After a little research (because let's be honest... we are all about winging it) we decided on a region of Italy called the Cinque Terre. I say region because the area consists of five charming little villages along the northwest coast of Italy. It looked so magical from the pictures we just couldn't resist. And let me tell you, this place looks exactly like the pictures. It was unbelievable.
The first day we got there it was around 8pm so we decided to head down to the harbor in our "home base" village of Riomaggiore. It is the southern most village in the Cinque Terre so naturally it has the best sunsets.
The Cinque Terre is also famous for the hiking trails that connect the five villages. Unfortunately, back in 2011 there were intense rains and mud slides that damaged the trails. There were only a few open to us when we went, but it was still beautiful. The trails slice through hill sides covered in grapes which the locals use to make world famous wine. Although we don't drink it made for beautifully green hiking trails!
The beaches there aren't sandy they are more rocky. We cliff jumped, explored little caverns, and just admired the picturesque waters. We also rented a kayak one day and snorkeled in our own private bay. It was beautiful! I even saw a few jelly fish... which caused be to promptly exit the water.
Without a doubt my favorite part of traveling is the food. I used to be embarrassed about this little obsession of mine but I have now learned to embrace it! Italy did not disappoint on this front. The pasta was HEAVENLY. The region is specifically famous for the pesto. YUMMY! Also, we ate way too much gelato. And pizza.
The place had such a chill vibe that we never felt the need to be doing something every second of the day. We spent plenty of time hanging out by the ocean, playing cards, and just lazily exploring the villages. It's so dang hot during the day, we were in the water almost every couple hours!
On our way home we flew out of the Pisa airport. We heard that it was possible to hit the big sites in Pisa in one day so we took the train over a day early and stayed in Pisa for one night. It was HOT HOT HOT. We couldn't imagine doing other spots in Italy such as Rome or Florence in mid July! We were glad we opted for a coastal vacation. Nonetheless, we did enjoy our day in Pisa!
We visited La Piazza dei Miracoli, aka the "square of miracles" which houses the famous leaning tower, among other monuments. We found the baptistry (the big dome building) especially intriguing. Also, we saw the lamp that inspired Galileo's theory of motion. We are still confused if it was the lamp hanging in the cathedral or the one in the monumental cemetery. We took pictures in front of both just in case... We are also unsure if it was the actual lamp or just a replica. Everything was in Italian. Give us a break. A surprising and slightly disturbing find was the shrine of bones in the monumental cemetery. We finished off (and also maybe began) the day with gelato from the famous La Bottega Del Gelato.