Get a gaggle of Italy travel aficionados together for long enough and it’s likely at that they’ll eventually lament the tourist “take-overs” of places like the Cinque Terre.
Rick Steves ruined it. Everyone knows that.
Yet people continue to overplan vacations, scouring guidebooks like Steves’ to make sure they won’t miss anything they’re supposed to see—and assuring themselves that oportunities that come their way to see anything out of the ordinary will need to be passed up due to lack of time.
There are lots of roads less taken. When that train drops you off some little village of the Cinque Terre, you don’t have to follow the well-buttered tourist sheep. Look at the maps. There are lots of trails.
And go in the off-season. In November we had azure skies, passed more locals preparing for the olive harvest than we did tourists on the trails, and were able to hike as much as our ancient bodies could take, despite the shorter days.
Really, take a gander at your options on our Cinque Terre Map.
Take the paths less trampled. You won’t miss anything you have to see, I promise.
Added: for a good read about the Cinque Terre, a story about a man who visits his father in Levanto, see italy is falling: three days at the five lands.