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Hidden paths along the slopes of the Cinque Terre

Liguria Itineraries: Trails, small villages, agritourism farms: in the Cinque Terre National Park La Spezia.

Hidden paths along the slopes of the Cinque Terre


 

Liguria Itineraries: Hidden paths along the slopes of the Cinque Terre.

 

Trails, museums, terraces, small villages, agritourism farms: these are the elements that make the Cinque Terre National Park in the province of La Spezia an increasingly popular destination and one that generates the desire to discover a still-intact corner of the peninsula, where the area’s lively agriculture and economic activities are made stronger and enhanced by its link with the sea. The park is on the UNESCO cultural and environmental world heritage list, and offers many opportunities for discovering and admiring the land and culture of the Cinque Terre. Along the coast that drops steeply to the sea are bays, traditional dry stonewalls that form the terracing for vineyards, museums and medieval villages. Once you arrive –perhaps by train from La Spezia – the best way best to visit the park,is on foot. There are many scenic trails on the slopes above the sea to choose from. There is lots of walking to do, obviously with due care, but knowing that later on you can taste the typical fish and wine of this area.

Among the routes available, we recommend number two from Riomaggiore to Monterosso, known as the Blue Trail. You can choose different stretches of this route, each with its own level of difficulty and required time. In this way you can plunge into the Mediterranean scrub and see the vineyards at close quarters. And added to this, at fairly regular intervals you’ll come across special observation points (make sure you have your camera with you before you set out!)

The first leg of the trail is particularly popular, the famous Via dell’Amore (Love Trail) created in the twenties.
A short walk compared to the others, it crosses the cliffs towards Borgo Manarola and is still a destination for many lovers today. The path is composed of several sections, the longest being the one between Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, one of the most typical and popular with both the people of La Spezia and tourists. The first part passes beside the church of Santa Margherita of Antioch, an old Romanesque building looking over the cliff, and then crosses an area of vegetable gardens, vineyards and olive trees. After winding up and down, and touching various vantage points on the coast, the path reaches l’Acquapendente. The final section is downhill towards Monterosso al Mare on a typical stairway. In this village on Sunday, February 3, Carnival opens in the park. Celebrations will be simple, in keeping with the sentiments and traditions of the area, with sweets and the game of the ‘Pentolacce’.  On Sunday 10, however, the festivities will be held in Vernazza, where the agenda includes music, confetti and a well-filled Pentolaccia (in Piazza Marconi, from 15.00), while in Riomaggiore the festival will open at 15.30 with the children’s parade through the town’s streets to the accompaniment of the local band.

The characteristics of the park mean its lands require continuous maintenance, especially for the paths: for this reason the National Park of the Cinque Terre regulates access to walking trails with a ticket entry, the revenue from which is devolved entirely to the care of the land, facilities, and public transport with a low environmental impact. Besides permitting access to footpaths, the Cinque Terre Cards, valid from one to seven days, also allow entrance to the museums dedicated to local culture (such as the Sciacchetrà Museum in Manarola, the Memory Museum in Riomaggiore and the old olive mill in Groppo) as well as a visit to the anchovy salting plant at Monterosso, and discounts on local products purchased in the reception and hiking centres.

View the agritourism accommodation in La Spezia.

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