After our sensory overload of Florence's museums and attractions, it was a relief to go somewhere quieter for a while. Off to Cinque Terre (Wiki link here), a World Heritage site on the northern coast, on the Mediterranean Sea. It's a bunch of little villages (Cinque Terre means "five towns") on sea cliffs and beaches that you can either walk to (in good weather), boat to (weather permitting) or take a train to/from. It's still pretty non-touristy, and I have to say, it was my favourite place in all of Italy. I could live there!
Our last night in Florence was insane - there was a huge thunder and lightning storm! It was raining for most of the night, but it eased up as we left.
The train to La Spezia was a free-for-all - no first class there! We got dinged for not validating our ticket (validate!), were briefly acquainted with some gypsies, and were in generally grumpy moods after Florence's chaos after the even smaller and more erratic train to our destination, Monterosso. By the time we arrived we were frazzled.
And so, to find our wonderful hotel, up on a hill, surrounded by green hills, it felt so good to change right into some comfy clothes and go for a walk.
- Cardigan - Alternative Apparel, thrifted, left behind
- Cami - I kept this one; it's a useful colour
- Skirt - Club Monaco, keeper
- Sandals - Kenneth Cole Reaction, consignment, left behind
- Scarf - in hair, thrifted, keeper
It was a lovely warm day in Monterosso, perfect for a stroll around. And what better to find immediately than a Cat of Italy?
It had rained a bit in Monterosso on the previous days, so he seemed very happy to be soaking up a few rays of sun.
Our first full day was grey and stormy, so I wore my warmest outfit.
- Top - Oxmo, left behind
- Cami - old, left behind
- Trousers - thrifted, handmade, keepers!
- Shoes - Enzo Angiolini, thrifted, left behind
- Jewelry - pendant, gift from L
October was a great month to visit this resort town - there were a fraction of the tourists there that swamp the place during the main season.
The surf was churning! Cinque Terre experiences some severe weather - many of the towns we visited had memorials up from the great flood of Oct 25, 2011. This sculpture on the north side of town is called "Il Gigante" - he is now part of an exclusive club/hotel.
Looking south. On each of those hills in the distance is one of the other towns of the Cinque Terre. At night, you could see the lights twinkling.
The walking path to old town was closed due to weather (mudslides are an issue).
L stood on top of it.
Of course, we had to go inside.
This is what he used to look like, before a storm took out his shell and spear.
We had to go through the tunnel, which had all kinds of little windows (like the one above) with art projects.
On the beach in old town. All of the paths between the towns were closed, and none of the boats between towns were in operation.
And here we are looking back. I took the above picture in front of that pink building on the beach.
|L, Louise and Mom|
And up we went for a brief scout, to be returned to after lunch.
The terraces are planted with olive groves and grapes for wine.
We found the Italian version of Grumpy Cat.
|"Get off my hill."|
|"Exit's that way."|
|"No time for petting."|
We had lunch in the most amazing restaurant, Ciak (link). We wrote our names on the wall.
I had the best dish in Italy here, the gnocchi with pesto. I nearly licked the plate! I was also introduced to the local dessert specialty, Sciacchetrà (shack-ah-trah), an amber sweet dessert wine, served with small sliced almond biscotti, which you dip into the wine. It was astoundingly good.
After lunch, L and I headed back up the hill to investigate the graveyard at the top.
Looking back at the resort town.
L and I hung out at a local cafe and drank wine and chatted with locals and other tourists - during that time, the rain hit in a crazy storm. The water flooded the street, and nearly came up to the cafe's doors. It was wild.
And just like that, the next day was lovely.
- Dress - Hemp & Co., keeper
- Cami - left behind
- Sandals - as above
- Jewelry - pink crystal studs, assortment of charms on necklace
It was a bright and sunny day. Look at the morning drama!
We took the little regional train to Vernazza, the next town south from Monterosso. Again, no boats running, and the trails were likely closed for the winter.
We were welcomed immediately by a Cat of Italy!
|"I like a good box."|
|"I'm snoozing on a boat."|
You can see him sitting on the wall in front of the yellow building here.
Vernazza is also known for the Doria Castle.
Looking up at the castle (it's just a tower).
Climbing up inside the tower.
From the top, there's Monterosso in the far distance.
Yet another Cat of Italy.
|"Nap time, go away."|
And one last Cat of Italy in Vernazza.
A dead ringer for Vizzini's brother, this kitty was in a hurry.
One of our favourite parts of Cinque Terre was our front desk gent and local resident, Theo.
Up tomorrow: the last leg of the journey, Rome!