Monday, May 13, 2013

Wrapping up the Cinque Terre and on to Venice

On our last day in the Cinque Terre, we had done all the hiking we could do, and had visited all of the villages except Riomaggiore.  We decided to hit up Monterosso and Vernazza one more time, and then head into Riomaggiore for apertifs and dinner. 

If you are ever in Monterosso, you MUST eat at a small place tucked way back into an alley in the center of old town called Via Venti.  Seriously, the best gnocchi I've had in all of Italy, or in my entire life for that matter. Eric had trofie pasta with homemade pesto.  Interesting tidbit - the Cinque Terre is known for its pesto, and the trofie pasta was designed especially for pesto to stick to (it has lots of nooks and crannies in it).

Then, with time on our hands, we headed into Vernazza to do some rock lounging.  If at all possible, we always try to leave an extra day on the end of our time in a city to have no real agenda.  It really gives us a better sense of the town and the culture when we can pretend to be locals and just sort of wander for a day.  Plus, it gives a chance to rest up before heading off to the next adventure - in this case, Venice, where we knew we'd be on our feet all day long, every day. 

We headed back to our hotel for the afternoon and did some lounging and reading on the terrace on the upper level.  We figured when our hotel has a view like that, might as well enjoy it.  That night, we took a train into Riomaggiore since the trail between there and Manarola was closed.

We had apertif at the most amazing little place overlooking the water and took in the view. 

Then, we decided we hadn't had nearly enough of the view and decided to just get "fast food" for dinner. Italian style fast food that is - freshly made pizza and focaccia, a cone of the most amazing fried mixed seafood, along with two Moretti beers from the market.  We ate alone on the rocks, and watched the sun set over the water.  For sure, one of my favorite dinners/views of the trip.

The next morning, we were up bright and early to head to our last stop in Venice.  We wanted to get an early start though because the plan was to stop in Florence for the afternoon on the way.  The Santa Maria Novella train station is pretty large and easy to navigate, and they have a bag drop.  So we stopped, checked our luggage for a few hours, and then set out to explore the city, see The Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, and do a little shopping in the market.

We still ended up with too much luggage, even with me trying to pack light. Poor Eric trudged those bags up too many flights of stairs to count.

We got the most AMAZING fresh, hand sliced roast beef and turkey sandwiches at the market in Florence. I know it sounds random, but they were so fantastic.

As most of you know, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary on this trip, and we follow the traditional gift giving guidelines. Three years = leather.  I have a post coming up on our anniversary gifts and traditions, but I did up finding an amazing bag in Florence, and Eric got a leather padfolio that matches his briefcase that he bought on our honeymoon in Rome. Good finds - we left Florence with a couple more bags, but eh, we were on to our last stop anyway. 

We arrived in Venice, boarded a water bus, and then headed to the Molino Stucky Hilton, which was gorgeous.  We had superb service, as always, and....I just have to show y'all because it was so ridiculous...they upgraded us to an executive suite.  As if I needed another reason to love Hilton.  We stayed at small, local hotels and beds and breakfasts all throughout this trip because, well, there just aren't Hiltons in the Cinque Terre. 

But at the end of a trip when we are tired and weary and most of our clothing is dirty and muddy and our feet ache and all I want is some ICE for crying out's really nice to end the trip at a higher end, American hotel. I say that at the risk of sounding snobbish, but....risk taken. Anywho, the room was CRAZY - we never would have paid the outlandish rate for it because (hello!) when you're in Venice, who stays in a hotel room?  But...if they're offering an upgrade, I'll take it.

Sitting room...that we used once, for 10 minutes to check email.

Hallway to bed and bath.

Crazy big bathroom by European standards.

Bedroom...with crazy hand blown glass chandelier.
But the best thing about having status at Hiltons...executive lounges. Free snacks, water, drinks, coffee, etc. all day, and then happy hour with an open bar before dinner. It was EXACTLY what we needed for a pick me up before taking the shuttle back across the channel for dinner.

Only one post left about our adventures in Venice! Hope you all had a lovely Monday!


  1. Fun little tidbit about this exact hotel..when I sat on the toilet, my feet didn't even touch the floor.

  2. That picture of you two kissing is PERFECTION! Aaaahhh, what an amazing trip! Someday I'll visit Italy/Venice! It looks like you two had the BEST time!

  3. It is just so beautiful there I can't even stand it. The picnic on the rocks - amazing. And that pic of you two. So great. Oh I'm so jealous and I just want to go right now. I'm totally going to try to convince my friend to plan a trip w/ me. I need to see those villages!!!!!

  4. You're bringing back my amazing memories from my own trip to Florence & Venice! Loving the pictures!!

  5. I can't decide which part of this is my favorite!! I love the picture of you guys kissing and the one of Eric lounging I feel like is an office framer.

    And that hotel! Omg, what a treat! You can't turn down free drinks and food.

  6. Great ideas! I'm happy to find many good points here in your post. Writing is simply great! Thank you for the post.
    happy anniversary images