Nearly ever person that’s ever been to Cinque Terre claims it is the most amazing place on the planet. It’s absolutely gorgeous, it’s unique, it’s quaint and it’s absolutely untouched by big business. Amazingly rare. Absolutely beautiful. And unfortunately, our biggest disappointment.
I feel like I’m going to be shunned for saying this, but hear me out! We had some very very very wrong information when we left Florence about how long it would take us, how much time we would need to spend there and so we skipped the Florence Flea Market. Really, it was what I was most excited for in Florence. I love flea markets here… the Long Beach Flea is one of my happiest places! So I imagined a flea market in Florence would absolutely blow it away. But the concierge at our hotel in Portovenere told us we’d need at least eight hours in Cinque Terre, and I wanted to absorb every inch of it’s beauty. So we skipped it, we left super early and arrived in Cinque Terre in the morning.
What we didn’t know, is that in the winter, Cinque Terre is a ghost town. Restaurants aren’t open. Stores are closed. Every window is shuttered and the streets look like zombies came in and wiped out the population. Oh, and it’s cold & windy. It’s still amazingly gorgeous. It’s still quaint and adorable. It’s still something I’m so incredible happy to have seen and I would definitely recommend that, if you’re there, even in the winter, it’s worth a stop! But maybe only spend a few hours. It’ll be worth it! But bring snacks, because you won’t be able to eat! (And this only made me crankier… I was an absolutely wonderful human being that day!)
Our hotel was actually in Portovenere, The Grand Hotel Portovenere. Everything is dead in the winter, but I have a feeling that Portovenere would be a wonderfully quiet respite from the craziness of Cinque Terre in the summer. It’s a tiny town, about thirty minutes from Cinque Terre. We had one of the most delicious seafood dinners at Trattoria Tre Torri… course after course after course brought out from the kitchen. We were the only diners, and I’m guessing the kitchen staff was experimenting. I was more than happy to be their guinea pig!