Days 9 & 10 - Monterosso & Cinque Terre

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, we discovered the Cinque Terre villages and our destination in Monterosso!!!! Picturesque from the moment we arrived! Sitting on the edge of the Ligurian Sea, Monterosso is the most northern of the five villages.  Each village fills a ravine and are accessible by boat, train and trails. We had actually watched Rick Steves video on Cinque Terre so we came with a plan in hand to be able to see them all and boat, hike and access the train on our free day.

We came into Monterosso by train from Levanto and it was a short walk to our hotel. Our room was very comfortable, on the first floor with a small walled patio out the back door. The staff was very friendly and the breakfasts were delicious.

A self-proclaimed foodie and cook, I was really excited for our pesto cooking demonstration here! We had a bit of free time upon our arrival to wander the area a bit, walked down by the water and had a glass of local wine before joining the group and heading to the restaurant. Our demonstration was very informative, and the pesto was out of this world. Our hostess shared her recipe with us although I don't know that my version will ever compare to hers.

Pesto Demonstration

Sea Bass

Pasta with pesto

Yummy Dessert!

After dinner we spent some time wandering around the streets and shops of Monterosso.  So many fun places and restaurants to wander into and past checking out menus and souvenirs. Tomorrow we are off to check out the other villages!

We got started early as we had a big day planned!  After an excellent breakfast we headed for the ferry. Our plan was to take the boat from Monterosso all the way to Riomaggiore, the most southern village.  We would check out this little village first, then grab the train to Manarola.  After wandering Manarola we would grab the train to Corniglia where we would then hike the trail to Vernazza.  Once we got to Vernazza we would decide whether to keep walking or take the train back to Monterosso.

The Ferry

The tiny villages are filled with small shops, churches and restaurants.  We checked out a few churches, stopped for coffee and a snack in a small restaurant and wandered through a few shops.

Love this mural!

Wandering the different villages.

The boat was not huge, probably holding 75-100 people total. The crew obviously knew what they were doing, and steered the boat into and out of the stops effortlessly considering the rocky shores.

We pick up some sandwiches and stopped for lunch before we start our hike in Corniglia.

Lunch before setting out to hike.

Mid-morning we arrive at the trailhead in Corniglia. We will start here and head toward Vernazza. Rick's book indicates that this part of the trail is the most scenic, has significant elevation changes, and some uneven and moderately steep grades.

Grapevines on the hillside.

We are out in the middle of nowhere when we came upon this man, his two dogs and an accordion. So random! No sign of a road since we started, how did this guy get here?  But here he is just playing away with his dogs happily people watching. He was pretty darn good too!


There are no words to express how incredibly scenic this hike was.  The olive trees and the grapevines were plentiful as we walk the rocky path.  The trail is challenging but we walk at our own pace, up and down the mountain.

Hand harvesting is a labor-intensive process that requires a significant amount of time and manpower, but it is considered essential for producing high-quality wines in the Cinque Terre region. It also reflects the traditional methods and cultural heritage of winemaking in this picturesque coastal area. This "tram of sorts" appears to be used for grape harvesting.

We are really up there! I'm standing on the other side of the path taking this picture! There were a few times when I just kept looking forward and not over at the water! OK, I took a peak.

The views both down to the water and up the mountain are breathtaking.  There are no signs of civilization from the time we start until we come within 20 minutes of Vernazza.  Some of the trail is narrow and rocky and we have to stop to let others pass.

As we come down into Vernazza we see the castle and harbor below us! Breathtaking!

As we walk down into Vernazza I think it's been a long challenging hike, but I also feel very satisfied with having accomplished it. We head back to the hotel and go for a quick dip.  Well, John went in, I got my feet in the water. Before dinner tonight we all gather at the hotel for some appetizers and drinks.  Everyone has brought something to share, and we meet on the front porch.   We have a group dinner planned tonight.

Enjoying a cocktail with our group on the front porch of our hotel.

Our group dinner was at Buranco, a restaurant and wine tasting establishment located past the downtown area and up the hill. The view was spectacular with the mountainside covered in vineyards. I had to opportunity to meet the owner.  What a lovely lady! Limited pictures as the dark through off my camera's focus.

The owner - Her son is the chef and her daughter helps with serving.

Beautiful view of the vineyards

The entrance

Crab pasta

Fried seafood plate

Cinque Terre was a wonderful location to on our Italy tour. With its rugged coastline, rocky beaches and hiking trails that wind along the cliffs, Cinque Terre allows visitors to experience the stunning scenery up close. Being able to experience the five small villages that line the coast, we were impressed by the picturesque landscape and friendly locals who shared their home with us.  Onto Sienna with a stop in Lucca.