Cinque Terre is a rugged, mountainous area along the coast of the Italian Riviera. It's known as "The Five Hills" and is composed of 5 different colorful villages that overlook the Ligurian Sea: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The villages are connected by a walking path called the "Sentiero Azzurro" (which means light blue trail) since there are very few roads that are accessible by car in this area. There is also a local train that runs from village to village because some of the terrain on the walking trail can be pretty treacherous and muddy and is not suitable for every visitor to navigate safely. Our plan was to hit each one of the 5 towns, walking to some and taking the train to the rest, but the rain we encountered had us changing our plans. Happily, though, we were able to hit 3 out of the 5 seaside villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, and Vernazza), and what we saw (and ate...pesto, OMG!) was nothing short of wonderful!
We found this little Focacceria while walking through Manarola and the smells coming from the door just drew me in. D and I ordered a square of fresh garlic focaccia smeared with a glob of fresh pesto straight made right in Manarola. It. Was. AH-MAZING. I wish I could have taken a box of the focaccia home with me...it was the softest, most fragrant bread I've ever tasted. And the pesto! Oh, the pesto. I probably looked like a ravenous two year old with it smeared all over my face as I inhaled it. Thankfully we got to eat more of it for lunch in Vernazza and you know I took a few jars home with me. It was like a requirement seeing as this region of Italy is the home of pesto. Totally worth a trip there just for the green stuff. Divine!
Below is a photo collage on the wall of one of the alley ways in Vernazza showing the devastation that hit them (as well as another one of the 5 towns) last October in the form of a torrential rainstorm and flooding. From the looks of it, the town was utterly inhabitable post-flood. While we were there, signs of life, tourism, and re-building were everywhere!
Well, folks...that's all for Italy! The very next morning we woke up, said goodbye to our Tuscan paradise, and made our way to Bologna to catch our flight back to Germany. The day after that, half of the family left to head back home to Kansas (as we all mourned the ending our fabulous vacation) while my immediate family stayed one extra day with us. Stay tuned for ONE LAST POST (*tear*) from our Big Fat European Family Vacation...a day exploring Wiesbaden! Then, I swear I'll post photos from our trip to Prague, Lake Constance/Switzerland, and Paris. I'm so unbelievably behind. Story of my life.
Happy Thursday, friends!