Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cinque Terre Day 1

Italy is one of my favorite countries in the world. It has everything I am looking for in a destination: good food, beautiful landscape and a rich history. Dan and I honeymooned in Italy and knew we'd come back one day. I can't believe it took us so long!

For this trip, we explored new territory: Cinque Terre, Chianti and Tuscany. We found cheap non-stop flights to Pisa and rented a car to get to Levanto, a town just outside of Cinque Terre. We decided to stay outside of the main towns for a couple of reasons. We wanted a car so that we could visit smaller, harder-to-reach towns in Chianti and Tuscany; and we wanted a bigger space with a kitchen and a place for Zoey to sleep. We found the perfect place: Agriturismo Constaletta. It is a working farm with vineyards and olive groves that sits overlooking the Levanto valley. It was stunning!

The first town in Cinque Terre we hit was Riomaggiore, which we reached via train from Levanto. Riomaggiore, like the other four towns, is pretty small, but really packs a punch in terms of beauty. The views from the cliffs are incredible. I absolutely love the combination of pastel buildings with turquoise water and green hills.

We had a fantastic lunch (with great house wine!) at Trattoria La Grotta. The region is best known for its anchovies and pesto. We made sure to eat copious amounts of both. I couldn't believe how fresh and delicious everything was. Of course, we couldn't leave Riomaggiore without sampling their gelato. This was our first, but by no means the last of the trip. We were definitely living by "Rome Rules" and had an average of two gelati a day. I don't regret a thing.

We meant to explore the towns in order, and go to Manarola next. However, the train we jumped on apparently skipped a few towns and went straight to the fifth town of Monterosso. Oops. This town had more of a beach vibe, and is split into the old and new city. Unfortunately, it started pouring and we had to seek cover in a cafe. The town was nice, and the water was beautiful and warm, but I preferred Riomaggiore.

The next day we planned to visit the remaining three towns. Unfortunately, trains in Italy are not always reliable, and due to some canceled and delayed trains, we had to miss Corniglia. Fortunately, Manorola and Vernazza more than made up for it. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Read more about this trip:
Cinque Terre Day 2
A Night in Chianti
Wine Tasting in Tuscany
A Taste of San Gimignano
Last Day in Italy

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