After sailing through the Greek Islands, we took the next portion of the cruise along the Italian coast and French Riviera. Our first stop was the city of Livorno, Italy. From here, we could take excursions either into Florence or Pisa, but since we plan to be back in a year to see those, we chose to visit the Cinque Terre portion of Italy. And, we are so glad we did, as it is truly amazing.
Cinque is Italian for “five” and Terre means “Land”, and this area is known for the colorful buildings stacked on top of each other along cliffs and into small coves along the Mediterranean Sea.
In our tour, we traveled by bus, boat, train, and hiked on foot. Pictures simply do not do the the colors and scenery justice, as we visited each of the 5 villages making up the Cinque Terre.
After about an hour bus ride northwest of Livorno, we arrived to the sea side town of Porto Venere. This town dates back to the 1st century BC, and has primarily been a fishing village. At one time it was the home of Napoleon’s French Navy in Italy. This town is where we board our tour boat to see the Cinque Terre from the sea.
The village of Riomaggiore. Each of the small towns are connected by a railroad or a hiking trail. Also, there is a highway, as you can see in the bridge, but one has to drive up to the highway from each town…and, we did not see too many cars!
Last view of the beach before boarding the train to take us back….
On our drive back to Livorno to catch our cruise ship, we past these mountains in the distance called the “Marble Mountains”. For centuries, white marble has been mined from these mountains. What looks like snow in the distance is actually marble. And, in the foreground, is one of dozens of distributors for marble mined from the mountains. The legend is the Michelangelo himself would go to these mountains to hand select his marble used in his master pieces such as the Statue of David
The reds, the oranges, the yellows…all juxtaposed against green & stone mountains with a sea of ever changing hues of blues….I can see why this region has inspired many poets, lovers, and romantics alike. If you want to visit a postcard, then you have got to visit the Cinque Terre.