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ITALY – Portofino and Cinque Terre

Portofino is a tiny town of cobble-stone streets, framed by hills of silvery, ancient olive groves. From the top of the hill, the views of the harbor and coastline are breathtaking. Cafes, boutique shops and “gelatarie” spill out into the harbor piazza. The portside cafes are a great place to sit and watch the glamorous yachting world go by. Very carachteristic is the mountain of Portofino that goes down to the sea crowning the rocky spur of Punta Chiappa  and the wonderful San Fruttuoso bay, guardian of the well known “Cristo degli Abissi”.

Further down the Italian coast, you’ll sail upon ‘Cinque Terre‘ – A succession of five coastal villages, all with the same spectacular views of the seas. These villages are less expensive and sophisticated, than their more popular sister, Portofino. There is a stunning and famous walk along this coastal route, linking the five towns, called “Via dell’Amore”. Cinque Terre are five miles of rocks, hundreds of kilometres of nature, crystal clear sea, viticulture, thousands linear kilometres of dry-stone walls (without any cementing agent) and extensive network of paths. These are the co-ordinates of Cinque Terre, referred to the five small villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Manarola.

Monterosso, in the Cinque Terre is just behind the typical terrace the viticulture lands. The main attractions are the beautiful beaches and seaside, with its rocks on the deep water of the sea. The village is made by an ancient part and a modern one, divided by a medieval tower. In the old part you can find the Saint Francis Church, that contains many pieces of art. On the hill you can find an old Sanctuary. The modern side of Monterosso is more touristic and full of touristic resorts like hotels and restaurants.

Founded in the 11th century, Vernazza developed through the century a strong marine tradition. The existence of many rich architectonic elements, shows that Vernazza was socially and economically superior to the other villages of Cinque Terre. From Vernazza there is a nice path that leads to Monterosso, leaving the centre and going toward the cemetery. The path is a bit hard in the first part, with a long down hill at the end towards Monterosso. Extremely nice is the nature you go through walking along the path that sorrounds Vernazza, with its spices and flowers.

Riomaggiore was founded in the 8th century by some Greeks escaped from the persecution of Leone II. In 1276 Riomaggiore went under the domain of Genova. The village grows around the river Riomaior, and has a medieval structure with houses and towers developed more in high than weight. In the recent years the economy of Riomaggiore has changed, becoming a very important touristic site, but still conserving its agricultural tradition. In fact, the shape of the land with its fertile terraces was fundamental for the development of cultivation of wine, olive trees, fruits trees as oranges and lemons. A very important production of this land is the famous wine Sciacchetrà, a quality white sweet wine famous all over the world.

Corniglia differs from the other Cinque Terre villages because is based on an elevate position above the sea. It is more similar to the inland villages respect the one built by the sea. It is located on a Cape , like a big terrace on the sea, from where you can admire the wonderful panorama of the coast. The main activity is the agricultural production. The Saint Peter Church, built in 1334, is one of the more interesting gothic architecture you can visit at the Cinque Terre. A very panoramic path trough the nature gets to Vernazza.

Manarola is a village with very ancient origins. Very particular is the little port in front of it, repaired from the sea by two big rocks. It can only guest small boats. Manarola is considered to be the most peaceful and quite village of the Cinque Terre, where you can find nice relaxing walks in the short path surrounding the village. From Manarola it starts a small path that gets to Corniglia, by a fifteen minutes walk. At the end you can admire a beautiful beach with with rocks typical of Cinque Terre.
Every year for Christmast, the 8 th of December, the people of Manarola prepare the biggest lighted nativity in the world on the hill in front of the houses: more than 200 figures and 12.000 lamps.

The types of yacht charter available in Portofino & Cinque Terre include all the main types such as motoryachts, sailingyachts, catamarans, luxury yachts and off-course the ever increasing super yacht charter. Like most of the Mediterranean, the Italian yacht chartering season generally runs from April to the end of October.