Cinque Terre, the Italian villages that inspired the movie "Luca"
Young and old we fell in love last summer with the endearing story of 'Luca', a film starring a fish boy who discovers a completely new world for him out of water: Portorosso, a fictional town where we can see perfectly reflected the essence of Cinque Terre.
The film's director, Enrico Casarosa, was inspired by these villages to create the film's settings, since he himself was born and raised on the Ligurian coast, very close to La Spezia.
Situated by the sea and surrounded by vividly colored mountains and vineyards, the five villages of the Cinque Terre have become the obsession of many travelers in recent years. Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are small towns that during the 60s and 70s were covered in colors and that, thanks to the passage of time and the effects of the sea, have acquired a decadent and romantic air at the same time. Its steep cliffs, a cozy atmosphere and delicious Italian cuisine complete the trip.
Monterosso, the most maritime town
Located in a small natural gulf situated in the westernmost part of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso is the most populated and the largest town. It is divided into two fractions separated by a hill where the old castle is located. The southern part of the city is home to the center and medieval churches. In the north is the city with numerous restaurants, ice cream shops and a large part of the town's accommodation and hotels, as well as the beaches. The historic center of Monterosso has a lively life with a multitude of local craft shops and gastronomic proposals.
The orography of the area is beautiful but steep, with cliffs that divide the coast vertically. For this reason, the Cinque Terre beaches are highly appreciated for their beauty but also because they are rare. Monterosso's beaches are the best in the area, and Fegina beach specifically has a considerable stretch of fine sand.
It is also essential to visit the small port of the town, where the boats that connect the five villages of Cinque Terre arrive. Monterosso is considered the only truly maritime town thanks to its port, the fish market and some famous anchovy fishing grounds throughout northern Italy.
Vernazza, crowned by a castle
This town is located in the north of Cinque Terre, a pretty seaside town where colorful houses hang from the cliffs and topped by a tower at its highest point. Vernazza is located on the end coast of the Vernazzola torrent, which emptied into the sea and which from time to time flows again when the rains are more intense, notably affecting the facades of the houses that, thanks to the work of solidarity artists, do not take long regain its original appearance. Its seafaring air is palpable thanks to a small port where the boats went up to the main square, now full of ice cream shops and tourists.
The most characteristic point of the town is the castle of the Doria, now converted into a panoramic viewpoint. It is worth climbing the Belforte tower, a lighthouse that offers a 360-degree perspective of the city. Also noteworthy is the church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia, patron saint of the town and of Ligurian Gothic style that was built in 1318 and was expanded until it presided over the center of the town. Its tall octagonal bell tower is crowned by a tower of almost forty meters, visible from almost anywhere.
Corniglia, a Tyrrhenian balcony between vineyards and olive trees
It is the highest town in the Cinque Terre, a balcony above the Tyrrhenian, but also the most underrated of the five, sometimes listed as an unnecessary stop. Located in a majestic landscape of terraces of vineyards and olive trees, it is a fundamental point to understand how these small towns that have been isolated by land for so many years have survived, in addition to being an indispensable agricultural place in the region.
One of the reasons that lead tourists not to visit this town are the 337 steps that separate it from the train station. Of course, everyone who achieves it will receive as a reward immersing themselves in an impressive rural universe. Its viewpoints reveal its brothers, Manarola in the south and Vernazza in the north, from a distance.
Manarola, the first Cinque Terre village
It is perhaps one of the best known photographs of the Cinque Terre as it is one of the most colorful and lively towns, as well as being the oldest of all. Manarola is located at the end of a vertiginous torrent that empties into the Mediterranean. During the hot months, the most daring jump from its rocks transformed into trampolines, and others seek the most beautiful views on its wild coast.
The belt of colored houses that hangs on the cliffs was, long ago, a wall that served to defend the town from the attacks that came from the sea. Despite the fact that the castle no longer exists, some of the houses still retain some stones from the fortification. The town is articulated from a main street from where the different alleys, known as caruggi, and that give access to the houses and the vineyard orchards that reach the sea. Going down towards the port you will see the boats parked like cars between the restaurants and shops, a most picturesque and beautiful picture.
Riomaggiore, the visitor's favorite
It is the last town to the east and is usually the favorite of those who visit the Cinque Terre. It is not surprising, since along with Monterosso, this is the town with the most remarkable heritage, being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its name is due to the Rivus Maior torrent, nowadays covered to control its cabal, which carried a considerable amount of water from the mountain to the port of the town.
Like the other villages, Riomaggiore captivates its visitors with its colorful houses perched on the rocks and a pretty fishing port. On days when the waves are strongest, the spectacle of the waves crashing against the small port of the town is a fascinating spectacle that every great traveler wants to capture with his camera.
At its highest point of the Cerricó hill is the Riomaggiore castle, with enormous towers that recall its historical past. Its reefs are located in panoramic points that allow you to take photos of the town and its colorful houses.
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