An overcast sky accompanied us on the morning of our Cinque Terre boat trip, with storms predicted for late afternoon. We passed Scoglio Ferale, the white cross on top is in memory of Luigi Garavaglio, a navy topographer who died when he fell from the rock while working in 1911.
The cliffs of Porto Venere and Palmaria Island faded in the sea mist as we moved further along the coast.
Farmhouses clung impossibly to cliffs
threatening to crumble with the next deluge.
The first port of call was the village of Riomaggiore, we would come back here for aperitivo on the return journey (that’s another post).
The five villages of the Cinque Terre are connected by a hiking trail, the 1km stretch between Riomaggiore and Manarola is known as Via dell’Amore or Lovers’ Lane. It dates back to the early 20th century when the railway was under construction and apparently was a place for lovers from the two villages to meet for romantic trysts. Unfortunately, this section has been closed since September 2012 when four women were injured in a rockslide and isn’t set to reopen until 2023.
The stone walls and buildings of Manarola are fortress like, designed to deter pirates in ancient times.
We had decided not to visit Manarola as time is limited on a one day cruise. Instead, we admired the village from the boat along with the stunning ‘zebra’ rocks as we left the harbour.
It wasn’t long before another group of houses appeared in the distance.
Corniglia, the middle village of the Cinque Terre, is the only one without a port. Reliant on farming rather than fishing, the terraced hillsides certainly look challenging. Not to mention the 370 steps to the sea.
The residents of the next village, Vernazza, are no strangers to farming on the steep slopes, either.
It was time to replenish with coffee and cake, a perfect reason to explore this village….