Travel Europe

11-03-2009
Cinque Terre Hiking - Remote Chunk of the Italian Riviera

"In 1999 Cinque Terre National Marine Park was formed. A daring seven mile pictorial hiking trail was developed with rustic walkways, rock steps and risky paths"

By: Tom Ellerbe
In 1999 Cinque Terre National Marine Park was formed. A daring seven mile pictorial hiking trail was developed with rustic walkways, rock steps and risky paths. Gentle ocean winds combine with panoramic views and the smell of cactus flowers. Bold voyagers cover this extreme experience of over 7 miles (11 km) with endurance and passion. The small villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are connected by this nature trail. These colorful little towns become relatives by footprint.

The journey can start in any of the villages but the most popular grand tour begins in Riomaggiore and ends in Monterosso. Hikers collect maps, pay entrance fees and purchase snacks from one of the Marine Park Stations. The money maintains the trails and protects local nature and wildlife.

The most substantial non-resort village of the group of five is Riomaggiore. Begin the cliff-hanging march that leads past old WWII bunkers that once guarded the colorful rugged cliffs. Today, many German tourists with their "Alpenstock" walking sticks and large combat type hiking boots, ramble along the path.

Via dell'Amore welcomes the hikers as major construction work made this trail safe and inviting. After World War II, the trail was reopened and was known as a meeting place for the boys and girls from Riomaggiore and Manarola. Before the last century, Villagers seldom married anyone outside their town due to the isolation.

Manarola...a short 30 minute hike from Riomaggiore. Wander the delightful and gentle path from the church down to the harbor side park. This petite village surrounded by vineyards, ends at a small seaport. The quiet little train station connects to the village by a long tunnel that was once used during World War II as a haven during Allied air raids.

Corniglia...a quiet tiny town perched high above the sea cliffs...the only one of the five not on the water...with a mellow main square. A bold footpath zigzags up nearly 400 stairs to the town from the path below. The town named by a farmer for his mother Cornelia.

Vernazza...a pictorial castle and sturdy stone church overlook this favored gem of Cinque Terre. The path leads through the scenic village down to the sea and natural formed harbor.

Monterosso al Mare...the last leg of t his remarkable trek and the most challenging section. The trail from Vernazza to Monterosso is rough, risky and narrow, but easy to follow with caution.

The Trails of Cinque Terre are excellent hiking and nature challenges for travelers looking for new adventures along the Italian Riviera.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3171790

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Tom_Ellerbe

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