Nestled in rugged cliffs on the coastline of the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre’s visual effect is breathtaking. This colorful quintet of ancient villages – Cinque Terre means Five Lands – will give you an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.

Located in the Liguria region of Italy, Cinque Terre has been declared a protected World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1997. It consists of five tiny fishing towns. The oldest, Montresso, dates back to AD 643, followed by Riomaggiore, which was originally inhabited by Greek settlers in the 8th Century fleeing raids by barbarians. Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola are the other three of this scenic fivesome.

Colorful houses and ancient vineyards seem to be scrambling over each other to cling to the terraced cliffsides, several castles dot the landscape and each village boasts a tiny church taken right out of a picture postcard. The extensive muretti (low stone walls) winding about the villages add to the rustic charm of the place. The structured fields and gardens have evolved over centuries and are a walkers’ paradise.

You can enjoy typical touristic delights on your trip too, diving or snorkeling in the marine park, or canoeing and kayaking. The boats bobbing on the placid waters can be rented for an idyllic sailing day if it pleases you.

The Cinque Terre is one of those blessed places on earth where you won’t see any cars – they were banned a decade ago. If you become foot-weary, you can take a ride along a 19th century railway line that travels through coastal tunnels connecting the villages. If you’re on a romantic getaway, do take a stroll on Via dell’ Amore, or Lovers’ Lane, a 1-km cobbled coastal path that connects Manarola and Riomaggiore.

The village trattorias offer mouthwatering seafood delicacies, wholesome, freshly-baked bread of all kinds, and the famous Liguria region pesto, prepared from the freshest organic produce. All in all, the taste of Cinque Terre is likely to linger on in memory long after your holiday is over.

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