Cinque Terre • Kathy & Mark Vacation • September 2005

After a full summer season in the Alps, we were ready for some sun bathing, lounging, and over-eating. We had heard that the Cinque Terre, the "Italian Riviera" had just the right combination of sun, sea, great food. quaint European old villages and light walking. With only about a 5 hour drive from Chamonix, we packed up the car and were off.

The Cinque Terre, "Five Lands", is a group of 5 tiny sea-side towns not too far south of Genova. The whole area is so scenic and brimming with "cultural heritage" that the powers that be turned the whole area, including the towns, into a national park. The villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, are all connected by nice short walks. Cars are not allowed in the center of the villages, and, indeed driving to most of them is a very serpentine affair. But a major train line runs along the coast, ducking into tunnels between towns, emerging again at the next station. Also, making getting around very easy, are the passenger boats that run up and down the coast every hour or so.

As it so happened, Mark's Rock-Star sister, Penelope Houston (check out her web site, or listen to some bits of her songs on, and two of her friends, Filippo and Meghan were also in Italy, and we all got together for this trip to Cinque Terre.

Other Recent Trips

Vernazza was, for the most part, our base of operations. There is a really good restaurant in the red building just right of the blue sheets. Actually, there are really good restaurants in virtually all the building you can see.


Penelope and Kathy settling down to a fine lunch in the main square in Corniglia. Beer, then wine, some panini, salad, olives and an extra large helping of ambiance.


Penelope, Meghan and Filippo in Manarola.


A typical Italian sunset on the Mediterranean. About 6:30 in the evening we would wander down to the water's edge, watch the show, then stroll back up through town to find dinner.


Riomaggiore. There must be some strong incentives to paint shutters green.


Fishing, wine making, olive groves, and now tourism are the main "industries" of the area.


Just after sunset in Vernazza.This is the view from just about the location of the front door of where we stayed, "Camere Memo".


This little fellow is the national park mascot, and we saw him frequently on all sorts of informational signs. Hands, as well as pincers would indeed be pretty handy.


Boats and houses in Riomaggiore.


Thinking about food and drink, while waiting for the sunset.


Vernazza in the late afternoon.


Penelope and Kathy in Corniglia.




The local grocery store, two doors down from our hotel.


A typical "street" in Vernazza. Pedestrians only.


Vernazza, again.


Sunset from Vernazza. The water was wonderfully warm, and we went swimming several times. Kathy had a memorable close encounter with a jellyfish!


Boats in Vernazza.


The street scene in the main square of Vernazza. Not a bad life.


Relaxing in Monterosso.


Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five towns.


Winding stairs in Manarola.


Vernazza. We spent several days finding the perfect flat rock for sunbathing, and swimming, trying each in turn for at least an hour.


Vernazza from high above the village.

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