Snapshots of Cinque Terre
Written by Abby
Cinque Terre (which means Five Lands) was a highlight of our Italian getaway. Our family (minus 2 cousins who took the train to Venice instead) hired a driver to take us from Florence to Cinque Terre to see as much as possible during a day excursion. We experienced three out of five villages and got a glimpse of one more. We also got a taste of Italian Riviera weather - sunny and hot one minute, cold, rainy and foggy the next. We covered a lot of ground and were in complete awe of the views. It was nothing like any of us had seen before.
Let's start at the top shall we? Our driver drove us to Manarola first. We started at the top of the village and climbed our way down to the sea's edge...
The views were breathtaking. At this point, the sun was beaming and the sea was vibrant and pure. Our first glimpse of Cinque Terre and we already could see how it is one of the most popular destinations in Italy!
The narrow, winding streets led us to lookouts that could have been someone's backyard. We'd stop for a breather and soak in the pink, peach, and yellow hues of the buildings that made the whole village feel like a movie set. We snapped a picture of the whole group and kept making our way down toward the water.
Once at the bottom, we took in the sight of what we had just climbed. After a week in Italy, we had switched our clocks over to the Italian schedule- it was time for a snack and a coffee! Known for it's focaccia bread, we stopped at this little shop for just that, plus some cappuccinos! The bread was the softest, most buttery, salty, rosemary covered, most delicious bread I've ever had. One of the best things I ate our whole trip! And in Italy, that is high praise!
After walking around and taking in the views, we hopped on the train to the next stop - Vernazza! Now you can walk (actually hike) between the villages, but to maximize our time we took the train. I can only imagine how amazing the hiking views are, but the train views were probably the best in the world...
Our minds were blown again when we got to Vernazza. The shore line was ancient, but still bustling and quaint, yet lively! We walked around around some more, up and down stairs, until we found this amazing lunch spot overlooking the sea. We ordered pesto pasta (pesto was invented in the area) and caprese salad all around. I love pesto pasta- practically lived off of it when I studied abroad. This was the freshest pesto I've ever had. So simple, no frills, hearty and delicious. I want some right now.
As the clouds rolled in, we caught up with our driver and drove to our next village- Corniglia. We stopped to view the village from a neighboring cliff and got to take in the wider landscape of Cinque Terre. Truly remarkable that these cliffside villages have thrived despite the logistical issues of getting in and out. Just driving the treacherous roads in the rain made all of us a little uneasy.
And our last stop of Cinque Terre? Gelato, of course, even in the rain! Maybe they should rename Cinque Terre to Cinque Pasti (or Five Meals). I think it deserves a trip back to hike from village to village, see our remaining two villages, and sunbath ala Elizabeth Taylor!