Italy, day 4: Bonassola & More Cinque Terre

Coming back to our Italy recaps:  I left off at the end of day 3, the day when we explored three of the five towns of Cinque Terre, on the northwest coast of Italy.

Day 4:  Bonassola, Vernazza, Corniglia

Storms were (again) on the forecast for the day, so we were fortunate to get a bit of sunshine during the morning.  We walked out to the beach of Levanto, the town where we were staying.

Levanto is the first town to the north of Cinque Terre, so it is a bit less touristy and crowded.

Levanto Italy Beach Cinque Terre | The Borrowed AbodeSome colorful and beautiful, if somewhat forlorn looking, mansions graced the coastal hills of Levanto.  I would love to rehab one of them!Walk Levanto to Bonassola Italy | The Borrowed Abode

Ryan and I walked north along the coast, taking the old railway line that had been converted to a walking and biking path.  It was an easy 30 min walk to the next town up the coast, Bonassola.  Bonassola Italy Church | The Borrowed Abode

This town was even less touristy than Levanto.  In other words, it just looked like a lovely beach town that locals lived in.  Like Levanto, it was in a much flatter area than the towns of Cinque Terre, so there was more room for the town to sprawl out.  Bonassola Italy Cinque Terre Liguria  | The Borrowed Abode

Having completed our arduous 😉 30 min walk, Ryan and I took a much needed Gelato Break at the cafe with the red and white striped patio awnings (above).  We sat out on the plaza, enjoying the ambiance and lack of crowds.

It was at times like that, when we were sitting around just enjoying a snack or a break, that I would look around me and marvel (enviously) that this setting and this scenario was just plain life for the Italians.  Every town is so pretty and lush with gardens, and the people are so happy, I just have to wonder if maybe over here we’re doing it wrong. Apartment in Bonassola Italy | The Borrowed Abode

We walked around the town, and I loved how this simple apartment building had a crazy old cactus garden in the front.  If one thing was clear from day one of the trip, it was the fact that Italians will fit a garden in anywhere they can.

When we were done exploring Bonassola (it wasn’t beach weather yet, so there wasn’t much going on)- we hopped a train south to Vernazza, one of the two Cinque Terres left to see.

As the train pulled into the station at Vernazza, we wanted to turn right around and go back to the quiet calm of Bonassola.

Vernazza Italy Cinque Terre Tourist Crowds | The Borrowed Abode

When our train stopped in Vernazza, we were barely able to squeeze off of it amongst all the crowds both on the train and the platform.  It was a Friday in May, which is still technically off season, and the crowds were disgustingly thick.  We had to wait a good 15 min before we could descend the simple staircase down from the platform and into the town.

The main street of Vernazza was similar to that of Riomaggiore and Manarola. Lined with touristy shops and cafes and pizza joints, and rather uninteresting.

Vernazza Church Window | The Borrowed Abode

We did find a beautiful old church, and the light was so awesome as Ryan looked out the window, that I had to snap this shot.

Jane Ryan VernazzaDown at the harbor, we were taking photos, when suddenly an enormous wave swept in and soaked a bunch of people.  That’s why, in the photo above, Ryan is wringing water out of his socks 🙂 Vernazza View from Harbor Cinque Terre | The Borrowed Abode

The weather wasn’t perfect, but the little slices of sun shining through the storm clouds were appreciated.  Vernazza Cinque Terre Teal Door | The Borrowed Abode

Before leaving Vernazza, we walked to the top of the town. I loved the tiny staircases leading to doors in walls that were everywhere.

At the top of the town, we got dessert at Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre.  Here’s the deal: It got rave reviews in our Rick Steve book as well as on TripAdvisor, but we weren’t impressed.  The view was that of . . . a parking lot.  The panna cotta dessert came buried in chocolate and raspberry sauces, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries – clearly for sugar-loving Americans.  Panna Cotta is such a beautiful, simple dessert that it shouldn’t be messed up with extra stuff.Vernazza Rick Steves Tourists | The Borrowed Abode

We watched this group of tourists (above)  as they hiked up the road, then stopped and looked around, bewildered.  I guessed that they, too, were looking for this restaurant, and like us, were confused by its not appearing to be what they expected.

