The train stopped suddenly, making a swift squeaking sound, and we arrived in a sun bathed station.
Doors opened behind me and when I turned, the most amazing vista greeted me to Riomaggiore.
Cotton candy clouds ranging from blue to violet adorned the golden hour glow of the coastline, all while the sweet sounds of waves clashing on the rocky shore were playing in the background.
Is this the train station?! Wow!
After going for a couple of km in a dark tunnel, the light of Riomaggiore seemed dazzling.
We just stood there for a few minutes, luggage still in hands, amazed by the glowing sun, now half eaten by the dark clouds.
A 10 minutes walk took us to my dream lodging – a 15th century old house with wood panel windows and pastel toned like a mint gelato on a hot summer day.
The spacious room and the terrace with an up-close view to my neighbors were a plus, the cold shower I took the last day of our stay – not so much (La Dolce Vita Inn, in case you’re wondering).
Few minutes later, we were out exploring the colorful Riomaggiore at sunset, following the very narrow alleys to the small port.
December is off-season in Riomaggiore, therefore not a single restaurant was open. Wandering the picturesque village, we came empty on places to dine, so an improvisation had to be made.
A small market on the main street – Via Colombo, a few colorful houses down from ours, supplied us with a traditional produce tasting: pecorino cheese, hard Italian bread, prosciutto, and of course – pesto. Delightful!
By the way, did you know Pesto was born in Liguria? Yes, sir! And it was the best I’ve ever had!
Waking up next morning over biscotti dipped in a hot cup of coffee – Sicilian style – while gazing at the tourists filling the colorful street made me feel thankful for choosing this place for our last journey in 2016.
We adventured into the tiny tunnels here and there, and after passing through intimate green courtyards, we arrived at the tiny port to admire the famous “case torri” – the tower houses crowded on the rocky shore.
Then we just hopped on the train for a day tour of the other four villages making up one of the most amazing travel destinations in the world – Cinque Terre.
Dating back to the 13th century, these five towns of medieval origin were declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1997, so don’t be surprised to see tourists here even during the winter.
Riomaggiore in December is peaceful, pretty warm (8 to 15°C), a bit rainy – just enough to mess up some pics, but serene nonetheless.
And even if it looks like an old fishermen’s village, wine is actually the main stream of revenue for the small community here.
Tourism too, of course, but farming is top of the list with wine, olive oil and lemons being the primary local produce.
There is something enchanting about wandering the little passages and narrow alleys, passing under plants, lights, decorations and laundry left out to dry, all in complete silence. Even a stray cat can make your heart stop for a second.
The atmosphere is delightful, and I suspect those colored houses and astonishing landscapes have something to do with it, but the Riomaggiore experience felt like time capsule traveling.
Our evening walks were rewarded with a peek into the locals’ life during off-season, who all know each other, of course, and gather up on the main street for a glass of wine and a chat.
Riomaggiore also offered us a much needed rest after a year of intensive work and travels, so we both felt thankful for the tranquility of this tiny timeless village.
If you need a place to unwind, do stay in Riomaggiore – it’s Magic!
*People usually stay in La Spezia, but if you’re looking for the authentic Cinque Terre, you must experience the joy of staying in one of those old colorful houses. There are few of them, so make sure to plan ahead.
If you have any questions about Riomaggiore or Cinque Terre, I’ll be happy to share my travel tips.
Visual Tour of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
Riomaggiore – Cinque Terre, Italy | December 2016 | My Mobile Pictures Only > Copyright: ©Ana Matei / Vlad Isac
Up Next: Visual Tours of Vernazza, Manarola, Monterosso al mare and Corniglia
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