The five villages of the Cinque Terre

The five villages of the Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre make a decent first at being Europe’s most beautiful collection of villages. Tall, slender houses in pastel shades huddle together on a series of dramatic rocky promontories, the village streets often no more than a collection of narrow staircases weaving past window-boxes bedecked with flowers, while the hills behind are home to picturesque vineyards. Mind-bogglingly pretty, it’s hard to believe people live here – it would be like calling a jewel box home. Yet one of the joys of each village is that it is not a museum piece, but has a local life – a busy piazza here, noisy little cafes there. Vernazza has claims to be the finest of the five villages, but really, that’s like arguing over which of five flawless diamonds looks best.

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