Iconic Cinque Terre

Some people go to famous tourist locations and are the most excited to come back with great pictures of the experience. And when those pictures are the “iconic” pictures for that location, they get really excited. I am one of those people.

Cinque Terre (literally “Five Lands”) is a group of five fishing villages on the northwest coast of Italy, between Pisa (of Leaning Tower fame) and Genoa (of Christopher Columbus fame). See map below.

These quaint towns were made famous by Rick Steves, who told the world how lovely they were, and they are now total tourist destinations. As shown in the map enlargement below, the villages are about 3-10 minutes apart by train. Four of the five towns, as well as the lovely Portovenere, sometimes called the “sixth” Cinque Terre town, are also connected by a daily ferry service.

Each of these six towns has at least one “iconic” photo location.

  • Monteroso, the northernmost town, is the most resort-like of the villages. As the only one with beautiful beaches for tanning, the iconic scene shows the colorful beach umbrellas with the background of the Mediterranean. And here it is:
  • Next down is Vernazza, famous for its castle tower and beautiful bay. The iconic shots for Vernazza are along the trails leading each way out of the village. It is also famous for shots taken from the tower, but it is closed for restoration. So here are the other iconic Vernazza photos.
  • Next is Corniglia, the smallest town, least visited, and only one without a harbor. A valley runs through the town, and the iconic photo is taken of the main portion of town from the other side of the valley. Fortunately, we had an airbnb with a beautiful balcony at just the right location. Pretty nice, huh?
  • Manarola has the best swimming area, and a lovely curving path out of town that offers a great view of the place, as shown here:
  • Many say that Riomaggiore is the most beautiful of the towns with houses that look like they are cascading like a river into the ocean. We spent the most time here, and have these beautiful pictures to show for it. In addition to the classic scene from the ocean, a second street above the main thoroughfare offers a great view of the center of the town. We ate my birthday dinner from this location.
  • Portovenere is larger and more sophisticated than the Cinque Terre towns. But as you can see, the harbor and the church on the point are the classic photos.

Yes, Cinque Terre filled my photographer soul. In the next blog, we’ll show some of the pretty parts of Cinque Terre that are unique to our experience.