If there’s one proof heaven is a place on earth it’s here! Arguably so, there may be a few others but definitely on top of the (short) list is Cinque Terre – a cluster of cinque terre (“five lands”) or five villages along the Ligurian coast on the northwestern part of Italy.
From the city of Ferrara (where May Juno, my Washington-based childhood friend and a university schoolmate lives while in town visiting family members) our travel crew of three – May Juno, her nephew Rowell, and myself set out on a beautiful late summer day.
Three trains (Ferrara to Bologna, Bologna to Parma, Parma to La Spezia), two espressos, one scoop of gelato, a slice of focaccia, never ending scenic Italian countryside views of Tuscany and Liguria, and countless bursts of laughter later – we arrived at the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Cinque Terre National Park.
Since cars cannot get into the villages from the outside travelers have to galavant around and in and out of the five villages either by foot, train or by boats or ferries. The easiest and the quickest option is the inter village trains. So our first train stop was Riomaggiore, the first village where we checked into our quaint rustic hotel by the sea.
And on to the the other villages – Monterosso Al Mare, Corniglia, Manarola, and Vernazza, as they say, the Queen of them all. With tips from other travelers and the local tourist shops after a few trips we kind of turned into experts in cracking the code for the complicated train routes and train hours which you need to be in order to make the most out of your time on these beautiful Italian Riviera villages. The jewel of these villages is basically the breathtaking views – um, I will just let the photos speak for this! – best enjoyed on foot. The hiking trails are strategically designed for the hikers to enjoy both the ocean and the mountainside views. The place is a photographer’s haven as well! No need to worry about the food and drinks too. It’s Italy! And it’s by the sea. This region is also famous for their wine.
A trip I can only pull from memory as heavenly and magical! And yet another proof the Italians are winning at life! Molto bella!