A product and the land where it comes from  August 2010
   

The Italian Seaside: Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre are made up of five small marines and surrounding towns. Here, nature abounds. There are ancient rocks, carefully cultivated hillside terraces and the beautiful water of the sea. A true Italian gem, the Cinque Terre are rich in colors, flavors and aromas.

TRAVELER’S NOTEBOOK

WHERE TO SLEEP

La Malà
A converted old house with charming guest rooms
Via San Giovanni Battista 29, Vernazza (Sp)
Tel. +39 334.2875718
Double room 150 euro, breakfast included

La Torretta
Elegant and well-designed, with an incredible sundeck overlooking the sea
Piazza della Chiesa – Vico Volto 20, 1 Manarola (Sp)
Tel. +39 0187.920327
Double room 135 euro, breakfast included

WHERE TO EAT

Dau Cila
Located in the old harbor, serving seafood in a chic setting
Via san Giacomo 65
Riomaggiore
Tel. +39 0187.760032
Dinner starting at 40 euro

Ristorante Belforte
Excellent seafood in a beautiful environment
Piazza Marconi 7, Vernazza (Sp)
Tel. +39 0187.812265
Dinner starting at 40 euro

Ristorante Santuario di Montenero
Breathtaking views of Riomaggiore combined with local cuisine
Santuario N.S. di Montenero Riomaggiore
Tel. +39 0187.760528
Dinner starting at 40 euro

WHERE TO SHOP

Cooperativa “Le Ragazze del Parco”
The best salted anchiovies
Via Servano 2/4
Monterosso al Mare
Tel. +39 0187.800013

Enoteca Ciak
The best wine shop in the Cinque Terre
Via Roma 4
Monterosso al Mare
Tel. +39 0187.817315

Cooperativa agricola 5 terre
Lo sciacchetrà doc

Loc Groppo, Manarola (Sp)
Tel. +39 0187.920435

Via dell’Amore Onlus
Body products
Edificio Polivalente c/o Stazione FF.SS, Manarola
Production and sale
tel. +39 0187.760046

USEFUL NUMBERS

Tourist Information
Riomaggiore Tel. +39 0187.920633
Manarola Tel. +39 0187.760511
Corniglia Tel. +39 0187.812523
Vernazza Tel. +39 0187.812533
Monterosso al Mare Tel. +39 0187.817059

There are those who visit by foot, walking along the narrow paths perched high above the water, and those who arrive by sea, experiencing love at first sight. The Cinque Terre – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso – are small jewels clinging onto one of Italy’s most beautiful coastlines. Protected by Unesco since 1997, the 15 kilometers that stretch between Punta Mesco and Punta Merlino are well cared for. Thanks to the National Park, based in Riomaggiore,  the beauty of this land is guarded by strict rules regarding the access of boats and how the hillside terraces should be cultivated.

Since anyone can remember, the inhabitants of the Cinque Terre have cultivated small strips of land on the steep hills overlooking the sea by means of the rock walls and terraces, built with much effort. The treasures of the Cinque Terre are real masterpieces of sustainability. The products of the earth and the sea are harvested and produced on site and can be enjoyed on the hidden beaches or along the via dell’Amore, the most famous pathway in the Cinque Terre (and in Liguria), connecting Riomaggiore with Manarola.

Seafood spaghetti or lobster linguine, mixed appetizer plate and a large serving of langoustines: the Cinque Terre are immersed in the sea, even at the dinner table

Seafood spaghetti or lobster linguine, mixed appetizer plate and a large serving of langoustines: the Cinque Terre are immersed in the sea, even at the dinner table

From the “sciacchetrà” to salt-packed anchovies, from the local wine to lemon marmalade, the colors and aromas of the area are unmistakable. The best anchovies (no more than 12 cm long) are fished off the coast of Monterosso from June to the end of July, when they travel two or three miles from coast to reproduce. Once salted, the anchovies are packed in “arbanelle,” glass jars with slate tops, and sold at the Casa delle Acciughe, managed by the cooperative Ragazze del Parco.

Referred to as the bread of the sea by locals, the anchovies are caught traditionally using a fishing boat with a large light to attract the fish, and then processed by hand. The anchovies must be layered carefully into the jars and weighed down with just the right amount of pressure. The quantity and quality of the brine must also be monitored in order to make sure that the anchovies are firm, flavorful and perfectly conserved. Salt-packing maintains the aroma and flavor of the fish when it has just been caught.  In Liguria, anchovies are often eaten with olive oil, oregano and garlic as an appetizer or even a main course.

The B&B La Malà in Vernazza and La Torretta in Manarola are two great places to stay in the center of these towns, which seem to slide down towards the Tyrrhenian Se

The B&B La Malà in Vernazza and La Torretta in Manarola are two great places to stay in the center of these towns, which seem to slide down towards the Tyrrhenian Sea

Hidden between the narrow, intersecting roads of the old marina, there is a food shop specializing in products from the Cinque Terre, including the delicious marmalade made with lemons from Monterosso – perfect on bread at breakfast or served with a cheese plate. Or try it with a good glass of Sciacchetrà, a white passito, among the best in Italy, made with bosco, vermentino and albarola grapes. Once harvested, the bunches are placed to dry on mats or hung from the ceilings of fresh, well-ventilated rooms. Loved by writers and gourmets – Giosuè Carducci described the wine as the essence of Dionysian elation, while Gabriele D’annunzio called it “profoundly sensual” – the history of this wine dates far back. Its name derives from “shekar,” an ancient Semitic term for fermented beverages. To buy the wine, head to Cantina Cinque Terre in Manarola, also home to the Sciacchetrà Museum (located on the main road heading up to the church.

Captivating year round, yet unforgettable when the sea is stormy, Manarola is home to the Laboratorio di Ecobiocosmesi Cinque Terre that manufactures a cosmetics line for the body made from natural products like strawflowers, lavender, lemon, mallow and rosemary. When in Manarola, book a room at La Torretta, a hotel inside a tower, offering incredible views, great interiors, as well as activities organized for its guests like boat trips and walking tours.

Pesto made from basil and pine nuts, body creams made from plants in the Cinque Terre National Park and the passito wine  Sciacchetrà are just some of the products you can buy to take home with you

Pesto made from basil and pine nuts, body creams made from plants in the Cinque Terre National Park and the passito wine Sciacchetrà are just some of the products you can buy to take home with you

Visitors to Vernazza, known for its Saracen tower and 14th century church, often head to Ristorante Belforte for the restaurant’s excellent fish dishes, especially the spaghetti with anchovies, mixed seafood and tomato – the restaurant’s specialty.  After dinner, you can spend the night at La Malà, an old Liguiran house that has been converted into a charming hotel. In the morning, take a trip to Corniglia to spend a day on the beach. The spiaggia di Guvano became famous in Italy in the Eighties, because it was where the younger generation went to experience raw nature.

Silvia Ugolotti – Photo: Marzia Gandini

A Gourmet tour with Academia Barilla

Academia Barilla and Sur La Table: food and wine tours in Cinque Terre

Academia Barilla and Sur La Table: food and wine tours in Cinque Terre

Recently Academia Barilla began organizing food and wine tours in Cinque Terre, together with Sur La Table, the Seattle-based retail company selling gourmet food, kitchen supply and cookbooks. The two-day tours include food and wine tastings in the breathtakingly beautiful National Park of the Cinque Terre.

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2 “The Italian Seaside: Cinque Terre”

  1. There is little doubt that this is considered the most remarkable places in the World to travel to. Trust me, save your cash and spend 3 weeks here. You will remember it!

  2. AJ Discala says:

    Great website…

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