Cinque Terre Trails Update August 2015

On trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, looking back at Monterosso

On trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, looking back at Monterosso

Hiking the trails (i sentieri) in the Cinque Terre is an awesome adventure, but you have to be prepared for the fact that some of the trails close periodically due to weather or landslides. However, it looks like most of the five trails are open now in 2015, except for the Via Dell’Amore.

It is worth it (vale la pena) to even hike one of the trails because the views of the Ligurian Sea are breathtaking as you climb through vineyards and crisscross around, up and down the sides of the mountains.

If you start at the trailhead in Monterosso, the northernmost Cinque Terre village, you will hike and climb your way to beautiful Vernazza in about 90 minutes.


The picturesque harbor of Vernazza greets you after your hike from Monterosso














You can stop for lunch in Vernazza, shop at the quaint shops in the small village, then hike to Corniglia. For your third hike, I have read that the trail from Corniglia to Manarola is officially open also–another 90 minute hike.  In the 7 years I have been to the Cinque Terre in September, this Corniglia to Manarola section has never been opened.

The next trail from Manarola to Riomaggiore  called Via Dell’Amore (Lovers Lane) is closed as of this post of August 9, 2015. This is the flat side-walk trail that takes 20 minutes to walk. It’s beautiful and easy, but due to the landslide in the Fall of 2012, repairs must be made.

Via Dell’Amore has been closed since October 2012. However, on April 3, 2015 they temporarily re-opened 200 meters of the trail for a few months, starting at Manarola going toward Riomaggiore, but now it is closed again for further repairs. Repairing the Via Dell’Amore is a massive ongoing project and we will just have to be patient. Or, if you’re in Riomaggiore you can try the panoramic walk around the village on via Signorini, which starts near the Riomaggiore train station, reached through the walking tunnel. There is usually a Tourist Information Center near the station. Sometimes the workers there are helpful and often they are not!

The best advice I can give is to be flexible. Hike the Trails from Monterosso to Vernazza, then Vernazza to Corniglia–trails that are usually open unless there is heavy rain. Then, for the safety of all hikers, they close due to muddy and slippery trails. I have hiked muddy trails and just moved more slowly, but only when they were officially open.

Wear good walking shoes or sandals. I have only hiked with Merrell or Ecco sandals made with a back strap, which is necessary. You must be able to climb 700 very uneven steps, up and down on these trails!  Wear sunglasses, a hat and suntan lotion! Bring water bottles as there are no watering holes on the trail. One hiker stopped my friend and said they’d give her $10 for a sip of her water!

Just be prepared and you’ll love it. Happy Trails! Buona passeggiata!  Enjoy the hiking trails of the Cinque Terre, “the five lands“.

 “Traveling is the only thing you spend money on
that makes you richer.”

Got Chocolate?

Chocolate Moustaches

Chocolate Moustaches!

Normally my Italian sweet tooth is satisfied with gelato and tiramisu, but this past year, Anne, one of our group participants discovered thick hot chocolate drinks at Antica Cioccolata Eraclea near San Michele Piazza in Lucca. When we think of drinking in Italy, we usually think of enjoying fine wines and espresso, but chocolate is also an important ingredient in Italy.

photo 8


Italian style drinking chocolate, cioccolata calda, is not the same as hot cocoa though. Drinking chocolate is thick but not that sweet. The chocolate flavor is rich, refined and velvety. Then to surprise the palate, flavors of orange, pistachio, piccante and many more are added to the chocolate at your request.

You can make this at home by investing in chocolate powder mix and a chocolate pot sold on the Eraclea website.

Chocolate Shop on Via Filungo, Lucca

Chocolate Shop on Via Filungo, Lucca

Enjoying the local chocolate shop on Via Filungo after a very full day of biking, touring and shopping, is a must. A happy marriage of orange slices, papaya or figs and dark chocolate is a sure way to put a smile on anyone’s tired face.

May your new year be filled with all things sweet, and may deliciousness permeate your life, literally creating THE SWEET LIFE, la dolce vita!