The Italian Riviera
The Italian Riviera offers a relaxed and enchanting experience, perhaps because of its history inspiring some of Italy’s most famous artists. The rugged coastline dotted with villages, cliffs and multi-coloured architecture is a sight to behold from a yacht. The village of Portofino offers a mix of designer boutiques and superb restaurants and the five unspoilt villages of Cinque Terre make up a UNESCO protected national park. From Genoa, down the Riviera di Ponente, San Remo to Alassio, this beautiful region is not to be missed.
SOFT HILLS DOTTED WITH OLIVE GROVES, VINEYARDS AND PICTURESQUE VILLAGES
Built on sheer cliffs above turquoise waters, the clutches of brightly coloured houses that make up the Cinque Terre (‘Five Lands’) were born from ancient engineering stunningly etched into terraces of vineyards and tiny gardens. Ruggedly beautiful and brimming with old-Italian character, the gravity defying landscapes set a dazzling scene on the glittering coastline.
Lying to the south of Portofino in eastern Liguria, the five tiny villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are dotted along the Itanian Riviera . The 18km stretch of astonishingly serrated coastline provides secluded beaches, enchanting cafés and a maze of crooked streets and pathways into the tumbling hills. Cars are banned from most of the Cinque Terre villages and undoubtedly the finest way to see them, as well as the coast that links them, is by foot. The Sentiero path runs through each village and in between it winds along cliff tops and down to empty beaches with breath-taking views of the rocky coast.
The most northerly village, Monterosso al Mare, is the largest and most modern of the five and is home to a selection of fine hotels and picturesque beaches. Enjoy some tempting gelato and wander through the trinket-strewn stalls before sampling a chilled glass of the famous local white wine. Walking distance away is the next village, Vernazza, the only one to boast a small harbour which is spectacularly overlooked by the ruins of a castle. Its café-lined square is enclosed by tall, shabby-chic houses, perfect for a lazy afternoon on your luxury yacht charter itinerary.
Sitting beside Vernazza is the only Cinque Terre town perched above sea level in a private hilltop hideaway, Corniglia. There is a choice of either 377 winding steps or a shuttle bus leading up to the town where you will be rewarded with staggering views and the region’s finest wine. Next up is the picture-perfect village of Manarola that offers a more cosmopolitan feel than the others with a scattering of bars and restaurants in the sun-soaked piazza where you can watch the fishing boats bobbing serenely in the sea.
The path that leads to the last and most southerly village of Riomaggiore is one of Cinque Terre’s greatest joys, boasting a beautiful stretch of overhanging rocks, sweeping branches and flourishing undergrowth. The village itself embodies old-Italian charm in its crooked streets fringed by tall, narrow buildings.