Like a rainbow of painted plaster, the village of Manarola hangs onto the cliffs above the swirling seas of the Gulf of La Spezia on the coast of Liguria – the home of fine wines and a one-time haunt of Byron’s.
The Gulf of La Spezia is also known as the Poet’s Gulf – and for good reason. Portovenere and the villages of the Cinque Terre were often frequented by the English wordsmiths Byron and Shelly, as well as the indigenous poet Gabriele d’Annunzio. Portovenere itself is a beautiful town, made more so because of the vibrant colours that the houses have
been swathed in.
The Cinque Terre area is well known for its wines, although production is on the decline (just 346 acres of vineyards remain). The ‘standard’ white wine from the area is the delicate
Cinque Terre, but the same grapes are used to make a dessert wine known as Sciacchetrá. The five villages which make up the region have only recently been connected by road (previously you had to use the railway between them), though the roads are deliberately windy to discourage traffic.