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The Five Villages of Italy

Rome, Venice, Pisa are some of the places that come to our mind hearing the name Italy. The Cinque Terre may be an unfamiliar place for us, located in the north western part of Italy has a lot of significance. The Italian name ‘Cinque’ refers to five and ‘Terre’ means villages. The place comprises of five villages. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The people there refer Cinque Terre as a land situated in between sea and sky.
The Story of Five Villages
La Spezia is the nearby town to Cinque Terre. The Treno pass valid for one day will be available there. It is possible to make as much journeys from La Spezia to Levanto by using this Pass. One such Pass costs 16 Euro. The train starting from the La Spezia will pass through the five major stations of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore and will return after reaching Levanto. Train services are available in every 10 minutes. The journey will take only half an hour and all these stations are so close to each other. Many rock caves are built on the way and this makes the train journey interesting. The view of sea from the train is also mind-blowing.
There is a path surrounding the five villages. A 3 to 4 hours walking through this path will take you to the major viewpoints and then to another village. An adventurous journey is also possible by crossing through a path above the hills. A boat from La Spezia will also lead us to Cinque Terre.
Riomaggiore is the popular among those villages. It was built as two parts. The upper part is for farmers and the lower part is occupied by the fishermen. But now these differences are not visible. The ‘Riomaggiore’ is named after an old river named ‘Rives Major’. The world came to know about this village from the works of the artist Telemaco Signorini and the story is quite interesting. Once, standing at the market of Las Pisiya he found it so much novelty about the dressing style of two women and decided to follow them. Thus he reached the village and has drawn so many pictures of this beautiful village to exhibit in Italy, France etc.
We need to climb a lot of steps to reach the hotel. The view of the village from there is spectacular. The point faced cross church is visible from the balcony. Behind it there are a lot of different colored houses, a peaceful sea and the sky. There is no need of searching for another place to see the view of sunset and sunrise. We stayed in a small house consisting of two rooms, a hall, a kitchen and a balcony. Most of the hotels here are traveller’s hostels. One room has 6 people.
Riomaggiore is a slanting land. Almost all the windows of the building are of green in color. The market seems to be much busy and it is an exact tourist center too. Most of the visitors are from Europe itself. Traveller’s hostels and restaurants are present on either side of the footpath. These restaurants are famous for the special seafood including crab, starfish and other fishes.
This is a small beach which is not at all sandy as like other beaches. There is a stone paved area near the harbor where the visitors used to sit. Many restaurants and bars are facing the shores offers a great evening for the tourists. Own sailing small boats are available here for rent.  The sea is calm and peaceful. On heading towards we can see the St. Johns’ Church which was constructed in 14th century. On that night there was choir in the church with guitar, piano and violin. The atmosphere got filled with music all around.
The next day I went to Manarola, a village famous for fishing. The geographical features are much similar to that of Riomaggiore. The view of buildings built on the rocks, the clear blue sea, the hills on the background etc. depicts that of a calendar picture. The windows are painted in green. Olive and grapes are the main crops. The raisins are used to make wine. A big wheel is seen near the church. This is the Mill wheel and the place ‘Manarolla’ is named after this. We can enjoy the beauty of Manarola by walking through many paths.  After having food from a stall named ‘Pavlos’, instead of getting Euro I got Thai Baht for balance. The coin of 2 Euro and 10 Thai Baht are almost similar.
Corniglia is an old village in Cinque Terre and is also the smallest among them. There is no beach in this village but the sea is visible from the top of the hill. Despite of not having boat harbors, it is impossible to reach Corniglia through water. The only ways of transport available are road and railway.
We’ve reached the village after climbing about 400 steps from the railway station. This wide path is called ‘Lardarina’.  The roads are very narrow in Corniglia. The village is surrounded by a rock which has abundant grape farms grown over it.
Monterosso is the village situated to the north-west of Cinque Terre. This is a very unique and large village in which the vehicles are permitted. It consist of the old village Borko and the new Fegina. The sandy beach and most of the hotels are situated at Fegina. Both the villages are connected by a tunnel. There locates a church of San Fransico.
The oldest among the villages is the Vernazza . In 2011, the village got submerged under water by due to flood. There are two viewpoints and both of them are damn spectacular. The steps near the harbor lead to a fort. This thousand year old fort is called Castello Doria and now there is only the remainings left. A round tower is present without any damages.  A woman’s picture is carved on a metal plate near the railway station wall and it consist an Italian writing too. May be it is about the rebirth of the village Vernazza after the flood!

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