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Cinque Terre, Italy: Walking and Sketchbook Journaling in the Italian Riviera

June 11 – June 17, 2018

Trip Overview

Join other HWS community members for a walking, hiking and sketchbook journaling trip to the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. This tour combines a walking-based itinerary along sections of the Cinque Terre coastal pathways system (3-6 miles daily) and guided journaling/sketching sessions with Kirin Makker, HWS Associate Professor of Art and Architecture. The Cinque Terre are a series of five small fishing villages dug into the cliffs where the Appenine mountains meet the Mediterranean coastline. A vast network of footpaths connect the villages, offering fantastic walks that meander through olive groves, terraced vineyards, gardens, orchards, medieval relics, and sweeping views of the Mediterranean. The final day’s hike will end with the spectacular and romantic views of the Gulf of Poets, which inspired Dante, Byron, and Georges Sand, among other literary giants, to sing its praises.

This active trip offers a unique and laid back opportunity to explore one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines on foot; to take up residence for six nights in Corniglia, one of the five villages of Cinque Terre; and capture the beauty of the whole place and experience through simple, fun, and creative sketching and journaling. No experience in drawing is necessary—just a positive attitude. The organized trip is short in duration allowing travelers the flexibility to tack on additional travel at the beginning and/or end. Lodging is in small studio apartments in central Corniglia, accessible via train from Florence, Genoa and other major cities. With kitchen facilities in the apartments, some travelers may choose to stock up from the local markets for meals on the go. Cross this glorious destination off your bucket list with us!

Cinque Terre in The Guardian (2014)

Tour Leaders

Kirin Makker

Kirin Makker is Associate Professor at HWS. She teaches introductory design studio; architectural sketching, drawing, and representation; and seminars in the history and theory of American city planning and architecture. She is one of several faculty from the Department of Art and Architecture who regularly take students to Rome, Italy for semester abroad programs focused on the art and architecture of Italy. She takes joy in teaching and inspiring creativity in others, and will always prefer to walk if she can get there on foot.

Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13 is Assistant VP in the Office of Advancement. At William Smith she majored in art history and minored in studio art. She completed her masters in Italian Renaissance art through Syracuse University’s Florence Fellowship Program. She is an unapologetic Italophile and foodie and lover of outdoor activity. She’s brushing up her Italian and looking forward to being inspired with the group.

Activity Level: Average

Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13

If you are not used to walking in hilly terrain the walks may be challenging. There are some more difficult sections and short ascents on rough surfaces, but the daily distances are usually less than 10km (about 6.2 miles; see the detailed itinerary). During hotter days the walk can be more demanding and this should be taken into account. To fully participate you should be able to walk for up to 5 hours a day. The terrain offers a classic landscape of small (although sometimes steep) hills, olive groves and vineyards and some days you will have shorter and longer walking options. A reasonable level of fitness is required. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – e.g. walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure.

Trip Details

Cost: $1400 per person for double occupancy; $1775 per person for single occupancy

What’s included:

  • 6 nights in a studio apartment with bathroom and basic cooking facilities on a twin share basis. Upgrades available (Please inquire for pricing and options that include: up to 4 people in 2 bedrooms with one double and two twin beds; 3 people in 2 beds and one pull out sofa)
  • Route directions and maps
  • Assistance from our onsite representative
  • Cinque Terre card – a two day pass (not required on all days)
  • Sketching and Journaling sessions with Professor Makker (optional but highly encouraged) – journal and pencils included
  • Train/boat tickets to access the 5 walks (where applicable)
  • Three (3) group dinners – Day 1, Day 4, Day 6

What’s not included:

  • International Flights
  • Travel to and from Corniglia
  • Meals not listed above
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Bus, boat or additional train trips for personal excursions. Allow around 20 EUR per person (more if you take a day trip to Pisa)
  • Travel and Medical Insurance (Both are required – see below)
  • Local taxes – allow EUR1 per person per day – payable locally

Medical and travel insurance requirements:

  • Every traveler must provide their own medical coverage while in Italy so check with your current medical insurance provider to see if you are covered abroad. If you are not, you can purchase a short-term travel medical policy online from a company like United Healthcare Global.
  • We also require that everyone has travel insurance to cover trip cancellation (not just trip interruption) in case you are unexpectedly unable to travel after you have paid for the trip.
  • Some companies offer a combined medical/travel policy if you need both. The best place to start the search for insurance is at http://www.insuremytrip.com/plans/index.html where you can choose medical, travel cancellation or both, and compare policies from different companies side by side.

Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1 Arrive Corniglia
  • Day 2 The Azurro Trail – From Corniglia to Monterosso (3.5hrs)
  • Day 3 Crossing the Punta Mesco – From Monterosso to Levanto (4.5hrs)
  • Day 4 Lerici and the Montemarcello-Magra Natural Park (3.5hrs)
  • Day 5 A Sea of Vinyards – From Corniglia to Volastra and Riomaggiore (3hrs)
  • Day 6 The Gulf of Poets – From Marola (La Spezia) to Portovenere (4hrs)
  • Day 7 Trip Concludes

Reserving a place on the trip

  • We can accommodate a limited number of people on this tour so book early to ensure your place
  • To reserve a place you will need to complete the online registration form. Reservations are on a first-come-first-served basis. Please note that alums and parents of HWS students and graduates, along with their guests, have priority in booking this trip. When we reach the maximum of 20 travelers, we will start a waiting list. If we don't meet a minimum of 15 travelers, the cost per person may increase by $50.
  • Once we have received your online reservation, we will email you the require “Part 2” of the registration form.
  • Within 10 days of completing the online registration, we require a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person.
  • The deadline for deposit is Jan. 15, 2018. We prefer payment by check but credit card payment can be arranged by calling Michelle Robbins in Alumni House at 315-781-3700. The deposit will be applied to the overall cost of the trip. In the unlikely event that the trip is cancelled, the deposit will be fully refunded.
  • You will find an option to pay by credit card on the registration form.

Cancellation Policy:
Once you have paid the deposit, if you cancel your trip before January 1, we may, at our discretion, refund your deposit if we are able to find a replacement for you.

If you cancel the trip after January 1, you will lose your deposit and you will be responsible for any fees or deposits that we have paid to vendors on your behalf that are non-recoverable by us. For this reason, you must purchase trip cancellation insurance (see above under “What’s not included”).

International Flights:
You are not required to take a specific flight and we encourage you to shop for the best fares from your city. The trip begins in Corniglia and travelers are expected to get themselves there.



Dates: June 11 – June 17, 2018

Cost: $1400 per person for double occupancy; $1775 per person for single occupancy

Register: Complete and submit the online registration form by November 15, 2017. Additional information (Registration Part II) is required. Forms will be sent to those who make a deposit.

Deposit: A deposit of $500 per person by Jan. 15, 2018.

Fast Facts

Visas and Passports

Visas not required for citizens of USA or Canada. Please ensure your passport is up-to-date and is stamped on arrival.


Italian summers are hot. From late June to September, highs of 95 degrees Fahrenheit are common. Spring and autumn are the nicest times of year. Specifically, April to early June and September to October are the most pleasant months to walk. Average daytime highs are around 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Special Gear Needed

Wet weather gear, sunscreen, good walking boots/shoes and sun hat - walking poles optional but recommended. (A comprehensive packing list will be included in the pre-departure information.)


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