Riomaggiore, part of the Cinque Terre region on the west coast, is usually the key photo on any “must see” list of Italian cities. It truly is picturesque.
Here are some things we didn’t realize until we visited. The big surprise was that we couldn’t just drive in. We drove into the Cinque Terre National Park and followed Google Maps along some very narrow roads until they became even narrower because there were cars parked along the one side. “Where are all the occupants?” we asked. Eventually we made our way to where that little shack is in the photo below and the police officer told us that’s as far as we could drive. We would need to take the shuttle the remainder of the way.
Now we needed to park, so we drove back up the road to find a place. We should have taken a clue from the driver of this red car. We thought he’d get in trouble parking by the sign like that. We didn’t take into account the Italian penchant for finding unique parking places. When we returned there were two more cars in the island with him and many more lining the side of the rock wall obscuring the yield sign.
The shuttle was free and ran every 30 minutes.
When it dropped us off we tried to get directions to a restaurant. We were told “just go down hill”.
We found where all the owners of the cars up on the hill were.
We walked all the way to the harbor thinking we’d find the perfect restaurant.
I don’t know if it was perfect, but the view was unbelievable. The menu was pretty basic sandwiches (panini) and they only took cash, but they served beer and cappuccino, too.
We wondered what the next city would be like, so we left to catch the next shuttle back to our car. The road to Vernazza promised to be even more precarious so we wanted to get going.
You can see the end of the harbor in the photo above. Riomaggiore is truly breathtaking. It was the most beautiful Italian city I’d seen thus far.