Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bella Italia: Cinque Terra

CINQUE TERRA!

This was my favorite area that we visited. The Cinque Terre region is a row of five tiny villages literally perched on the cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea.
You can't drive to them; you either take a boat or a train. We took a train, and got off in the 4th of the 5 villages: Vernazza.
Coming off the train was finally like stepping into that ultra-romanticized vision of Italy I'd had floating around in my brain. Little shops and houses piggy-backing each other up and down steep, narrow lanes. We did not have any kind of reservation (no monastaries here), but Russ was sure we would be able to rent a room from someone in the village.

As we left the train station, a plump, little Italian woman approached. Speaking very rapid Italian, she asked if we wanted a room, how many nights we were planning to stay, and then without hardly a pause, instructed us to follow her. And this is where she took us:

It was a fabulous, tiny, cave-like apartment that had a bed in the loft, and beds on the ground floor. I had to really scramble to communicate with our new land lady, but we ended up doing all right!

Our first stop in the village was the castle at the top of the cliff. It was literally used to ward off pirates. (Could this be any cooler?)
Here is the view of the village from the castle tower.

We ate dinner at a restaurant we read about in the guidebook that night. We ordered "six plates of fish" and this is one of the plates that we received:
Yes, those are tentacles.

The next day we hiked the trail that links all of the villages. It took us the majority of the day.

Vernazza

Corniglia

Manarola

Riomaggiore

Between Manarola and Riomaggiore there is a path called Via del'Amore. Yeah, the road of love. Apparently, there is an Italian teen romance novel that mentions the old tradition of closing padlocks as part of a lovers' pact. So we found padlocks all over the path.

We rode the ferry boat back to Vernazza that evening. It was fun to see the villages from out on the water.
Cinque Terra was my favorite stop on the trip!

2 comments:

andrew fisher said...

Hello everybody, just want to invite you and your readers to our site about the cinque terre and to the blog where you can also vote the nicest of the 5 Terre.
Also online a section about Video of the Cinque Terre, a different point of view..

Megan and Kenny said...

So did you and Russ close a padlock together. Because if you didn't you should have! I guess you'll just have to go back so you can do that.