From Montreux, we took a six hour train down to Vernazza, by way of Milan, to spend the next day and a half (two nights) in an area known as Cinque Terre, or “five villages.” Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage site (#826), with the region known for anchovies, pesto, and, of course, olive oil. It was added to the list in 1997 and I am glad it was, the place is wonderful.
About Cinque Terre
Cinque Terra is located on the Italian Riviera to the west of La Spezia. Here it is on the map:
It is a collection of five medieval villages connected by a train, boat, and hiking paths but inaccessible by car unless you’re a resident. We were staying in Vernazza, the second most northern of the five villages. The largest and most northern town is Monterosso al Mare. After Monterosso is Vernazza, then Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
The towns themselves are “tiny,” by all accounts, which adds to the quaintness of the whole experience. Vernazza, like many of the others, has only one main “road,” lined with all manner of shops and restaurants. That road leads to a “square,” that sits next to a “marina,” where kids can play. All those descriptions are in quotes because they are really small. 🙂
We got in at 3PM and didn’t have a lunch, since all of our travel was on trains, and after checking into our pension, Albergo Barbara (right on the square), we decided to get some food. We split a ham proscutto and mushroom pizza at some nearby pizza joint named Pizza da Ercole (it’s the only one that looks like a pizza joint, the rest all look like restaurants). The pizza was absolutely delicious and exceeded our expectations. You order at the counter, savor the smells of the wood burning stove, then move outside to enjoy your pizza. The pizza, and any beverages, are passed through a convenient windows/opening.
After some food, we hopped on a train to the southeastern-most village of Riomaggiore.