… so kellie & i had left venice early in the morning and made a quick stop in verona (AMAZE. BALLS. we literally felt like verona was a movie set – it was just too perfect. we kept waiting for someone to say “cut! end scene!” and then wheel the buildings away. amazing). we spent a few hours exploring verona in the sweltering heat, and when we couldn’t take it anymore we hopped in the car to hit our next official destination.
cinque terre is a cluster of 5 small villages on the northwest coast of italy, that feel truly hidden away from civilization. the final few kilometers before arriving at the villages are filled with twists n’ turns – we could barely contain our excitement as we made each winding turn. we both expected a huge reveal of the glistening mediterranean and the ohsofamous pink and orange buildings to jump out at us … but i have to confess our first impression was a bit less than impressive. when we finally arrived at monterosso (the northern most village which was to become our home for the next few days) we looked around and both said, is this it? everything looked a bit … rumpled. dirty? just kind of gritty in a peeling-paint kind of way.
but thankfully first impressions AREN’T everything. as we made our way further into the village towards our hotel, we were immediately captivated by the charm and character and magic.hotel margherita – it was perfection. recently remodeled (cinque terre had actually flooded terribly the year prior, so a lot of our original first impression was in part due to the remnants of the flood) – the hotel was this modern little hideaway in the middle of this quirky and beachy town.
we sadly only had a couple of days in cinque terre, so we had to use our time wisely. most people actually hike from village to village – the trails between the villages are AMAZING. well, so i’ve heard. since we didn’t have a ton of time (and because it was still SO FREAKING HOT), we opted to take the ferry down the coast and hit just a few of the villages. it was actually the perfect decision, as i absolutely LOVE being out on the water. i truly never feel as peaceful or relaxed as when i’m on water – there’s something so healing and for some reason it seems to put everything in perspective for me. i found myself having these deep thoughts about how huge the ocean is, how little we are, and how fleeting life can be. it was a good reminder to focus on what’s truly important, and let the silly stuff slide (and due to my bizarre-o day today, it’s actually serendipitous that i’m walking down THIS particular memory lane as THIS very moment).
we explored a few of the villages – at gelato, took a bajillion pictures, bought a few little beachy trinkets. we giggled over the “local color” as kellie called it – these darling, wrinkled older women in their bikinis with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. overly tanned men in their teeny speedos. all in all living la dolce vita in cinque terre …
our village (monterosso) was definitely my favorite. it’s the biggest of the five, with adorable little shops and some amazing restaurants. our first night we had ridiculous (in a good way) bowls of steaming pasta (kellie’s was the winner – pesto that was so perfectly simple. heavenly). it also had the most beautiful, amazing churches i have ever seen. they were painted in these bold black & white stripes, like nothing i have ever seen. if jonathan adler designed churches …
on our final afternoon we hit the beach in monterosso and rented little lounge chairs and just lazed around, reading and snacking and floating / swimming around the mediterranean. it was hands-down, the best 6 hours of the entire 10 days. if i could magically transport myself there now i would in a heartbeat. see ya, corporate life. ciao, big city. au revoir, powerpoint. bonjourno, cinque terre! i can absolutely picture piper & stella as little beach babies, with tan shoulders and bleached out hair and sundresses every day. oh … loveliness.
(oh! and of course wen is a part of this little fantasy. surely there’s a local paper he could write for, the cinque terre daily news perhaps? although he doesn’t speak italian. hmm. will need to give that some more thought. but regardless, the maxey family could be very, very, very happy living the simple life on the mediterranean sea. oh, yes).
i was not at all ready to leave on our final morning. i went for a little solo walk while kellie got ready and finished packing … took my final few pictures, bought a few bottles of my new favorite sparkling wine, took a last glimpse of the beautiful, blue ocean, and waved ciao to the loveliest little village.
…. and off to como, we go!