On Day 2 in Italy, Mikaela and I woke up in Pisa and took a train through Tuscany to Cinque Terre. We checked into our quaint Italian hotel in Monterosso, had our first foccaccia, and headed to the Cinque Terre boat. The boat brings passengers on the Italian Riviera between the five villages of Cinque Terre—Monterosso in the north, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore in the south. The five villages are connected by boat, train or hiking trails. There are hiking trails along the coast and extensive inland trails that connect the villages; unfortunately we couldn’t take the coastal trails that weekend because they had been closed due to recent mudslide damage. From Monterosso we rode the boat to the southernmost village of Riomaggiore. After walking around the village, we enjoyed a splendid lunch of spaghetti with pesto sauce and fresh prawns; we were off to a fabulous start of Italian dining with that meal!
Next, we returned to Monterosso and swam in the Italian Riviera! The magnificent cliffs, the bright blue water, and the radiant sun created a spectacular scene. As you can imagine relaxing on the beach in sunny Monterosso was quite different from exploring the chilly and often rainy Edinburgh!
Our next stop on our adventure in Cinque Terre was Manarola. There I bought my first gelato of the trip! Could this trip get any more perfect? We walked around Manarola, stopping inside a Catholic church and then wandering along the coastal path of the village. As sunset approached, we admired how the sun glistened on all the colorful houses and buildings in the village. Then we sat at a café near the edge of the Italian Riviera, and we enjoyed a glass of wine, some olives and nuts while watching the magnificent orange sun disappear along the horizon.
We continued our trip by taking the train to the fourth village, Corniglia—the only village not accessible by boat; this village sits high above the water and the train tracks along the water. From the top of the hill, we had a great view of the Italian Riviera and the cliffs of Cinque Terre. Next we tasted Cinque Terre wine and Sciacchetrà, an Italian sweet dessert wine, at an exquisite wine bar that was solely lit by candles in lanterns that were hanging in columns, like curtain panels on all four sides of the café. Next we enjoyed a full Italian dinner at Ristorante Cecio in Corniglia. Mikaela and I dined on gnocchi with pesto sauce and spaghetti with house marinara, as well as a tuna dish and a swordfish dish. This was a fabulous dinner, and we enjoyed every second of each other’s company and every bite of delicious Italian food. After dinner, we walked around more of Corniglia; continuing our day full of amazing Italian foods and drinks, we tried limoncino, an Italian native liquor that I personally did not favor, and we shared nutella and strawberry crepes in the town’s central square. As we boarded the train back to Monterosso, we reflected on the great day of hiking and swimming, dining and drinking, and most importantly laughing and catching up that we had shared. That day proved to be ‘un giorno perfetto’!