Our next stop in this epic road trip was Cinque Terre. Oh I had such high hopes for this leg of our trip! I couldn’t wait to hike along the trails and see the colorful villages built into the sides of cliffs with the crystal blue waters below. Well, we saw the blue waters and colorful villages, but humidity and tired legs caused us to nix the idea of hiking up (and I mean UP) and down the seaside.
We spent 2 nights in Riomaggiore, the village closest to La Spezia (nearest “big” city) and took a break from the go, go, go of our previous stops. Taking a break and leisurely walking around the quaint villages, ended up being just what we needed.
If walking isn’t your thing or if it is as melty as it was when we were there, you can take the ferry or the train from village to village. We took the ferry and managed to hit 3 out of the 5 villages (missed Manarola and Corniglia). We had lunch and dipped our toes in the ocean in Monterosso. Then we headed to Vernazza and did a little shopping and more wine tasting. Ryan got a fabulous linen shirt and picked up more wine (of course). Our last meal in Riomaggiore gave us a view of another gorgeous sunset and delicious seafood.
Riomaggiore is the perfect place to make your homebase. It is small and easy to get to the trails, the ferry, or the train station. One thing to note, if you drive to Riomaggiore, you will likely have to park at the top of the hill. Not so bad when walking down to your hotel or B&B. Not so great when you walk back up with luggage to your car. It’s also really humid. Really really really humid.
After Riomaggiore and Cinque Terre, we headed northeast and stopped for lunch in Parma. We were able to visit the beautiful cathedral before stopping for some of the best food. Parma is known for 2 things: parmesan cheese and proscuitto. Put the two into some ravioli and add more cheese and yes! I still dream about this lunch.
I wished we could’ve stayed in Cinque Terre longer (and hiked the trails) and had more time to eat our way through Parma and the Emilia-Romagna but it was on to Vicenza to celebrate a beautiful wedding and to more adventures!