Le Cinque Terre – Vernazza Again
We took our last morning slow in Vernazza – with a lovely breakfast on the water.
And we finally decided to head up to the top of the old castle.
And so ended our trip to Cinque Terre … I highly recommend it.
Le Cinque Terre – Manarola
Rick Steves directed us on a nice little walk around the top of Manarola – through the terraced vineyards and lemon trees.
On one of the hillsides that you can see from Manarola, there is a man who puts up Nativity scenes around Christmas, and passion plays at Easter time.
The end of the day at Manarola had us heading back to the train, back to Vernazza, and to the town square for another lovely dinner – this time at Trattoria di Gianni.
Le Cinque Terre – ‘Via del Amore’ : The lovers’ walk
The trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola is really a beautifully landscaped wide path, and a 20 minute stroll. Before the roads were built between the Cinque Terre, young people had very limited options for romantic liaisons. The towns were small, and it was too hard to leave town to meet new people. So, you can imagine the excitement when there was a trail built between Riomaggiore and nearby Manarola. Lovers would sneak out from their parents homes and meet their lovers in the dark on the trail between the two towns.
You don’t have to get very far down the path to see what made it so romantic.
Young people to this day meet here, write their initials on locks, seal their love, and throw away the keys.
Mom and Dad walked through the trail quicker than Ryan and I did … little did we know what they were doing when they reached the end!!
So … yeah, I think I have to recommend the Via Del Amore trail … it’s a beautiful, romantic, highlight of a visit to Cinque Terre.
Le Cinque Terre – Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore was pretty steeply down hill … as long as you take the elevator to get to the top. :)
Riomaggiore had more of a town than the other towns. I We wandered through town down to the water and then stopped for some great gelato sundaes.
Up next … Via Del Amore
Le Cinque Terre – Monterosso
Monterosso looks pretty impressive – there is a beach, an old town, and a new town … and of course the gorgeous views of the mountains going into the sea. Of course, it also means that Monterosso was pretty crowded … with really loud obnoxious Italian teenagers. yick. It wasn’t actually warm enough to enjoy the beach – which I guess was a blessing because it kept the crowds down some. :)
I think my favorite part of Monterosso was the walk from the new town (where the train arrived) to the old town. We wandered away from the beach to some really cool landscapes where the green met the rocks and the rocks met the sea.
We finished up our visit to Monterosso with a light lunch – after learning the hard way that apparently if you want lunch with a view you have to reserve in advance! Nevermind the fact that the tables were empty, would be empty until 130, and we were in & out well before then. That’s all a detail. And we were off to Riomaggiore …
Le Cinque Terre – Vernazza
Vernazza is the town that we stayed in. It has an adorable harbor, complete with old school fisherman and their tiny wooden boats. In the summer the boats are on the sand there – but in the winter they live in the middle of the town square, right next to all the restaurant tables. In the background are steep hills with grape vines. We ate dinner every night at a restaurant on the main square.
On the first evening, after we got back from our hiking extravaganza, we bought some local wine (grown and produced on those steep hills all around us) and just sat around and talked and caught up. The nice thing about travelling with family you haven’t seen in a while is that you have every incentive to just sit around and relax, and enjoy being together. Besides, our room had a great view of the town church and main square.
Eating dinner in Vernazza made getting home easy … so we were rested and ready for the next morning.
Thus properly fueled, and having satiated our curiosity about the inside of the church we had been staring at so much … we were ready to take the train to Monterosso. One day of hiking was enough for us … especially since the trip from Vernazza to Monterosso is supposed to be the most vigorous part of the trail. :)
The Cinque Terre – Corniglia
An hour and a half (or maybe two hours) later we made it to Corniglia . . . and we were ready to sit down. Corniglia was suuuper tiny. I think it’s the tiniest of all the towns. Which worked out great … ’cause we had done about all the walking around we wanted to do for the time being.
So, we found a shop and had some snacks and juice and gelato.
The part of town where the hiking trail comes in is at the top of a very steep hill, and having just done a nice long hike, and with the sun setting … we decided to take the bus down instead. At which point we had a little lesson on the superior pushiness of Italians … the bus pulled out of the parking lot with 3 of 4 of us on it. And none of us had good cell signal. Oops. On the bright side, Ryan managed to catch the next bus and we rendez-vous-ed at tha Train station to ride back to Vernazza.
We ate well that night at Trattoria al Capitano (probably my favorite restaurant that we ate at) – or maybe I was just really really hungry, it’s hard to tell.