Centro Scene: Cinque Terre
Named for the five towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, the Cinque Terre is often referred to as “Fiat-Free Italy,” since trains, boats, and spectacular trails connect the villages. The five villages are so remote that they were only reached by the outside world about one hundred years ago, when the railway line was built.
Four of the towns possess an old-world charm: (from south to north) Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, and Vernazza), with narrow, crooked streets lined with colorful old houses stacked haphazardly on top of each other. The northern-most town, Monterosso, a resort town built to accommodate tourists, doesn't offer quite the same charm, but has a large sandy beach dotted with lots of colorful umbrellas, and of course, beachside restaurants and cafes. Not to be missed at the end of the beach is a big statue holding a terrace.