Small villages with multicoloured little houses and steep alleys, set in the narrow spaces between the mountains and the sea
Meeting at your hotel and leaving for the so-called Poets’ Gulf. We’ll first reach Lerici, a small town showing clearly its medieval structure to the present day, with characteristic little houses overlooking the narrow “caruggi” (small alleys). Within the “borgo”, the Jewish Ghetto is of great interest, along with the castle. At the foot of the castle one can start a relaxing walk on the Vassallo Promenade. From here it is possible to reach, at a certain distance, the San Terenzo Castle too, and after such sights to understand fully how these places inspired poets such as Shelley, Byron, Petrarca and Montale.
Lunch on your own. In the afternoon, we’ll reach Portovenere, on the other side of the gulf. A walk among the typical, multi-coloured tower-houses, a typical feature of Ligurian old buildings, is an almost fabulous experience. From here we’ll reach the castle, built above an older, pre-existing fortification. One can enjoy an unforgettable sunset on the small archipelago, with the sun behind the three islands, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
Dinner in a typical tavern, than checking into a B&B (with breakfast included).
We’ll meet and go to La Spezia, to take the train that will allow us to reach the 5 small towns of the Parco of the 5 terre, and move among them at leisure in the following days. UNESCO declared the Parco of the Five Lands part of humanity’s heritage by UNESCO. We’ll first discover the small town of Monterosso al Mare, a place particularly loved by the Nobel Laureate Eugenio Montale. We’ll take a walk through the alleys of the “borgo”, and admire the alleys in the multi-coloured, medieval historical center. Then we’ll move to Fegina, to admire the “liberty” (fin de siècle) villa of the Montale family, and, possibly to reach the promontory that separates Fegina from the old village, to visit the complex defensive system with the citadel’s walls, the relics of the ancient castle with the two towers, and, on the rocky shore at the foot of the steep rocky elevation, the majestic Aurora Tower.
Lunch on your own.
Again on train, we’ll move to Vernazza in the afternoon. It is a magical, mysterious medieval “borgo” (one of the 100 most beautiful small towns in Italy), with narrow alleys enclosed by yellow, pink and red houses, these days often crowded with tourists from all over the world that are fascinated by its timeless atmosphere. It also boasts a great seafaring tradition, being the home of many navigators and war leaders of the medieval past. The sunset seen from Vernazza is a real marvel.
Dinner in a typical tavern and checking into a B&B (breakfast included).
Meeting and short travel by train to Corniglia.
Set on top of a steep spur of rock about 100 ms high, Corniglia is the only one of the Five Lands to be almost inaccessible from the sea. To reach it, one must take a long flight of stairs made of brick, the “Lardarina” (33 separate flights with 377 steps). The small town is overlooked on three sides by vineyards and terracings, and it follows in its urban structure the many curves of the main street, Via Fieschi.
Lunch on your own.
In the afternoon, we go over to Manarola, a real fresco in sunny colours, a small paradise of olive trees and vineyards. In this small borgo with its salty hues and atmosphere, the houses seem to spring out of the very rock of the narrow coastline. With the evening light, this intimate place becomes incredibly magic and romantic.
Dinner in a typical tavern and back to the B&B.
We’ll meet to go, by train, to visit the last small town of the Five Lands, the ancient “borgo” of Riomaggiore, all enclosed between two hills with terracings, that go down to the sea forming steep cliffs. All houses rise vertically in narrow spaces, and are painted in delightful nuances of colours. In the narrow alleys of the “borgo”, walking through flights of stairs, walls and arcades, you’ll be fascinated by the alternation of lights and shadows.
Lunch on your own and, in the afternoon, return according to your preferences.