Traveling with a friend in My Neck of the Woods (or the Sea)

April 9, 2019

Last week, my friend Christina came to Chiavari for a visit. Chistina is another Dual Italian and American Citizen who spends 3 months per year in Italy. This is the first time we have been able to meet on Italian soil. Come along with us on our adventures in southeastern Liguria—my hood.

After traveling most of the day to get from Abruzzo to Chiavari, Liguria, I met Christina at the train station. We walked along the lungomare, the promenade, to my home.

We stopped for an aperitivo on the promenade.

We enjoyed the sun and the sunset before walking the rest of the way to my home.

After Christina settled in, we planned our travels for the next day. We would spend the full day together by visiting my neighbors, Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre, the Five Lands, is a group of small towns along the coast of Liguria. It is famous for its landscape, its beauty, its rugged seascapes and more. Tourists overrun the five towns in summer, but at the end of March it is a wonderful time to visit.

We hopped a morning train to Monterosso, the closest town to me. It is only a 30-minute train ride from my home. The ride itself along the coastline is beautiful. It was only a precursor to the stunning views upon arrival.

The temperature in the morning was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. We arrived about 1030am.

The light and the colors were perfect.

We walked all over the city. We found the location for love lockets with a sea view.

And a memorial to the 2011 flooding of the area.

We walked into Centro Storico, away from the sea where it was Market day. We then discovered La Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista,

A 14th Century church with black and white marble inside and outside and a stunning rose window.

We only had one day to enjoy Cinque Terre.  We decided not to tour inside this beautiful church. We ate a snack and returned to the sea.

And, due to my injured foot, we decided not to walk to Vernazza but take a train there.

Vernazza is a colorful, somewhat vertical port town. Christina was captivated by the sights upon arrival.

The tall, colorful structures on narrow streets, and a passageway to the sea, undercutting some of them.

We visited an artist’s shop nearby and enjoyed the art we saw.

We stopped for a gelato and headed to the waterfront, what many people believe is the most beautiful scenery of Cinque Terre.

I do love the bay here and the colorful boats.

We basked in the sunshine on this seaside, enjoying the colors and the breezes. Families were there together, enjoying il dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing.

We could have had a picnic there and remained the rest of the day. But it was already afternoon and we hoped to see at least one more of the five towns. Again, my torn ligament meant we had to limit some walking—we took another train, this time to Mararola.

The streetscape going toward the water was unique with so many boats along the brightly painted buildings. We did walk a bit higher, behind the photo shown above,

but due to time constraints, we walked to the sea.

For me, the striation of the rock being blasted by the waves is marvelous. I took too many photos to share.

Here we are in Manarola, climbing upwards for an even better view. By now, coats were in our daypacks, and Manarola was stealing our hearts.

I loved the colors during bright sunshine. As the sun began to set, we were high above the port and the colors deepened.

Here’s a closer look.

Can you tell how much I love these views? Both Christina and I were enthralled.

We walked down countless stairs after the sun set and headed to the train station and Chiavari.

Buona Notte, Manarola e Cinque Terre. Good night to all the five towns and we must return to see the other two.

After walking six miles the day before including the equivalent of 24 staircases, we decided to explore my home town of Chiavari and keep the walking down to two or three miles. It was another wonderful, sunny day to stroll along the water and into town.

We wandered among the portici, the portico-covered walkways, the colorful art nouveau homes, and ate our pranzo, lunch, at Da Vittorio.  

We wandered back along the sea where so many were relaxing

before heading home for the night.

Day three and Christina and I headed off to one of my favorite neighbors, Camogli.

Tune in next week to follow our adventures in gorgeous Ligurian cities NOT part of Cinque Terre.

A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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