The Cinque Terre are five tiny villages in the province of La Spezia of ancient maritime traditions, nestled in the region of Liguria.
They represent for me a mother land, as a great part of my Summer vacation in my earliest childhood was spent around them.
Going in the afternoon for an ice cream in the old town of Vernazza with its elegant architecture and decorative portals, and ending up dining at Gianni Franzi in front of the small port - as it was a pity going back too early.
Or how many times strolling up and down from Riomaggiore on the Passeggiata dell’Amore trail, as it was much more pictoresque than traveling by train.
Going by motoscafo to Monterosso to see some friends, and catching the train to reach some others in Manarola.
I even remember an unexpected splash in the waters of Corniglia - the only one of the Cinque Terre not on the coast, where the view of the sea is from the edge - after an endless promenade on the hills walking from Vernazza.
This is a rugged and steep portion of the coast, which goes up on stairs with high steps, whose colored houses of those medieval villages are abached on the rocks, where wild nature is interspersed with vineyards and olive groves.
A unique landscape, between lurking coves, promontories and rocks, overlooking the sea and the typical terraces, alternated between walls and vegetation, in an explosion of colors and life.
Having spent my holidays in those very uneasy but amazing places has reinforced some of my personal traits. For instance, not worrying about difficulty, because after this effort the view you gain is extraordinary. And then, beauty is not obvious, and if you desire it then you have to appreciate it not in words but through actions. A sunset in Riomaggiore is something unique and to admire it from the edge, well dear, you have to climb quite a lot!
Therefore, whenever I’m here I think how sharp is the distinction between a tourist and a visitor. A tourist scratches the surfaces of his travel destinations, whereas a visitor actively engages with the land. Which becomes to be the acid test here.
Very little comfort, the visitor must earn every single step and view around and scaling the cliff walls. There is no place for complacency and the more the nature shows its beauty here inviting to its scenery, the more the paths to enjoy this beauty seem to reject the human presence.
Those are places where nature is overwhelming. Standing up on the cliffs and staring at the green vegetation and the blue sea all perfectly integrated with the colored houses, I realize I have no needs or concerns, I feel coexisting with the land and think this is life in its essential components: beauty and nature.