La Spezia & Cinque Terre, Days 5-6
So I know it’s been a little while since I posted my Italy Part 1 blog post, but it’s better late than never… right? After our first 4 days in Rome, we took our first train ride and headed to La Spezia. La Spezia is the larger town we were staying in just outside Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre is a string of 5 different centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. Each of these villages are so beautiful with their pastel colored houses and vineyards that cling to the edge of the very steep cliffs.
On our train ride into the town we did not have seats next to each other, but an older Italian women who spoke no English, gave us her seat so we could sit beside one another. She looked at us adoringly and called us “beautiful.”
As we road to La Spezia we passed beautiful sunflower fields & fields full of round bales of hay. There were tiny cities atop the hills to my left and orange terracotta roofs of the homes in the valleys, to my right. The orange contrasted beautifully with the bright blues of the Mediterranean. From the train station our hotel was only a 2 minute walk.
Below is the view from our hotel room. Isn’t it breathtaking?!
Our hotel was called Firenze e Continentale & this was our hotel key!
Our first stop was to Vernazza, which was my favorite of the villages. It bustled with people shopping, eating, boating and swimming. I was elated being in this pretty little village that I had only seen in photographs and dreamt about visiting until now.
We ate at Blue Marlin and had tuna sandwiches and anchovy bruschetta. The bruschetta was one of my favorite things we ate on the trip.
Oh, and we saw a sweet Italian cat snoozing at one of the shops.
We climbed up the tiny curving staircases to this tower and had some wonderful views.
We decided that this house in the image below would be our home when we retire. Also, all those small lines you see on the cliffs are the actual vineyards. They have special carts and equipment to harvest the grapes.
We ate these tasty Italian candies. They come in a variety of flavors in pretty pastel colors, just like the Cinque Terre villages.
Many people were swimming off the rocky cliffs, which we took part in on day 6.
We then took the small train that goes between the 5 villages and visited Monarola next. This was a very tiny village, so we didn’t stay long. But I did manage to grab a film photograph of a bride and groom getting photos taken on this beautiful rock in the middle of the water. I was so happy!
We then made our way to the village Corniglia. To reach the village, you must walk up 382 steps! That evening they were having the St. Peter and St. Paul Festival celebration. We followed the parade from the church (below). Children carried a cross and flags while playing music all through the narrow streets, while the entire town followed. After the parade and we grabbed some pizza. By this time it was evening and we had to go down those 382 steps in complete darkness! Shoo! Day 6-
We took the train to the town of Monterosso and started the epic 2 mile hike up the cliffs to the town of Vernazza. There were tons of steps and it was extremely hot. They suggest starting the hike in the mornings as early as you can, because of the heat. There were accordion players along the hike, which really set the Italian mood. Below are some of the gorgeous views along the hike and as we entered the town of Vernazza.
We rewarded ourselves after hiking with anchovies in lemon sauce and pesto at Gianni Franzi. Yum! We ended the evening with a swim in the chilly rocky water off the cliffs of Vernazza at sunset. I got teary eyed as we sat on the rocks and watched the sun set on that beautiful pastel town.
Cinque Terre was an amazing place and we both want to go back again some day! Next time we would like to stay longer and relax more. We’d also like to stay in Vernazza or one of the other villages to get the full experience.
Have you visited Cinque Terre? Comment below and tell me what was your favorite part about staying here.