“On the coast of the province of La Spezia, between Levanto and Portovenere, lie five villages which are all but cut off from the rest of the world. They are accessible only by boat (or on foot, if you are a mountain climber). The Cinque Terre (the Five Lands), Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, cling to steep cliffs dropping perpendicularly to the sea. About all you see is bare rock. It would be hard to imagine terrain less propitious to growing anything at all; yet, this is where the best wine of Liguria comes from. The wall of rock which cuts the five villages off from civilization protect the vines from north winds and provides a sun drenched exposure to the south.”
-Weaverly Root, The Food of Italy, Atheneum, New York, 1971
Weaverly Root, journalist and traveler, was probably the first food writer to visit these enchanted towns on the edge of the Italian Riviera. Protected for a long time from mass tourism, this corner of Liguria in Northern Italy, is now easily accessible, by car or by train. A long trail, winding along the coast, connects the five villages. The images speak for themselves of the superlative beauty of the place. Most impressive are the wildflowers blossoming among the rocks, the stunning landscapes, and the fantastic food and wine.