Cinque Terre, Italy: “The Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make”


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The Beatles have said it correctly. Indeed, “the love you take is in the end equal to the love you make“. This is what I felt while walking along the whole stretch of Via dell’ Amore in Cinque Terre. This is the famous path that links Riomaggiore to Manarola, two of the beautiful 5 villages that comprised the Unesco World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre. The other three are Vernazza (my favorite), Monterroso al Mare and Corniglia. These five villages are also connected through series of hike trails and some of them are pretty tough, like the path between Corniglia and Manarola.

Corniglia is the only town though that is located on top of a mountain and not along the sea coast, and offers dramatic views over the whole Cinque Terre. I could probably say that that best pesto pizza or pasta that I have had tasted was in Corniglia. Maybe because I was lured by the friendly, enchanting smile of a young lady who offered me to try the famous pesto pizza in town. Of course, I tried to impress her with my Italian prowess and maybe it worked but I had to taste the pizza still. And no regrets because that probably sent tons of neurons into my subconscious making that one slice the most unforgettable pizza of my life!

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On the occasion of my second visit to Cinque Terre, I have decided to take things slow. Admittedly, the first one was accomplished in a rush. I still remember how it rained heavily  in Vernazza but it didn’t dampen my spirits and in the end, endeared me more to this small, quaint town. And also because at that time, I was in a tight schedule and one day was all I had. So this time, even under the scorching 40 degree heat, I found time to walk slowly and savored the thousands of messages written by so many lovers that have walked along this famous Via dell’ Amore or aptly called the “Lover’s Lane”.

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The Lover’s Lane was part of the train path that was blasted out from the cliff and became the path that linked between Riomaggiore and Manarola. That was also at the height of the industrial revolution in the area and somehow connected these two distinct, not-so-friendly-with-each-other villages. Indeed, the people of one village wouldn’t dare marry someone from the other village. Not until this path was created and people started mingling with one another which ultimately led to the first marriage from these two villages.

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The path was reopened again and became famous throughout the region. Visitors started writing notes on the wall and bringing padlocks with them and started their love pilgrimage. One writer, upon seeing these love notes coined the word “Via dell’ Amore”. It was even popularized by a hit Italian novel that told the story of a young couple, walking along the path and locking their love and fidelity with one another along the famous Lover’s Lane. Indeed, one of the attractions of this rugged path are the numerous writings and padlocks that have been locked along the barb wires and anywhere along this path. Reading all the love notes and taking pictures of these padlocks was one of the things that took my time away.

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A Korean Love Note at Cinque Terre

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The Via dell’ Amore is an easy path and perfect even for people with walking difficulties. The views along the cliff over the blue coast are to die for. It may not be as fantastic as compared to other trails but nonetheless exciting and this is where everything started from. I sometimes believe that love between two people is just one unnecessary object in life and just complicates things. But I am all for giving love, in general. It made me smile to hear a couple who had just come here after 20 years and still found their padlock along the Lover’s Lane. They were from Australia. And on this fine day, I couldn’t help but smile seeing all these rusty padlocks, and reading all these promises. If we could gather all these love, perhaps there is still hope after all. In the end, we hold all the keys to it- to all of these padlocks!

That was probably the most cheesy thing I have ever said and I am banging my head on the wall to remove this madness. But for all intents and purposes, I do hope that one day, you could all walk and feel the love along this beautiful coast of the Ligurian region, the famous Unesco Heritage Site of Cinque Terre. And please don’t forget to bring a lock with you and maybe if possible, take your better half, too. Ciao, ciao.:)

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Se vuoi sapere quanto ti amo…..

Guarda il mare e conta le onde!

(love note, Cinque Terre)

(If you would like to know how much I love you, look into the sea and count the waves..that’s how much I love you!)

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