The villages of the Cinque Terre

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Monterosso Village

Monterosso village location in the Cinque Terre chain overlooking the blue Ligurian Sea. Find nearby hotel lodging in the northern town of Levanto. Catch the fast train to travel, hike, and visit the other four cliff-clinging villages of Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Riomaggiore. Train tickets are self-service purchased from a ticket machine at the stations.

The town is divided into two distinct parts: the old town and the new town. The two areas are divided by a single tunnel that caters to pedestrians and the very few cars in the town.

The beach at Monterosso runs along most of the coast line and is well used by tourists and locals. The beach is the only extensive sand beach in the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre derive their name from five stony districts between Levanto and Porto Venere. These are situated in the narrow indentations of the coast and rise abruptly from the sea shore towards the mountains. They are only a kilometer apart, but sky high precipices tower between them, running out into the sea and forming insurmountable barriers, so that it takes an hour to get from one place to another. In making the Via Aurelia, these invincible obstacles had to be avoided, and in order to pass this strip of coast the road was carried over the heights. Modern science at last tunneled these rocky masses by means of explosives, and thus brought into communication people whose only intercourse with each other and the outside world had previously been by sea. Stormy weather isolated them completely, for landing at these precipitous cliffs was then impossible.

The rocky chasms on which these places rise are so narrow that the train, when it stops often has both ends in the tunnels You are under ground almost the whole of the distance between Sestri Levante and Spezia, and one cannot help admiring the marvelous skill which has opened up communication with this district. If vou leave the train at any of these stations say Riomaggiore, and emerge from the tunnel you will see before you a town, grey with age built of unhewn stone, rising steeply up the mountain side and ending in walled terraces on which the vines grow. Sometimes it looks as if these could only be reached at the risk of life, as of yore those grapes in the Campagna which ripened on high trees The wine pressed from the grapes was celebrated of old. It is sweet and heavy, darker and more fiery than Orvieto, though very like it in taste and color. It is put into flasks, and as it will keep only a limited time, must be consumed without any great delay. The grapes literally roast in the sun on the steep cliffs and are consequently very sweet. In autumn they are brought down to the villages and spread out on the flat stone roofs of the houses, where they almost become raisins before they are pressed.

Source: Rambles on the Riviera