We have been in Italia for almost three weeks now. It has taken some time to get settled, but we are close. We have also been on a couple more trips.
Back in 2006, Kacey and I visited Cinque Terre during our trip to Italy, but it was the off season and there was not much open. So this time we all set up our base camp in La Spezia on Friday night and on Saturday morning took the train to Riomaggiore (the southern most town). That Friday night we arrived late in La Spezia and after some traffic and hotel mix-ups, we headed out for a late dinner. While most things seemed closed, we finally found Antica Trattoria. The food was good but it was late by time we were done, so we headed off to bed.
After our quick morning train ride to Riomaggiore, we hiked the ridge from Riomaggiore to Manarola (Lover's Lane) and walked around Manarola for a bit. We then hiked the ridge some more to Corniglia. We ate lunch in Corniglia, and prepared for our mountain hike to Vernazza. This was a pretty good hike with some nice views. We rested in Vernazza by the water for an hour or so, ate some gelato, and then took the train to Monterosso. We walked around Monterosso for a while, found the wine and olive oil shop we liked 3.5 years ago (Enoteca Internazionale) and purchased two more bottles of Benza Olive Oil, and ate dinner at Ristorante Via Venti. We barely caught the 8:30 train back to La Spezia and found some gelato to eat while watching the US v England World Cup match.
Pictures from Cinque Terre.
On our way home we bit the beach for a bit in Massa. While the public beach was about the size of 4 beach towels, it was a chance to catch some rays. We ate lunch at a water-side bar and Nolan and I walked around a bit and played at a playground. The cooling of the temperature indicated it was time to go and just as we were getting in the car to leave, the rain started. Perfect timing.
We traveled here last Saturday for a quick day trip. This was a nice little town, known for it's many towers. We were able to walk up the tallest, Torre Grossa, and snap a few pictures before the fog completely encapsulated the tower. I also took a panoramic shot from the tower.
We ate lunch at Ristorante Perucà. The portions were a little small, even for here, so while we left hungry the food was pretty good. We decided to just walk around the town and avoid the rain as best as possible. We went in and out of many little shops but didn't quite find what we were looking for. We decided to find a place to eat dinner on our drive home, which would go through a few little towns.
Pictures from San Gimignano.
Our drive took us through Colle di Val d'Elsa and as we left town we spotted Il Casato. The sign said Pizzeria (we were all craving pizza) so we stopped without delay. We walked in at 7:10 and they said we could sit and order drinks, but they didn't open until 7:30. After glancing at the menu, we didn't care. It was full of pasta AND pizza! We found it strange that the rather large dining room was full of tables and most of them had reserved signs on them with different names. Between 8:15 and 8:30, we learned why. This was definitely a family-friendly local joint! Lots of big families with kids came here for dinner. So if you are ever in the area and want a good dinner, stop in!