Cinque Terre

The sun hitting the blue water, the colorful villages nestled in the mountains, and great people besides me. My day in Cinque Terre didn’t feel like real life. But in the words of my friend
“this is as real as it gets”

Cinque Terre
Five Lands


Five awe-inspiring, picturesque villages spanning a stretch of northern Italy’s west coast.
You’ve probably seen pictures of the pink, yellow, and orange houses peaking from the green vineyard mountainsides,
 ocean stretching for miles behind.

To walk all five towns takes about five hours. We were ready for a good hike (attempt to work off some of that pizza and pasta), but ended up just hiking a few due to mud slides. Although I was a little bummed we would have to take trains between some towns, the extra leisure time turned out to be perfect.

First town: Riomaggiore

The glimpse of ocean and mountain through the train window on the way in was an amazing taste of what the views of the rest of the day would be. And as Jenna, Emmet, Evan, Eric, Jon and I stepped into the first town I knew the day was going to be a great day. The morning clouds had disappeared to pure blue skies.

It felt like we were in a picture book as we hiked down some steep stairs to stand atop some rocks for our first photo shoot of the day.  I couldn’t get enough of the view; I wish I could bottle it up and bring it home to look at forever.

Second town: Manarola

After about a 30 minute walk along a scenic ocean trail, we made it to the second town. The colorful houses seemed to grow out of the mountainside (major props to whoever built them).

The path brought us up and around the mountain. Surrounding us on the hillside were vineyards, as Cinque Terre is known for some of Italy’s best wine. The view over the cluster of houses was unbelievable.

Hiking through those vineyards got us thirsty and motivated us to pop open the first bottle of wine. The six of us climbed atop another group of rocks near the shore where we reclined on the rocks. Perhaps not the most comfortable spot, but probably one of the most beautiful places to drink wine. And as we laughed and took in the sunshine, I couldn’t have been happier.

Third town: Corniglia

After a train ride, a few hilarious jokes that made it hurt to laugh (I would explain, but they are probably those “you had to be there” kind), a hike up lots of stairs… lunch time.

The combination of the view, food, wine, and company made it one of the best meals I have had abroad. And let me remind you that’s saying a lot. I’ve eaten a lot of food.

Atop a mountain, on an outdoor patio, overlooking the ocean was the scene. On the menu for me was seafood risotto, and it was positively delightful. Besides the whole unshelling the meal (sorry, I prefer my meal not have eyeballs to look back at me),
 I hungrily ate as much as I could. Everyone else loved their meals as well. The pesto was raved about being that Cinque Terre is also known for some of the best pesto in Italy.

Fourth town: Vernazza

Another lovely village. Shops filled with gelato, foccacia bread, wine, and souvenirs lined the street that lead out to the ocean. Here we spent a good hour or more reclined on the pier. The warm sunrays made listening to music and looking out at the blue pure perfection.
The endless chitter-chatter and laughing from the day died down as the six of us soaked up the experience.

Fifth town: Monterosso al Mare

Beach town and gelato town.
And I thought the day couldn’t get any better.

The sun was starting to sink lower in the sky as we ate giant cones of gelato
(the pineapple flavor was so yummy).
We walked along the beach a tad until we settled on some rocks out of the way of everyone to enjoy the scenery. The night wouldn’t have been complete without some more Cinque Terre wine.


 I could have happily stayed on the rocks forever. Who even knows what we were talking and joking about, but I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe in the sea air.

The sun sank lower and lower beneath the mountain behind us and cast great blues and yellows on the water.
It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.

I have loved all of my travels thus far, each and every one for a different reason. But I can honestly say that the journey through the five towns with my five friends was one of my favorite.



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