Hiking the Cinque Terre

We took the train from Pisa to the Cinque Terre, which is on the west coast of Italy along the Italian Riveria, south of Portofino.  It means “five lands” and consists of five little fishing villages that are tucked up onto cliffs overlooking the ocean.  When we were approaching the area, the train would be going through a black tunnel and then we would get just a flash of bright blue ocean before going back into another tunnel.  The air smelled like sunscreen as soon as we stepped off the train in the last village of Monterosso al Mare (where we stayed).  We quickly changed into bathing suits/hiking clothes, slathered on our sunscreen and hit the trails.

The villages are connected by hiking trails.  Some more difficult than others.  We started with the hardest section first, which I actually think is a good strategy-just get it over with.

Here we are happy and fresh, ready to start the hike!
Beautiful Monterosso.
Came across this man, just pruning his grapes on the hill, no big deal.

The trail was pretty treacherous at points.  Lots of stairs, dirt, and tiny foot paths.

A little shopping during your hike, perhaps?
Little lizards all over the place.

View of the next village, Vernazza.  We’re almost there!

Just a glimpse of some of the stairs we hiked.

 There was a huge mudslide here in October.  We walked next to this house that looked like half of it had just fallen off.  Some of the hiking trails were still closed because of the mudslide, but other than that it seemed the towns were back on their feet.

After the hard part of the hike was over, we decided to take a break and go for a swim!

Since the next 2 trails were closed, we took the train to the last village Riomaggiore.  We stopped there for a little more swimming and sun (but forgot to take pictures).  It started to get a little overcast so we were on our way.  We hiked the “Via del Amore” between Riomaggiore and Manarola.  This part is the easiest of the paths between villages.

Via del Amore
Pretty Manarola

Once we got to Manarola, we hopped on another train back to Monterosso, got cleaned up and headed out for dinner.  We ordered a seafood risotto for two, that came out like I’ve never seen before.  A huge pot covered with a flatbread, that the waiter lit on fire at the table.  Then he carved off the bread lid and plated the risotto right at the table, a pretty memorable presentation.  It was such a fun day, filled with gorgeous scenery.  I have never seen such vibrant colors.  The water, hills, flowers, it was all so bright and beautiful.  The Cinque Terre is definitely one of the prettiest places I have ever seen.