We took the early train from Lucca to La Spezia because I wanted to be at Riomaggiore at that time of the day when the sunlight illuminating the colorful cliff side houses at a certain angle accentuates the uneven and dramatic perspective. But what should have taken us just a little more than two hours of travel, took longer after a couple of transfers and a missed connection; fortunately we still made it in time.
Riomaggiore is one of the charming and storybook like tiny fishing villages of the Cinque Terre that means five lands. The other four are Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, all located in the rugged portion of the coast of Liguria.
Paths run along the steep cliffs that overlook the sea making it a popular hiking trail between the towns. Trains and boats also connect the villages because cars cannot reach them from the outside.
For lack of time, my friend and I went to only two of the five villages and spent most of the time at Riomaggiore before walking to Manarola through the La Via dell’ Amore trail that got its name for its romantic setting and the picturesque landscape.
A couple of days or even more in the Cinque Terre is best experienced on foot hiking through olive groves and vineyards with great views of the ocean and is perfect for the more relaxed traveler who prefers the more quiet, quaint and less glitzy small seaside Italian town atmosphere. We were there in October when the weather was just right and when there were a few visitors.