Cinque Terra is, not surprisingly, five small towns clinging to the rocks above the sea on the west coast of Italy. The first town is about an hour an a half from Florence (via Pisa and La Spezia). The five towns are joined by a train but also by a ridiculously picturesque walking trail that winds along the cliffs. To walk the whole thing would take several hours (and one stretch of the path is closed due to the slides), so we mostly took the train between the towns, but along the part that we did walk it was lovely. The water was a perfect mediterranean blue and the views were breathtaking.
The towns were similar to each other in that they were all beautiful. Tiny clusters of colorful buildings seemingly piled ontop of each other, on top of cliffs, heading down to the sea. Each town had at least one tiny church and the hills above were covered by grapevines and fruit trees. As we walked up to one of the towns we ate some purple grapes from one of the vines. They were magnificent. Betty-Lou wants me to say that the grapes 'even tasted purple'. I will simply say that they were delicious. Each town had narrow, hilly streets lined with touristy shops and inviting eateries, and atmospheric sea ports where small, colorful boats bobbed in the surf and locals and tourists alike swam in the sea.
|restaurant interior, cinque terra|
It was all pretty great. It was very busy with tourists - being Italy, and sunday, and such a great destination, but the crowds did not detract from the atmosphere. We spent several hours visiting the five villages and snacking our way through them.
We just arrived back in Florence after a very long, but completely satisfying day. Tomorrow we depart for Bologna.
That is all for now. We are exhausted. Good night.