Our second day in Cinque Terre started much the same as the first – with a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, & cappuccinos. We then made our way down the 300 or so stairs to the train station to buy tickets to Milan for the following day as well as a Cinque Terre Card for the day. We’d decided to hike the blue trail to Vernazza & then take a boat to Monterrosso, both of which would require the card.
The hike to Vernazza was as stunning as the two we’d done the day before, although a little busier. We saw twice the number of people we’d seen not the red trails – likely because they are part of the suggested routes. The most striking thing for me was the range of ages & abilities. I was happy to see such a diverse group attempting the hike. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were too. & I mean, what’s not to love? Every time we looked back at Corniglia, I thought I had spotted my favourite view of the little village. Inevitably, we’d round another corner only to discover another that blew me away.
Nearing Vernazza, we were rewarded with stunning views of the little village. We seemed to round a corner & suddenly find the village laid out in below. Looking down on Vernazza from the trail was one of my favourite vistas of the whole trip.
Hungry for our hike, we were pretty excited for the pizza recommendation I’d stumbled upon. I didn’t have a name, but had read we couldn’t miss it. As you descend towards the port, you’ll more or less stumble right into it. If that doesn’t tip you off, the line certainly should! It’s popular little spot.
We snagged a table right before the rush & ordered two pizzas – pesto & sausage, predictably- & two beers. The pizza had a focaccia-like crust that was different from any other pizza we’d ordered in Italy. No complaints here – you probably could have put pesto on a cracker & I’d have been happy though, honestly.
I’m not sure if it was the time of day or the town itself, but we found it considerably busier than any of the others we visited. After lunch, we wandered around the port before grabbing a large beer to share & setting up on some towels by the water. It doesn’t get much better than soaking up the sun, playing in the ocean, & sharing a cold beer on a hot day. Once we’d had our fill, we bought a couple tickets for the boat ride to the final land.
We’d opted for the boat to save ourselves some time. We’d read that Vernazza to Monterosso was the hardest of the four hikes, & although I’m sure we could have managed, we didn’t want to feel rushed catching the train back to Corniglia. I love being out the ocean so the boat wasn’t a hard sell.
Monterosso had more of a beach feel than any of the other towns. We wandered around town, stopping in on little shops along the way to check out local products & art. There was so much wonderful art, & the photography was especially impressive. We picked up a print to bring home & headed over to a beachside restaurant for a drink with a view.
We finished our drinks & hopped on the train back to Corniglia for appies & wine at the cutest enoteca. The little garden patio overlooking the bay was the ideal setting for our final sunset. Their cheeky signs (announcing their lack of wifi to encourage conversation), delicious wine & appies, & wonderful service were the perfect way to watch the day wind down.
After sunset, we climbed a little further up the hill for dinner. I couldn’t resist a final meal including that incredible pesto. Pesto twice in one day? Works for me! Heading into the village centre for a couple of beers afterwards, we discovered a cute little spot. All of the bars in Corniglia are on the smaller side, giving them an especially intimate feel. Each has it’s own special features, leaving me feeling like I could have easily spent a few more days exploring (& imbibing). I certainly didn’t want to go to bed, knowing we’d be leaving in the morning.
We reluctantly packed up our airbnb rental in the morning & headed over to another little garden restaurant for a leisurely breakfast – trying to soak up the last of Cinque Terre before our train. The surprising highlight of breakfast turned out to be a freshly squeezed orange-lemon juice, or the most incredible juice in the world. I wish I’d learned about it sooner! I’d have ordered it daily.
As we walked down the winding road to the train station, rolling suitcases in tow, we watched the men working in the vineyards. It must have been harvest. Most were gathering grapes into red bins & putting them in the back of their trucks. One man carried his down in a bucket on his back & put it in the back of his car. They politely said hello as we passed – I’m sure we looked completely ridiculous & out of place to them, trekking down the hill with all our luggage. Every interaction during our stay in Cinque Terre had been warm & friendly, so it seemed fitting that it should end in the same way.
I want to remember every detail of Cinque Terre. I loved every minute we spent exploring those breathtaking five lands & if I could only suggest one place to visit in Italy, this would be it.
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