Liguria Tours Lerici and the land of the Cinque Terre | Portofino, Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure

Lerici and the land of the Cinque Terre

Welcome to Liguria, a narrow curve of land on the north western coastal area of Italy: a wonderland with world-famous beaches, rocky coastline and a hinterland squeezed between the mountains and the sea. The land where Christopher Columbus, Mazzini, and Montale were born, chosen home to Italo Calvino, Liguria offers fascinating holidays in famous destinations such as the elegant Portofino, the fabulous Sanremo, city of flowers, and the Cinque Terre, just as in the vibrant cities of Genoa with its glorious past as a maritime republic, and the La Spezia. Liguria Cinque Terre groups together some of Italy's most stunning natural landscapes, scenery of such immense beauty that in 1997 the area was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. With its ancient towns, olive groves, and vineyards, all clinging perilously to the cliffs directly above the sea, this is a magical place to be explored on foot, walking along centuries-old pathways, made in the constant company of breathtaking views of the sea.

Suggested tour of 7 days starting from Rome with the visit of Lerici, Portovenere, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, the service is driver/guided and is individually personalized.
Lerici and Portovenere.
Of ancient origins, Lerici has been a strategic merchant port throughout history. There are several routes which one can take to explore the city's beautiful verdant landscape, dotted with old palazzi and villas; for example: from Aurelia to Tellaro and then on to Lerici. The Montemarcello Park, with a wealth of flora and Mediterranean foliage, as well as diverse fauna is sited in Lerici. To visit: the Underwater Archeological Museum of Caletta, situated between Maramozza and Maralunga. Interesting architecture can be seen in the Monumental Castle of Lerici, the Tower of St Rocco, the Oratory of St Rocco, the Parish Church of St Francis of Assisi, the Oratory of St Bernardino, the Castle of St Terenzo, Villa Magni, Villa Marigola, the Oratory of St Maria in Salea, the ruins of Barbazzano, not to mention the old churches of Lerici such as the Church of St Giuliana and the Church of St Marta. Lying between the deepest inlets of the Tyrrhenian coast, with mountain spurs and enchanting bays, the Gulf of Spezia, or "Poets Gulf", has bewitched poets, painters and writers with the beauty of its landscape. Worthy of exploration is Portovenere, a Medieval hamlet with the Genovese Castle and the Church of St Pietro and finally; the island Palmaria, which can be reached across the sea from Portovenere, and where one can take in a fantastic excursion from Terrizzo across the Via Schenello.
We start in the East, in Riomaggiore, a town situated on the outskirts of the city of La Spezia. According to the legend, Riomaggiore was founded in the 13th century by Greek refugees. This picturesque town of colourful houses, narrow lanes, hidden alleyways, porticoes and incredibly steep flights of steps appears today just as it did in the works of the painter Telemaco Signorini. From its commanding position on the hill of Cericò, the castle dominates the town. Even higher still, there is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero from where to take the pathway leading to the medieval village of Volastra.
The land of Cinque Terre
In order to reach Manarola, we follow the "via dell'amore". This impressive walkway, carved in to the rock face in the 1920's, gives the walker the sensation of being suspended directly above the sea, and is especially romantic in the early evening when the setting of the sun provides a truly magnificent display of color. Defined the "most beautiful pathway in the world", this walkway leads visitors, after some 30 minutes, to the town of Manarola. Manarola, with its Gothic Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, is perched on a rocky promontory just above the sea. A small harbour lies beneath the town, protected by two spurs of rock.
The land of Cinque Terre
The "Via delle Trasparenze Marine" is the name of the road leading to Corniglia. A pathway through a dramatically beautiful landscape of Mediterranean shrub, overlooking the sea. Corniglia, situated a hundred meters above the sea, enjoys a wonderfully strategic position from where to admire the other four towns of the Cinque Terre. Corniglia is famous for the production of an excellent white wine, the Bianco Doc Cinque Terre and the Sciacchetrà, Liguria highly-prized fortified wine. In the center of the town there is the Church of San Pietro, which dates back to 1334.
The land of Cinque Terre

The sight of the Torrione, Doria Castle, and the typical tower houses all reaching skywards above the olive groves, indicate our arrival in Vernazza. "U cantu de musse" (gossips corner) is the name of the town's main square. Overlooking the piazzetta there is the Moorish style Church of Santa Maria of Antiochia complete with octagonal plan and high bell-tower. Turning our backs on the boat packed harbour of Vernazza, we make our way to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Reggio, where the Black Virgin, apparently brought here at the time of the crusades, is venerated.

The land of Cinque Terre

Our journey draws to a close in Monterosso. In the 16th century thirteen towers protected this ancient town. Today, only three remain: the Torre Aurora, the Torre del Castello, and the Torre Campanaria. The historic center is dominated by the castle. In the Convent and in the Church of San Francesco visitors have the opportunity to admire masterpieces by Bernardo Strozzi, Van Dyck, and Luca Cambiaso. As if the picturesque streets of the center were not reason enough to visit the town, Monterosso also boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of the Liguria region.