From Corniglia, up to Volastra down to Manarola

This morning we are set to start another hiking adventure and shall visit 2 Cinque Terre towns.

Wendy chooses to spend the day at the villa and will sit this one out!

The kids, Deborah, Kat and I leave for  the Levanto train station,which is a 15 minute walk from the villa.  Somehow, we almost get lost on the way but manage to race to the  station as the train is about to leave for  the towns. It runs every half hour.We board for  a very short ride,  hugging the seaside to the third town of Corniglua. Most likely this is one of the least traveled town as far as tourists are concerned. 

You have to hike a very windy road through some vtneyards and the town is way on top, I would say for a good mile. Somehow this appeals to my sense of beauty and isolation with very few tourists.

Walking to Corniglia – a view of Manarola

On the way we notice the way the vineyards are built. It is extremely steep and the walls were built in the 11th- 12th century for wine production. Prior to that era, a thick forest butted to the sea. The walls are made of various shaped stones with only dirt binding the stones together and a certain inward angle holding them up. The only trace that we are not  stepping back in time is the little upward motorized track with a little one seat contraption, used today to transport tools and grapes up and down these hills rising from the sea.

The monorail seen all over the villages

I’m somewhat awe stuck by what they’ve created and to this day, not much has changed. You still see farmers at different levels on their land tending to their vines!

Deborah, Kat and I – reached Corniglia

Some of the narrow streets- Corniglia

We finally got to the village of Corneglia. It is sooooo charming, it’s sitting way up on top of this huge bluff, from where you can see the town we are to walk to; Manarola.

We meander through small narrow streets where we see a few cafes and restaurants and arches. I decide to walk up and down  stairs;

every turn greets me with a bit of a surprise,

Perhaps a terrace overlooking the ocean or a lone majestic tree standing tall on the edge of the bluff, or some buildings in a courtyard formation, or a view of another part of the town  on the opposite side of the mountain.

Everyone is hungry, we decide to have our breakfast here. The kids choose the first restaurant they  see on a narrow pathway.

We carefully choose a restaurant with a view of the ocean called ER Posu Cafe. Delicious and very much like a huge AMERICAN breakfast which we will need for the walk we are about to start.

The impatient kids start the hike before we do! Then again, we like to stop often, take in the views and the way of life here. Josh calls me from the trail to warn us that we are in for a tough upward hike.  I don’t think I want to know!

Well he wasn’t kidding-

Kat starting the hike towards Volastra.

the hike is upward with lots of crooked stairs for quite sometime.

As we climb up, Corniglia appears like a pretty postage stamp!

To the left in our peripheral vision in a far away distance, we see Manarola. 

We walked through people’s bed and breakfast with colorful gardens overlooking the sea,

March up through a thick forest with ferns, tall trees, berries, small streams while a  few tourist wish us a Happy 4th.  I think we forgot it was our Independence Day! 

We eventually turn on the mountain  to another enclave. This one has got to be the most breathtaking piece of property I’ve seen so far.

The vineyard  envelops the entire hillside from top to bottom as we walk through it. I just want to pick and eat these green grapes, but they are not ripe yet.  

The best wine in this region is from the Vermentino grapes; a  light fruity white wine. They’re also an old stone structure in the hillside right in the middle of the vineyard! We walk, we stop often taking it in. Fortunately not too many tourist cone on this hike. We also started early, but now it’s getting hot.

We continue our trek always climbing up, where we encounter the highest town in the area called Volastra, my guess is that it’s at least 1000 feet above sea level!

We stopped and visit the church ( another 12th century building)  it’s kind  of funny how the confessionals are all open. I wonder how many people confess when everyone can hear and see them!!

The town is small with one circular

street and one corner store, their version of 7 11. We stop and get something refreshing before going downhill from here on out..

Downhill  is easy for me perhaps because my muscles are used to skiing. I just got a text that the kids have already reached Manarola. At this point it takes about one hour to get to the town.

This town is set steep on the hillside with a narrow  valley of restaurants going towards the sea.

Finally reached the town of Manarola!

We take the view street on the right of the town and observe beautiful the colored buildings that make Cinque Terre so famous! 

There is a very small beach with lots of tourists perched all over the rock formations and some swimming in the acqua blue sea. From our vantage point, this us a postcard kind of town, but they’re aren’t lots of shops.

We then choose one of the restaurants overlooking the sea and I order a fish, which of course here- it comes with head, tail and all!  We unwinded- had proseco and good conversation. After  browsing though the very few shops, we walk through the long tunnel to the train station to go back home.

Levanto’s town map as we arrive at the train station

It’s still early afternoon, we still have time to wash our clothes,, aahhh this  is interesting here. We have a tiny  slow washing machine but then we have to hang  our clothes downstairs as it drys naturally,  ohhh but it smells so good

Today was a leasurely  8 miler! 

We all decide to go for a swim. So refreshing to just float in the salty calm sea where not many tourists visit during the week!

After our swim, we have a Late dinner as it is customary in Levanto at l’Osteria Tumelin near the bridge. It was the perfect amount of food.  Wendy joins us, she relaxed all day!

It was just a nice calm evening watching the people walk on the boardwalk down below. Taking many photos. We decide to get up whenever tomorrow and just enjoy the area.

It was another beautiful evening. Tonight I open the huge double doors in my bedroom leading to the balcony and just enjoy the hum drum of this quaint little town.

4 thoughts on “From Corniglia, up to Volastra down to Manarola

  1. Although I did have a very nice day at the villa, walking around Levanto, and giving my legs a well deserved break 😉 … I am a little sorry I missed these beautiful towns! Love your post and the beautiful pictures!


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