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Friday, September 13, 2013

Pisa to Cinque Terre

On our last morning in Tuscany, we woke up early, had a glorious breakfast and hit the road. We drove a few hours on the autostrada to the Pisa airport where we dropped off our rental. I make that sound totally easy, well getting to the airport was easy, dropping off our car? Well that was another story... oh Italy =P.

Anyway, we dropped off our rental at the Pisa airport and then walked to the Pisa Centrale train station. Once there we checked our bags (ahh another perk of packing only one small carry-on bag for a month long trip, it's really easy to check you luggage) and started on the 15 minute walk to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pisa is a cute little Italian town, and we really enjoyed the walk to the Campo dei Miracoli (which is where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is located).

**Insider note** Many of the stores and restaurants in Pisa were closed in August. If you want to really experience Pisa I would recommend visiting during another month. We were mostly interested in checking out the Leaning Tower and taking some touristy photos, and that my friends.. is exactly what we did.

After a couple of hours in Pisa we were soooo ready to head to our next destination, the town of Vernazza in Cinque Terre. Vernazza is straight up amazing, and was the absolute highlight of my trip. 

From Pisa we took the train to La Spezia. Once at the La Spezia train station we needed to purchase tickets to Cinque Terre. I'm just going to put it out there, the La Spezia train station is a hot mess crowded during the summer, and there are 2 ticket machines. Unfortunately, said ticket machines barely work, and because of that the line to talk to a ticket agent is ridiculous. If possible, buy your tickets ahead of time on Trenitalia. Then when you arrive at La Spezia ask multiple people for help when trying to figure out what platform you need to go to. There is lots of confusion and.. lets just say confirm and confirm, and then confirm again hehe. 

Right after stepping off the train in Vernazza. I was very excited

Cinque Terre (or Five Lands in Italian) is the name given to five small beach front towns on the Italian Riveria. Cinque Terre is a special place, and the towns are connected only by train or hiking paths. Cars are not allowed into the towns (eh except trucks that deliver food to the markets and restaurants in the mornings, and may or may not come very close to running people over. Details hehe) and corporate businesses and chain restaurants simply do not exist there. The people of Cinque Terre take pride in maintaining the charm of their home. I think Cinque Terre is Italy at its very finest. 

We stayed in Vernazza after researching the five different towns, and well after I read that Rick Steves recommends staying there. I trust that guy, what can I say. Oh and he was absolutely right, Vernazza was my favorite town. =P 

See that photo below? Well, that was the view from the room we rented in Vernazza. I cannot possible say enough great things about the little room we rented from Maria and Giacomo Capellini in Vernazza. The room was sweet and affordable, right on the harbor, and Maria and Giacomo were wonderful in every single way. If you are ever in Vernazza do yourself a favor and book their harbor front room. You will not regret it. (Oh and tell them Tammy and Nadav sent you. =P)

Vernazza, is simply beautiful in every way. If you like beautifully colored buildings set on a cliff, picturesque views, rustic Italian towns, and stunning beaches you will love Vernazza. I could not get enough of this place.

The pace is slower in Vernazza, and the locals truly appreciate the beauty that is their home. Actually, a few years ago there was a horrible flood that destroyed a great deal of Vernazza, and the locals worked hard to rebuild their town. We spent time talking with many of them about the floods and their struggle to rebuild. You really can feel the love and pride that the locals have for their home during your time there.

That first night in Vernazza we ordered pesto pizza, pesto gnocchi, and a bottle of wine to-go from Baia Saracena. We grabbed our goods and headed to the harbor to watch the sunset. It was absolutely stunning. As it grew dark we grabbed some gelato and laid on the rocks with tourists and locals alike, stared at the night sky, and watched shooting stars. Sounds romantic and cheesy? Well it was, and I happen to think it was absolutely perfect in every single way.

Oh and for the record, Cinque Terre is the place to get pesto. Truth is, I was never really a pesto fan until I experienced it in Vernazza. The pesto in Cinque Terre is unlike any I have had before, DELICIOUS.
And for the post finale, what you always wanted to see, me taking a bite of pesto pizza. =P

Happy Weekend Friends
Oh, and if you observe Yom Kippur like I do, Gmar Chatima Tovah :)


Simply Evani said...

Yum, that last pic is making me hungry! When Rob and I finally get to do Europe someday (maybe after this darn expensive wedding) I'm not going to even bother with a travel book, I'm going to just take all your blog suggestions! :)

Anonymous said...

Loooooks amazing! I've been seeing tons of pics of Cinque Terre pop up on Pinterest lately and can see why. I've also just started Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (?) and it takes place in the area. So beautiful!


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