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Thursday, 31 August 2006

Le Cinque Terre - Page 2

Written by Sally Alfis
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Want to visit Florence and Tuscany, but are afraid of the damage to your wallet?  For a beautiful side trip from crowded and expensive Firenze, take a little detour past Pisa, and hit the gorgeous seaside villages known as Le Cinque Terre – the five lands.  This is an area in the province of Liguria, on the Italian Riviera, which consists of five villages along the coastline that are connected to each other only by footpaths and train tracks – no cars allowed



From the beach we headed to the ferry taking us to our next destination and home for the night – Vernazza. Although the ferry is about three Euros more expensive than walking the trails or taking the train, it offers views of the villages not possible from land.  From the ferry, you get clear pictures of the villages; their bright, cheery colors reflecting off of the Italian sun glare.




Via internet, I had booked a little camere per affitare (rooms to rent) in Vernazza called Camere Elisabetta.  The place was all the way up at the top of the town, so we had to climb never-ending windy, stone stairways to the top. As I peered around corners looking for the place, I heard a friendly voice yell at the top of the stairs "Sally! Sally! Sono qui!" (Sally! Here I am!).


I looked up to the pink house with green shutters and beautiful flowers around it, #63, and saw a chubby Italian in her mid-50's, wearing a house dress and flagging me down. Elisabetta greeted us with hugs and kisses (never met the woman before in my life) as her little, puffy, white Pomeranian named Pepino jumped excitedly at the site of new people.


The two floor apartment that we had rented for the night (only 60 Euros) was decorated in 80s-style Euro-décor.  Weird prints on the couch and bed spread were completely mismatched but had a lot of charm.  All of the windows had a view of some sort view and we even had our own rooftop patio terrace that overlooked the Ligurian Sea.  And for those on a true budget, there was also a kitchen for preparing your own dinner.  The best part for English speakers is that both Elisabetta and her husband Joseph speak English, which is great for making reservations and having a local, yet comfortable place to stay.


My favorite part about that entire experience in the apartment was the
little signora who lived across the pathway.  When I woke up the next morning and went out the front door to walk into town, getting some colazione per portare via (breakfast to take-away), she was outside watering her flowerpots.  I waved and smiled saying "Buon giorno, Signora!" (Good morning, ma'am).  When she waved back and smiled, she replied, "Buon giorno bella!" (Good morning, beautiful), which completely thrilled me .  For the rest of the day she would always smile and say something in Italian about whatever I was doing as I passed by.  I felt almost a part of the neighborhood.


Vernazza is a great village because it is so homey.  There are no large hotels in Le Cinque Terre; only small B&B’s and rooms to rent.  It really allows for a very local experience when afternoon tourists aren’t in town.  When I went down into the village to pick up breakfast, the locals were taking their morning cappuccini in the two or three bars in town – no tourists whatsoever. After I picked up some brioches and had a cappuccino, I walked over to the little beach/port and climbed on the rocks to take in the morning harbor routine.  The town pescatori (fisherman) were rowing their boats back in towards the beach, and then throwing fish scraps to the stray cats prowling the piazza – poverini (poor little things).


(Page 2 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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