Monday, November 4, 2019

Italy - Part 4 - Cinque Terre

Click here for Italy - Part 1 - First Timer's Perspective & Observations
Click here for Italy - Part 2 - Tuscan Hill Towns
Click here for Italy - Part 3 - Florence & Lucca
Click here for Italy - Part 5 - Pisa, Banfi Winery, & Rome

This is the first view of Monterosso after we checked into Manuel's Guesthouse. The drive into Monterosso was a doozy....very curvy mountain roads.

Cinque Terre is a region along the northwest coast of Italy that is comprised of 5 seaside villages embedded into the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. These 5 towns, the beaches, and the surrounding mountainous area are all part of a National Park. cars are allowed inside the villages and we didn't see any museums. A train and a hiking trail connects all 5 villages. You can drive to most of the villages (on very curvy roads) but you have to park outside each village and walk in.

Monterosso is the northern most and largest village of the 5 villages. Our friends Matt & Jen highly recommended Manuel's Guesthouse. And now we highly recommend it. Manuel passed away 2 years ago, but his nephew Lorenzo carries on as the proprietor. Lorenzo could not have been more accommodating. There are 130 stairs you have to walk up to get there but I viewed it as exercise I needed after eating all this Italian food. Lorenzo came down and carried the ladies' bags up for us. We accidentally broke a bottle of wine and he cleaned it up for us. We had to leave super early when we checked out and he made us breakfast to go. The rooms were very nice, very quiet, and have beautiful views. Look no further than this place.

One of the small churches in Monterosso - Oratorio della Confraternita dei Neri Mortis et Oratonis.

There are 2 sections of Monterosso with 2 beaches. This is the south beach in front of "old Monterosso" and the photo below is the north beach in front of "new Monterosso".

Happy hour at Nuovo Bar Eden

There is a hiking trail that connects all 5 villages. I had known that the trail was closed between the 3 southern most villages due to landslides. The trail between the 3 northern most villages was supposed to be open. However, we discovered the trail between Monterosso and Vernazza was closed due to heavy rains from a few days prior. This is that trail just before we got to where it was closed off. So we turned around and took the 5 minute train to Vernazza.

This is Vernazza after we got off the train and walked towards the water.

classic Vernazza apartment entrance

Spiaggia di Vernazza (beach)

La chiesa di Santa Margherita d'Antiochia - the small waterfront church in Vernazza

The trail was open between Vernazza and the next village Corneglia so we hiked it. There were some steep sections, below is an example showing the nicely built in stone stairs.

The view as we began the descent into Corneglia. Corneglia is the only Cinque Terra village that sits the highest atop a hill and doesn't have access from the sea.

the trail leading into Corneglia

Warning Sign - No Trespassing

This is an interesting rail device on a small farm that allows for heavy harvest loads to be transported up and down the steep hillsides.

Terrace farming & vineyards

Oratorio dei Disciplinati di Santa Caterina - small church in Corneglia

a great photo taken by Greg - note the guy in the middle holding court in the piazza

Seafood Risotto for lunch

Doors of Corneglia

the view looking south towards Manarola

Gelatto shops were everywhere in Italy

The path in Cornegila down to the train station. We took the train into Manarola.

The main street leading down to the water in Manarola. Note the covered boats...they were on wheels are apparently are dragged up and down the hill to be launched.

Looking north towards Corneglia

This is the last and southern most of the 5 villages - Riomaggiore

typical Italian fresh produce market

We took the train back to Monterosso at sunset

Our dinner spot just downstairs from Manuel's Guesthouse. Lorenzo recommended it and as it turns out is the #1 rated Trip Advisor restaurant in Monterosso. It's called San Martino and we had what I thought was probably the best thing I ate all week - the stuffed mussels...they were absolutely amazing. The night before we ate around the corner at Da Eraldo (also recommended by Lorenzo) and it was also very good. 

the stairs leading to Manuel's Guesthouse

Charmaine and Kris

sunrise at Manuels' Guesthouse 

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