Travel

Visting the most beautiful place in Italy

Italy is a beautiful country with many gorgeous destinations and this time we would visit Cinque Terre!

In the middle of August, a few days after our trip in magical Trentino, we looked up nice places in Cinque Terre but… the prices of staying there were ridiculous. So Sara came up with a brilliant idea – we would stay in La Spezia, a city that is near Cinque Terre. We found our beautiful four day home at Brin Apartments: it was cozy, had a modern style with a flair of classiness, but most importantly, it was close to our favorite mode of transporation, the train!

Our neighborhood

Day one: Monterosso

We arrived the night before on 21st August and settled our things which included grocery shopping at Coop and a night stroll in downtown La Spezia.

So the next day we went on our first trip over to Monterosso. It was a spectacular thirty-minute train ride where tunnels in the mountains would break into openings where we could see the crisp clear sea. When we finally stepped out of the Monterosso train station our vision was instantly flashed with astonishment, Monterosso was really as spectacular as people had talked about. On both the southern and northern ends there were hills that cradled the small town and dropped off where the sea began. By the shore ran a line of creamy yellow buildings burning bright in the hot summer sun and a few feet ahead stood a row of oleander brushes with white and pink flowers. As we neared the beach we could see how the open blue sky tied with the salt sea water.

Street view in Monterosso

We pitched our towels, dipped our toes, and finally submerged ourselves. We spent the rest of the day going in and out of the sea and reading East of Eden together (future review coming soon). We stayed until the sun lightly toasted our skin and headed back home to La Spezia where we enjoyed a gelato. Then for dinner Sara cooked some lovely pizza piadina style which finished off our first day.

Shoreline of Monterosso

Day two: Levanto and Vernazza

We woke…. not so bright and early for our longer train ride to Levanto but we made it. Levanto is not inside the Cinque Terre national park but is beautiful in its own right. The day had a pleasant warmness that we even forgot to put on our sunscreen and the beach was slightly rockier but had a more relaxed atmosphere: the water gradually changed colors from the pale grayness to a fused green and finally grading blue as far as the eye could see. We stayed until our minds felt relaxed and our hearts felt it was time to go.

Levanto’s sea

The train streaked into Vernazza, the second most northern Cinque Terre. We crawled through the narrow streets to reach the far end of town where yellow and terra cotta colored buildings curled around the small and gentle shore. It was much smaller and cozier but frankly a bit overcrowded. We spent our time strolling around the catwalk admiring the green cliffs and wavy patterns of eroded grey rock.

Vernazza

Day three and four: Romance and Portovenere 

Despite making plans to visit Lerici the third day we were tired and sunburnt from two days at the beach so we decided to take it easy especially as we prepared for our romantic dinner later that evening. We watched Midnight in Paris during the day and felt inspired by Gil Pinder, the protagonist, who found himself in love with Paris and most of all with writing his own story both in a literal and spiritual sense. Then at around 7 pm we prepared our candlelit dinner. 

Romantic dinner

Although we didn’t know it at the time we felt we had saved the best for last. From La Spezia we caught the number 11 bus towards Portovenere which winded left and right across the hilly landscape. We admired the rocky jaggedness that surrounded and was integrated into the fortress itself. The physical toughness of the port connected it back to the raw nature of the sea that brushed it. These powerful characteristics of Portovenere further inspired us as we sat next to Lord Byron’s grotto. We could attach ourselves to the awe and sublime feeling that once inspired the poet himself. So in honor of Lord Byron himself we would like to finish this blog post quoting some of his words:

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.”

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

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