Exploring by Sea: Cinque Terre and Porto Venere.
Cinque Terre remains a remote jewel in the heart of the Mediterranean. There is a long history of the families that have lived in these five ‘lands’ who have fought hard to keep these towns owned by the people who dwell here. Once only accessible by sea, this rugged coastline is a perfect place to take a sailing tour to see the terraced green hills, explore ancient villages and discover beautiful natural wonders.
Monterosso al Mare is a perfect destination to start from. With its large sandy beach to soak up the sun, visitors can walk through a tunnel back to medieval times in Old Town. The trailhead begins in Monterosso to hike through the five villages. From here sailing south there are more adventures to be had.
Traveling by sea shows life as it has been in this area for centuries: small fishing boats netting the catch of the day, harvesters on the hills gathering grapes or olives, townspeople walking the car-free streets. Catch the brilliant glimpses of the villages Vernazza (Rick Steve’s favorite), Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore with its colorful tower houses that line the streets. But if the sea calls for further exploration, dipping further south brings beauty and bays that hold a rich history.
Heading south to Porto Venere reveals natural treasures. Discover the famous sea caves that inspired Lord Byron, and the iconic St. Peter Church facing the Bay of Poets. Or travel to nearby islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto which hold the ruins of castles, fortresses and churches. Taking a swim or snorkel can be a satisfying quench from the Mediterranean sun. This part of the Italian Rivera is truly something to behold; once created as protection from marauding pirates, now preserved for people to enjoy for all time.