Cinque Terre (The Five Lands), what they are and why visit them?
Even if you’ve never been there before you’ve probably heard of them at least once in your life. And if so, you have certainly thought: but what exactly are the Cinque Terre? This is an enchanting place, where you get a taste of the sea alongside ancestral history. The region is divided into five villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The aromas of this corner of Italy’s boot come from the delicious ingredients used in the farms and in the best known restaurants of the Cinque Terre.
So here are 5 reasons why you should pay them a visit this summer…
Cinque Terre: the views are breathtaking
This place is famous all over the world with thanks to the enchanting panorama that it offers. Despite being inhospitably rocky and steep in places, the Cinque Terre coast offers a particular beauty that is jagged, rough and never banal. A restaurant that lets you fully enjoy this natural scenery at its finest is the Belvedere, located in Monterosso a Mare, where molluscs and crustaceans are served in abundance.
Cinque Terre’s Sciacchetrà: A delight to drink
Sciacchetrà is a passito wine produced in Cinque Terre farms. This wine has been in production since the 16th century, from grapes found along the Ligurian terracing. The name, in fact, comes from the verb “sciacàa” (to crush, in Ligurian dialect), which means to press grapes. With notes of honey and a warm colour, this popular drink resembles sweet nectar. Gabriele D’Annunzio also spoke about Sciacchetrà: “That fierce Sciacchetrà that is pressing in the five pampinose lands”, presents itself with a beautiful golden color and with amber reflections.
Imagine sitting down in a Cinque Terre farmhouse to observe the splendid panorama, while sipping a glass of passito wine. For an authentic experience, book in the farmhouse Il Frantoio, in Chiavari, which is rustic and well-kept. Alternatively there is L’Uliveto , a farmhouse in Moneglia, with a nice outdoor terrace where you can sip the most famous Ligurian passito.
Cinque Terre Farmhouses: the seafood is incredible
The cuisine of the Cinque Terre is based around fish and seafood. Anchovies, sea bream, sea bass, squid, cuttlefish, octopus and squid are all used in Ligurian cuisine. This seafood is then embellished with flavours of local herbs such as oregano, thyme and marjoram. Accompany these fine ingredients with oil and wine produced nearby and you’ll fall head over heels in love with with Cinque Terre in no time.
La Nave, in picturesque Rapallo, gives an authentic taste to its fish dishes. If you want to try more modern seafood check out Food & Wine, on the seafront of Chiavari. The presentation of the seafood dishes of this Cinque Terre restaurant have an extra flair, which visitors absolutely love.
Restaurants Cinque Terre: colors, dishes and nature
The coast of the Cinque Terre that goes from Riomaggiore to Monterosso is high and jagged, covered with varied vegetation that is full of colours in the milder months. On more rocky soils there are many aromatic plants such as rosemary, thyme, chrysanthemum and lavender. These plants often colour the dishes in restaurants and farms of the Cinque Terre. Another protagonist in the flora of this area is the caper, which grows on old walls with long falling branches. Further from the sea you will find pine and chestnut woods, which give a more intense scent to the area. A visit to Cinque Terre is truly a feast for the senses in every way.
At Terrazza Letizia there are plenty of vegetable soups prepared with chard, cabbage, artichokes, potatoes and leeks on offer. La Lampara, in Lavagna, is a cosy restaurant, comfortably furnished and located in one of the most picturesque and colourful streets of this Ligurian village. The earth dishes are the strong point here, so don’t miss the potato ravioli with pine nuts and marjoram.
Restaurants Cinque Terre: people, as good as the food
The Cinque Terre attract tourists from all over the world with thanks to the lovely people who live there. The hospitality of the locals living between the two headlands, perched in houses overlooking the sea and hidden in tiny bays, make this landscape even more intriguing. And the kindness of these people, despite the amount of tourists, is undoubtedly an added bonus when visiting the region.
From the restaurants to the shopkeepers, the inhabitants of the Cinque Terre make the tourists feel instantly at home. The owners of M’aMa, a well-kept restaurant in the center of Chiavari, are a symbol of this tradition: passion and professionalism are the fundamental ingredients of this Cinque Terre restaurant in Corso Valparaiso.
So, when will you be paying a visit to these fabulous five lands?