Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, which translates to "five lands," describes a strip of coastline in Northern Italy in which five fishing villages are carved into cliffs.  The area is considered a national park, and many hiking paths connect the five towns.  I was thrilled at the opportunity to hike and explore the region with my dad.

We stayed at Hotel Colonnina in Monetrosso, the town farthest north. Our hotel was beautiful and had a lovely rooftop terrace.

Even though the hiking trail was closed due to less than ideal conditions, our concierge assured us that the trail was safe enough to hike.  We didn't expect the journey to be so strenuous, but the scenic ocean views more than made up for the effort.

I was amazed to see the village of Vernazza from above.

Cinque Terre is known for fresh foccocia bread and perfect pesto.  I tried trofie pasta with pesto and was completely blown away by the flavor.

We started our second day in Riomaggiore, the town farthest south.  I loved hiking up to see the entire town from a distance.

A bright square was filled with young locals playing soccer.

Riomaggiore's dock area was covered with colorful boats.

The next town we visited was Manarola.  The view of the village from a path along the cliff side was incredible.  I can not stop staring at this picture, and the scenery was even more beautiful in person. 

We had the most amazing lunch at il Porticciolo, a small family-owned restaurant near the water.  The food was spectacular. I had grilled bruschetta with pesto and tomatoes and mussels, and my dad enjoyed grilled swordfish.  I am convinced it was the best meal of my entire study abroad trip.

Corniglia, north of Manarola, was the smallest village, and was perched the highest on a cliff.  

The ultimate Cinque Terre treat - foccocia with pesto

Ending the day in Monterosso.