Cinque Terre

My cousin suggested I not go here. “Too crowded with too many tourists.” “There are too many better places.” “People only go there because of Rick Steves.” You know what, she’s absofuckinglutely right. And you MUST go. You have to go. You may find better places. You may be snobby about coastal villages. But it doesn’t matter, these are some of the best towns you will ever experience. I’m not saying they are the best, and I’m definitely not suggesting that you should stay there for a week. But man, you have got to see this place. It’s one of those unusual places on earth that does not actually disappoint. It’s cool.

The closest town, Riomaggiore is about an 8 minute train ride (2 euros) from La Spezia. It’s possibly the easiest transportation system I’ve ever seen in a remote, or seemingly remote area. The trains stop literally in each town, and they come all the time. It was remarkably simple and convenient and cheap (not that we ever had our tickets checked anyhow, not once…on 6 or 7 rides in the area). Riomaggiore is sick by the way. Easily the sickest from an architectural standpoint. Way steeper and overbuilt (like in a cool, how the hell did you do that sort of way) than the other towns. We had an amazing lunch overlooking a cliff after walking all around the area. Perfectly quaint.

Our favorite was the farthest town, Montorroso. The architectural style is the same throughout the cinque terre, but this town is much more of a beach town. It has a long promenade of shops with patios right on the street, looking over onto the beach. This stretch goes on for quite a while and then you end up going under a bridge and then into the old town portion, which is cool as well. Hilly of course (you can’t get away from that) but lots of style and pretty straightforward retail area wise. We sat along the beach and had an amazing lunch with plenty of wine (after searching forever for an ATM because nobody took credit and the major bank in Italy wouldn’t take our debit cards! But we found a different bank in this town and it worked). This was also a great town for buying souvenir type shit. By the way, this place had some of the best “people” watching I saw on this trip. And by “people”, I mean very toned women in very small cloth like items that are meant to resemble bathing suits. I would add though, that this area seemed particularly young. Younger than the other towns visitor wise.

We also went to the Vernazza on the way back. It’s the smallest of all of them but still very nice. They have one of the best beach side rocky lounging areas that you’re ever going to get. They built like a jetty and tidal wall out into the sea and you can walk and swim all around it. Perfect for a nice lunch or a bottle of wine. They also had some cool restaurants built into sea walls and stuff.

Notes to self:

-I would stay in any of these towns for a few nights…