Do you wish to experience the perfect Italian village life? Imagine, the sea salt spraying on your face and the sea breeze ruffling your hair, while you stand facing the picture perfect coasts of Italy.
Explore the coastal villages of Italy and live the coveted country life of Tuscany, through a virtual tour with me. In this virtual tour, you will visit the Cinque Terre, which comprises of 5 picturesque coastal villages. Hike through Cinque Terre with scenic, colourful houses perched on cliffs, overlooking rocky coastlines.
Cinque Terre provides a peek into what life in an Italian village looks like. Taste the delectable local Ligurian cuisine, explore the vineyards, olive groves, citron trees and sample the famed Sciacchetra wine.
We begin our tour at La Spezia, near Cinque Terre. No visit to Italy is complete without food indulgence. So today, we indulge in a 6 hour cooking session, conjuring magic with local Ligurian cuisine.
Isn’t it fun to learn to cook a 3 course Italian meal after visiting a local market, choosing fresh ingredients, strolling the bustling streets and getting back to whip a delectable meal under expert guidance?
Imagine the aromas of fresh artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms and the charm of slow cooking in a traditional, quaint Italian kitchen. This culinary experience is what will stay with you for days to come!
The next day we are finally off to Cinque Terre. The best way to explore these five beautiful gems is on foot. This means walking through scenic paths, getting lost in cobbled alleys and stopping to catch jaw dropping views at every curve.
The adventure lovers can paraglide over Monterosso, or sail through the Cinque Terre on a boat. There are sailing/kayaking tours, where one can swim in sea coves, relish local cuisine on board and also learn to sail. For those seeking a greater adrenaline rush, there is also a mountain biking tour across Cinque Terre.
We begin our Cinque Terre exploration after arriving at Riomaggiore, a quaint town with a fishermen’s village and a peasant’s village. Here we will enjoy the slow paced village life at the harbour, explore the small cove with the rocky, pebbled beach and visit the Church of St. John.
Then we visit the Ripa Del Sole (upper part of the village) to try the local Spigola Alla Ligure and the Carpaccio Ricciola.
Sit back and enjoy the views as we begin our evening hike till Manarola also known as the ‘poetic village’ whose rustic charm attracts artists and photographers. Walk through the Via dell’ Amore known as the lovers walk for breathtaking views of the Marina and the vineyards.
In Manarola we will visit the Ligurian Gothic style parish church of San Lorenzo and shop for souvenirs from small artisan shops. With no traffic and no chaos, this is the perfect way to soak into the calm of country life. Go cafe hopping and indulge your taste buds with local cuisine. Visit La Cambusa for its Focaccia Stracchino or La Scogliera for its seafood (Linguine al Batti Batti).
It is now time to bid adieu to this picture-perfect village and head to Volastra in a shuttle. From here we will start on a hiking trail till Corniglia.
The first part of the hike will give us spectacular views of the vineyards and then of the coast. The middle track of this trail goes through forests. Corniglia, famous for its wine, is the only village of Cinque Terre not accessible by sea. Perched on a steep hill, it is characterized by lower houses instead of tower houses.
It is noon and we spent it without an agenda in Corniglia and then head back to Riomaggiore to watch the glorious sunset over the Marina, which is an absolute must.
The next day we are on our way to Vernazza, a photographer’s delight. Vernazza, the only natural port of Cinque Terre is known for its elegant houses. We will explore its beautiful streets, have coffee at the Piazza, taste the local wine (Vernaccia) and bay watch at Ristorante Belforte.
If you fancy historic places, walk till the Church of Santa Margherita Antiochia and Belfort Castle. Having food at Gambero Rosso is a must, known for its Carbonara di Mare (spaghetti with anchovies), Rombo al Forno, and Bavette all’astice (Ribbon shaped pasta with lobster).
Another great option is the Caffe de Pirata, run by Sicilian twins, located outside old town, known for its Sicilian pastries and Cannoli (stuffed on order). In the evening we hike till Monterosso for spectacular views of Vernazza.
The next morning we explore Monterosso, the largest of the five villages, known for its Citrons produce and the Lime Festival held in May.
Relax at the sandy beach, visit the Fortress and the frescos of the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista (Ligurian Gothic Style) and indulge in the Sfogliatelle with apples served at Pasticceria Laura.
Stroll across the old village and the recent village of Fegina on either side of the River Burranco, visit the Via Gioberti to eat its famed Pizza al Taglio and watch the sunset at Nuovo Eden on the promenade.
Here is where our virtual tour ends. Before you head back to work, make sure you put this fabulous destination on your bucket list. And if you are tempted enough, pack your bags and head to Cinque Terre for a country experience like never before.
Contact Tripoetic to plan your trip to Italy.
Author: Divyakshi Gupta (Guest Travel Blogger)
Her website is: http://quirkywanderer.com