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Cinque Terre, Rio Maggiore, Italy

Cinque Terre, Rio Maggiore, Italy

If you ever get tired of life, bypass the therapist and decamp immediately to Cinque Terre. Here five crazily constructed fishing villages, set amid some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet, ought to provide enough to bolster the most jaded of spirits. Buildings aside, Cinque Terre’s unique historical feature are the steeply terraced cliffs bisected by a complicated system of fields and gardens that have been hacked, chiselled, shaped and layered over the course of nearly two millennia.

So marked are these artificial contours that some scholars have compared the extensive muretti (low stone walls) to the Great Wall of China in their grandeur and scope.