This interesting fountain, made in white marble, stands in the main street of Monterosso al Mare. Unfortunatelly it was out of use and we couldn't test the water not even refreshing ourselves. Composition of the fountain is suitable for a small town located on the seashore, big fish spilling the water into a stylized sea shells.
The vine requires a lot of sunny days, especially in the period of ripening of the grapes. Plenty of sunshine favors grapes in order to get the sweetness and the saturation of glucose that is in the process of subsequent fermentation decisive factor for the quality of wine.
It is not something what I learned from the books, that experience was relayed to me by my grandfather, who produced wine for his own use. In the Mediterranean area, where I was born and grew up, the experience of wine production is transmitted orally.
Configuration of the terrain is extremely important for the maturation of the grapes. Undulating terrain with lots of slopes and especially terraced karst are ideal for the production of premium wines.
The are above Monterosso has almost ideal configuration for the production of wines.
Sending a postcards
Do you send a postcards to your friends and family, I dont but my wife simply adore it. Wherever we travel together she must send postcards while I am always forgetting it.
Damn gadgets made us to be unpolite and lazy with sending the postcards. It used to be nice habbit and a must, ages ago, too bad such a nice tradition almost disappeared.
We were idling on restaurant terrace one night before dinner and I was looking at the interesting stonework on the corners of the building across the street. But wait….that’s not stone, it’s PAINT! And it isn’t the just the corners; the windowsills, frames and pediments are painted on too! Over the next few days I started looking closely at houses, apartments and public buildings in the Cinque Terre villages, and here would be a brushed-on balustrade and there, some cleverly rendered capitals or brick-patterned facade. Some of them had faded away to ghostly suggestions and others had been combined with intricate but less deceptive decorative elements.
So what’s up with that?
Turns out that architectural trompe l’oeil is a regional tradition stretching back to the Middle Ages. Its original purpose is a bit of mystery to me: some sources claim that it was an economical way to jazz up the otherwise plain, boxy buildings that are common here, and others think it was because embellishments made of the usual materials deteriorated too quickly in the salt air. It could have been a little of both but whatever the case, these folks were masters in this art of illusion and used it to glamorize interior and well as exterior surfaces. While the most elaborate of them are in Genoa, you will find good examples in towns all up and down the Ligurian coast.
Not that this technique was anything new to Medieval/Renaissance Liguria or specific to this area: you can seen some fascinating applications of the art in the villas of Pompeii and on the walls and ceilings of Galleria Borghese in Rome, among other places.
The few examples I’ve provided here may be hard to see but look for them above and below the windows in photo#2, and the yellow buildings on the right in photos #3 and #4.
- Arts and Culture
While in Cinque Terre besides fresh fish and focaccia ligure do not forget to try some pasta with pesto! Pesto cames from Liguria, the region where Cinque Terre is located, so you have the chance to try some of the best home-made pesto ever!
While we were in Riomaggiore we ordered TRENETTE* CON PESTO, really delicious!
But the best pesto we bought in Portovenere, on the main street in the historic center there is "BAJEICO - La BOTTEGA del PESTO". You can't miss it while in Portovenere!!! Every day they make fresh, home-made pesto, with no preservatives.
Trenette: long pasta, looks like linguine
The Lemon Festival!
The Lemon Festival is an annual event held on the Saturday preceding Ascension Sunday, at the end of May.
It is celebrated with a contest for the biggest local lemon. There is also a contest of shop windows decorated with lemons, as well as live music throughout the day.
There was lemon giveaways and tasting of all sorts of lemon products available.
We had a tasty lemon gelato - yum!
Located in the old town area of Monterosso.
From the train station, walk through the tunnel, or up around the headland to get to the old town.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Ask bar owner to use bathroom or get scolded
In Vernazza there is only 1 public restroom i could find - it was at the train station and was dirty and there was a line of people waiting to use it. So, I went looking for a bathroom and found one at the pirate bar up the hill. I saw the WC sign and made a run for it....on my way I heard 'eh, eh, eh'...and was called back to the front before I could use it.
There I received an uncomfortable cultural 'lesson' in front of a room full of patrons. I was asked why I didn't even say 'buon giorno' to the owner (who had been busy with a customer) or ask to use the bathroom when I walked in. I was told that most Americans are very friendly and polite but I was not.
Apparently, I am the biggest jerk of an American tourist that ever existed.
I replied 'Mi dispiace' (I'm sorry) and used the restroom - which was very clean. When I left I told the owner I was sorry but was unfamiliar with the local custom, that In America it is customary to use the bathroom without asking. He told me Europeans don't ask to use the restroom (implied they are rude like this) but Americans are usually very courteous.
I believe Americans are usually polite because they only know a few words of Italian and are desperately trying to get by with the language difficulties....not to say Americans aren't polite normally...just saying we aren't as confident as most Europeans when traveling. Most Europeans speak several languages and most Americans only speak English
This was not a good experience at all. Not that I am overly sensitive but this was rather abrupt cultural awakening for me. Bathrooms in the US are always available, most of the time moderately clean, and almost always free.
I would rather the proprietor post a sign of 5 euro for bathroom than do as he did. I would rather pay to use the restroom than have to wait in line to ask or get scolded for not asking.
Lesson learned - unless you want to be embarrassed in front of many people, you should probably buy something, then beg to use the bathroom in Italian, and hope it ends well for you.
I am 1/2 Italian and have been to Italy before. Unlike America, most shops are run by the owner who is the gate keeper for the restroom and public accommodations are not always available.
I understand the owner not wanting to support every tourists bathroom needs. His bathroo could get disgustingly dirty if it was the only 'free' bathroom in town.
However, he should not have a sign posted for the bathroom if he wants to limit access to those who ask him for the bathroom location.
Also, having a bathroom available should be considered a cost of doing business. Yes, some tourists will only use your bathroom and not purchase anything. Others will buy something. If the town supported more public restrooms, the vendors would likely have to pay more taxes to support this.
Anyways, I just wanted to save everyone the same, uncomfortable situation as me. From what I understand this is an Italian custom and I am not berating the pirate bar specifically. However, it seems excessive for any proprietor to treat a potential customer badly and I noticed patrons with uncomfortable looks on their faces as I was being schooled. Just my two cents.
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
Jewellery for dogs?
OK I can’t really say for sure that this is a local custom, unless by local we mean the custom of just one person, but I had to smile when I saw it. This dog was relaxing outside one of the shops in Monterosso Vecchio, sporting a pretty bead necklace. Did you ever see such a thing?! Perhaps he is something of an advertisement for the shop, which certainly appeared to sell little bits of jewellery. Or perhaps his owner just loves him so much that she (I feel sure it’s a “she”) wanted to show him off to his best advantage :-)
If you want to seek him out yourself, the shop was towards the end of the Via Roma as it climbs out of the oldest part of town, just past the point where it is joined by the Via V. Emanuele.
The hills of the Cinque Terre are covered with grape vines, baking in the Ligurian sunshine and waiting to be harvested each autumn and made into the delicious wine that we love to drink on our visits there.
Due to the precarious way that the grapes are grown - on steep cliffs, an ingenious Monorail network has been built to carry the grapes once picked.
It is big enough to carry the driver and containers of precious cargo (aka grapes).
So after a long day hiking past the vineyards, whilst you are sipping a chilled glass of vino bianco, look to the hills and amaze over the ingenious Monorail!
- Hiking and Walking
- Wine Tasting
- Budget Travel