After a late lunch, we decided it was best to take advantage of our time so we hopped on a train to Riomaggiore, the southeastern-most village in Cinque Terre.
Riomaggiore is even smaller than Vernazza. Once you get off the train, you walk through a mosaic-walled tunnel to the town. From there, you have three options. Option one is a set of stairs leading down towards the marina. Option two is to go up a flight of stairs to the only plaza in the area. Option three is to go up the main road where all the shops and restaurants are.
The marina is small but there are paths to the left of it leading to other areas to explore. Eventually they will lead to a rocky beach, with plenty of places to enter the water along the way. In this area, much like each village except Monterosso, the “beach” consists of large stones you can rest on. 🙂
If you take the steps up to the plaza, you may be treated to live music depending on the time of day. When we went, there was a live band playing a bit of music. It was an eclectic mix of instruments and the music was decent, but you had to give them credit for trying.
Finally, if you go up the road you have about half a mile of restaurants and shops to enjoy. After that, it becomes very residential so we didn’t venture past that.
Dinner at La Grotto
La Grotto is one of the first few restaurants you see once you start walking up the street. It had seven or so seats outside and we were lucky enough to get one of them. It’s the one with the blue awning.
We started with an absolutely delicious Insalata Caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil). The tomatoes reminded us of the ones we grow at home and the mozzarella was buffalo mozzarella, which made it so much creamier and richer. The only bit of disappointment, as you will see in the picture below, was that they used dried basil.
We also enjoyed a bottle of their 2006 Cinque Terre white table wine produced by Bonanni Fellegara and labeled for La Grotta:
For our main course, I enjoyed mussels in a spicy tomato sauce while Martha had their pasta linguine with pesto sauce. Both were absolutely delicious.
After dinner, we went on the Via dell’Amore (or “lover’s walk”) which is the paved walk between Riomaggiore and Manarola. Normally, you pay a flat €5 fee to walk along the maintained, paved paths between each of the villages, which includes the Via Dell’Amore but we were there late enough that we didn’t have to pay for a ticket.
Here’s what the walk looks like (can you see the people?)
And here’s a view (towards Manarola, near the beginning of the walk, unfortunately my camera doesn’t do it justice):
From there, we headed to the train station to catch a ride back to Vernazza. Along the way, we got some gelato from a coffeehouse next to the station, always a good way to end an evening. Back at Vernazza, even at nearly 10PM, the square was busy with activity. We stopped into another gelato store just to get a few beverages to enjoy as night caps. Martha got a small bottle of wine, I grabbed a half liter of beer, and we enjoyed them along the plaza, pier, and docks.
All in all, a successful half day in Cinque Terra. Tomorrow, we hike between the towns. 🙂