Monday, 17 September 2012

Cinque Terre & Deiva Marina - Italy

After two train rides from Pisa, we arrived in the town of Deiva Marina, a small town on the Italian Coast near the Cinque Terre World Heritage Site (Cinque Terre means Five Lands and it is a group of towns along the coast joined by walking tracks and a train line. There are no cars in the towns). The area is a very popular tourist destination as it has a very popular walk along the coastline through the little towns along the coast and perched on cliff tops. Our first afternoon in Deiva Marina and we had some difficulty getting to our camping area which is located a few kilometres inland from the train station. The website we booked through said there is a frequent free shuttle bus to the caravan park, but what they didn’t say is that it’s actually just the public bus and is always free.

After finally checking into out camp site, in another permanent tent, we headed back into town to the beach for the afternoon (where we saw an Ostrich randomly). The water was beautiful, clear and warm however once again the beach was pebbles rather than sand! The camp site we were staying at La Sfringe, was in a nice quiet location and had a good little store. It was by far the cheapest accommodation we could find near Cinque Terre at the time but was quite adequate. It is very expensive to stay in one of the 5 towns.

Our second day in the area and we headed via train to Manarola, one of the towns in the Cinque Terre World Heritage Site where we spent a few hours swimming around the rocks (a bit like key in Yamba but deeper and no waves.. and stairs down) and enjoyed some cliff jumping with some of the other people swimming there. After a nice swim we headed off to do the walk to the next town, Riomaggiore, along the famous ‘Lovers Walk’, along which all the fences were covered in locks to people had placed there as part of the tradition to ensure a long relationship. It was amazing where some of the locks had been placed, including out over cliffs and right up the sides of the hills where people would have had to do some hectic rock climbing to get to!

At Riomaggiore we stopped for a quick lunch and a look around the town, it’s the smallest of the five, before catching a train to Monterosso where we found a big semi-sandy beach for a nice afternoon swim before heading back to Deiva Marina for the night.

The following day we once again headed off on the train to the villages and this time started in the village called Corniglia which included 365 stairs up the hill to the town from the train station. On a hot day such as this was, it was quite an effort! We were rewarded however with excellent views and some good gelato. From here we headed back down the giant stairs (one for every day of the year apparently) and got on the train to Manorola for another swim around the cliff area as it was by far the best place we had seen in the area so far. Here we had an excellent lunch which included mixed seafood and pesto ravioli before heading off the visit the last of the towns Vernazza. This town was very damaged at the end of 2011 by flooding and a big land slide and it was still evident. There were some abandoned buildings and big area where not much was left. The section of the walking track to this town is still closed nearly a year later. Here we found a nice little harbour area where we had another relaxing swim before heading back once again to Deiva Marina.

Cinque Terre was perhaps the most picturesque place we had visited on the entire trip. The accommodation seemed to be quite steep, but we were there during the peak season, however the food and drinks were cheap and the views incredible…. Definitely a must for a visit to Italy.

After three excellent days in the area we once again got on the train, this time for a few hours of travelling south-east into Tuscany to stay at a town called Poggibonsi.

Beach at Deiva Marina

and again

Bec floating around off Deiva Marina

Our little tent

Cliff Jumping

and again

View to the swimming spot at Manarola

One of the little town streets



Padlocks on the 'Lovers Walk'

Corniglia up on the hill

View on the Lovers Walk

The Lovers Seat

Part of the walk

Beautiful clear water

Us on the 'Lovers Walk'


The 365 stairs at Corniglia

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