Our next stop was a recommendation from my co-worker, Teresa. This area on the west coast of Italy means the “five lands” or villages. We stayed in Monterosso al Mare. The five villages are connected by trains, boats, and a challenging hiking trail.
When we arrived, we followed our custom of climbing to the highest point for an overview of the area.
On our first evening, we took the train to Riomaggiore. We ate dinner at Bar & Vini A Pie de Ma, a little restaurant on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.
We then set out on the portion of the hiking trail named Via dell’Amore. This was the first portion of the hiking trail connecting the five villages in the 1920’s. It became a way for young lovers from the two towns to meet with one another. Today it is nicknamed the “Pathway of Love”. It is lit with floodlights in the evening, so couples can walk along the trail, gaze at the stars, and admire the amazing views.
The next morning we woke up and hiked the rest of the trail. Because of rock slides, we were only able to do two more of the four sections of the trail. Hiking in the cliffs, we had great views of the ocean, picturesque villages, and growing vineyards. The hike took us through the hottest portion of the day, so we spent our late afternoon at the beach enjoying the chill of the ocean water. We finished this perfect day with our first taste of anchovies (grilled). We had a wonderful dinner on the water before the locals celebrated their patron saint with fireworks over the ocean. The next morning we were very sad to leave this beautiful area of the Italian coast!