On day 3 of our trip we took advantage of an optional extra tour to the Cinque Terre villages, also known as the Italian Riviera. Strictly speaking, we are no longer in Tuscany but in Liguria. We journeyed by bus through La Spezia to the village of Portovenere where we caught a boat which visited each of the five towns in turn.
Portovenere is at one end of a large bay containing many smaller bays and coves. It has been home and a source of inspiration to a long list of English writers and poets including Byron, Shelley, DH Lawrence, Henry Miller and Virginia Woolf, and it is easy to see why. A stunning landscape.
This first set of photos was taken at Portovenere.
Many people walk the trails between the five towns of Cinque Terre but because this was just a one-day side trip for us, we stayed on the boat until we reached the northernmost town, Monterosso, where we had lunch and a couple of hours to explore. Who knows, we may come back independently and explore more closely as we have really only touched the surface of everything that is to be discovered in this enchanting place.
The coast is notable for its steep cliffs and four of the towns are perched precariously on the edges of these cliffs, as you can see from the photos. There are no roads between them although there is, strangely, a railway line which links them. In some of the below photos you can see the regional motorway above the towns, a triumph of engineering with its viaducts and tunnels levelling the steep contours of the hills and valleys.
At the end of the day, we had another gelato and caught the train back through all the Cinque Terre towns to La Spezia where the bus was waiting to return us to our hotel at Montecatini.