Italia…what an amazing country. It’s my 2nd visit to the country (well…actually 3rd, but that is a long story involving being stranded while coming home from Bulgaria/Greece in summer 2008) and I loved it even more the second time around. The people of Italy are so welcoming and charming and the food and gelato are all you could ever expect and more. I especially enjoyed my visit to the Cinque Terre region. After reading reviews on Trip Advisor we decided to stay in Vernazza, although all 5 villages are so incredibly charming. I’ve got to give a special acknowledgement to Maria + Giacomo of Maria Capellini Rooms for making our stay so enjoyable! They were born and raised in the region and have 75+ years of knowledge they can share with you! They greeted us in the plaza as soon as we got off the train, helped us with our bags (photographers CANNOT travel light), recommend great places to eat, gave us information about the hike, and invited us into their home for homemade wine and conversation (quite interesting since Maria only speaks Italian and we only speak English). Of course, to top it all off, Maria + Giacomo happen to own an incredible room, right off the main plaza, that they rent out. If you’re going to Cinque Terre I highly recommend staying with them.
So, for a little bit of background, the Cinque Terre is a series of 5 villages along the rugged western coast of Italy bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea. Visiting these tiny, tiny villages you feel a bit liked you’ve stepped back in time, as life seems pretty simple there. There aren’t many cars and there definitely aren’t streets, but there sure are a lot of boats. I’ve only been there once so I can’t make a comparison, but I think visiting in late October was a great time because there weren’t a lot of other tourists there. By far, the best way to see the villages is to hike the 11 kilometer trail that connects them. Eleven kilometers doesn’t sound too extreme, but there is a 1640 ft. elevation difference from the highest and lowest points on the trail and it’s constant up and down along the entire hike. My friend and I left early in the morning, estimating that the hike would take us at least 5 hours and we wanted to have plenty of time to stop and explore each village. We ended up completing the entire trail, including stopping in each village, having lunch, etc. in about 5 hours and 15 minutes and we got a chance to catch a ferry back to Vernazza, which was an amazing way to see the villages from a different perspective.
Now, on to the pics! After hiking Machu Picchu (which was at least 100x more difficult than Cinque Terre) I learned my lesson about carrying too much equipment, so for the CT hike I simply carried 2 lenses and my Holga! (Holga images are coming soon, as I’m eagerly awaiting their development from my lab.) Enjoy!
More Italy pics are coming soon, including images from the Jose Villa workshop in Tuscany!