In the remote coast of Mediterranean, there is such an idyllic and peaceful land called Cinque Terre. It means Five Lands in Italien and they are five characteristic villages hugging the cliffs along a short stretch of the Ligurian coast in the Linguria area. The five villages are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The tortuous coastline, the villages on different levels of hillside, and the magnificent view of the surrounding hillsides constitues the Cinque Terre National Park which was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
I took the intercity train from Genova and arrived at this wonderland in the sunny and scorching afternoon of July 18, 2020. This was the small train station of Manarola hiding between two tunnels in the ridges. From the platform the touristes could overlook the azure water of the sea. All the 5 villages are connected by the train line so it is quite convenient to visit all of them. Due to time limit, I only visited the two villages, Manarola and Riomaggiore this time.
The village of Manarola was accessible from the train station through an underground tunnel in just 5 minutes. The houses of the village were painted with different colors and were built on the precipitous cliff dominating the Mediterranean Sea since the start of the village. The arrangment of houses had highlighed the unique style of Cinq terre.
Beyond the coast, there was a small road leading to the restaurant at the hill top. On the halfway of the road, touristes could take the panaromic picture of Manarola at this place. It was a perfect scenic viewpoint but crowded. But everyone is patient enough to take this iconic picture of the village.
Walking slowly downwards from the steps, it was the dock of the village, harbouring many small boats. On the hill top, there was a restaurant called Nessun Dorma. It was a great place to order one drink like limoncello spritz cocktail and enjoy the beautiful view of Manarola.
Cinq Terre is famous for the luxuriant verdant lemon trees. The Nobel laureate Eugenio Montale has described it with the beautiful words like this,
The little path that winds down
along the slope plunges through cane-tufts
and opens suddenly into the orchard
among the moss-green trunks
of the lemon trees.
Except lemon drinks, Manarola also has the famous local wine, called Sciacchetrà which should be tasted by touristes.
缓步走下岸边台阶，此处便是村庄的码头，停泊了许多小船。在远处山顶上，有一家名为Nessun Dorma的餐厅。这里是点一杯柠檬鸡尾酒并欣赏马纳若拉美景的好地方。 五渔村以茂盛翠绿的柠檬树而闻名。诺贝尔奖获得者埃乌杰尼奥·蒙塔莱用唯美的文字如此描述，
The glamour of Cinq Terre also includes its wavy sea shore. Its upswelling tide pounds on the shore and the white waves flow over and hit on rocks like heaps of snow. At the dock of Manarola, there is one divided safety area for people to swim and experience the wildness of sea. I even saw some brave teenagers diving from the rock top into water; really crazy!
I had also spent 1 hour to walk in the village. Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre so there are many historical buildings here. Since their houses were built along the mountain, most of the time, I was padding along the tortuous mountain trail. Their houses had the decorations of warm color like red pink, and yellow.
This is one stone arch bridge in the village leading to one local residence. This bridge straddling one babbling brook had a long history. On the mountain top, there is a old church called San Lorenzo which could be traced to 1338.
There are many paths connecting the 5 villages of Cinq Terre. This is one famous walking trail between Manarola and Riomaggiore called Via dell’Amore, “Love’s Trail”. Many lovers had put locks with their names on the railings of the trail to memorize their precious loves. I firstly planned to walk from Manarola to Riomaggiore through the trail. Unfortunately, due to coronovirus, this trail was locked so I had to take train instead. At the train station, I really felt pity because I had to leave this beautiful place and I never knew what is my next time to come here.
许多小径连接五渔村的5个村庄。这是一条在马纳若拉和雷奥马乔里之间的著名步行小径Via dell’Amore，称为“ 爱情小径”。许多恋人将刻有他们名字的锁锁在小径的栏杆上，以纪念他们珍贵的爱情。我原本计划从马纳若拉经由此路步行到雷奥马乔里。不幸的是，由于新冠病毒，这条路被封锁了，所以我不得不另辟蹊径。在火车站不由得感叹无限江山别时容易见时难。
When I arrived at Riomaggiore, it was nearly at dusk. There are many restaurants and bars in the village. I could smell the intoxicating scent of wine from the valley when I walked along the street. The colorful houses here are similar with the ones in Manarola. I did not visit many places here. I just sat on the bench at sea side and gazed at the village and its sea shore and enjoy this peaceful moment.
At 8:45 pm, the sun started to fall down slowly. The setting sun illuminated totally the sea level and tinged the water and sky with gold. The stylish houses along the mountains were silhouetted against the sun. At this moment, all the touristes pressed the button of their camera to grasp this incredible beautiful view. The distant horizon line waded little by little under the afterglow of the setting sun, leaving behind the last faint golden color. The breeze hits the flutuating waves and scatters the glow into numerous stars.
When the night resumed her reign, the sea shore of Cinq Terre falled into silence again. The skyline became a total darkness and the crowd gradually dissipated. The only remaining was the twinkle of distant lights of the village and the whisper of visitors who was not willing to miss every moment of this beautiful place.