The Cinque Terre are five beautiful villages on the Ligurian coast in the province of La Spezia. From the “Hotel La Villetta” you can reach them by train from the railway station FS of Sarzana or La Spezia or by ferry from Lerici or La Spezia.
Riomaggiore takes its name from the "rivus major", which is the canal that crosses it, now covered. This village is joined to that of Manarola by the walk of lovers, the famous "Via dell’Amore". To see: the historic center of the village, the Castle (15th century), today the village cemetery, the Church of “San Giovanni Battista” (1340) and the Chapel of SS. Rocco and Sebastiano (16th century). Furthermore, at the top, just above the coastal road, at 340 meters above sea level, there is the Sanctuary of the “Madonna di Montenero”, the first indigenous settlement of Riomaggiore. At the end of the coastal road, going up to Groppo and Volastra, you may continue on a very panoramic road up to Corniglia and Vernazza.
Manarola is the second village of the Cinque Terre coming from La Spezia. It enjoys a breathtaking view from the panoramic terrace of “Punta Bonfiglio”: the latter can be reached via a short waterfront path that starts from the pretty Marina. The main street of the center is full of local craft shops, bars and fish restaurants. To see: the historic center of the village, the cemetery above the Terrace, the Church of San Lorenzo (14th century) and the remains of the “Fieschi Castle”, today a bastion on the cliff overlooking the sea. During the Christmas period I recommend visiting the famous luminous and sonorous nativity scene among the terraces of vineyards. Finally, on the hill above Manarola, there is the village of Volastra, with the Sanctuary of “N.S. della Salute” (XII century), which is also the first indigenous settlement of Manarola.
Corniglia is a village perched high on a rocky outcrop. The railway station is quite far from the town center, compared to the other "lands", perhaps for this reason Corniglia has kept all its charm intact over the centuries. To keep fit, I recommend the zigzag staircase that arrives on the paved road a few meters from the center or, for the lazy ones, the shuttle leaving regularly from the station. To see: the historic center of the village with its characteristic shops, the Church of S. Pietro built in 1330, the two beautiful panoramic terraces, the Marina beach, reachable from the "caruggio" in the historic center, the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Reggio (XI century) in Reggio and “N.S. delle Grazie” (early 19th century).
Vernazza contains an enchanting bay, a suggestive marina overlooking the main square, small romantic beaches from which to admire ever-changing sunsets and a historic center full of history. It is nice to walk the scenic half-way path that connects Vernazza to Monterosso, the view from above will leave you with an indelible memory. I recommend a guided tour of both the historic center of the village and the Castle, the latter dating back to the XII century. Also worth seeing: the Church of “Santa Maria di Antiochia”, built in 1318 by “Antelami” skilled workers, the alleys where influences favored by the frequency of traffic are visible, which led the architecture to take on a refined elaboration.
Monterosso is the most modern village in the Cinque Terre, an ideal destination for families with children. Large sandy beaches develop along this hamlet, most notably the Fegina beach, above which stands the "Giant", a spectacular statue carved in the rock. I recommend taking the promenade that connects the modern part of the beaches to the "old" one: a path full of surprises, including a German battery from World War II and “Torre Aurora”, now a gourmet restaurant. To see: the ancient nucleus of the historic center of the village, the Church of “San Giovanni Battista” (13th-14th centuries), the Capuchin Convent and the Church of San Francesco (17th century) with the cemetery above it, the Genoese Castle with its three round towers, one of these bell tower belongs to the Parish itself and the Sanctuary of “the Madonna di Soviore”, at 418 m. on the sea, of ancient origins and renovated in 1300, with a nearby Baroque votive chapel.