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Cinque Terre, Italy
Fast Facts
Boating & Sailing
Places to Visit




Things to Do
Points of Interest Nearby

Manarola, Cinque Terre


Photo by Nicoletta Marconi

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The Cinque Terre or five lands are exalted by tourists from round the world. For many, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must see on a first, second and third trip to Italy. What's the allure? The five lands - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore - are perched on a mountainous coast. They're surrounded by steep slopes of terraced vineyards and olive groves. They're set in a stunning natural location. The Cinque Terre, once reachable only by boat or cliff-skirting pathway, boasts crystal clear waters and one of Italy's best known hiking trails. Apart from Monterosso, which has grown in size, hamlets the Cinque Terre remain. And when the day trippers leave, they're deliciously serene. But make no mistake; there are no luxury shops, gourmet restaurants or five star hotels on this stretch of the Ligurian coast. Casual cafes and restaurants serve simple yet delectable local cuisine. Shops sell primarily local foodstuff - olives, wine and cheese. The quick-witted proprietors have turned modest apartments into modern bed and breakfasts complete with private bath, minibar and, in many cases, a spectacular view. Why bring the kids? There is no reason not to!
History & Culture
The history and culture of the Cinque Terre is closely tied to land. Miles of mule track and dry-cut stonewall tell a story of life built from the soil and the hard work required to produce a liter of wine and olive oil. Learn about Cinque Terre DOC before taking a sip the region's white wine. Discover local ingredients - rabbit, nuts, artichokes and olives - that figure prominently in traditional recipes.
Online maps are a great travel planning resource and a great way to get the kids involved in a family trip. Teach kids to use interactive online maps of the Cinque Terre to locate your your travel destination, plan your itinerary and plot your route by foot, boat or train.
Books are a great way to introduce young children to a new adventure and get teens and tweens ready for a family trip. We've compiled a list of books about Italy and books by Italian authors for children of various ages and with varying interests. What better why to begin a journey that a trip through literature?
Music & Sound
Italy has a rich tradition in music that goes beyond folk song and opera. Learn about Italian popular music as well as Italian singer-songwriters. Listen to Italian music online from Valle d'Aosta to Sicily. Discover trallalero, a polyphonic folk music that originated in Genoa and was made famous by Alan Lomax, an American musicologist. And when you've completed your musical inquiry and extend your exploration to sound. Hear the hum of a vespa, take in the sound of a local festival and picture the scene. Family travel to Italy is about sights as well as sounds.
The Herald Tribune and USA Today are available at most newsstands in Italy. And they are a great way to find out what's happening at home. But a trip to Italy provides an opportunity to read an alternative view on world events and gain insight on local happenings. Read Italian news online and brush up on Italian current events from politics to economics and from sports to entertainment. Read regional Italian newspapers and, in addition to discovering what the locals are reading, find local events.
Kids' Stuff
Online resources make learning lots of fun. Learn to say keywords and phrases in Italian. Find fun facts about Italy and the Italian region of Liguria. Test your knowledge before you depart and again when you return. Print the information you find fascinating and take it with you on your family trip. Explain your findings to your family members and use the things you learn to make your travel journal really cool.
Associations and non-profit organizations can be a valuable resource as well as a means to get involved. Find out more about a few of the organizations involved in the conservation of nature and the environment as well as the conservation of world heritage in the Cinque Terre.
Travel Trivia
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