The Cinque Terre is a series of five small coastal villages nestled along a scenic strip of the Italian Riviera. Each town has its unique charms, and I like to think of them as five little old ladies, each with their own distinct personality.
Riomaggiore is the pearl of the Cinque Terre. She’s worked hard her whole life, but on her own terms, and in a way that makes her happy. She has rough hands and laugh lines and a certain light in her eye that tells you she knows more than she lets on.
As soon as you arrive, Riomaggiore draws you in, and makes you forget about everything else.
Her shelves are a jumble of family photos and sentimental knick knacks, each one with their own story.
She’s an amazing cook, frying up the fresh catch of the day with little fanfare. But she watches you take your first bite and relishes how your eyes widen in surprise because you never imagined seafood could taste so good.
She’s cozy and makes room for you to nestle close as she tells you stories from the good ol’ days.
Manarola is the eldest of the five, but is one of those stunning older ladies with a classic beauty. She has a simple, traditional elegance about her. She has an entire drawer of costume jewelry, each piece displayed lovingly in its original box.
She has a beautiful terrace, where she likes to sip wine and take in the fresh sea breeze.
Though perfectly coiffed, she’s far from pretentious, and loves visitors.
Antiques and family photos are perfectly spaced along the wall, giving you a peek at her vibrant life.
Corniglia is a little more wild, one of those glamorous blue-haired grandmas with a punk rock attitude that has only amplified with age. She is inventive, intellectually curious, and appreciates art, adventure, and unusual ideas.
She’s the type that chooses rocky cliffs over an ocean front view. It takes a little more time and effort to get to know her, but it’s very much worth the endeavor.
She is artistic, but pragmatic. She likes to grow her own food and make her own wine. She likes the feel of gritty soil beneath her fingers, and you can often find her outside in the garden.
Vernazza is the social butterfly of the group. She’s lively, enthusiastic, and knows how to have a good time. She’s frequently hosting parties, and you’ll always see a crowd of people with her.
Vernazza has an infectious laugh. She’s goofy, fun, and only encourages your Little Mermaid poses on the beachside rocks. She has the heart of a child.
She has a sweet tooth, and will sneak you treats throughout the day. She makes the best cinnamon gelato in the world, and won’t take no for an answer.
She’s had a difficult past, but with the help of her friends, she’s back on her feet. You’d never know about the torrential downpours and massive flooding that besieged her only 5 years ago. She’s rosy-cheeked and ready for a fresh start.
Monterosso is beachy and athletic. You would never guess her age. She’s one of those old ladies that still does daily yoga, runs in marathons, and participates in a variety of watersports… better than you ever will. She embraces her natural, sun-kissed beauty from years of sand, salt, and sun.
She likes the crunch of the sand, the calm rhythms of the waves, and the simple pleasures in life. She’s laid back and takes each day as it comes.
Monterosso loves the outdoors, and has an adventurous spirit. She is determined to dive deeper, go farther, and climb higher. She believes it’s never too late to start living the life you wish you had, and makes each moment count. She’ll tell you there’s a freedom in finding what you love and pursuing it wholeheartedly.
Y’all. The Cinque Terre is gorgeous. It’s honestly a little ridiculous. Hanging out with these 5 ladies and getting to know each one, with their individual quirks and charms is fascinating. Go. Meet them. Explore. It’s a slower pace of life, but in the best possible way. They have a lot to offer, from historical landmarks to cinnamon gelato. So listen to their stories, share a bottle of wine, and get personally acquainted with the Cinque Nonne, my 5 favorite Italian grandmas.