PHOTO: Participants of the La Dolce Vita Retreat by the entrance to the Via Dell’ Amore hike from Rio Maggiore to Manarola.

The days are zooming by in Cinque Terre at my La Dolce Vita Italy Retreat.

On Tuesday, September 15, the 7 minute ferry ride to Vernazza was fun and breezy with extraordinary views of mountains and terraced grape vineyards. One of our goals for this workshop is to do something everyday that’s out of our comfort zone or something we’re afraid of doing.
Several of us have a history of getting seasick, so we took the chance to board the ferry. Of course it was a quick ride but if the weather permits, we’ll be journeying for up to an hour on other ferries in the next few days.

We hung out in 3 towns on Tuesday.

Vernazza flowers for sale in the little town center.

In Vernazza, we enjoyed pesto pizza under colorful umbrellas on the jetty. As far as I understand, the restaurants in Cinque Terre make their pesto fresh each day. I wanted to check out the Ristorante Castello that had a view of the sea, but after climbing 75 steep steps up to it, and seeing the opaque plastic that surrounded the outdoor tables, I didn’t think it was worth the climb if we didn’t have a clear expansive view plus I did have to stop and catch my breath a couple times.

In Manarola, red and white boats were docked on the streets—parked in front of their homes, like we would park our cars. Usually about 6 fishermen and other men and women transport the boats from the high sea walls, several blocks up the street, once they are moved onto wheels. We saw the pullies on the top of the high docks that lift the boats down to the sea and then up again at the end of the day.

I thought Manarola was very sweet as there weren’t so many tourists there as there are in the other Cinque Terre villages. We had a delicious dinner outside at Ristorante Porticiolla. Several of us ate the fresh catch of the day (sea bass), served with deep fried then grilled vegetables (onion, carrot, zucchini, eggplant, red bell pepper). Dessert was nut cake with ground walnuts inside almost like pecan pie with whole walnuts on top.

Beautiful ceramic stores are found in most cities in Italy, but I really enjoyed the small one in Manarola.

It’s Thursday and we’re catching the one hour ferry ride to Portovenere, Port of Venus. Did I mention that we are constantly changing all the plans that I’ve meticulously made because we are dodging rains storms? That means that many of the trails are closed. They’ve arrived early this year and there is rain in many parts of Italy right now.

We loved the easy hike we did on Tuesday, so I’ll fill you in on the Via Dell’ Amore Trail between Rio Maggiore and Manarola in the next post. It was a breathtaking walk high above the sea.

Learn more about traveling to Italy on Lenora’s Italy Retreats For Women
Find out more about Lenora’s Sweet Life Workshops and Sweet Life Happiness Coaching.

You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.