By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA
We had three glorious days in this beautiful part of the coast-line area of Italy. The name of the area is because there are 5 villages that make up the region, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterossa. We stayed in Vernazza. You may be wondering if we had a travel agent or were part of a group? We were on our own and Cathy takes credit for most of the research on the areas and which village was the best to stay in and use as a hub. There was a local train that went back and forth between the villages, so it was easy to get to each one of them. Our room was small as expected because these little villages do not have places to stay such as a Marriot or Hyatt or any other brand name resort. These villages have small, boutique, family-owned places to stay. Our hotel only had six rooms and a small restaurant. No pool, exercise room, spa or conference facilities. It was perfect.
It was late in day when we arrived just in time to get some dinner. And that we did. We climbed down the traversing stairways and paths down the hillside and eventually made our way down to the piazza on the waterfront. We found a cool little restaurant, had a fabulous dinner and had some of the local wine. Day 1 in Cinque Terre was in the books. Day 2 we took the train to the last village of Monterossa which is part of the Italian Riveria. There was the beach village and the old village. Of course, we explored both. Up and down stairs, through ally ways and along cobble stone streets we strolled. A nice slice of focaccia bread for lunch on the beach and then we went to the old village. Even though the two areas were part of the same village, they were totally different which made it very interesting. After some shopping and people watching, we made our way back to Vernazza. We had dinner at our hotel overlooking the water. We made our way down the traversing stairways and paths down the hillside and went back into the village for Gelato. By the way, the area is known for seafood, especially calamari, pesto, focaccia and white wine. Of course, we tried it all.
Our last full day we went to Riomaggiorre and Manarola. Both were beautiful and had their unique qualities. Ancient structures stuck into the sides of the oceanside cliffs. The building colors of red, yellow, orange, pink and white set against the cliffs overlooking the emerald-green oceanwater made for beautiful scenery. The seafood that came from those waters was amazing. We had a fried combination appetizer that included calamari, shrimp, octopus, anchovies and a couple of other items that were delicious, but I still am not sure what we were eating. We had a full day and what capped off our trip was the amazing sunset on our last night. It was hard to believe that we were really seeing something so beautiful. It was certainly a trip that we will always cherish.
The next part of our journey takes us another 400 or so kilometers by train to Umbria. We took a train from Vernazza to La Spezia, then to Viareggio, then to Florence and finally to Orvieto. As I write this, we are training through Tuscany and the scenery along the way is beautiful. Rolling hillsides, vineyards and olive groves. We will arrive just in time for dinner and a bottle of wine. The Umbria region of Italy is known for their red and white wines, truffles, wild boar and hearty pasta dishes. It all sounds good to me. We have a week in this region and rented a car and will be visiting many of the little walled villages that make this region so unique. There will be some stories for sure about the food and wine so stay tuned for the next chapter of our journey.
Until the Next Tom’s Take……………………………