Why La Spezia
I was staying in Florence when I decided to visit the famous Cinque Terre. It is possible to do a day tour and on your own. I woke up early, took the train from Florence station to the city of Pisa. In this city, there is a direct train to the Cinque Terre, more precisely to La Spezia, a station southeast of the Cinque Terre. In La Spezia, you jump on the Cinque Terre Express. It is a train that runs between La Spezia and the five villages of Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. It takes you about two hours to get from Pisa to Cinque Terre.
I started this adventure by visiting the famous village of Monterosso. Although it is the biggest village, it is not the busiest. Here you can relax, listen to the ocean and smell the seafood being prepared in all the little kitchens. The only Cinque Terre town blessed with a long, sandy beach dotted with umbrellas of all shapes and colors. This northernmost town, with its abundance of lemon trees, is quite modern in comparison and does not offer the same old-world charm as the others. Here you can see the giant, a huge statue of Neptune by the coastline of Monterosso. The statue was partially damaged during World War II but is still in good enough shape to warrant a visit. Another attraction is the Church of San Francesco – Monastery of the Capuchin Friars, Built by the Capuchin monks.
The next stop was Vernazza. One of the most beautiful villages in the Cinque Terre. As soon as you step off the train, you can observe the beauty of this village and visit the two ancient clock towers of the town. You can stroll up to the Belforte Tower, the symbol of Vernazza, which stands tall overlooking the bay. As I went at the time in winter, it was almost deserted and you could really enjoy the tranquility of the area.
If you have time you can also visit Corniglia. It is located on top of a hill, and if you come from the train station you need to climb 365 steps to reach the town. An alternative is to take the bus that leaves from the Cinque Terre National Park. Take the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful landscape. The bay is lined with colorful boats that are used by the locals for fishing.
In Manarola, you can visit a 13th-century church via an easy climb. The church is an interesting mix of Gothic and Baroque styles. Notice the beautiful rosary window on the facade, just above the entrance door. And finally, go behind the bell tower for a great view over the city and the sea.
End this day on a high note with the most beautiful village of the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore. Take a stroll down Via Colombo, the town’s main street, which is lined with cafes, bars, and restaurants. Pass those pastel-colored houses that make perfect postcard pictures, and walk down the steps to the beautiful bay. There you can walk a path along the shore, where you can see the clear turquoise water. You can visit the Church of San Giovanni Battista and the castle ruins for the best panoramic views of the town and the sea. There are benches facing the sea, a perfect place to end the day watching the sunset.
After this day I realized why so many people talk about the beauty of the Cinque Terre. Unique breathtaking landscapes, here you breathe tranquility.