A Cinque Terre day trip from Florence is among the most popular of excursions and, as it encompasses one of Europe’s most spectacular coastlines, it’s not surprising so many people want to see it. But while most are drawn to experience those legendary views over the Ligurian Sea for themselves on a hike along the coastal path, there’s definitely more than simply charm and gelato to take in when you stop in each of the villages. |
Each village has its own personality, with quaint streets, authentic cafes and restaurants and cute shops, but there are also some lovely historic churches for the history and architecture buffs.
Here are some of them you may like to pencil in to seek out on your Cinque Terre day trip.
Set down at the main harbour of Vernazza, the gorgeous fourteenth century Santa Margherita di Antiochia overlooks the ocean and offers a serene ambience and a place of Catholic worship. Built in the Romanesque style of architecture, it sits on the remains of an eleventh century Gothic church. Dedicated to the local patron saint, its cool stone interior features three wide aisles and is decorated with artworks. There’s also an unusual octagonal bell tower.
Chiesa di San Lorenzo
You’ll find this one in Manarola. Dating back to the fourteenth century, the modest Gothic and Baroque style belies the importance of the triptych of artworks that is housed within. There are also some stunning ceiling frescos to admire and an ancient bell tower. You need to hike up a little hill to the church but it’s well worth it and you’ll also be able to enjoy even more stunning elevated views.
In the village of Corniglia you’ll be able to discover the Gothic architecture of the Chiesa di San Pietro. Its striking interior features gorgeous ornate frescoed ceilings, chequered marble floors and some lovely stained glass windows. Located in a small piazza, the fourteenth century church has been immaculately maintained and its modest exterior is in stark contrast to what you’ll discover inside.
San Giovanni Battista
Located in Monterosso, the church of San Giovanni Battista is instantly recognisable by its striped marble façade and is a fine example of the Ligurian-Gothic style of architecture. Set in the town’s main piazza, it’s one of the oldest churches you’ll see on a Cinque Terre day trip – constructed in the 1200s. A magnificent fresco depicting the baptism of Christ over the entrance is a highlight, and there’s also a beautiful rose window.
San Giovanni Battista
Just to confuse the issue, there’s also a church of the same name in the village of Riomaggiore. It looks very different, however, with its most striking feature being a Carrara marble rose window. Built in the Gothic style, it has two pointed arch entrances and the interior houses some important religious artworks, including a wooden crucifix by Maragliano.
For anyone who enjoys a bit of history with their hiking, a Cinque Terre day trip will not disappoint! There are plenty of stories to hear, monuments to visit and culture to soak up along the way. If you book on to a professional tour, you’ll have the benefit of a passionate local guide to talk to you about the region’s history, including these, and other, notable local buildings.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best Cinque Terre day trip itinerary. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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