Le Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre are a series of ancient towns strung along the cliffs of Liguria, north of La Spezia. The area is an UNESCO world heritage site and National Park. The five villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, each has its own character. It is possible to make a day trip fromCasa Fontana visiting a number of the towns and walking part of the trail that joins them. With the opening of a new station at Aulla Lunigiana, the best way to get there is by train. The round trip will cost about €10 per person. Timetables may change so check on www.trenitalia.it before planning your trip.
From Casa Fontana a short walk down via della Fontana takes you to the bridge from which there is a bus service to Barga-Gallicano station. There is a 6.35 bus which gets to the station in time for the 6.55 train to Aulla. At Aulla there is a good bar where you can get a breakfast of coffee and croissants while waiting for the connection to the Cinque Terre. We recommend taking the train to Monterosso, the most northerly of the towns, famous for its anchovies. From there there is an excellent and interesting walk to Vernazza, the next town south. Parts of the walk are quite steep, and in parts stone-stepped, taking you up through the vine clad terraces for which the area is famous. The vines produce an unusual white wine (Cinque Terre DOC) and a very sweet dessert wine, Sciachetrá, which is produced from grapes which have been allowed to dry in the fresh air for several months.As you arrive above Vernazza you will get a beautiful birds eye view of the church and houses clustered around the harbour. The walk from Monterosso will take about 1hr 30 to 2 hrs. The narrow streets are worth exploring but beware the cafés and restaurants charge tourist prices, particularly for those famous anchovies.
From Vernazza harbour you can take a boat further down the coast. The boat service links all the cinqueterre except Corniglia, which does not have a harbour, and continues to Porto Venere and la Spezia. There are also trains but as not all the trains stop at all the towns take care when consulting timetables.
The nearest stop south of Vernazza on the boat is Manarola, another picturesque cliff town where the fishing boats are hoisted up from the harbour and stored on the main street.
From Manarola there is a short, well surfaced and relatively level walkway along the cliff, known as the Via dell'Amore. The trail of under 2 km takes you to Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the Cinque Terre. From there you may take the train or boat to la Spezia to get the train back via Aulla to Barga Gallicano.
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