Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mediterranean Cruise - Cinque Terre

Leaving the port of Livorno, we'll drive past Pisa and head on to Cinque Terre.  Our niece Meredith came back from her backpacking tour of Europe ecstatic about this spot, saying it was the prettiest of her entire tour.  So how could we not stop and visit here?

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a National Park.  "The Five Lands" comprise five villages.  We'll be visiting Manarola, Riomaggiore,  Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare.  (Unfortunately I don't thiink we will have enough time to take in Corniglia).

Manarola seems well known for its "Street of Love," a well-traveled seaside path that leads to Rio Maggiore.

After walking along the shore we will travel by boat to Vernazza. It has no car traffic and remains one the truest "fishing villages" on the Italian Riviera.  The town was fortified around 1080, with the Church of Santa Margherita constructed in 1318, and is studded with several churches, sanctuaries and castles to explore.

Monterosso al Mare has a castle that the god Neptune protects, and is a bit flatter than the other hamlets.  Depending on the weather and our dispositions, we might hang out on the pebbly beach, head into the Parish of St. John the Baptist, or enjoy a coffee in the square.

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