Friday, November 12, 2021

Arriving in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Hiking to Vernazza

We're now able to return to Cinque Terre!  We missed our 2020 trip due to the travel restrictions, but are good to go in 2021, although we do need to follow exactly the latest version of the travel-to-Italy requirements, which change several days before we leave.  We bring our proof of vaccination, get our Covid-19 tests, enter all this information on the Italian government website and on the United Airlines website, and bring paper copies of everything with us.  Flying directly from the US to Milan, we see people at the airport who didn't read (or follow) the instructions exactly who are turned away at the gate and aren't going to Italy today.

Arriving in Milan, we walk to the airport train station for the short ride to Milano Centrale, where we will board a train for Monterosso.  We pass some fabulous electronic murals along the way to the airport station.

Welcom to Milan

At the Milano Centrale station, we have a short wait and admire the model of the original station, view the trains coming and going, and pick up lunch and a bottle of wine to share on the train.

Milano Centrale in Milano Centrale

Trains coming and going

A few hours later, we arrive in Monterosso al Mare, on the Mediterranean about halfway between Genoa and Pisa.  We walk through the new town, through the tunnel to the old town, and up the hill to our hotel, Villa Steno, to which we return every year (except 2020) for an incredible experience.

Through the new town

Into the old town

Up the street (Via Roma)

View from Villa Steno

We're back!  We quickly change into hiking clothes and start up the trail to Vernazza, the next village of the 5 Cinque Terre towns.  The trail winds around the hill on the Mediterranean near the city hall and then starts up along the sea.

Around the hill and up

We continue along the trail, generally heading up at this point and with occasional spectacular views of Monterosso, getting progressively smaller behind us.

Continuing along the trail

Monterosso growing farther away

The path continues, with views of the sea ahead of us and the occasional vineyard or olive grove along the way.  Soon, we start to get glimpses of Vernazza in the distance as we continue along the trail.


Looking down the coast toward Vernazza

Vineyards on the hills

Further along the path

Vernazza starts to appear

Once we can see the full city of Vernazza, the path starts down, bringing us to the city.

Path down to Vernazza

Approaching Vernazza

Getting close

We descend into the narrow streets of Vernazza and head up the hill to the train station to catch the next train back to Monterosso.  Walking up the main street, we see lots of people out and about enjoying the day and the city.  We'll be back in a few days to explore more of this city, but dinner is calling from Monterosso.

Descending into Vernazza

Via Roma in Vernazza

Walking out of the train station in Monterosso, we head back over to Villa Steno in the old town and wait for the beautiful sunset on the Mediterranean.

Exiting the station

Night arrives in Monteosso

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