Two Magical Days in Cinque Terre ~ Day One
October 10, 2014
So what exactly is a Cinque Terre anyway you say? Is it a bird, a plane, or how 'bout a little town somewhere in Italy? Close, but not quite. It's actually a region on the Italian Riviera that is a park as well as a Unesco World Heritage site. It consists of five separate towns each with its own distinct personality and dialect I am told, all connected by a series of hiking trails and one slow moving train.
Oh, and in case you’ve wondered, the correct way to pronounce it is Cheen Kway Ter Ray.
The five towns are Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, and Corniglia.
During our two magical days in Cinque Terre we made it to all but one, the later, and had an amazing time. Have you ever experienced feeling disappointed when you've heard so much about a place or perhaps a movie that it can't possibly live up to the image of it you've created in your mind when you actually get there?
Well, that was not what happened for us in Cinque Terre. It was better.
What I particularly loved about being in Cinque Terre beyond the obvious, is that it is uncomplicated in a surprisingly delicious way. There are no brand name stores and not a single museum in sight. There is nowhere you have to go and nothing you have to do. There aren't even any cars with the exception of Monterosso and you don't even need a map to find your way around.
In Cinque Terre it's all about enjoying the simple beauty of what life has to offer. Sunshine, beaches, fresh seafood and of course lots and lots of gelato.
We began our first day in the CT by heading straight to Monterosso, the largest and most resort like of the 5 towns. It has a lovely promenade perfect for strolling along and observing the sunbathers lining the beaches under the uniform striped beach umbrellas.
Hungry? Take your pick, the promenade is lined with cafes and restaurants mostly serving fresh seafood. After lunch you can stroll through town and enjoy the local color and little shops which is just what we did. The streets are less hilly than the rest of the CT so it's a great place for an after lunch stroll.
Check it out ….
We spent the second half of our day in the town of Riomaggiore which is just a short train ride away. There is one main street heading up through the middle of town amongst the colorfully stacked homes but for me, the real magic began when we headed up one of the little stairways winding through the houses headed we didn't know where. I enjoyed every step even though my knee didn't, and we eventually met up with the hiking trail that runs high above the little towns connecting one to the other.
All I can say is that the views are unbelievable and are not to be missed. It is worth every step. On this part of the trail you will see (in addition to the views) and an old Nazi bunker which you can see in the top of the photo below.
As you move along the trail you come to a small Church and an interesting character named Andrea Raffellini , as he will be quick to tell you if you take the time to talk with him. Apparently he spends his days sitting in front of the Church studying Romanesque architecture and talking with the passersby. He bottles wine in a small room just below the Church and tends to a small lemon grove both of which he will gladly show you if you let him.
For me, this is what travel is really all about. Putting down the guide book and letting your intuition guide you, taking your time and perhaps chatting with one of the locals if the opportunity presents itself. Slowing down enough to hear their story and perhaps making their day a bit brighter because you did. Instantly the world becomes just a little smaller and I am infinitely more connected to it.
Here is one of the photos of Andrea as well as a few of my favorites from beautiful Riomaggiore.
Until next week and day 2 .... Saving the Best for Last!
XOXO, from me and lu