More of the Italian Coast

21:32 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

When we were researching for our trip to Cinque Terre, we decided to get off the much beaten footpaths between Rio Maggiore and Monterosso to see what else was to be found in the area.  While those are the most famous, we knew there had to be finds that at least could give us more great gelato.  So after the good workout the first few days, we decided to spend the last few days of the vacation finding our sea legs on the ferries.

San Fruttuoso was our first stop; we had heard about it as a recommendation from a friend, saw pictures and quickly decided we had to go. As we got there early, the beach was much less crowded, so we settled down with a book for the girls and the guys braved the cold waters to do a swim. We all joined in after getting toasty and decided there was no better way to quench a thirst from the Italian sun than wine.  

 

The setting was unreal, as it seems as if the beach is only accessible from the water (although in reality can also be reached by a really good hike). With pebbles and sand up to the old arch entries, the old church seems as if it's sunk into the sand with the beach claiming it as its own, nature over man. As you force yourself into the cold waters and look back to the beach, the views are stunning as the beach contrasts to the blue water. There are only a few restaurants and chair salesmen on the beach giving it a less touristy feel, although the illusion quickly becomes shattered later in the day as ferries boat in more and more people to the tiny beach.

 
Around lunchtime, we escaped the crowds to head over to Portofino, famous for the rich (and famous) inhabitants. You can tell as you slowly pull into the boat filled harbour that the inhabitants aren't your run of the mill fishermen, as we saw yacht after yacht docked.  We wandered the city some and settled for a lunchtime pizza, and wine of course.

 

On our last day, we headed in the other direction to Portovenere. This was most like the towns of Cinque Terre, perhaps why they were named UNESCO World Heritage sites in the same year. We wandered around the gardens and down to the St. Peter's Church on the lookout point where the new build dates back to the 13th century.

 
Nearby is Byron's Point where poet Lord Byron drew inspiration and swam in the caves along the shore towards La Spezia. Story goes that he used to swim out in these waters to visit his fellow poet Shelley who lived in a town across the way. With the rocks rising out of such pristine, blue waters, I can see where they both could get inspiration from.

 
After climbing to the top of the island, we decided instead of visiting the castle to spend the rest of our final afternoon in Italy enjoying my two favourite things, the food and the sea. So a bit of shopping for things to take home (including delicious, fresh pesto), we found some pizza and gelato on the seashore and soaked up the last of Italy, or at least the last bit for this trip.

 

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