Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

So you might be wondering what makes me an insider in the Cinque Terre. In a nutshell I’d say it’s because I’ve been living here for nearly 13 years.  I’m an American expat married to a local Riomaggiorese.  But wait.  Let me rewind a bit.

In 2002 I came to Italy to discover its wonders, beauty and people.  I traveled the country for three months all by my lonesome.  It was an amazing, intense, and unforgettable experience.  I went back to the States to start the rest of my life but the Italy bug had bit me.  Hard.  I knew something was amiss when I started feeling homesick for Italy.

I took the plunge and moved to Italy in January of 2003.  Everyone back home thought that I was crazy (maybe they were right?).  I came back to the Cinque Terre as it was one of my two favorite places from my Italian travels.  I really didn’t expect to settle here as it’s such a tiny place; I thought it would be impossible to find a job and place to live.  But Cinque Terre had something else in mind for me.  A job and a teeny tiny apartment and (eventually) an Italian husband awaited me.

People oftentimes assume that I met my husband first and then moved to Italy.  The truth of the matter is that first I fell in love with Italy and then with my husband (I met him four months after moving here).  In those 13 years we added two French bulldogs and a little tornado (our 3 year old son) to the mix.  Our cups are filled to the brim (as is our apartment).  When I step back I realize just how lucky we are.  We live in a place that most consider paradise.

I’ve had a 13 year love affair with Italy (and in particular the Cinque Terre).  As in every relationship, we have our ups and downs, our trials and our triumphs.  But the best part is that no matter how bad it might get, we always kiss and make up (one kiss on each cheek, mind you).

I’ve created this blog to share an honest, insider take on the Cinque Terre.  Not just things to see and do and glossy photos that will make you drool (because it really is that beautiful here).  While those things are fine and dandy (and don’t worry, I’ll give you plenty of eye candy), sometimes you need to know what’s going on behind the scenes on a local level to help better understand the culture and mindset.  Buona lettura!

Amy

a.k.a. Cinque Terre Insider

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7 thoughts on “Why I’m here…

  1. C. Swanson says:

    My husband and I visited Italy for the first time in 2011 for our 25th wedding anniversary. We too got bitten by the Italy bug. We returned again in 2013 and included in our visit a weekend in Riomaggiore. We visited the other villages as well. We are planning to return to Italy again in 2015. I am glad you have started this blog. I would love to learn more about other places in Italy to visit…the ones you don’t find in the travel books. And more about Italian food so I hope you share lots of recipes.

    Like

    1. Grazie mille! That’s great to know that you’re interested in Italian food & recipes, too (as I hadn’t really thought of including that aspect of Italy into this blog). Please stay tuned and thanks so much for reading! 🙂

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  2. shiva says:

    Thank you for all the insider tips 😉
    My husband and I will be traveling through Italy in september, and 1 day in Cinque Terre. We are trying to figure out where to stay for 1 night, and it seems like Riomaggiore is the best fit for us. do you have any recommendations on hotels (with views & breakfast, or whatever you think is nice) ? Or do you have a post on that already?
    We will be traveling by train but I would like to do a mix of train and water taxi, and was wondering which method is best between which towns.
    Would really appreciate any tips you have.

    Thanks a lot
    Shiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Shiva!

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

      I think you’ll find that one night in the Cinque Terre is not nearly enough. For this trip you will be able to just scratch the surface of our area and hopefully on a future trip you can spend more time here.

      Many of the room & apartment rentals in the historic centers of the villages will require a stay of *at least* two nights in order to reserve (for logistical reasons, keep in mind these are mostly mom & pop places). Hotels are more likely to accept a booking for just one night. I recommend checking availabilities for that one night on a big booking engine like Booking.com or Expedia to see who has the night available (this will save you a lot of legwork rather than emailing places individually). Make sure to read through verified reviews to get an idea of the place before booking. 🙂

      The most panoramic way to visit the Cinque Terre villages is by boat. The ferries run to four of the five villages (they skip Corniglia as it’s located off of the sea). The trains run through a tunnel so they are by no means panoramic but they are quick & inexpensive.

      Buona vacanza!
      Amy

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  3. João Malés says:

    Great blog!

    I’m currently staying in Corniglia and after I felt in love with the place I decided to, out of curiousity, find out a little more about Cinque Terre and about its residents. That’s when I discovered your blog and kept on reading until the very first post xD

    I’m really interested in finding out how is life, your day-to-day in Cinque Terre, specially during the off season. For example, does each village have a school? What are your hobbies during the off-season? Not going to the cinema I imagine… I think that these kinds of posts would be really interesting for several people, where I am definitely one of them.

    Thanks and keep up the good work 🙂

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    1. Ciao João!

      Thanks for reading and following the blog! I live in Riomaggiore and we are lucky enough to have all the schools (nursery, preschool, elementary and middle school) minus high school (the kids go to La Spezia for that). Riomaggiore’s school draw kids from a Manarola and Volastra as well. Corniglia used to have a school (as did Manarola!) but they closed due to too few children. Corniglia kids now go to school in Vernazza. Monterosso is the largest village and has its own schools, too.

      In the off-season, many locals go on holiday. Others just enjoy the quiet. 😊

      Take care!
      Amy

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