Take the train to the towns of...
Take the train to the towns of the Cinque Terre and enjoy these charming towns! Vernazza has a beautiful harbor where you can climb up to the top of an old castle and take in the beautiful view. Even in winter, it is well worth it! We were there Dec 26-27 and had beutifully clear weather! The pace is very slow in this area. Slow down, enjoy some great food, stop to watch the amazing sunsets and just relax. As we wandered among these towns we kept thinking, 'Life doesn't get any better than this!'
Buying some wine and foccacia....
Buying some wine and foccacia. The sides of the hills of Le Cinque Terre are planted with grape vines.These grapes are used to produce a white wine called 'Sciacchetra' which means 'press and pull'. It is very good!
Bring a daypack and load it with a couple bottles of water and some delicious sandwiches from a local snack bar...then find a spot while hiking the trail and enjoy a scenic lunch! I highly recommend a good pair of trekking shoes for the trail between the 5 towns. There are lots of slopes, stairs, and rocky crossings. If the trail is at all wet the rocks are EXTREMELY slippery. A good pair of shoes can make all the difference.
Jumping off to the Cinque Terre
"An exploration waiting to happen"
La Spezia wasn't part of our touring plan. We'd expected to stop at Lago di Pucchini but we missed the exit on the autostrada and before you could blink, we'd reached this naval enclave at a broad inlet of the Ligurian Sea, and we'd arrived hungry as bears because, it being Sunday, we couldn't find any open restaurants. We drove aimlessly down to the Embarcadero, assuming we'd find a lovely seaside restaurant awaiting, but all we managed to find was an off-limits area where a stern military policeman directed us to exit at once. (He did have a nice sea view, though.)
Eventually we parked and began walking about, looking for eateries. There were lovely public gardens, with well-built apartment blocks behind them, but there seemed to be nowhere to eat.
We knew that if we wanted to visit the lovely hillside towns of the Cinque Terre, this would have been our point of departure -- by boat, train, or foot -- but we were heading in the opposite direction, to Parma. We just needed some food to fuel the journey!
So...I am sure La Spezia has an abundance of treasures, museums, vistas, churches, and restaurants, but they're going to have to wait until my next visit.
Bella Cinque Terra
I visited the beautiful and serene Cinque Terra for 2 nights and 3 days during the off-season. The weather might have been too cool for swimming, but the lack of tourists made it all worthwhile. I hiked the famous trail between the 5 towns and only came across 5 or 6 other hikers the whole time! Each town has it's own charms...my favorites were Riomaggiorio, the friendliest, and Vernazza, the most beautiful. Cinque Terra is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the more urban treasures Italia has to offer. It's a relaxing way to unwind after long trip...