Complete Tour Description
Embark on an incredible journey to experience some of Italy's most breathtaking scenery. The City Wonders Cinque Terre and Portovenere tour from Florence will pack your day with an authentic taste of the Italian Riviera, where small maritime villages huddle near the sea and cling to the rocks in unbroken harmony with nature. It is no wonder why this area's history and traditions have been awarded the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO and inspired artists, writers, and visitors to absorb its delightful atmosphere.
The day begins with a short 2-hour ride on a comfortable private coach from Florence to La Spezia during which one of our top guides will provide captivating commentary on local points of interest as you pass from the region of Tuscany to Liguria. You will spot the massive Carrara marble quarries where Michelangelo used to go, and learn how the rocky Ligurian coast was settled over the centuries due to the hard work of its inhabitants.
The first ferry will take you across the 'Gulf of Poets' to the enchanting seaside town of Portovenere, famous for its tall pastel-colored houses and evocative views from the ruins of Doria Castle, where you will have free time to explore. See why this impressive landscape was so admired by Petrarch, Shelley, Byron, and Montale whose musings immortalized it, and be sure to try the regional specialty – pesto – where it was invented.
From here you will embark on a mesmerizing hour-long cruise up the coastline to the Cinque Terre, where the landscape is dominated by dramatic green hills that plummet into crystalline waters.
As the last signs of civilization begin to fade away you will begin to spot the vivid colors of the little towns overlooking the seashore: Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, the latter of which is our second stop.
Enjoy a pleasant break from the tour to try local flavors, such as the gluten-free chickpea flour farinata, or mussels with Cinque Terre DOC white wine and explore its little alleys. There is also an optional hike to the Capuchin Monastery on a summit that stands over beautiful rooftops, terraced vineyards and the sea. Beach lovers will want to make sure to bring their swimsuit, as the sand and emerald water will beckon.
Now it's 'all aboard' as you are taken by train to Manarola, characterized by its colorful boat-filled harbor and vibrant nature. Once again, you'll be able to discover the area on your own and even one final aperitivo to bid farewell to this extraordinary place in the rays of the waning sun.
Don't be surprised if you ask yourself as you head back to the railway station, reach the bus and return to Florence just how this dream came to be. Pinch yourself and remember that memories last a lifetime.