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Written by Villadon on 25 Feb, 2005
Wednesday 27/10: Left Rome 9:45am and arrived Rapallo train station mid afternoon, picked up by shuttle from Portofino Est Resort (#1312). Unfortunately the really fine warm weather we have been having in Italy has now developed into rainy periods (but not cold). Expected…Read More
Wednesday 27/10: Left Rome 9:45am and arrived Rapallo train station mid afternoon, picked up by shuttle from Portofino Est Resort (#1312). Unfortunately the really fine warm weather we have been having in Italy has now developed into rainy periods (but not cold). Expected to have showers over the next few days, but does that stop us. No, we just don our raincoats and press on.
Explored around the area, and we have found it to have the most stunning coastal scenery, all with winding roads over looking steep cliffs with little beaches dotted here and there. Coloured houses, churches and castles down the sides of the wooded hills were just so picturesque. The villages here are much quieter, you don't see so many English-speaking tourists, and are very clean and neat (the towns not the tourists). The churches again are just so beautiful, with decorations and paintings from floor to ceiling - I mean every church. Also down here they seem to have flush toilets, instead of the hole in the floor put your feet each side, as in lots of Europe.
Explored Rapallo, the site of a village from the Roman-Age 3rd century, was developed more after the 11th century, so there are many historic buildings from those times down. The oldest church was built before 10th century. The local handicraft is lace-making. It also has an impressive harbour.
Santa Margherita Ligure is another beautiful town, houses clustered around the harbour. There are wonderful cafes and restaurants and we had a really nice day after catching the local bus to visit the town. We came back another day for another meal with Cinzina and Mario, local café owners.
Portofino is the seaside town most people have heard of and is reputed to be the most expensive town around due to its fame. Since 1995 Portofino has been a member of the 'Tourist Jewels of Europe' Club, an exclusive grouping of high-level European Tourist Resorts. It is very pretty, with the pastel coloured houses right down to the harbour, but it is no prettier than either Cinque Terre or Santa Margherita Ligure.
Caught a train to Cinque Terre (around 55 mins) - a cluster of five villages connected by the train or walking tracks in the National Park which covers the area around the five villages - Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Riomaggiore. We walked between the villages, so picturesque, which go right down to the sea - just can't describe how fantastic the scenery is. A definite must to return.
Genova (Genoa) is readily accessible on the train, west approximately 1 hour. Genova is a city with lots of history dating from medieval times and was originally a walled port city. We saw the original city gate with walls that stretch for 13 km in various states of repair. The cathedral there is very impressive (again) with beautiful paintings and artefacts from floor to ceiling - and the Holy Grail Chalice resides there (or so they say). The port is very large and impressive. It really didn't grab us though.
Caught the train again to another city, Recco. More lovely scenery, as above.
We have had such a great time here in the Riviera Ligure Italy, and have met a number of very nice fellow time share owners from parts of Australia, England, USA and Mexico. One delightful memory is walking the 2 hour Cinque Terre walk between Monterosso and Vernazza with a couple from Melbourne singing the Happy Wanderer in the rain. We also had dinner with a delightful English couple in their apartment; it was a social and enjoyable evening.
We bid a sad farewell to the expressive, emotional, and loud Italians.