Italy Trip (Day 3 and 4)

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The last few days we have been in Monterosso al Mare on the north-western coast.  Our main desire in coming here was to hike the trails of the Cinque Terre.  Cinque Terre means 5 Lands in Italian, but it refers to the five villages that are built along this stretch of coast.  These villages, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, date back hundreds of years.  The villages have literally been carved into the rocky coast.  There are hiking trails that connect the five villages that were once mule paths used for transporting goods.  Now they are mainly used to provide hikers with sweeping views, pristine coastal, forest and mountainous landscapes, pathways through vineyards and a glimpse into these charming villages.  Of course most of these villages now have pizzerias and tourist souvenir shops, but the architecture of the villages seems to have been unchanged for centuries.  It is almost as if they provide a flash back into the past, and they are packed with history.  We have been staying at a place called Manuel’s Guesthouse in Monterosso al Mare, the western most village.  Manuel’s is a quaint little guest house with remarkable service and provides, perhaps, one of the best views of Monterosso.

When we first set out to begin our hike we were disappointed to find that two of the sections were closed due to rock slides.  We were told that we could instead do an alternate route that goes up away from the coast.  We were bummed because the coastal aspect is one of the main appeals to this hike.  So we did the first section from Monterosso to Vernazza on the coastal path and it was absolutely stunning.  After a snack and a bit of village exploration we set out on the second section to Corniglia.  We were immediately pleased to find that the alternate route was just as amazing and in some ways more so.  It still provided gorgeous coastal views, only from a higher vantage point, and it also added a new element of forests and vineyards.  The alternate pathways are longer in distance and duration and require much more ascending, but are well worth it.  The section from Corniglia to Manarola was also closed, so we took the alternate pathway.  This proved to be one of our favorite sections of the entire trail.  The majority of the hike is spent cutting through hilltop vineyards as you peer down on the sea below.   You even pass through a hill-top village called Volastra that may just be one of the most quaint and serene places we have ever passed through.  Another appeal to this alternate footpaths is there are less people using them, so you get more of the beauty to yourself!  The final section from Manarola to Riomaggoire is known as the Via dell’Amore, the lovers trail, and it draws more tourists than any other section.  It is also the only section that is a paved walkway.  The views are beautiful, but you can rarely enjoy them because of the people pushing past, taking photos or making out.  That section not included, due to the beautiful views and the atmosphere in the villages, this has been one of our favorite hikes.  While here we also made sure to make time to enjoy the sea. This was Sophie’s first visit to the beach and she absolutely loved being in the water.  She was not, however, fond of the rocky beach…unfortunately no sand.  We have throughly enjoyed our time here and highly recommend it to anyone who ever finds themselves in Italy.  Tomorrow we head to Milan.

One thought on “Italy Trip (Day 3 and 4)

  1. Amazing! It all looks so so lovely. We’re loving seeing your Italian adventures. The girls love seeing “Sophie Jessica” (which is Josephine’s matriarchal naming of Sophie). Her name comes up a lot around here, actually.
    Enjoy the wonderfulness.
    love from the kry’s.

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