivities are planned in Monterosso on both Saturday and Sunday (March 28 & 29, 2015).  Local products will be on showcase and there will be the possibility to taste Cinque Terre D.O.C. wines (both white and Sciacchetrà).

For more information on the event, here are some great resources:

Cinque Terre Trekking (follow them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook)

SciaccheTrail (keep up on Facebook or Instagram)

Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre (Cinque Terre National Park)