Exploring the Cinque Terre: From Pirates to Pesto

If you are searching for the ideal picturesque Italian scenery, look no further than a trip to Cinque Terre.  Cinque Terre translates to “five towns and provides a postcard-worthy backdrop as you hike through the hills of the province of Liguria.  In total there are 14 different paths through the mountainous coastline that fluctuate in difficulty, but all hiking trails offer the same gorgeous scenery.

The coastline played a strategic role in the Roman Empire due to its prime location in the Mediterranean Sea.  Trade prospered here, and in the 11th century a Tuscan family that presided over the area came across a rather intriguing, yet problematic dilemma.  Due to the towns’ success, pirates and barbarians constantly raided and pillaged the surrounding areas looking for a quick and effortless dime.  Because of this, the locals decided to establish their towns on the sloping, rugged terrain in hopes of thwarting the invaders.  By building dry stone walls and turning natural forests and rough slopes into cultivated terraces by planting grape, olive, and lemon trees, the result was a fortified chain of cities now known as the Cinque Terre.

When tourists visit Cinque Terre, they always come back with rave reviews regarding the atmosphere, food, and wine.  The abundance of olive groves produce delicious extra-virgin olive oil, which is the base of all local cuisine and used to produce the famous Pesto Genovese that originated in Liguria. Throughout the hikes, one might notice that mushrooms and herbs (oregano, rosemary, and sage) are rampant and not only serve to enhance the imagery of the beautiful surroundings, but also enhance the flavor of the scrumptious seafood platters.

Article by Jared Silvestri

Want to visit the Cinque Terre? Visit these  beautiful towns every Sunday with FlorenceForFun. Check out the trip details on www.florenceforfun.com by selecting Cinque Terre in the dropdown menu on the righthand side.

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