Friday, December 1, 2023

Wandering Around Monterosso al Mare

We stroll around Monterosso, admiring the views and a few of the churches, first popping into a small and delightful church that we spot because it is next to one of our favorite focaccia shops.

Small chapel

Closer to our hotel, we find another beautiful church, Oratorio di Santa Croce o dei Bianchi, built in 1198 on the ruins of a 5th century church and, actually, the church from which the previous night's procession originated.

Oratorio di Santa Croce o dei Bianchi

Continuing our stroll through town, we pass a few reminders that it is now time to pick the grapes (we'll see a lot more of this when we hike through the vinegards over the next few days).

To be filled with grapes

We walk up a bit to the Buranco agriturismo, making wine only 200 meters (650 feet) from the beach,  we wander in, and admire the beautiful grounds.

Buranco winery

Back in town, it's panini for lunch 

Streets of Monterosso


And, as a small storm passes over us, the sea and beach change color and textures to offer beautiful views of the changing weather

Small storm passing through

We have spent another great day with a little hiking, a little exploring, a little dining, and a lot of relaxation!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Hiking from Monterosso al Mare up to Soviore

We rise on our first full day in Cinque Terre and decide to take a short hike up above Monterosso to Santuario N. S. di Soviore, the oldest Marian sanctuary in Italy's Liguria region.  Completely renovated in the 18th century, the site offers fabulous views of the land and the sea and features a charming chapel.

The hike up takes and hour or so, with occational glimpses of Monterosso from higher and higher up.

Starting up

Views as we ascend

About halfway, we cross the road that winds down to Monterosso and are rewarded with more spectacular views of the hills and the sea.

Views just keep getting better

We step into the small chapel to admire its beauty and serenity, before starting back down to Monterosso.

In the chapel

Starting down

Arriving back in Monterosso

To celebrate our first full day, we walk over the the fried fish shop at the train station and have two  cones:  fried anchovies, and mixed fried fish (anchoves, shrimp, white fish).

Our reward

From the train station, we walk back up Via Fegina toward the tunnel into the old town, passing the famous Monterosso umbrellas decorating the beach on this beautiful day.  The umbrellas are so distinctive that one day we were wandering down the street in Paris and saw an advertisement that had this exact same view and we knew exactly where they took the picture.

Umbrellas of Monterosso

We're back!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Arriving in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

We arrive again in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy, one of our most favorite places in the world!  We descend from the train and walk through the city to Hotel Villa Steno for ten days in Cinque Terre, followed by a few days in Isola Elba, just off the coast between Italy and Corsica.

Our stroll through Monterosso's new town, then through the tunnel into the old town reminds us again of how delightful and beautiful this area is.

Scenes of Monterosso

Proceeding up the hill to Villa Steno, we are rewarded on our arrival with spectacular views across the town to the Mediterranean.

View from Villa Steno

We arrive late in the afternoon this time as we try flying to Rome and taking the train from Rome to Monterosso rather than flying into Pisa or Milan as we have in the past.  We unpack in our rooms and head out to dinner at Il Casello (where we seem to often have our first dinner when we arrive in Monterosso) and sit on the outside deck alongside the beach.  Tonight we share stuffed anchovies, papperdelle octopus ragu, and spaghetti with seafood sauce.

View from Il Casello

Stuffed anchovies

Octopus ragu, seafood sauce

Walking back from dinner, we spot a sign at the gelateria with Disney character from the film Luca, which was set in a fictionalized version of Cinque Terre.

Luca characters

Further along Via Roma, heading toward our hotel, we follow a religious procession, with accompanying band, participants, and observers.

Procession and band

What a great welcome back to Cinque Terre!  We're lookin forward to another fabulous adventure in this magical place.