When I started writing a post on my recent Tuscany trip, I realised that it was too much information to be conveyed through a single post so decided to break it up. Here is the first post that focusses on the Ligurian coast of Italy, which I visited briefly before heading to Chianti along with my husband of course. 🙂
We left from Berlin on 26th June all grumpy as our flight was delayed by no less than 5 hours, which resulted in us reaching Florence pretty late. From there we picked our car and left for Sarbia, a small village near La Spezia in the Ligurian region. You can also fly to Pisa and take a train to Cinque Terre. If driving then its the best that you stay in one of the neighbouring towns as parking is much easier.
Our AirBnb hosts, Alessandro and Martina were really cooperative and waited for us till we reached at about 1:30. I can definitely recommend staying at their pretty homestay away from the touristy crowds to enjoy an amazing view of the sea and the town of La Spezia. However, don’t try getting here without GPS. The small house is literally on top of a mountain in a small village so getting here for the first time can be tricky, specially if you are not used to driving in the hills. Where ever you decide on staying, book it much in advance as these parts of Italy tend to get booked out in summers.
Next day was all about exploring Cinque Terre. We started pretty laid-back at about 11 and drove to La Spezia from where one needs to take a train or ferry to the villages. We took train because its much faster, cheaper and because I feel nauseated in ferries. Parking the car can be bit of a headache in La Spezia but you might get lucky in the free church parking. We did not find the church but found a free parking close to the station somehow. In the end it all works out.
Cinque Terre comprises of five villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. In one day it can be extremely tiring if you cover all five so we settled on Riomaggiore (good food), Vernazza (beautiful) and Manarola (view to the typical Cinque Terre photos we see travel glossies). Our hosts were really nice to recommend and help us decide on the three. Our favourite one was definitely Vernazza. All the islands are no more than 10 minutes away from each other by train so commuting is pretty easy. For lunch it’s best that you pick freshly made focaccia bread because that is really the region’s speciality and proves much better than a sit down fancy dining experience. A lot of restaurants serve frozen pasta so don’t try. If you do want to have dinner in a nice restaurant then Riomaggiore should be your pick with some really nice restaurants.
After going around the villages we got back to our homestay and rested a little before walking downhill to Antica Hostaria Secondini restaurant that our host suggested for dinner. It was one of the best meals we had in Italy. The flavours and the pasta was true to the Ligurian spirit with everything made in-house. The restaurant also hosts cooking classes if that’s your thing. We has pasta in pesto alla Genovese and ravioli in walnut sauce. OMG! You have to try these when in Cinque Terre!
P.S: Don’t leave your mosquito repellent and sunscreen.