Cinque Terre, Italy
This past August, Liz and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Cinque Terre, Italy. Prior to planning the trip, I actually knew very little about the area. Cinque Terre is situated in the Liguria region of Italy, and consists of five small villages, each with its own unique character. The easiest way to get to Cinque Terre is by train, and we ended up taking a very reasonably priced train from Rome to La Spezia. From La Spezia, you can get on the local train to Levanto, which stops at all five villages. Liz and I stayed in the village of Vernazza, which is the fourth of the five stops on the train.
Once in Cinque Terre, there are a couple of cool ways to see all of the villages. The first is by hiking between the towns, which seems to be a popular option, but was way too hot to attempt in August. Many of the days we were there it was 95+ degree heat, so if you want to hike, I would advise doing it in a different time of year. The second option was to take the local train between the villages. A one way fare to any of the towns was 4 euros, but if you plan on doing a fair amount of train riding during the day, you can get a day pass for 16 euros, which was well worth it. The third option was to take a water taxi. This option was the priciest, at 30 euros per person, however the views from the water were incredible, and we ended up seeing another little town called Portovenere, which had some of the best swimming of the trip.
If you want some dramatic views of Cinque Terre, take the train to Manarola first thing in the morning. It is one of the only towns that is backlit, so you get a really gorgeous glow coming over the mountain. You’ll notice in the bottom left of the photos there is a little path- if you continue on that you get this incredible view, and early in the morning you have it virtually to yourself. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. Also, the towns seem to be pretty sleepy before 9am, so getting up early was always fun because you can beat the crowds and get breakfast with an amazing cup of coffee.
Try the Limoncello
Apparently lemons are a speciality in Cinque Terre, and the region is known for it’s limoncello. Definitely a must try if you are there.
Photo Tip: Vernazza at Sunset
This was the last photo I took in Cinque Terre. We hiked up the trail to Monterosso al Mare, and waited at this overlook until several minutes after sunset. I had brought the tripod with me, and I waited until the lights had started to come on in the town. I had already had a full day with the camera, so the battery was just about dead, but was able to get off a couple of shots before it died. I think my favorite part of taking the photo was hearing the laughter and music of people dining happily from the top of the hill.
This particular photo was shot at ISO 100, 35mm f/3.5 3.0s Nikon D750