Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cinque Terre

After several busy (and fantastic) days running around Rome and Florence we took the train north to the Cinque Terre for a little relaxing.  The cities are busy-- the five towns that make up this region were quiet and peaceful.  The only people we saw were a few older retired couples and the locals.  It was perfect.

So many of our friends raved about the Cinque Terre-- telling us that we HAD to stop and experience it.  Honestly, after being there I would have to say that it's one of the most beautiful and charming places I've ever been.  If you ever have the chance-- you need to stop there!!

We didn't have a whole lot of time so we ended up only seeing two of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre.  A few months ago there was a flood in two of the towns-- Vernazza and Monterosso-- so they weren't even really open to tourists anyways.  Our first stop was Riomaggiore.

We were quite excited to be there.

After lunch in a cute little cafe we set out for the hills to do a little exploring.  There are all these tiny little gardens/farms clinging to the side of the rocky cliffs that are carved out like steps all the way up to the top.  We walked some of the paths-- taking it all in.

Like the gardens and farms-- the towns are clinging to the side of the rocks.  Walking the streets can be quite the workout-- let me tell you.  Pizza and pasta for lunch?  Not a problem!  An hour later you've already worked it off after walking around the town!

We then walked to the next town-- Manarola.  There are walking/hiking paths that connect the towns-- many of them were closed while we were there but we were able to do the walk between Riomaggiore and Manarola.

We spent much of our time in Manarola sitting along the water staring into the sea, watching the fishermen come in and out with their boats, and taking in the sites of the town.  It's so beautiful.

It was warm while we were there (well-- warm for spring) and by the middle of the afternoon it got nice and sunny.  I can only imagine how fabulous it would be to spend time there during the summer.

Every street is picturesque and perfect.

If only my laundry looked this cute.

The colors are so incredible.  Each building is a different bright color.  Each one is perfect.

We had dinner sitting in a little restaurant in an outdoor patio-- we were the only ones there.  I had the best pesto ever.  EVER.  If you go to the Cinque Terre you must try the pesto!

Eventually the sun began to set and it was time to take the train back to the town we were staying in.

It can be difficult to find good accommodations in the five small towns that make up the Cinque Terre-- so we opted to stay in Levanto.  Levanto is a 2 minute train ride north of Monterosso and any of the 5 towns can be reached by train in less than 15 minutes from this location.  Levanto is a bigger community that has lots of shops and restaurants, a big sandy beach, and tons of different hotels, B&B's, and hostels.  Out of any of the towns in the area we thought it would be the most kid friendly (if we ever decided to back with the kids) with it's big sandy beaches complete with parks and stuff to entertain the kiddos. We found the best B&B that was really affordable, a five minute walk from the train station (needed when you've been lugging your bags all over the country), had the best view, the most amazing breakfasts, and was terribly cute.

I mean seriously, this was the door to our room.  So cute!  From our room we could walk out onto this gorgeous patio that looked out over the town.

This was our view from the front door.  Come on now... it doesn't get much better than this :)

So in summary-- the Cinque Terre is beautiful.
You should go there.
And consider staying in Levanto.

Next up... Venice!!


KDees said...

You took some beautiful photos, Elissa! And, you two seem to fit right in! I am thoroughly enjoying your recap of your trip! :)

kelly ens said...

SOOO picturesque!! Great pictures, Elissa!

Flowers2boys said...

Again, WOW!

I love the colors - great photos

Anonymous said...

Great photographs! I always take pictures of laundry hanging in windows, etc. and Europe is a great place for that. I also got quite a few shots of laundry in Israel. I'm not sure what the attraction is - except to know that I don't have to do the ironing!

Auntie "B"

Bonnie said...

We never got to the Cinque Terre while we were in Italy but after seeing your pictures, I know without a doubt I NEED to go sometime. Absolutely adorable. Gorgeous pics.
There really is no place like Europe, is there? Everything is just so perfect.

Carol said...

wow - what a picturesque place!

stephanie joy said...

ahhhhh elissa!!
we leave in just over two weeks to see everything you saw!
i can't wait!!
your pics of cinque terre are awesome.
we are staying right in manarola at la toretta.
i can't wait to see everything you did.
so vernazza and monterosso are still quite damaged, huh?
i haven't looked into it recently about visiting... but now i see from you that they're still closed.
too bad!
but i'm still looking forward to seeing the other three. :)
any specific restaurant recommendations?!