Cinque Terre

Tucked away in the north of Italy, these seaside towns boast hiking among olive groves and hilly vistas alike. You'll enjoy the charm of the buildings and homes built right into the crevices of the hills. Peering down on the harbor and lights at night is not to be missed, and hiking the hills during sunrise down to the beach will definitely be a vision you'll remember years later. We've mentioned hiking, and the way to do it is through a walking path carved into the rock on the side of the hills. One section is named the Via Dell'amore, so ask your tour guide about it. As you travel the hiking path, you'll find a number of wine bars overlooking the harbor to try wines made right nearby. Restaurants abound as well. Sometimes, in the summer, this place gets pretty popular, so if you need some alone time, stroll over to the Gulf of Poets around La Spezia.

When you make your way along Cinque Terre, you'll notice a similarity in architecture of the homes. Some of them are almost like towers or castles. Like many parts of Europe, narrow streets pack together and cover different levels of town;we call the network of alleys between 'carruggi.' Closer to the water's edge you can check out the remains of battlements protecting from naval invasions, such as the Castle of the Doria.

Monterosso al Mare

If you take a moment to depart from the famous hiking corridor onto the road between here and Vernazza, you will be following close to an old pilgrimage path. The Madonna di Soviore offers one stopping point to immerse yourself in this important part of Italian history, the history of the church. As with many religious places around the world, you will be inspired by the amazing view from the Madonna di Soviore, too. Your tour guide can also point out the Il Gigante, a wonderful sculpture of the male form cut directly into a cliff's edge.


As you continue your trek within the Cinque Terre, another point of interest is how the residents 'moor' their fishing boats. Some areas, covered with the rock that makes this area so transcendent with beauty, make for not-so-easy boat storage. At night, residents use cranes to lift their boats into parking garages.


Once in Manarola, you may encounter one of the lovely vineyards, replete with fences covered in greenery and brightly colored doors draped with grape plant tendrils hanging down. Some may or may not be open to the public, so your tour guide can make sure that you have a chance to see a great Italian vineyard. The continued integration of religion into life here in Italy is quite literally built into the fabric of the land of Manarola. Your tour guide can make sure you see the nativity scene constructed on the side of a hill and explain the story behind its construction.