The Cinque Terre is a unique area of Italy due to the remote location of the five villages
It has been probably 20 years since we have been in Manarola, a town on the Cinque Terre. The photo above was from our 1997 trip through this area. In our minds it was time to return! Last year friends of ours had a house swap in the Region and spent some time along the Cinque Terre. They told us they hated the crowds. Did we listen? No. Should we have listened. Certainly.
No I say that the Cinque Terre was wonderful from about 10:00 pm to 8:00 am, but outside of that window, it seemed to be one non-ending tour group attempting the push down the narrow streets of the coastal towns. About every 30 minutes a train arrives, the doors open, and tourists flood off the trains into the towns.
The Cinque Terre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Manarola is the second smallest of the five towns (Cinque Terre) and the second oldest. That is all the good news. At the same time it is one of the most visited of the towns. We have heard has Italy is considering placing a limit on the number of day visits to the Cinque Terre. We will see if we want to sign that petition or not!
In the 1800's a railway line was tunneled through the mountains and joins the villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. Now the trains are an non-stop feed of visitors to the small towns. There is talk about a restriction on the number of people per day who can enter the area because of overcrowding. I would be saying good idea!
One day I did make it a Cinque Day and traveled by train from town to town. The scenery is stunning but the endless crowds of visitors was a turnoff.
© Glenn Marcus
my travels in Italy