Cinque Terre have a breathtaking beauty and are probably on most Italy lovers wish-list.
For sure you have heard about the five picturesque villages perched on the mountains that plunge into the sea, for sure you have heard about the crystal clear waters and the beautiful, panoramic trails; but at the same time you probably have heard about busy villages and crowded trails.
Well, it depends on how you visit Cinque Terre!
Cinque Terre are a slow travel place
We warmly suggest you not to visit Cinque Terre in a day trip from Florence or with an off-shore excursion.
It takes at 2/3 hours to reach Cinque Terre form Florence and you risk to find yourself packed with many other daily tourist, spending most of your time on a train and elbowing in the crowded beautiful villages at the peak time.
Take your time in Cinque Terre
In Cinque Terre there are not monuments or museums, just picturesque villages and a fantastic, unique natural landscape waiting for you, so the worst thing you can do is try to visit it in a rush.
Cinque Terre are a very small and fragile territory that has to be preserved and not exploited by mass tourism.
Of course you must visit all the five villages, of course we suggest you to walk on the famous Trail N. 2, the coastal trail that connects the five villages, but you have to choose the best moment to do it, not in the busy central time of the day. The best comes when daily tourist leave.
The secret side of Cinque Terre
But there are many things to do in Cinque Terre that you can do at any time of the year, at any hour of the day, meeting only a few people on your way.
We already spoke about beautiful villages next to Cinque Terre, such as Bonassola, but today we want to let you discover a very secret side of Cinque Terre, the village of Campiglia and its beautiful perched trails.
Campiglia is like a balcony hanging over the famous cultivated terraces and the sea. Just a few houses overlooking, on one side the Cinque Terre coast and on the other the gulf of La Spezia. This place is also called Tramonti that in Italian means “sunsets” due to the view you can enjoy from the village square. When the weather is clear, from here you can easily see the islands of Corsica, Gorgona, Capraia and Elba.
You can reach Campiglia by car from La Spezia or by foot from Portovenere or Riomaggiore. No trains, just a small public bus; it’s not a tourist place.
That’s why Campiglia preserves its authentic soul, linked to the heavy and heroic cultivation of the land and that’s why some years ago people from here gathered in an association with the aim to reestablish and preserve the delicate balance between nature and human presence and activities in this particular territory.
They promote the maintenance of local identity trough the preservation of agricultural traditions and the introduction of new niche cultivations such as saffron that perfectly grows here and that you can buy in the local shop.
They believe this is the only way to save the dry stone walls, the narrow paths and that unique landscape created by centuries of hard work.
A network of ancient trails
Campiglia is crossed by a network of ancient trails that were and are the only way to reach the local typical terrace vineyards.
We suggest you to try the walk from Campiglia to Monesteroli. Going west from Campiglia on the trail n. 4 and then bending on the trail n. 4D toward the sea, to reach the spectacular, dizzy, sheer stone stair of Monesteroli, leading up to a group of ancient houses hanging on the rocky cliff. But be careful: there are more than 700 steps. To cover it all you have to be a little bit heroic as the proud Cinque Terre farmers.