Our first day in Tuscany, we visited Cinque Terre. These five Italian coastal villages, packed with stunning scenery, made for an incredible day trip. If you are ever in Tuscany, or anywhere near northern Italy, do yourself a favor and journey here. It's quite possibly, the most enchanting location in the world.
The five small villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monteroso al Mare, cling randomly to seaside cliffs. Each are linked by sentieri, or footpaths, and by train, though not all are accessible by car. Hence we set out by train first, then on a combination of foot and train to get between towns.
Once we arrived at Cinque Terre, we set off running. First town- Riomaggiore.
Much like the others in Cinque Terre, this village was full of vineyards winding around steep hillsides, brightly painted stucco houses, and quaint shops selling everything from lemon juice to ceramics.
We set off for Manarola on foot and enjoyed the turquoise blue waters crashing on the rocky shores around us. Despite clouds looming overhead, we were able to dodge gloomy weather and visit all the towns except one.
Several of the villages have a natural swimming hole.
On this warm summer day, it was refreshing just to watch people throw themselves off the rocks and plunge head first into the cool ocean water.
Eventually, the kids became hungry. There was no lack of food around. Settling on focaccia bread, we enjoyed a cheap but memorable meal at the top of the third, more isolated town, Corniglia.
When asked which kind was their favorite, they proceeded to name off each type of focaccia that had been purchased. Definitely, the best bread that's passed under our noses.
The olive trees, vineyards, and citrus trees, seem to provide opportunity for the production on a vast array of gift items for the shops. Cinque Terre, designated a Nation Park, actually has its own cosmetics lab where they manufacture and market their own line of products.
Towards the end of the day, it was Arleigh of all, who was leading the way up and around the steep hillsides.
The last stop, we promised the kids could get their feet wet and cool off a bit in the pristine water of a local beach. (The coast here happens to be a marine protected area.)
Our favorite part of the day, this splash provided cool relief from the blazing sun, not to mention a little amusement for everyone.
I can only hope to go back someday. If I turn up missing in the next 10 years, you might find me somewhere in Cinque Terre, hiding out. For all of us, this was a spectacular day. But alas, we headed back to the cabin, our bellies full of fresh focaccia, and our heads filled with favorable memories that will last a lifetime.