A Day at the Beach in Northern Italy

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Italy has miles of coastline and naturally miles of beach. Not all coastline in Italy is amenable to a beach because some is more amenable to harbors or jagged cliffs. I had the good fortune to be able to enjoy some of the best beaches in northern Italy and they were in San Remo, Levanto, and Rimini.

San Remo is in the northwestern area of Italy, in an area considered to be the Italian Riviera. Very near to France, San Remo has a temperate climate and wonderful beaches. In the month of June the Mediterranean Sea was warm enough for me to swim there. Known as a resort city, San Remo has wonderful beaches and hotels, and many of the hotels have private beaches. Use of these beaches, which are called lido, usually is included with the price of a hotel reservation. This typically includes two lounge chairs and a beach umbrella, and sometimes a cabana as well. A public beach area is always available in addition to the private beaches.San Remo, Italy Beaches

Levanto is a family friendly town which makes a good base for visiting the Cinque Terre in Liguria. The train runs through Levanto and it makes for easy access, while not as expensive as staying within the Cinque Terre villages. The beach at Levanto is great not only for swimmers but for surfers as well. Its length is a plus and the sand at Levanto is not full of stones. The clean water and the giant waves make Levanto a favorite for surfers. Recently a world surfing championship was held in the waters of Levanto. I found the crescent shape of the beach to be a perfect spot for sunset photos, and I enjoyed watching the surfers as they rode the waves in to shore.

I visited this beach just before the summer season began, so things were fairly quiet. In season the beach is filled with chairs and umbrellas as sunbathers soak up the hot sun. Above the beach is a promenade and shops and restaurants are easily accessible.Levanto, Italy Beach

Rimini has long been considered one of Italy's favorite beaches. In the summer months it is also one of the most crowded. Rimini is located on Italy's eastern coast, and its beaches sit on the Adriatic Sea. Because of its nine miles of sandy beaches, Rimini attracts Italians and European travelers all summer.  When I spent an afternoon on the lovely beaches of Rimini, I spent four euros for a beach chair and an umbrella. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.

Italy has many other beaches, some smaller and some larger. These are just a few of the beaches in the northern part of Italy. A day at an Italian beach was the perfect reprieve for me after walking around in the hot sun exploring ancient ruins and architecture.Rimini, Italy Beach

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at margieinitaly.wordpress.com


Corniglia – Highest Village in the Cinque Terre

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Corniglia is the smallest of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre, and is the only village that is not situated on the seashore. Having a population of just over 200, Corniglia boasts the highest altitude in the Cinque Terre, sitting 100 meters above seas level, providing stunning panorama views from this vantage point.

Corniglia  Cinque Terre, ItalyCorniglia is only accessible by walking 382 brick steps from the train stop, or taking a small bus from the same location. The hiking trail above has been closed die to mudslides.

One of the more popular spots to eat or have a drink is Er Posu Café, located at the bus stop on via Fieschi and at the entrance to the town of Corniglia. It is very casual and has great cappuccino and lemon cake. The prices are reasonable, and I noticed it was still open in the afternoon, unlike some other establishments in Italy.

Er Posu Café Corniglia street and shops, Cinque Terre, Italy (3)There are no big attractions or museums to see in Corniglia. Its attraction is its laid back atmosphere and quiet picturesque streets with a few shops. I tried to buy something in one of the shops but I needed change and the shop owner didn’t have it. It is not like in the U.S. or another larger town where the person might go next door or to the bank. Instead I just couldn’t buy the item. That’s how it is – simple.

Corniglia street and shops, Cinque Terre, ItalyThere is a 14th century church here, the Church of San Pietro, which very much resembles the church in Manarola. It has a beautiful rose window above the door, and the window is interestingly made from marble from nearby Carrara. In the center of the window is a sculpture of a deer which is a symbol for Corniglia.

Corniglia is the kind of place where you can sit on a bench and watch people and enjoy it. There is no agenda here and no rush. Even the bus does not necessarily run on time, and it only runs when a train stops at the station, which is not as often as it does in the other towns of the Cinque Terre.

