23 August 2014

Postcards from Italy

La Spezia, Italy
By Haleigh In Non classé

Mmmmm, it was La Dolce Vita in Italy for a week with Audrey, and I’m not talking about the gelato considering I ate only two scoops the whole time. It was so hot it was all melting too fast, a lot like our days there that seemed to just disappear so quickly. Italy is no stranger to me. As our friendly neighbor here in France, I’ve been five or six times between Tuscany, Venice, and Basilicata  for work and play but I have so much more to see. I had never been to the eternal city of Rome, and had been dreaming of Cinque Terre up the coast for several summers now. Rome was a happy accident on this trip, as we stopped through in commute and stayed a few days with our friend Emma who showed us the best of Roman life from a local perspective. I was blown away by the city’s monuments (even after years living in a place as historic as Paris). We enjoyed some nights out, one until dawn watching the sunrise over the city as it has been for thousands of years now. Visiting friends in foreign places is such an amazing way to meet new people too, and in the good company of designers from Italy’s top fashion houses, we were recounted hilarious stories of Roman nights that ended with late morning coffees all the way down in Naples. We didn’t manage to get up to so much trouble, but if I find myself back in Rome, I have to say I am game for such debauchery, if only to live to tell the story. It was all cut a bit short though as Audrey and I had a planned to get to Cinque Terre. We hopped the train North and spent five days in the five colorful fishing villages that have come to be known as Cinque Terre. Tourists packed like sardines onto the beaches and town roads, we still managed to find room to get some sun here and swim along the gorgeous coast line. When we decided we had enough of all the people, we came across a secret tip from some adventurous australians that led us down an abandoned railway tunnel in pitch black darkness for 1 kilometer. On the other side, a gorgeous quiet beach perfect for a dip sans bikini. A nice way to say “Ciao Italy!” until next time. And yes, there will definitely be a next time…

the streets of Rome

lunch in Rome

Audrey at the Colosseum in Rome

At the Colosseum in Rome

what I wore in Rome

the Tiber river in Rome

A FEW QUICK TIPS FOR ROME

Ristorante Baccano – A few streets down from the Trevi Fountain away from the crowds this is a nice little spot for a traditional Italian lunch! I had the octopus and saffron potato salad topped of with some fennel. The waitresses wear cute little black outfits with white aprons for extra charm.

Coromandel – For an Italian meal that is a bit less traditional, Coromandel was delicious. The kitchen uses tons of traditional italian ingredients like ricotta, pesto, squid etc. but in new and unexpected combinations. Totally loved it. The place is quiet, with darling decor and a very nice staff.

Bar Del Fico – A nice happening spot any night of the week to enjoy a bar night with some real Italians and a minimal amount of tourists, either inside or on their terrace. The system is a bit odd, so you pay for your drinks in advance and then order them at the bar.

Garbo – A very cool little late night spot with an old school Italian vibe. Perfect for if you want to stay out late and enjoy drinks with friends over conversation versus a wild party, plus a friendly and funny staff. Their motto is “Garbo is for all!” so truly, come as you are!

what I wore in Rome

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy at sunset

At the train station in Cinque Terre, Italy

View from lunch in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

gelato in Cinque Terre, Italy

Site seeing in Cinque Terre, Italy

buildings Cinque Terre, Italy

view for Corneglia, Cinque Terre, Italy

Beach umbrellas in Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy

A FEW QUICK TIPS FOR CINQUE TERRE

Accommodations — I have to admit, I was not impressed with the look of places to stay for visiting Cinque Terre. Ideally you will need to stay either in La Spezia (the main city closest to les Cinque Terre) or in one of the villages but be close to the train station. I just didn’t find gorgeous hotels. Instead you can stay in an Airbnb (there are many available in any of the villages) but you must make sure you are in walking distance of a train station, as you will need the trains everyday. The Airbnb’s however are not exactly full of Italian charm, more outdated than anything else but they are affordable and some are conveniently located.

Transport — The main way of transport between the villages are the trains. They run rather frequently and tickets can be purchased for just a few euros at the station. It’s only a matter of minutes once on the train from village to village, however you can wait in serious lines to buy the tickets. Always by your return in advance to avoid waiting and missing trains. You can also check the schedules for departures as you don’t want to waste too much vacation time waiting around for the train to arrive. The trains start leaving very early in the morning and run quite late, so you can start and finish your day out as you like.

Beaches & Boating — While the coast line of Cinque Terre is stunning, the beaches can be a bit of trouble. They are rocky, and the chairs and umbrellas for rent each day fill up fast. If the weather is good be there by 10AM to get a spot. Monterosso is the best village for the beach. It’s not ideal but the beaches are rock, which can be tough on your feet. Corneglia has a secret beach called Guvano, which is quite an adventure to get to! Ask around there and you’ll find your way. It’s worth it.  If you prefer to explore from a boat, be sure to reserve in advance, as these too fill up and are often cancelled due to wind.

