-E.B. White

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ITALY - SEPT. 15TH & 16TH - CINQUE TERRE (pronounced Chink-wey Tay-reh) is a remote chunk of the Italian Riviera with not a museum in sight, just sun, sea and wine. It is made up of five towns, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.  The towns were isolated until the last century and are now connected by trains and hiking trails.  So a quick, early exit from Rome and we were on our way only to be slowed to a snails pace (an hour delay) due to an accident on the autostrada.  This is another area where having a car was not a good idea.  No driving is allowed in the small villages (unless you are delivering goods) so you pay for parking at the top of the town and leave your car.   
Riomaggiore - the most substantial non-resort town of the group. 
(This is the town we stayed in)
Manarola - a tiny and picturesque town.
Cornigilia - a quiet town and the only one of the five not on the water.

Vernazza - with the closest thing to a natural harbor, overseen by a ruined castle - this town is the jewel of them all.  Families are tight and go back centuries.
Monterosso al Mare - is basically a resort with lots of hotels, umbrellas and beach front.

Arrived around 3:00 in the afternoon, they allowed us to drive our car down the twisty, winding, narrow road to the bottom of the hill to dispense our luggage at our apartment.  Thank goodness our room was only one flight up.
The room with green wrought iron railing/balcony was ours!

Then it was a drive back up the hill to park car for the next two days ($15.00 a day) and hike back down the hill just in time for happy hour on our balcony.

Picturesque views of Riomaggiore

Up early the next morning with a grand plan to hike to all five villages.  From Riomaggiore to Manarola is about a 20 minute hike and features the famous Via dell'Amore promenade "the pathway of love. 

Start of hike at the train station.
Hikers ahead of us on the trail - everyone seems to have found out about this place too.
Views along the trail.
You will see padlocks locked to wires, cables and fences.  Closing a padlock with your lover is a common ritual in Italy.

Approaching Manarola via the trail.

View of Manarola from top of the town.

Harbour in Manarola

Ok, lets get hiking!

Manarola to Corniglia - about a 45 minute walk - this trail was closed for repairs.  So we decided to take the train to the end town, Monterrosso, have some lunch and hike back to Corniglia. 
Leaving Train Station for Monterosso.
and arriving in Monterosso

Like I said before, more of a beach resort town.  We decided to have lunch here and found a cute beachside cafe.

It could have been the surroundings, and maybe the beverages - but this was the best damn salad we have ever had.  I tried to replicate it at home - just not the same.  Now, after several beverages, the 90 minute hike back to Vernazza is not looking so good - let's take the train.
Arriving at train station.
Fun fishing boats in harbour

Gelato Fix!

Also decided to take the train to Corniglia and upon arrival we were informed the town was nowhere near the station. It was actually up the side of the mountain and up some 400 plus steps.  After several hikers coming down to the station suggested it was not worth the trip we decided to skip Corniglia.

   The Train Station

The 400 plus steps up to the town.

We returned to our quiet, quaint little town via the train and relaxed on our private balcony enjoying our glass of prosecco, some brushetta, crackers and cheese and taking in the sights.
Some of us enjoyed the sights more than others. Laundry time after a hard day of lounging on the beach.

More fun sights of Riomaggiore.

Chocolate Croissant and espresso for breakfast - delizioso!

Leaving Riogmaggiore, Cinque Terre - dragging our bags a mile straight up to the car park.  They say - and I agree - that the Cinque Terre is an exceptional place - we loved it here.  Now it's on to Lake Como.


  1. Stunning photos. You're both looking younger. Italy must have rejuvenated you.

  2. Looks like a blast. Molto Bello!, thanks for sharing.
    Are you guys heading south this year?

  3. Understand the parent thing.
    The Art of Racing in the Rain is a great book.
    Mel read it first and cried for 15 minutes while finishing it.
    I'm not finished yet.

  4. Hi!
    Love the photos, brings back wonderful memories of Italy. You two look great! Can't wait to see you in Florida!
    Rick and Pam