Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Trip Through Italy, Part 3

A view of the town of Vernazza from the
 top of the castle tower.
We continued our Italy trip by leaving Rome behind and heading for Cinque Terre, (The Five Lands), which I think was my favorite part of the trip. I have a lot of wonderful memories from this vacation, some from each stop, but most come from our three days visiting these five towns.

Each of the towns,  Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, have their own unique characteristics. They even have there own dialects. But one thing they have in common is beautiful scenery and great food! They are known for their white wines, which I must say were delightful!

We spent some time in each town but we stayed in Monterosso al Mare, which has a beautiful beach area.  The beach was always crowded but you could hardly see the people for all the colorful umbrellas.  They made for pretty pictures.

The beach on Monterosso al Mare.
We stayed in a Bed and Breakfast at the top of the hill on Monterosso. We walked with our bags to the top, and thought we were going to have a stroke.  But it was so worth it.  (We took a cab down the day we left!) Hotel Villa Steno had a big patio that overlooked the town and the water. We loved sitting out there as the sun set, watching the stuff going on down the hill but not hearing the noise.  This B&B had a garden full of fruit trees, flowers and herbs.  Most of the town is one building after another, attached together with very little green space. It was a nice little garden to walk through and we could see it from the patio where we ate breakfast.

Lots of umbrellas!!
We walked through all the little alleys of the town and couldn't believe how they twisted and turned. At each junction, you had another beautiful building and many had flowers or decorations of some sort.

My friend Kathy and I, walked down to the end of the beach and stuck our feet in the water.  It was so nice and warm. There was a private, gated club there, too, but I don't think it could have been any nicer than where we stayed, at Hotel Villa Steno.  And the staff was as nice as they could be. Click the link above to see some of the views from the hotel.  If you go to Cinque Terre, I would highly recommend you check them out.

There are trails between each of the towns that you can walk, if they have not had bad rains that wash them out.  We came in right after one of those rains, so the main trail was closed but the alternate route was open.  Out of Corniglia, it took you up one mountain, through the small town of Volastra and then down to Manarola.  It took us about 4 hours to do it but we did stop in Volastra for a snack (wine, beer, meat and cheese).  They have train service between the towns so we decided to take it back to our town.

View of Vernazza, from the little restaurant on the hill.
The next day we were going to walk from Vernazza over to Corniglia but decided we had enough fun the day before hiking, so we just went up the trail high enough to get some good pictures of Vernazza.  There was a cute little restaurant up there that we sat at and enjoyed the view for awhile. The picture at the top of the blog was taken from the castle out on the point, in this picture of Vernazza.  This town is the only one of the five that had a natural harbor.

Cinque Terre is a unique, beautiful area of Italy to visit.  If you haven't been there, make sure to check it out on your next trip over the pond!

Other views of Cinque Terre!

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
The coastline as seen from Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy.

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