Sure enough, they all whipped out their Rick Steves books and started talking and pointing confusedly.  That’s when I snapped this photo.   They chose not to stay for an Amercianized dessert. Manarola from Corniglia | The Borrowed Abode

Our last stop in the CT was Corniglia, a town perched high above the train tracks and ocean. After getting off the train, I turned around, looked south down the coast, and saw the town of Manarola perched on the cliff.

To get to Corniglia, we had to walk down a skinny road and then climb 328 steps to the top of the hill (mountain?).

Corniglia Road | The Borrowed AbodeWhile walking down the skinny road, this van (pictured above)came driving past us.  We had to lean against the slanted embankment to not get run over.  Just another day on a road in Italy.

Then the climb began, and it was absolutely worth every gasp of breath. Because of the climb, only the most determined and adventurous tourists came to Corniglia.  The decrease in tourists gave us a glimpse into the magic that must have graced all 5 towns before they were discovered by the hordes.
Corniglia Vineyard Cart | The Borrowed Abode

See the funny metal cart above? Ryan and I dubbed it the “Wine Rollercoaster.”  It’s a motorized cart that rides a metal rollercoaster track down and up through the steep vineyards.  In the photo below, the gray line running up the vineyard is the track for the cart.  So clever, right?!Corniglia Vineyard Cinque Terre | The Borrowed Abode

Some of the terraced areas are more overgrown and forgotten vineyards.  For generations, families in the CT always divided their land equally between their kids, and as a result the parcels became smaller and smaller.  Many people don’t see the point in farming a tiny parcel for just a bit of wine.Corniglia Cinque Terre | The Borrowed Abode

Ryan and I took an afternoon wine break at the most delightful wine bar ever. It quickly became one of my favorite spots of the entire trip.Corniglia Outdoor Wine Bar Cinque Terre | The Borrowed Abode

See the patio above?  And see the greenery-covered doorway above right?  The doorway was the tiny storage / storefront of the wine bar, and the seating area was the patio covered by grape vines.  Corniglia Outdoor Wine Cinque Terre | The Borrowed Abode

Nothing is better than sitting under grape vines, sipping fabulous and cheap local wine, and gazing out on the sea and cliffs. Jane Ryan Corniglia Cinque Terre

When I finally tore myself away from the wine patio, we stopped on the terrace to get another obligatory “couples” photo for my mom. 🙂

Returning to Levanto, we dined for a second time at L’Articiocca. Once again, it was fabulous.


Not going to lie . . . we were a bit shocked when the scampi appetizer arrived at the table.  We knew it would be raw (freshly caught) shrimp, but we didn’t expect it to be so large, or served with the head and claws still attached.  Ryan Scampi L'Articiocca Levanto | The Borrowed Abode

The shock didn’t stop us from playing with him, though, and it certainly didn’t stop us from enjoying our entire dinner.

The Best Dinner L'Articiocca Levanto Italy | The Borrowed Abode

Clockwise, from top left:  Scampi over Burrata . . .  Gattafin (Herb dumplings) topped with wild boar ragu . . . Truffled Gnocchi  . . . Trofie (local pasta) ai Gamberi (shrimp).

After dinner, it was time to pack up and hit the sack, because the next day we were heading to the hills of Tuscany!

In case you missed it:

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Abbey at 9:50 pm

    Hi! We’re planning a visit to Corniglia in late September. The wine bar looks wonderful! Would you mind sharing the name? We’d love to stop in to enjoy the wine – and those olives! Yum! Warm regards – Abbey

    • Reply Jane at 9:08 am

      Hi Abbey! Oh, I’m so happy/envious that you will be there soon! I want to go back so badly 🙂 I have no idea what the name of the wine bar is, but it is a tiny little town and it was fairly obvious. If you walk up the 300 steps and turn left at the top onto the main road, Via Stazione, follow that road. A tinier road will break off on the left – don’t take it. Stay on the main, wider road, and it’s a few buildings up on the right. On your left will be the green cliffs of vines coming up from the sea. Have a blast!!!

      Here is the approximate location on Google maps:

  • Reply Italy, days 5-6: under the tuscan cloudsThe Borrowed Abode: Decorating a rental home | The Borrowed Abode: Decorating a rental home at 10:17 am

    […] Tuscany – If Italy didn’t steal my heart with the tiny coastal town of Levanto, then Tuscany sealed the deal. I told Ryan that there’s a good chance I’ll want to run […]

  • Leave a Reply

    hd porno izle travesti sikis turbanli porno