My friends from Parola Scuola and I decided to hop on a train to Cinque Terre to spend some time outdoors before autumn would creep in and replace the warmth of the summer sun. During the ride on the FrecciaRossa, the train would pop in and out of tunnels along the coast and we would get shooting glimpses of the sea – taunting us with the allure of a sparkling sea and clear blue sky over. As soon as the train stopped at Monterosso, I instantly felt relieved knowing I was back at the waterfront.
There is something healing about a sea or ocean. The vastness of this body of water has such a healing power over your soul and mind. The salty water heals your wounds and the gentle waves soothe your tired muscles or weary heart. You can depend on it – the waves will always lap the sand, the tides will always turn. Empty your worries into the sea, breathe in the salty air, and bask in the sun and you will find your spirits lifted.
We spent a few hours enjoying the beach at Monterosso and a lazy lunch that was of course paired with a glass of wine. However, this part of the Italian Riviera is named Cinque Terre for a reason and we had four other villages to see. So we spent our afternoon making our way down along the coast, stopping at each village, and embracing the beauty of these cozy little towns.
Nestled within the cliffs, colorful homes are stacked upon each other and look out into the stunning Mediterranean. Each village is perfectly imperfect. The houses are crooked but their bright pastel colors complement the blue sea. The streets are windy but their narrow paths all lead to the water. The harbors are home to old fishing boats and playful children. Every view is picturesque and makes you fantasize about retiring there one day.
We watched the sunset while overlooking Manarola from the promenade. Nothing beats the sun setting over water and this view rivals Zadar. We shared the sunset with an elderly couple on vacation and it was impossible not to feel the love and happiness surround us. With warm hearts we continued to the last village, Riomaggiore, by walking the Via dell’Amore. This trail serves as Cinque Terre’s own lover’s lane. Padlocks are scattered along the path where lovers previously sealed their love for one another.
We were able to indulge in the true Italian way of life while visiting Cinque Terre – to enjoy the beauty of an environment without guilt or a clock. We cherished each village’s charm without hordes of tourists plaguing the streets. The sea’s serenity and the towns’ quirkiness left us buzzing with good energy.
I returned home to Florence feeling satisfied that my craving for blue water and sea air was satiated. The familiarity of Florence provides a different type of comfort than the sea; however it is one just as reassuring. The Adriatic helped mend the fragmented pieces of my soul this past summer, and now this adventure in Florence has been testing the perseverance of my renewed spirit.