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Cinque Terre and Pisa

Marcy Williams Published: May 30, 2010

What a magnificent day!  We explored the Cinque Terre area and then went to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Cinque Terre is a national park encompassing five villages along the Italian Riviera.
Cinque Terre is a national park encompassing five villages along the Italian Riviera.
Manarola is one of the five villages of Cinque Terre.
Manarola is one of the five villages of Cinque Terre.
The 'walk of love' joins Riamaggiore to Manarola.
The 'walk of love' joins Riamaggiore to Manarola.

Cinque Terre is located on the west coast of the Italian Riviera.  It is a national park that encompasses five villages built on the steep hills.  They are connected by a walking path which can be quite strenuous.  We selected a tour that took us along a more even walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola.

The scenery is really beautiful, with the walk at the base of sheer cliffs that are along the water.  The rock formations, the crashing waves, the beautiful wildflowers, and agave cacti provided impressive vistas.

The most notable part of the walk is the “Via dell’Amore.”  This was named because of the route that was created so the young men and young women of the villages could meet and court without having to hike over the mountain to reach each other.  It has become a symbol of love, with thousands of messages of undying love painted along the cliff walls.  It is also considered good luck to make such pledges while attaching a padlock to one of the various wires or supports and throwing the key in the ocean below.

From Manarola we took a boat to Monterosso, and from there a bus to Pisa.  Pisa is most noted for the Leaning Tower, of course, and it is just as amazing as we expected.  To see this tower leaning at a five-meter inclination at its base really defies imagination.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa defies adequate description.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa defies adequate description.
The Cathedral stands in the "Field of Miracles".
The Cathedral stands in the "Field of Miracles".

The most surprising part of the tower is the fact that the corrective supports that have been added make the top almost straight.  Our guide Andreas described it as “banana-shaped” because of this.

The Piazza del Duomo of Pisa includes the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, and the Baptisty.  This is also called the “Field of Miracles” and each building has its unique Romanesque style and pieces of art that are definitely worthy of a visit.

While this may have been our most tiring day, due to the long walks, the sights we experiences were truly awesome!