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Maurice Greer’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 28 Oct 2009

Location: Rapallo, Italy

MapToday we took the train south to the region known as Cinque Terre (five lands) which has five old fishing villages separated by a few km each. These villages from the middle ages were isolated from the rest of Italy because of the rough mountainous terrain and were only connected when the railway was tunnelled through. In some villages the railway station is only partially open to the sky and the end of the platform is inside a tunnel. We got off the train first at the middle village of Corniglia which is set high up on a cliff. We took the local bus up the steep hill to the village centre and walked through the narrow streets, a lot of them just steps, admiring the beautiful views to the sea and the mountains which are extensively terraced for growing vegetables and vines. We got back on the train to travel to the villages of Manarola and Riomaggiore, the most southerly village and later visited Vernazza and Monterossa al Mare, the most northerly village, on our return trip to Rapallo. Other than Corniglia, all the other four villages are at the coast and have harbours for small fishing boats. Common themes for all the villages include narrow streets and steps, stone paved streets, pastel coloured buildings, prolific vegetation growth; especially aloe-vera plants. Monterossa al Mare has the only beach worth mentioning, though it has pebbles, and there is a modern promenade that leads from the train station through a tunnel to the village centre. The train makes it very easy to travel to all the villages but the hiking enthusiast can take the “short” walking trail which takes six hours. We returned to Rapallo after dark and had dinner and a last walk along the promenade of this lovely town.