14th to 15th July - Porto Venere to Levanto (exploring Cinque Terre)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Wed 15 Jul 2009 22:46
Cinque Terre is a beautiful rugged portion of the Ligurian coast with five villages perched on cliff tops - originally only accessible by sea it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy's major tourist attractions.
Mark and Stacy were keen to visit Cinque Terre and go walking; initially we had hoped to anchor off one of the villages but all the bays were too rocky and small so instead we headed up to the western end and anchored off the lovely beach of the town Levanto from where we could get a train.  Levanto is another Italian Riviera town and while there were quite a few tourists in the town we were surprised to find that we were the only boat anchored off the beach the first night (and only one of two the second night).
The first night we ate on board.  It had to be pasta with pesto sauce as pesto originated in nearby Genoa and so is the thing to have.  We had our pesto with pasta discs that we bought in Porto Venere, stamped with a family crest - it is a pasta for rich people rather than the hoi polloi - who are forced to eat plain tagliatelli like strips.
The next day we took the train in to Cinque Terre.  There are coastal walks between the villages and while the villages are crammed with American tourists the walks are relatively quiet.  The views from the walks looking down on the villages are absolutely spectacular.