For part of Easter weekend, we went to visit a friend in San Terenzo, a small seaside town on the Ligurian coast that will make you go weak in the knees at first sight and swear you’ll live by the ocean at least once in your life.
The trip was a breath of fresh air in more than one way:
1. We had a social interaction IN ENGLISH! Don’t get me wrong, we love Italian, but it felt good to let loose in English.
2. We had an unexpected Duke reunion. Our hosts had a cookout, we both invited friends, and we ended up having 5 Dukies in attendance. We were stoked that our friends from Stokenhagen were serendipitously hiking the Cinque Terre this weekend and able join!
3. We received some insider treatment at a restaurant/pizzeria that our hosts go to often. While we’ve had some great meals in Bologna, it’s evident that knowing the owner comes with perks, like complimentary limoncello made in-house or a table for four on a busy holiday weekend.
And then a literal breath of fresh air:
5. We got a taste of the Italian coast! San Terenzo, a cozy town tucked into the surrounding hills and open to the vast waters, felt like light years away from Bologna with its closed-in porticos and bustling streets. Within moments of arriving, we began strategizing about how we could live closer to the water and how often we could visit our friends without being a nuisance.
6. We got a glimpse of the Cinque Terre! If you haven’t heard of them, the Cinque Terre are a string of five picturesque villages that cling to the cliffs along the Lingurian Coast. In October 2011, a number of the towns in the Cinque Terre were devastated by flooding and mudslides. We only stopped in Manarola, which was not hit by the storm, but our friends who were hiking the area reported that the results of the rebuilding efforts are impressive. While Vernazza and Monterosso (hit the hardest) are not back to what they used to be, many shops and hiking trails have been reopened and the community is working hard to reopen more as the peak summer season approaches.
The Cinque Terre are too beautiful to pass up (especially when you’re only 30 minutes down the road). But we found a frequent complaint about these stunning towns to be true — the quaint streets of Manarola were overflowing with tourists. We heard more English in passing and saw more Canon and Nikon cameras than we have since arriving in Italy. I’m glad we stopped by and I’d go back for the hiking, but for our next coastal vacation, I’m throwing out the guide books and following the Italians!
In a nutshell
What we saw: San Terenzo & Manarola (of the Cinque Terre) on the the Ligurian Coast
Where we ate: Ristorante Pizzeria Trieste, Via P. Mantegazza 13, San Terenzo
What we said: Buona Pasqua! = Happy Easter!
What we think: We are feeling tempted by the sea, but are staying content knowing that Bologna is a great city and that we can get back to the Ligurian coast in 2.5-3 hours when we need a dose of fresh air.