Discovery Bicycle Tours - 1.800.257.2226
On day three we take the train to Riomaggiore and then follow a footpath that leads past the 1335 A.D. Montero Sanctuary (where we enjoy a bracing coffee) and then passing vineyards (where they make the famous local scacchetra dessert wine) and groves of chestnut and cork trees as we enjoy panoramic views over the Golfo dei Poeti (Gulf of Poets). Our spectacular destination is the ancient fishing village of Portovenere, which is famous for its beautiful rose and yellow painted tower houses, it's lovely harbor, and the narrow steps and cobbled paths that lead past the 12th century Chiesa di San Lorenzo to a breathtaking view of the entire coast.
The food and accommodations on this tour are superb. Our first two nights are at the Hotel Margherita in Monterosso and our third night is at the Grand Hotel in Portovenere. You will enjoy dinners at two superb local restaurants (one night you are "on your own"). Fishing and wine making remain the traditional industries here, and as a result bountiful seafood, antipasti, fresh herbs, colorful produce, local fish specialties, and pesto (made from local pine nuts) will be on offer. You might also be tempted to try local favorites like taglierini with tomato, pecorino, pine nuts and baby shrimp, or seafood carpaccio made with country vegetables and the daily catch. You will want to complement your meals with the local dry white wines from Manarola, the famous late-harvest dessert wine (Sciacchetra), or limoncino, the wondrously sweet after dinner liquor made from local lemons.
Finally, and best of all, you will be led on this tour by one of the very best! Rosita Menghi has been leading walking tours in the Cinque Terre for many years and her intimate knowledge and love of all things, places, and people Italian will assure that your vacation is a visual, culinary, and cultural delight. A quote from a Discovery Bicycle Tours' guest says it best. "On top of the usual Discovery Bicycle Tours (formerly Bike Vermont) professional care and well-thought-out experience, Rosita added the invaluable personal touch of helping us get to know Italy. From the food to wine, history, and culture she allowed us to experience Italy on a level we never could have on our own."
Please call 1-800-257-2226 for more information and to make reservations.
Imagine five remote and beautiful fishing villages scattered along a rugged mountainous coast. These villages are surrounded by steeply terraced vineyards, groves of lemon trees and pine forests that cling to the sides of precipitous hills leading down to the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean sea! What makes this all so extra special for the walker and hiker is that these are all wonderfully connected by an ancient system of breathtaking footpaths that links them together...and that is where we spend our days!
Our walking takes you to all five villages...each its own unique destination...as we amble along well worn pathways passing through olive groves, terraced vineyards, and pine forests. We enjoy marvelous views of the sea where fishing boats bring in their rich hauls of anchovies, mussels, squid, octopus, and shellfish.
Our base is Monterosso, and after a brief introduction to the area, we hike 2 1/2 miles along the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail) to Vernazza. Vernazza hugs a rocky headland above a small harbor where we are treated to brightly painted fisherman's houses and small colorful boats bobbing in the water.
On our second day we walk first to Corniglia, the smallest and most remote of the villages where narrow lanes lead through the cliff side and stairways lead to La Torre, a medieval lookout. Then on to lunch beside the harbor in Manarola, a small charming seaside town that is noted for its lovely vineyards. Here, pastel houses seem to rise one on top of the other while above them you will see the region's most productive vineyards. From Manarola we follow the famous Via dell'Amore (Path of Love) that winds its way to Riomaggiore, following along the cliff side and through red wild valerian, olive trees, and yellow lemon trees surrounded by rosemary. Here you will enjoy the vivid multicolored houses piling up the steep slopes above a peaceful and romantic harbor. Our return is by way of a local train that tunnels its way back along the coast to Monterosso.