Bonjourno! Welcome to our first stop in Italy: Monterosso, the largest of the five seaside villages built into the cliffs along the Italian Riviera. This particular town has a lovely beach that lends to its resort rep. Add to that some Old World charm & it is all too easy to relax & set your worries aside.
When we first arrived by train to the darling town of Monterosso, Greg & I had grand plans of using this as our launch point for exploring all five postcard-worthy villages. The hiking trails between the villages are known for their spectacular views & each town has its own unique lifestyle to enthrall you. Well, supposedly. I might be able to confirm this for you had a storm not rolled in from the Ligurian Sea to disrupt us.
The storm lasted all three days of our stay, deciding finally to relent as we headed for the train station on our final day. I scored the above snapshot as we grabbed lunch just before leaving town. You may think a little storm couldn’t rain on our parade, but the hiking trails are shut down during inclement weather for safety reasons. So we made the best of being stuck in this Italian seaside village, & that certainly wasn’t hard to do.
We strolled through the cobbled streets of the Old Town, stopping off at little shops full of delightful handmade goods & any beautiful building that caught our eye. The Church of St. John Baptist (Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista) is striking with a large rose window & striped serpentine decor. The church, originally built at the very beginning of the 14th century, was recovering from a devastating flood in 2011. You could see the flood lines along the wall but that certainly didn’t take away from the beauty of this historic building.
We stayed just off the main road alongside the sea at the 5 Terre Hotel. We instantly loved the warmth of the hotel staff & felt right at home when greeted by the resident calico cat (it reminded us of our sweet Chelsea cat). Our floor-length windows opened up above the garden, which smelled delightfully fresh from the abundant rain. Greg & I spent most of our time finding keepsakes for our loved ones & sampling the wine of the region: a drier white made from a combination of grapes & the sticky-sweet wine called sciacchetrà produced out of the late harvest. Only white wine can be produced in the Cinque Terre soil, but as I tend to go for the whites, that was quite fine by me. The sciacchetrà proved to be too sweet even for me (I have a ridiculous sweet tooth, seriously), but the biscotti paired with it tasted lovely dipped in the dessert wine.
Stop in next week to learn about the unique food presentation we experienced here in the Cinque Terre. Till then, ciao!