What to do in the Cinque Terre this December

December is decidedly off-season in the Cinque Terre, but catch some nice weather and you’re in for a treat! Nearly empty streets (with the exception of locals and the rare tour group) allow visitors to appreciate the true beauty of the Cinque Terre.

Visiting the Cinque Terre in the off-season isn’t for everyone; if you’re hoping to hit the shops and choose from a plethora of restaurants, you’re going to be disappointed. The off-season is the time when locals catch up on R&R after a long peak-season; many businesses close (some on rotation, others for the entire off-season). However, if you come seeking tranquillity and low-key explorations, you’ll be rewarded, big time.

I will soon be posting an off-season schedule for open restaurants, bars & cafes in the Comune di Riomaggiore. Stay tuned!

For those of you planning to visit the Cinque Terre this December, check out these scheduled events. I’ve highlighted what I think is of the most interest to visitors and I will be updating as various events are announced later on:

December 5th through 9th in Monterosso:

Saturday 12/8:

  • from 2pm: Living nativity scene (with the birth of Jesus at 6pm)
  • 6:30pm: Religious procession

Sunday 12/13:

  • 3pm: Religious procession

Saturday, December 8th in Manarola:

10:30am: Eco-friendly Christmas ornament workshop for children. Free, but advance reservations are required. Email: cea@parconazionale5terre.it

5pm: Candle lit procession on the hillside where the village’s nativity scene is located

5:30pm: Lighting of Manarola’s nativity scene with fireworks

Throughout the day there will be a Christmas craft fair as well as a refreshment stand starting at 2pm.



Patron saint festivities in Riomaggiore and Monterosso this weekend

Are you lucky enough to be in the Cinque Terre this weekend? If so, you won’t want to miss the San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) patron saint festivities in Riomaggiore and Monterosso. Here are their respective calendar of events:

What you won’t want to miss:

  • Riomaggiore’s religious procession at 9pm on Saturday, June 23rd
  • Monterosso’s concert at 9pm and bonfire at 10pm on Saturday, June 23rd (as this coincides with Riomaggiore’s festivities you’ll have to decide between the two villages)
  • Monterosso’s religious procession at 9pm, floating luminaries at 10pm and fireworks at 10:30pm on Sunday, June 24th

Wondering when Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza have their patron saint celebrations? Check out my previous post here.



It’s an Indian summer in the Cinque Terre

If you happened to visit the Cinque Terre this October you hit the traveler’s jackpot: a beautiful Indian summer. 

October is usually a transitional month with fall wardrobes (light sweaters, scarves and whatnot) making their debut. Not so this year, October has had more than its fair share of dips in the sea and sunbathing at the beach. 

If you’re headed here soon I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this beautiful weather holds out. You’ll definitely want to pack (and wear) layers that can be shed (or piled on) easily; in direct sunlight it can feel rather hot but in the shade (or after the sun sets) it can be quite chilly. 

Carpe diem!


P.S. Enjoying the photos? Follow me on Instagram for lots more! @cinqueterreinsider

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).


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.  


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.


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.


My personal recommendations in Corniglia


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)


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


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 

You don’t need to be a great photographer in the Cinque Terre…

…to take stunning photos.

Riomaggiore Reservations

February sunset as seen from the piazzale in Riomaggiore

When the scenery is this gorgeous, taking amazing pictures is a snap.

Riomaggiore Reservations

Rooftops and cloudy skies in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

Oh, and fancy equipment?  Not necessary either.  All of these photos were taken by yours truly, with my trusty iPhone (which is not even the latest model).

Riomaggiore Reservations

Patina of a “portone” in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

I am by no means pretending to be a professional photographer (I’m sure their photos are 10,000 times better).  Just sayin’.

Riomaggiore Reservations

A hint of spring in the air on a winter day in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

Want more Cinque Terre photos to drool over?  Follow me on Instagram!  @riomaggiorereservations