The beautiful sea side towns of Northern Italy
13.02.2011 - 14.02.2011 49 °F
Bongiorno from Northern Italy,
We departed Villefranche by car and headed South to Monaco where we had lunch in Monte Carlo. It was definitely the land of the rich and famous. We had hoped to go into the Casino there and play a hand or two but on Sundays they do not open until 2PM and we didn’t feel like waiting around to make a donation. We had a burger and fries and a nice bottle of wine at the American Bar across the street from the main Casino. The service was amazing. We had about 4 waiters bringing us whatever we needed slightly before we needed it. I do think we set a new record the amount paid for burgers and wine though it was very nice. As I had been told there was a parade of luxury and exotic sports cars in the main plaza in front of the Casino. So many Bentley’s and Rolls Royce’s I lost count not to mention Audi R8’s, rare Porches and the like. The whole event made for an entertaining show while consuming the “golden” hamburgers. After lunch it was back on the highway and into Italy. Our next stop was to be Rapallo Italy as a base to visit Cinque Terra. We were delightfully surprised to find Rapallo a beautiful city itself and after the rain let up we enjoyed discovering more about it.
I had always heard of Cinque Terra and thought it was a town on the coast in Italy. I learned it is actually five small towns thus the name Cinque (“five”) Terra. The plan was to take the local train from Rapallo to the southernmost city Riomaggiore and then walk North on the Via Dell Amore “Walk of Love” to the next town Manarola. The morning we departed Rapallo it was pouring rain but by the time arrived in Riomaggiore it had stopped. It so happened that we took the walk of love on Valentine’s day so of course, I tried to solicit full credit for advanced romantic planning. When we started our walk on the beautiful sea side walkway we began to see a few pad locks attached to the fences, guard rails and other things along the path. As we walked further we began to see a few hundred locks and then a few thousand followed by thousands and thousands more. We didn’t know about the tradition so we didn't bring a lock to attach so we attached a small chain from Susan’s backpack. We arrived in Manarola and found a wonderful small fishing village that was a joy to walk through. Afterwards we took a train North to the next city of Corniglia where we hiked and had lunch at a small out of the way restaurant with great food. Unfortunately, both the weather and our energy level deteriorated after lunch (i.e. the wine is very good and very cheap here) and we decided to stay on the Northbound train back to the hotel in Rapallo.
Let’s get to the pictures…….
A picture of some of the yachts tied up at the harbor in Monte Carlo.
One of many beautiful buildings in Monte Carlo.
This is the main Casino in Monte Carlo. Standing there I had a strange desire to say “Bond….James Bond”
This was a picture taken of the harbor in Rapallo from the hotel balcony. It’s a Best Western!
This was an old structure in the harbor there in Rapallo. I could never find out what it is or was. Right after taking this picture is started to pour.
A night picture of Rapallo harbor just after night fall from the hotel.
The next six pictures are street scenes from the city of Rapallo. Like I said before we were very pleasantly surprised at it beauty and charm as we were simply looking at is as a base to see the towns of Cinque Terra.
This was the train station in Rapallo the next morning as we were leaving to visit Cinque Terra….Still raining!
So we finally arrive at Riomaggiore and the rain had stopped. Above is a view of the Via Dell Amore which is leisurely 45 minute walk to the next town of Manarola.
Near the start of the Via Dell Amore were these two hearts with a number of locks attached to them.
By the time we were about half way we much have seen 20 thousand locks. This picture shows just one bench area that must have over 5000 locks all by itself.
As I mentioned before we didn’t have a lock so here was our contribution. A small black chain with clips on each end that we attached to the wire netting above the Via Dell Amore.
After we reached the town of Manarola we walked through town to visit the sites. Here is a picture entering the main street in Manarola from the Via Dell Amore .
For some reason Susan seems to attract animals in just about every town we visit. Here is a local cat jonsing some tourist affection.
Above is a picture of the boat launch in town. It was a drop of about 30 feet to the lagoon below.
A local dog just kickin it on a rock bench watching the tourists parade by for his amusement.
One of many charming alley ways in town.
A very nice elderly woman was sweeping off her steps after the rain.
Here is a beautiful view of the town of Manarola from the sea side walkway past town.
The next five pictures were taken in Corniglia which is the small town just North of Manarola.
This dog was named Jack. We met Jack up in town earlier in the day and Susan petted him. He ended up following us about a half mile in distance and maybe 500 feet in elevation back down to the train station where this picture was taken.
This was a nice young couple we met back in Rapallo during our Valentine’s night dinner.
Here we are enjoying a traditional Italian meal and a very nice Chianti.
Well that is all for now. Next we travel to Florence where we will return the rental car and spend the next 4 days seeing the wonderful historical sites and maybe take a day trip to some cities outside of Florence to experience more of Tuscany.
Until Next Time…Ciao