So far, you’ve journeyed with me from world famous museums and cathedrals to picturesque natural beauties such as springs and vineyards. Today, I want to share with you something different — something closer to roaring waves of the sea. Allow me to show you the colorful Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre is a coastline along the Italian Riviera. In English, it translates to “five lands” which makes sense since five towns, namely, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore comprise it.
Our day began with a 30-minute walk from our apartment to the meeting point in Santa Maria Novella train station. From there, we walked to Piazza Monte Lungo and rode a tour bus bound for Cinque Terre. Upon arrival, we had to walk about 10 minutes since the bus wasn’t allowed to enter the narrow streets leading to Manarola which was our first official stop. Manarola was beautiful. The short hike up led to a picturesque view of the colorful houses that Cinque Terre is famous for.
From there, we rode a local train to the next town, Riomaggiore. Since it was the next stop from Manarola, the train ride only took about 2 minutes. From there, we hiked again for around 10 minutes. Although the stairs were a bit steep making it a real struggle to reach the top, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing against the rocks was so relaxing! Being one of the brave ones in the group, I climbed all the way to the top edge of a cliff for photos. I must admit, it was kind of scary, but I would do it all over again given the opportunity.
At this point, we were all tired and hungry. Thankfully, the next stop was Monterosso, the beach area surrounded by numerous restaurants. As recommended by our guide, we decided to try what I like to call “the fresh seafood cone.” Basically, it’s fresh breaded shrimp, octopus, fish and calamari served in a paper cone with a stick— a local street food with matching lemon wedges (which Cinque Terre was famous for) and spicy marinara sauce. The calamari were the star! Each portion was perfectly cooked. Paired with lemon juice and spicy marinara sauce, they were the best calamari I’ve ever tasted in my life!
After lunch, we went to the shore for some “beach time”. My friends decided to swim around, but I chose to just explore the shops nearby because the water was too cold for my liking. The most I could do was dip my feet in the cold water (haha) and I was out!
After snacks and gelato, sadly, it was time to say goodbye. We rode the train to La Spezia central and walked to the bus parking area. By then, we were all exhausted. The bus ride back to Florence took a little over 2 hours. We took that time to rest before another 30-minute walk back to the apartment.
Overall, the experience was amazing! Cinque Terre is a must when you visit the Tuscany area. Not only is the place beautiful, but the atmosphere is very relaxing as well. As a bonus, Monterosso serves awesome calamari! 😉 Make sure you stop by this beautiful gem when you visit Italy next time!