When Dayan and I met with our travel agent in January, and discussed our Italy 2017 trip, Ken asked my grandson what cities and areas he wanted to see, as that would determine which tour we joined. Dayan shared a list of locations that were high priorities to him, “must sees” on this upcoming adventure.
Near the top of his list was the coastal region in northwestern Italy called Cinque Terre. Dayan had been telling about these villages for years. The architecture stood out to him, along with the villages’ unique locations along mountains with nearly vertical drops into the Mediterranean Sea.
Among all the tours available, only one included a stop in Cinque Terre. Called Italian Treasures, this 11 day tour is the one Dayan selected.
On Day 4, we spent a good portion of our day exploring Monterosso, the largest of the five villages in the region known as Cinque Terre (pronounced chink-a-terr-a, which literally means five villages). Dayan was excited that this long held dream was becoming reality.
Here are highlights of our day:
The villages are only accessible by boat or a train that chugs through the mountain. We traveled by bus to La Spezia where we boarded a boat with our local tour guide, Andrea. Our morning cruise took us down the coast, as Andrea told us about Cinque Terre’s history and shared interesting facts in a fun and playful way.
Andrea had an easy to listen to humorous delivery during our tour along the coast.
Leaving La Spezia.
Approaching Port Venere, which is not one of the five villages. Entering the sea, we turned to head up the coast.
Port Venere’s bay. The five villages, in order as they appear moving up the coast: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Cornigla, Vernazza and Monterosso, where we spent the day. The villages cling to rocky outcroppings or march up the mountain in miniature inlets. This area has become a National Park. The villagers grow and harvest grapes in terraced vineyards and supplement with other crops. Because the villages attract tourists from around the world, they also have shops and ristorantes for the visitors, bringing revenue into the area.
We explored the largest of the five villages today, Monterosso. This is the church, faced in stripes of local black and white marble. The colors for the houses and buildings are chosen to correspond with the colors of native flowers.
We had lunch at a little ristorante on Via Rome. I enjoyed gluten free pasta with pesto. Yum!
After lunch we waded into the Mediterranean Sea, where I captured the moment. I’m changing my profile photo and cover photo daily on Facebook, using highlight pics from the day. This momentous snapshot became today’s profile pic.
I love this series of pics, taken as Dayan waded in the Mediterranean.
Looking across at Old Monterosso. The silver train crossing the bridge is similar to the one we took back to La Spezia.
The incredibly beautiful Monterosso Bay.
The new part of Monterosso with its stunning bay. The train station is located here.
These two are sharing such a grand adventure. I am grateful to be journeying with them.
We had such an amazing time exploring Monterosso. From boat ride to walking through the village to catching a train out, it was fun and educational and peaceful. The turquoise sea casts powerfully calming energy over this whole area. I was thoroughly enchanted.
I could stay on Monterosso for a month, and I would enjoy every moment. Not this time though. Tomorrow we are off to Siena and San Gimignano. After exploring those villages, we will reach Florence by nightfall. So much more awaits us.