The most fantasy-fulfilling stretch of the fabled Riviera lies not in France, but just across the border in Italy between Genoa and Pisa.
Says Rick Steves, the famous travel guides mogul.
It’s pretty much since his “discovery” of these lands that they have become flooded by American tourists hungry for its charm.
But really, what’s the fuss? I hate them because:
1. What a crowd! Imagine the carnival in Venice, or even better – in Rio. Those are the kinds of crowds you get there in the summer months – you can’t eat your sandwich without a fellow tourist sneezing on it.
2. What prices! The 5 Terre inhabitants can see the crowds – so they adjusted the prices accordingly.
3. The food. Yes, it is Italy so the food should be awesome, but since the great majority of tourists will only visit once, the chefs don’t really give a damn. Nice exception: Belforte Restaurant in Vernazza – great food and great views. Another one is Taverna del Capitano in Vernazza – good food and nice view.
4. The stairs. This is not a baby-friendly region. You need a carrier and if you’re baby is older than 6 months, you’re gonna need a chiropractor after the trip.
5. The beach. The what? There are no beaches in four of the five Cinque Terre! (There’s one in Monterosso).
6. The train. Yes – you can either walk form village to village or you have to take the overflowing train – not great if you have a baby.
7. The noise. Italians aren’t known for being a quiet nation. Multiply it by ten and you get the Cinque Terre.
8. Customer service – customer what? We entered a bar – there was nobody, just the two waiters. They continued talking to each other the whole time we were there.
9. They are after your money. Who buys handmade stuffed owls – really!
10. They take tourist away from the beautiful Bonassola I love. (It’s two train stops away from Monterosso).
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