Why the Best Place to Stay in Cinque Terre is not in Cinque Terre
October 2, 2014
When Richard and I began planning our upcoming trip to Italy one day last July I suddenly remembered a little piece of paper that had been safely tucked away into one of the recesses of my wallet some 6 months before and immediately went to see if it was perchance still there. It had survived all my travels and there it was, hidden away amongst old loyalty cards from home, some pictures of my family, and a few other odd and forgotten items.
The piece of paper simply said Cinque Terre and was given to me by a lovely woman named Zoya at my orthodontist’s office during my last visit just before leaving. I had nearly forgotten about it until we started researching for our trip and I remembered her saying “if you go to Italy you’ve got to go here” and I am so glad she did.
We knew the minute we saw it that we had to go there and began making our plans. Our trip would begin in Venice and we would drive from there to Cinque Terre and then finish up in Lake Lugano just over the border in Switzerland.
We thought we had found the perfect place to stay when we called a highly recommended B&B in the town of Monterosso and they let us know that although they were fully booked, they did have a private home available for the same price just a few minutes away in La Spezia. The pictures she sent looked great so we thought we were all set.
Or so we thought ….
We arrived late in the day after a full day of driving and navigating toll booths and confusing road signs all in Italian full of hope for our little place. We thought when we first saw the neighborhood that we must have taken wrong turn but we continued on “holding a positive thought” as best we could.
The neighborhood didn’t improve much and once we found our place and made our way in, we took one look at each other and said no way …. although cute, the house wreaked of mold.
Such is the way of it when traveling abroad, but it was another opportunity for us to practice staying in the moment, being flexible and patient, and most of all finding the humor in whatever came our way. Right?
Did we succeed at the above? Not entirely but we did end up finding the perfect place to stay in my opinion.
As you can see by the photos above, the Hotel Al Terra di ‘Mare is a lovely inn perched up in the hills with unbelievable views and is why I’ve come to the conclusion that the best place to stay in Cinque Terre is not in Cinque Terre, it is in the town of Levanto. Just a little removed from the 5 beach towns that make up the CT, it is quiet, relaxing, and the perfect place to retreat after busy days in town. The folks here were also so warm and accommodating, the whole experience was no less than perfect.
The town of Levanto itself is also no shabby deal. We enjoyed walking through the little streets which we found to be a little less crowded and easy to walk through. The charming streets are colorful and flat rather hilly, a welcome break for my knee after navigating the hilly streets the CT is famous for and it is only a 5 minute train ride away. And as you can see in the photo below, the beach is pretty darn amazing in Levanto too. After all, it is the Italian Riviera!
It doesn't get much better than that.
Until next week from the beautiful CT!
XOXO, from me and lu