Although Corniglia sits up high, there are two small beaches which are considered to be Corniglia’s beaches. Neither is easy to reach and the one which receives the most attention is Guvano Beach because it is a nude beach, mostly frequented by locals. Clothing is optional so if you want to go you can also wear a swimsuit. To reach these beaches requires going through a tunnel and paying a fee to someone who opens a door at the end, all a little bit adventurous, to say the least.

I am glad I came to Corniglia though even if it was just for a short visit. It is just another example of a beautiful spot on Italy’s Ligurian coast.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at margieinitaly.wordpress.com


Manarola in the Cinque Terre

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Manarola is one of the five villages in the Cinque Terre and one of the quietest, although it has a swimming area which attracts plenty of tourists especially during the summer months. Originally a fishing village like many of the coastal Cinque Terre towns, Manarola is also known for its locally produced white wines, Costa de Campu and Costa da Posa.

Terraced hillsides in Manarola Cinque Terre, ItalyI was there recently and it is easy to see why wines are produced there, since the hillsides surrounding the village of Manarola consist of many terraced vineyards. Looking at these it made me wonder how the people manage to work on these steep hillsides. The answer is narrow planks of wood or dirt paths which run alongside each terrace. I saw some of the locals tending their land as I was walking from the upper portion of Manarola to the lower end or centro storico.

Manarola - Cinque Terre ItalyManarola is beautiful and has the typical characteristic narrow steps and walkways like the other steep villages in the Cinque Terre. Manarola is the second village and the one at the end of the famous Via dell’Amore walk from Riomaggiore. From Manarola there is a hiking trail to the next village of Corniglia, but it has been closed for more than two years now due to a landslide.

Entrance to via dell'Amore - Cinque Terre ItalyManarola does have a train station and it is easy to reach Corniglia that way; however once there I had to either take a small bus to the hilltop town of Corniglia, which sits 100 meters above the sea. The other option is walking up the 382 steps, and then of course back down when it would be time to leave. No thank you.

Nativity scene in Manarola Cinque Terre, ItalyWandering around Manarola is enjoyable as there are a few shops with locally produced products such as ceramic and food items. The small family run restaurants are usually named after their owners and there are only two hotels in this small village.

Shop in Manarola - Cinque Terre ItalyOne of the oldest structures here is the 14th century   Baroque church, the Church of St Lawrence, from which I was able to enjoy a wonderful panorama view downward. I was not in Manarola during the winter months, but since 1997 there had been a tradition of the placement of an illuminated Nativity scene on the hillsides. In the town I did see what maybe was a part of that high on the walls.

The local people here are very friendly to tourists, despite the fact that we are traipsing through their lives and neighborhoods on a daily basis. The Cinque Terre is a beautiful part of Italy and Manarola is not to be missed.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at margieinitaly.wordpress.com


Cinque Terre Hike – Via dell’Amore

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

The beautiful Cinque Terre on northern Italy’s Ligurian coast draws hikers from all around as there are several walks connecting all the five villages on trails high above the sea. Many of these trails have been closed due to the devastating flooding and mudslides from October 25, 2011 but a couple  of the paths are open and the easiest of these is the Via dell’Amore from Riomaggiore to Manarola.Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre Italy

This two kilometer walk is more of a stroll than a hike and the seaside promenade is not that far above the sea. It only takes twenty to thirty minutes depending on how long you want to stop and enjoy the beauty of the rugged coastline and shoot some beautiful photos.  Along the walkway are benches made of stone and they make great spots for romantic photos.Views from Via dell'Amore Cinque Terre Italy

Even though the Via dell’Amore translates to Lover’s Walk, there are families and people of all ages and situations walking here.  Anyone can do this walk and it does not require hiking boots or walking sticks like I have seen on the serious hikers who are here to do the more strenuous trails.

What is so interesting and eye-catching here are the hundreds of locks all along the Via dell’Amore with initials of lovers who have placed them along walls, netting, screening, railings, posts  and anywhere they can find a place to affix these locks of love.

