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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Cing Terre

Just south of Genoa, banking the warm waters of the Mediterranean, are five small towns, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosa, making up a beautiful place called Cinque Terre. It is a place that time has not altered and where its beauty liesin the chipping paint and the old man smoking pipe tobacco outside the piz-zeria.Cinque Terre was one of many destinations for me this past summer while backpacking Europe. It stood out as my definite favorite.Cinque Terre, meaning five towns in Italian, was not a place that I expected to visit. In fact I had never even heard of it before. I went with my college room- mate, my cousin, and two guys we had met the previous night at our hostel in Florence. The plan was to do a day trip. We would go up early in the morning, hike the lush trails connecting the five towns and then return to Florence later that night, but we fell in love with the adventure, the antiquity of the place, the company, and that one day turned to two and due to a train strike, two turned to three.To get to Cinque Terre, you have to take a train to Pisa and then catch a local locomotive that takes you through tunnels in the mountains. After the average three hour travel time you have spent on a train without air conditioning all you want is to dive into the clear salty waters of the Mediterranean, and the tiny peepholes in the moun- tain passages that look out onto the sea just tease you even more, until finally after the longest twenty minutes of your life, the train drops you off on the side of a cliff with only the clear ocean below you – now would be a good chance to try your luck at cliff jumping.The towns here are built into the hills with terraces scraping across the tops for the cultivation of grapes for a delicious local white wine. The houses are oainted all different colors with only their shutters matching a solid green. There is only one main street about a block long and stops when the slope starts to get too steep. Within this block there are a few restaurants, a pizzeria,a bakery, a liquor store and food stand, and small shops full of nick-knacks, and if you go under the train tracks to the waterfront, there is a small outdoor restaurant, a shop specializing in boat repairs and rentals, a delicious place to find gelato, a marina full of colorful fish- ing boats, and of course the local pub topping it all off at the highest point of the town which also shares the best spot to watch the daily sunset. The houses are built one on top of the other into the hillside. To reach them, some may have to climb steep windy stairs, no matter their age, and they do. Men and women in their late seventies will be hiking up and down them multiple times a day without any fuss.Our flat in Riomaggiore was eighty steps up. It came complete with a living and dining room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen and a patio overlooking the most beautiful view I have ever seen. In the morning the shutters would let in the warm morning air, the birds’ calls and the church bells, which would be sure to wake you up every morning at precisely seven o’clock for mass.There are no real beaches in the towns sincethere is no sand, only rocks and crushed seashells. For water sports, people lay out on the rocks (they may be nude) and jump from the cliffs at amazing heights,which I finally got up the courage to do, although the height wasn’t as amazing. The people from there seem to be relaxed and content. They aren’t under the constant stresses that people in the States constantly put themselves under. They enjoy life and live simply, fish and drink wine.There isn’t another place out there like Cinque Terre. It is unique in its own right. The people embrace the tourism that does pass through, but they do not let it change their lives of their traditions. They live their lives in the old way, basking in the light of the setting sun and drinking away the last essences of the day until it is time to hike back up to their homes, go to sleep, and wake up the next morning to mass and their daily “old world” responsibilities.