Dining — Get ready for a carb overload, but just go for it and don’t worry about the swimsuit. There are not particular restaurants that stood out to me above the others, but pretty much anywhere you stop to eat in any of the villages or La Spezia is going to serve you up their Italian momma’s cooking. Wether that be pizzas, lasagna, or pasta. Most places have seafood options which are quite good considering the vicinity of the fishing. My favourites though were the Foccaciarias where you can grab a fresh foccacia sandwich to go complete with cheesy goodness. Those seem traditional here and are not to be missed.

Guvano beach in Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy at sunset

Beach umbrellas in Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy

view for Corneglia, Cinque Terre, Italy

Comments

  1. Leave a Comment

  2. Sophia Charles 23 August 2014

    Beautiful pictures! I love you black handbag! x

    Sophia || sophiebysophia.blogspot.com

    Reply
  3. about a closet 23 August 2014

    I miss Italy so much! been there a year ago and cant wait to get back

    http://www.aboutacloset.com/

    Reply
  4. Melissa Cuentas 23 August 2014

    What a beautiful photos! Can’t wait to explore it on my own! XO

    Reply
  5. nora 23 August 2014

    the absolute dream! how is this even real? <3

    Reply
  6. Bianca @itsallbee 23 August 2014

    Beautiful pictures! I love the travel advice too. I love Italy and have had the pleasure of visiting once or twice a year for the last few years. Cinque Terre has been on my list for a while now. I have to visit soon.

    Reply
  7. loved your tips and tricks. And these photos, per usual, are absolutely stunning! xx

    Reply
  8. Emilie 24 August 2014

    The photos, everything–STUNNING! Daydreaming of my next trip to Italy…will definitely refer back to all your tips!

    Reply
  9. flora 24 August 2014

    Wow, these pictures are amazing. I would love to spend some time in Italy.

    The Zaradress suits you very well.

    Reply
  10. Eliana Smith 24 August 2014

    Beautiful post Haleigh! I seriously love the music you add to your posts as well. This one made my day when I really needed it. Its such a small detail but it really means a lot… to me at least. Love your posts though, images, content and all!

    Eliana

    Reply
  11. Sienna 24 August 2014

    this is one of my favorite posts of yours, the photography is lovely and you look so happy and ethereal! I just got back from Italy and wish I had seen this before I went so I could have taken some advice! Btw, thanks for your NYC advice lovely!! xx

    Reply
  12. Colleen Welsch 25 August 2014

    Your photos of Cinque Terre are beautiful – I love all the colors of those umbrellas! I read “The Beautiful Ruins” while I was on vacation this summer and it was set in that area. You should check it out!

    Reply
    • Haleigh 26 August 2014

      Colleen, you’re not the second person to tell me to read it and I am justy dying to! Will order it now 🙂 so glad you liked the photos!

      Reply
  13. Laura Mitbrodt 25 August 2014

    Great photos!I wish i was there
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

    Reply
  14. Faye 25 August 2014

    Haleigh this is one of my favourite posts of yours to date too many stunning photos to deal with! We were en route to Cinque Terre but after being caught in horrendous thunderstorms in Venice and predicted so in Cinque Terre we rethought our initial plan – still yet to tick it off my bucket list. You remind me so much of Brigitte Bardot in the photo of you in the bikini xx

    Reply
  15. Jessica M 25 August 2014

    I have been dying to take Mitch to Italy for so long now — he’s never been to Rome and neither of us have been to the Cinque Terra. These photos are so gorgeous and are making me want to buy a plane ticket right now!
    Is that nude/pink top with the big sleeves going to be in an upcoming outfit post? Because if not I have to know where you got it from! And that bathing suit is adorable! Your outfits on this trip have been absolutely amazing!

    xo

    Reply
  16. What a wonderful trip! Thank you for gorgeous photos and most useful tips! x

    Reply
  17. Madeline 26 August 2014

    Italy is very beautiful. The best gelato in the world is in the Italy, that’s for sure. I’ve been to Milan and Rome and I hope to come back to Italy next year. I recently been to Paris and I fell in love with that city.

    http://www.madelinefedmont.com/world-travel-paris/

    Reply
  18. Abigail Lumiere 28 August 2014

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! It’s so nice that you put up mini little guides. It’s not always easy to find the balance between blogging and holidaying, but it looks like you’re doing well. Have fun in Formentera <3

    Reply
  19. Najmah 28 August 2014

    Wow, fabulous shots!! 🙂

    Reply
  20. Carissa 25 September 2014

    Can’t help but read over and over your travel diary posts. 🙂

    absolutely stunning images..

    http://carissainez.com

    Reply
  21. Amanda 20 May 2015

    Would you be able to share the name of the hotel you stayed at in Rome as well as Cinque Terre?

    Reply

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