Around France

What Your Tour Guide Won’t Tell You About Cinque Terra 

 I visited Cinque Terra on a tour of Italy with friends from the Carolinas. We had planned only one day to visit the five villages.

It was an absolutely glorious, yet overcast, day filled with stops at the beach, shopping and gawking at villagers and tourists. Because of bad weather a few days earlier, there was a landslide in one of the villages so there was no passage by rail and no tourist boats were sailing to another. So we explored three of the “five villages” — Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Monterossa.

Here’s what your tour guide won’t tell you: one day in Cinque Terra isn’t enough. I would have liked more time and we only saw three villages.


After leaving the chartered bus in La Spezia, my friends and I boarded a train for Riomaggiore. Getting to the village on a foggy, cool day was a bit disappointing. We were hoping for sunny skies. However, the beauty of the quaint hillside town more than made up for the clouds and sprinkles of rain.



By the time we reached Corniglia by train the clouds had lifted and the sun came out to give us an excuse to head for the beach. This was the ideal village for lounging at a seaside cafe and watching people, my favorite pastime. 


Nothing prepared me for Monterossa. From the multi-colored houses to the dramatic coastal cliffs, this village is one to underline in the memory book. Interestingly, now that I have only photos to remind me, it’s hard to believe these came out of my camera. It is truly real.


See what I mean? It’s pretty spectacular. 

I hear the villages we didn’t see–Vernazza and Manarola– may be the most beautiful and interesting of all. For sure, if I can get there again, I’ll do more research on visiting Cinque Terra. Perhaps a hike from one village to another is in my future. 

Stay tuned. 

4 replies »

  1. During a 2 week trip to Italy last September, we were in Cinque Terre (Ann and Maya joined us from Tunis) for a weekend, visiting Monterossa and Vernazza and Porto Venere by the ferry…other ports were inaccessible because of windy rough seas. Fell in love with the place!!! Stayed in Lerici as the homebase for the weekend. Beautiful part of the world! When were you there??

    • Sounds like we need to go back and meet each other there…Or somewhere in the world before we’re too old to recognize each other!

  2. As usual great pictures and the comments of each were wonderful. Are you there now or is this a past trip. we will be in Uzes on the 25th of May and understand that Peggy and Bob have also now rented an apartment. Your have become the Mayor of Uzes and just adding to the fun and the population. The city should give you the key to the city!!!

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