The Colors of the Cinque Terre

The Colors of the Cinque Terre

Mark Chamberlain
Oct 11, 2011

For part two of my Italian travelogue 2011 (last time was a look at Rome), let's take a trip up to the Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre. I'm a sucker for pink buildings that seem to tumble off a cliff into the ocean, and I've wanted to go there for years.

The Cinque Terre (Five Lands) are five small fishing villages that, for hundreds of years, were so isolated from the mainland by surrounding terrain that they were accessible only by boat — until the advent of the train.

The architecture of the small buildings there represents the most wonderfully organic growth by accretion, with clumps of buildings hugging the seaside landscape for dear life. These small buildings are very much akin to those in my favorite Villefrance-Sur-Mer on the French Riviera and the colorings are basically the same. The palette is sorbet and ochre and if you think that sounds childish, it's really not. Those pinks have a strong brown undertone so they're never cloying.

The last time I was in Villefranche I carried Ralph Lauren color chips with me and they were an exact match, though lately I'd probably lean towards Fine Paints of Europe for dirty pinks.


A Roman Holiday
Riviera Pastels
A Roman Palette
Great Rooms: Livia's Dining Room in Rome
A Palette from Pompeii

Images: Mark Chamberlain

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