When Jarrod arrived in Florence, we rented a Fiat Panda and headed towards the coast, eager to experience what we had only before read about, heard about and imagined.
We stayed in the somewhat ugly (but cheap) city of La Spezia and caught a morning train north to Monterosso. From there we began our hike to each little town, ending in Riomaggiore, where we caught the late night train back to La Spezia.
|The start of our hike from Monterosso|
|Looking back on Monterosso|
|Looking down on Vernazza|
|A street in Vernazza|
|Boat parking, Vernazza|
|Vernazza: Castle tower on the edge of town|
|Village #3: Corniglia|
|Church in Corniglia|
|Leaving Corniglia, taking the 'high route'|
|It's stunning to see grapes growing on these steep hillsides, so close to the sea|
|A pulley system is used to collect grapes since the hills are so steep|
|Many of the grape vines are trained to grown as a canopy to ensure that they absorb as much sunlight as possible|
|Our 'high route' led us between the terraces of vines. (If you look closely you can see people walking along the terrace)|
|Hiking down to village #4: Manarola|
|Looking at the Via dell'amore trail that was wiped out by floods and mudslides in 2011|
|Steep decent into Manarola|
|Steep, steep, steep steps!|
|Train tracks connect each of the five villages|
|Manarola with vineyards in the backdrop|
|Kids playing on a mosaic|
|Manarola is a vibrant, colorful fishing village|
|We found a great spot to have a bite to eat and watch the sunset (with some wine from the area that was served in ceramic mugs)|
|The most photographed Cinque Terre village (and it's clear to see why), Manarola|
|The view became even more stunning as the sun set and illuminated the rocks and buildings.|
|Catching the very last drop of the sunset|
What a day!
The next day we decided to take our little Panda to visit the village on the peninsula south of La Spezia: Portovenere. It was spectacular!
|Another fishing village full of charm|
Next, we decided to drive north along the coast to soak up more of the Italian Riviera beauty. We found a nice little apartment with two rooftop patios (yes, TWO!!). We paid 90 Euros to stay here and saved some money by cooking in (well, technically we were cooking outside on the patio).
|The small jewel of a town, Sori|
|Nice sunset watching from our rooftop patio|
|Our room with a killer view|
|Enjoying some wine by candlelight|
|Our outdoor kitchen (I'm making a Spanish tortilla for our breakfast)|
|Sori in the daytime|
|Looking up towards our apartment from the dock|