I fell in love with Cinque Terre and the villages of Vernazza and Monterosso. “Cinque Terre” is Italian for “5 Lands”. 007 and I were fortunate enough to see 3 of the 5 villages on our recent trip. The villages are located on the Ligurian coast in north western Italy which is often referred to as the Italian Riviera. Join me as I reminisce about two of these beautiful pastel towns.
Vernazza and Monterosso
In addition, the capital of the region is Genoa. You may recall that the little kingdom of Genovia in The Princess Diaries was complete fantasy in the movie. However, this delightfully charming region, could easily serve as home to a princess. Many times, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was really there.
From Manorola to Vernazza
After our visit to Manorola, we enjoyed our train trip from Manorola to Vernazza. It was a very cool way to travel.
The off season in Vernazza was very busy! I can only imagine what it is like in high season. It is such a charming little village. It was smaller than other villages we visited, but people were friendly, the food delicious and sites breathtaking. In fact, Vernazza made us both feel like we were extras in a European movie.
There was no mistaking that this began as a sleepy little fishing village. There were boats everywhere, on sidewalks, on shore, and offshore. We loved that there were no cars. Local travel was by foot, bicycle or boat.
I’ve always thought of sidewalk cafés as French, but they were everywhere along the coast of Italy.
The piazza (town square) was a lovely meeting place. I wonder what it was like to live in a town where people gathered regularly to enjoy each other’s company. Do you have a piazza where you live?
We had a lovely snack in Vernazza overlooking the piazza. We had delightful conversations with other tourists as well as our waiter at the small sidewalk cafe near the natural pier.
This old town walkway led to the natural pier and our water taxi.
We had our own cozy corner at a local cafe in Vernazza.
From Vernazza to Monterosso
Then we took a water taxi from Vernazza to Monterosso. It was a short ride, only 10 minutes or less, but the coastline was gorgeous.
View of the castle in Monterosso from the water taxi.
Serena, our local tour guide in Cinque Terre. We both loved hearing her describe the area. She seemed to sing her words as she spoke.
Boats in the harbor of Monterosso.
The coast and landscape were breathtaking.
In Monterosso we found a couple of souvenirs to add to our collection.
OLD TOWN Monterosso coastline is the largest of the 5 lands.
Certainly, there are many church towers throughout Europe. The history in each one is something I love learning. Italy has many ancient churches and cathedrals. This is the ancient tower of the Genoa guards. The tower is part of the San Giovanni Battista church.
Just like Vernazza, traffic was either by foot, bicycle or boat. This blue bike was leaning near the Pizzeria del Ely.
007 and I had a delicious lunch at the Pizzeria da Ely Ristorante. Our meal included ravioli with pesto, not traditional red sauce, bread and olive oil dip and the house wine. Not only was the meal wonderful, but the bread and olive oil were the best of the trip. One word of caution though. There are smokers everywhere in Europe and Monterosso was no exception. There are not “smoking sections”, but people smoke anywhere they like. We were lucky enough to sit in a corner by ourselves without smokers.
The cafe sign right outside our little “tent.”
And lastly, we visited the public beach in the NEW part of Monterosso.
Coupled with the scenery, it was fun seeing locals enjoying the beach in the new section of Monterosso.
Our local guide to Monterosso was Enrico. He was hilarious, friendly and very knowledgeable. He told us to tell our friends that it’s best to visit Cinque Terre in off seasons. “During ah high seasons, it’s a nightamara to get around.” However, don’t let that hinder your visit to Vernazza and Monterosso. It’s a must see!