Cinque Terre

I’m with my parents on the Italian coast for a short vacation. We’re in a region called Cinque Terre or “Five Lands”. It is stunning. In October of 2011 there was a massive flash flood here, and the damage is still evident.

Cinque Terre Flood Damage

The collection area for this stream doesn’t seem to be that big, so I can’t imagine how much rain they must have gotten to create this kind of damage.

Damaged House in Cinque Terre

We are staying in the second most northerly town, called Vernazza. The climate here is very temperate. There is lots of citrus growing.

Grapefruit Tree in Vernassa, Italy

I also saw this plant which looks like a cactus, although it seems to be very wet around here also.

Cactus Looking Plant in Vernazza, Italy

The thing to do around here, especially this time of year when everything is closed for off season, is to hike. We didn’t know exactly where the trails started, so we headed up the road. We did not drive to Vernazza, choosing instead to leave our car in La Spezia and taking the train in. This was recommended to us because there is no room for cars in Vernazza. Walking up the road was nice because it was quiet. It was also extremely steep.

Steep Road out of Vernazza, Italy

The views once we got up high were spectacular.

Mediterranean Sea from Above Vernazza, Italy

There are incredible towns built into the very steep hillsides above the sea. Here are my parents at a church way up on a ridge:

Mike and Sharon Hoffman at Church Above Vernazza, Italy

Here I am on one of the trails:

Noah Hoffman on Trail in Cinque Terre, Italy

Here’s my dad, Mike Hoffman, in one of the small towns:

Mike Hoffman in Small Village in Cinque Terre, Italy

And my mom, Sharon Hoffman:

Sharon Hoffman in Cinque Terre, Italy

This cool pulley cart was used to get things to and from the houses that were built on a point with no space for a road access:

Pulley System in Cinque Terre, Italy

We eventually made it on to the trails and figured out where we were on our map.

Trail Markers in Cinque Terre, Italy

The hiking reminded me of New England.

Mike and Sharon Hoffman Hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy

We found this cool cave:

Cave in Cinque Terre, Italy

When my coach, John Callahan out of Aspen, approved this trip, he specifically told me not to do too much hiking downhill and not to get sore. Three and a half hours into our hike we had done nothing but go uphill. We finally found a way back down, and it was steep. I am going to be VERY sore tomorrow. Sorry John.

Steep Downhill Hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy

On the hike we made our way south, eventually ending up at the southernmost city of the five, Riomaggiore. The views of the cities to the north were spectacular.

Cinque Terre View

Here I am with my dad:

Noah and Mike Hoffman in Cinque Terre, Italy

I love the look of the terraced land.

Terraced Land in Cinque Terre, Italy

We walked along this cool fence made of old bed springs:

Old Bed Spring Fence in Cinque Terre, Italy

One more look at the sea as we descended:

Mediterranean Sea from Hiking Trail in Cinque Terre, Italy

European hiking is so fun with old paths and stairways.

Old Staircase on hiking train in Cinque Terre, Italy

Here’s a good picture of my parents:

Mike and Sharon Hoffman Together in Cinque Terre, Italy

It was a lot of downhill walking. We didn’t realize how far we’d gone up.

Downhill Walking in Cinque Terre, Italy

Eventually we made it down to Riomaggiore. Here’s a cool shot I caught of my parents:

Mike and Sharon Hoffman with cross in Riomaggiore, Italy

The town was incredible.

Riomaggiore, Italy

The buildings are so close together and the hillside so steep that the paths between them are gorgeous.

Pathway in Riomaggiore, Italy

I also love the train stations both in Vernazza and Riomaggiore. The landscape is so rugged that the train has to be underground for most of the trip. The stations are short bridges above a narrow valley. The station is not nearly long enough for the train so most of the station is underground.

Short Train Stations in Riomaggiore, Italy

I liked this cool staircase down to the water:

Staircase to Water in Riomaggiore, Italy

Some of the houses have incredible gardens.

Huge Plant in Riomaggiore, Italy

Because of the unique setting for the town, the construction workers have to be creative. Here is a pipe they were using to get gravel down the hill from where they had parked:

Creative Construction Work in Riomaggiore, Italy

There were some cool murals:

Mural in Riomaggiore, Italy

Here is the main part of the town:

Main town of Riomaggiore, Italy

This little kid had the coolest motorcycle that he rode around the plaza:

Little Italian Kid on Motorcycle

We arrived in town in the middle of Siesta.

Siesta in Riomaggiore, Italy

Everything was closed.

COOP Grocery Store Closed for Siesta in Riomaggiore, Italy

In the morning my mom had picked up stuff for lunch. However, she only got stuff for salad.

Salad in Riomaggiore, Italy

It was good but not as substantial as what I was looking for after 4+ hours of walking. I was disappointed nothing was open. We had a nice view from our lunch spot.

Lunch Spot View in Riomaggiore, Italy

And here’s looking the other direction:

Colorful Wall of Homes in Riomaggiore, Italy

After lunch we hopped on the train back to Vernazza.

Train in Vernazza, Italy

We then did a little exploring around here.

Cliff in Vernazza, Italy

Here’s the inside of the church:

Inside of Church in Vernazza, Italy

Here it is from the outside:

Vernazza, Italy Chirch

I love how everybody here hangs their laundry out to dry.

Hanging Laundry Out to Dry in Vernazza, Italy

We were treated to a wonderful sunset:

Vernazza, Italy Sunset

Here’s one more of my parents:

Mike and Sharon Hoffman in Vernazza, Italy

During our adventures we saw a ton of cats. I put this collection together:

Cinque Terre, Italy Cats

Lastly, my mom had asked to put stuff in the hotel fridge this morning. They had said they didn’t have one. When we got back to the room there was a mini fridge sitting on the floor for us with my mom’s perishables inside.

Mini Fridge in Vernazza, Italy Hotel

3 thoughts on “Cinque Terre

  1. Noah… thanks for sharing the GREAT photos. Please tell your parents Hi! for me!

  2. Say hi to your mom and dad. Everybody looks fit and happy :-). Nice work in TDS! Good luck at Sochi.

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