A holiday in Cinque Terre can be mesmerising in a number of different ways. Picture this: you wake up in one idyllic, pocket-sized seaside hamlet, surrounded on three sides by towering escarpments scored with terraced horticulture. To your left, several kilometres along the dramatic coastline, juts a piece of land, protruding politely into the ocean to place yet another, near identical seaside hamlet right on the waters edge. To your right, down an equally dramatic stretch of forested coast, you see… the same thing.
You start walking, up, up, up, then, mercifully, along a flat plateau. For hours, you stroll through vineyards, olive groves, and orchards brimming with lemon trees. Finally you descend down a steep incline, falling gracefully into the flanking arms of a seaside hamlet that looks suspiciously like the one you had hiked out from hours ago. Arriving now in the centre of this new (yet somehow familiar) town, you look to your left. Dramatic coastline, promontory, distant village. To your right: Dramatic coastline. Jutting village. It’d be unsettling if it wasn’t so beautiful.
However, if you are fortunate (as we were) to invest the time to truly explore each of the five villages that comprise the Cinque Terre coastline, you will learn that each apparently identical village has its own charm, delicacies, and lifeblood. When it came time to board the train, and watch each spectacular village whizz past the window one after the other in a matter of minutes, I definitely wasn’t yet ready to leave. We captured what we could, to ensure those memories remain as prominent as the coastline.
– words by Andy