Locks on Via dell'A,ore in the Cinque Terre Italy Via dell'Amore Locks Cinque Terre Italy

While walking along this gorgeous stretch of the Cinque Terre I felt very happy and it seemed that was a shared feeling among the others walking along, based on their expressions. How can anyone be in a place as beautiful as this and not feel happy?

Street in Manarola - Cinque Terre ItalyRiomaggiore is the most southern of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre and Manarola is the smallest of the villages. Both of these villages are fun to walk around, browse in the shops and take in the scenery and the views.

Riomaggiore has the characteristically steep walls and the way around is by steep narrow staircases. The stone houses are painted ion pastel shades, mostly of pink and yellow and there are local ordinances governing the color scheme.

Manarola has a beach area that is more or less a swimming hole, and in the summer it is a popular spot for swimming and tanning. Manarola is one of the quieter villages of the Cinque Terre and also has the typical narrow sloped walkways and little shops and restaurants interspersed throughout.

By taking a walk on the Via dell’Amore you can also enjoy these two Cinque Terre villages at a leisurely pace. There is nowhere else quite like this part of Italy.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at margieinitaly.wordpress.com


Travel Photo Of The Day- Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Village of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Photo By Dan Breckwoldt

Village of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore, Italy is part of the area known as Cinque Terre. The area is part of the rustic Italian Riviera and is comprised of five cities: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. The history of Riomaggiore and the Cinque Terre area sounds as if it could have been ripped from a movie script. The area along the coast was dangerous and uninhabitable until around 1000 A.D. due to the large population of pirates, marauders and slave traders prone to frequenting the area.

For more information and destinations in Italy check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Italy



Cinque Terre, A Day Trip From Florence Italy

The Cinque Terre region on the Ligurian coast of Italy is one of the places to visit on a day trip from Florence. This group of five villages is approximately 165 kilometers (103 miles) northwest of Florence. Visitors can reach the Cinque Terre from Florence by driving or taking a train. The roads in the Cinque Terre are very narrow and winding. Travelers may prefer to take a train to the town of La Spezia. This trip takes approximately two and a half hours. A train trip from La Spezia to Riomaggiore takes a few minutes. The Cinque Terre villages are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.

Manarola Village, Cinque Terre, ItalyEvery village in the Cinque Terre has its own train station. Travelers can purchase Cinque Terre cards at every station. These cards can be used to ride the train between the villages all day and will give visitors access to the walking trails between the villages.

Visitors can climb a road from the Riomaggiore train station to reach the Castle of Riomaggiore from the 13th century. Travelers can dive and sail in the water near Riomaggiore. The terrace at A Pie de Ma restaurant here overlooks the sea. Guests can order salted anchovies, fish carpaccio and other dishes made from local seafood. Local wine is served with the food.

The path to from Riomaggiore to Manarola, the Via dell’Amore, runs along hills above the sea. This path is two kilometers long. Travelers can also take the train from Riomaggiore to Manarola.

Colorful houses perch on hills above the sea in Manarola. The town is surrounded by grapevines. There are hiking trails in the hills above Manarola. The church of San Lorenzo in the piazza was built in the 14th century. The church’s bell tower dates back to the 12th century and was originally a watchtower. Local seafood dishes served at Il Porticciolo in Manarola include stuffed squid, anchovies flavored with lemon, stuffed mussels and grilled swordfish.

The village of Corniglia is on a hill above the water. Visitors can climb a staircase with 400 steps from the beach or take a shuttle bus to reach the village. The village is surrounded on three sides by vineyards and terraces. Visitors can sit in the quiet town square and soak up the sun. Customers at the Osteria a Cantina de Mananan can order roast rabbit and anchovies stuffed with herbs. This little restaurant is in the stone cellar of an old house.

Travelers can take a 90-minute hike or a four-minute train ride from Corniglia to Vernazza. Parts of Vernazza were built during medieval times. The lookout tower was built in the 11th century. Seafood risotto is served at the Belforte restaurant here.

Visitors who walk from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare will pass quiet coves and waterfalls. Historic buildings in Monterosso al Mare include the church of San Giovanni Battista from 1220. The Ristorante Belvedere here has tables by the water. Stuffed mussels and octopus salad are two of the menu items.

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