Cinque Terre

Rick Steves makes the Cinque Terre area of northeastern Italy sound irresistable, and we found this to be true. We even decided to extend our stay there by an extra day, at Florence's expense. (This shows how enchanted we were by the CT; Florence has always been one of Henry's favorite European cities and we were looking forward to our visit there.)

The "5 lands" are actually five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The whole area has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site since we were there, and hiking restrictions and expenses that we didn't encounter are now in force. (Hal and his wife visited the area a few years ago and he was quite shocked at the new restrictions.) But it is still an absolutely gorgeous piece of coastline, and it's certainly deserving of its new honors and attendant protective regulations.

train ticket
We rode the train from Milan to La Spezia, then on to the crown jewel of the area, Vernazza...
train ticket
our hotel
...where we stayed an extra night at the Pensione Sorriso (breakfasts and dinners—more fabulous Italian food—included)...
postcard of hotel

We wanted to see as much of the "5 lands" as we could, but didn't feel that we could manage hiking the whole way, given our tight schedule.

So we rode the train to the southernmost town, Riomaggiore, and combined hiking and another train ride to get us back to Vernazza. Unfortunately we missed the northernmost of the villages, Monterosso. But the others were all amazingly, unbelievably beautiful.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I was able to match most of the photos we took with the correct towns, not that names really mean that much in such an enchanted setting...

We have the most photos of Manarola, since we stopped there for a most welcome lunch after our hike from Riomaggiore.

And after lunch, there was a long wait for the train to Corniglia.

street in Manarola
along the trail
Cinque Terre town
Cinque Terre town
Of course, the trail itself was a delightful experience, with details, and views, like these, on every hand...
view from the trail
azaleas on the trail
Cinque Terre beach
We fervently wished we had more time to spend in this magical place...
on the trail

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