The Italian Riviera extends from the French border along the coast east to Genoa and south down to the Tuscan border. Do you love natural beauty, the sea, brilliant colours, seafood, vegetables, herbs and beaches? The Riviera is for you!
In the southern Riviera, at picturesque Portovenere’s port, tall houses, each a different colour, form a wall of vertical stripes. Houses in its walled centre climb up terraces to the imposing castle—perfect for sunsets and views! At the port, boats sail to Cinque Terre, about 15 minutes away.
In Cinque Terre, walk on paths along steep hillsides falling to the azure sea with terraces of olive trees, vineyards and wild flowers. Awesome views stretch out to sea and along the coast. We like to walk from Riomaggiore to Vernazza, (about 3 ½ hours), have lunch in Vernazza and walk to the last town, Monterosso (about 1 ¾ hours). We sit outside in a bar on a lively piazza and celebrate over a glass of local wine.
In pretty little Camogli in the old port I love artist, Alessandra Puppo’s gallery of colourful, naïf paintings full of local people going about their daily lives.
Some typical dishes: focaccia, pasta with basil pesto, savory artichoke pie, fish with white wine, olives, majoram, tarragon or rosemary, grilled mix of squid, prawns, octopus and anchovies.
Special Events in Cinque Terre
Monterosso turns yellow for its Lemon Festival (3rd week of May). Contests for the biggest lemon and the best lemon-themed shop window, and a feast of lemon dishes in the piazza are fun.
To celebrate St. John the Baptist in Monterosso on June 24, at night children put about 100 small, lit candles in the dark sea to float away like stars. Beautiful!
In September in nearby Levanto, the seven km Mangialonga walk takes you to taste food and wine in many pretty spots.
Weather, What To Wear
Rain falls regularly all year, but is heavier in October and scant in July.
Winter December: 6-12 C, 43-54 F, January: 5-12 C, 41-54 F, February: 6-12 C, 43-54 F
Spring March: 8-14 C, 46-57 F, April: 11-17 C, 52-63 F, May 14-21 C, 57-70 F
Summer June: 18-24 C, 64-75 F, July & August: 21-27 C, 70-81 F
Fall September: 18-24 C, 64-75 F, October 14-20 C, 57-69 F, November: 9-15 C, 46-59 F
Winter is quiet. Rain may close walking paths.
To do both swimming and hiking, May, June and September are best. Wear layers.
July and August get very hot–morning hikes only. Beaches get jammed, especially August. Poor time.
Early October is often warm enough to swim. Mid October gets cooler and wetter. Wear layers.
How to get to there?
Closest airports are Genoa and Pisa. Avoid arriving by car. Public cars are not permitted in the towns. Parking is far away. Take the train to Cinque Terre and bus from La Spezia to Portovenere. Check out trenitalia.com for train schedules, valid about a month out.
Getting from town to town
All year trains go to all five towns. Public boats run to four of the five towns (Corniglia has no port) from about Easter to October. Of course, you can walk the paths.
Mama Margaret’s Tours For The Riviera
Explore Piedmont’s Barolo wine country AND Tuscany’s Brunello & Vino Nobile wine country with a refreshing break on the Riviera. On this Italian cooking and wine tour, you can experience both of these top wine regions and discover Cinque Terre in a short time. Three different cuisines, wines and landscapes in three different and beautiful regions!
Discover all three regions in eight days. Or choose a holiday in two wonderfully different regions in five days: Piedmont & Cinque Terre or Tuscany & Cinque Terre.
Phone or email us today for more information or to reserve.