Cinque Terre + Porto Venere

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in a floral midi dress in portovenere italy

[ Porto Venere ]

When I was sixteen, I spent a blissful summer in Florence, Italy for a New York Film Academy summer program. I was a quiet teenager, verging on painfully shy, and my parents hoped that acting would help me to overcome my shyness. That summer was unequivocally the happiest of my angsty teenage years – I did, in fact, start to overcome some of my shyness. I went on my first real date with a German boy and watched the sunset over the River Arno. I learned how to truly live away from my parents with (minimal) adult supervision. But one specific day of that trip stands out in my mind as truly perfect – an expedition to Cinque Terre. If you’re not familar with Cinque Terre, it is a string of five centuries-old seaside towns nestled in the cliffs of the rugged Italian Riviera coastline in the Liguria region. Colorful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces in each of the towns, the harbors are filled with fishing boats, and the restaurants serve up fresh seafood and the region’s famous pesto sauce. That day, I visited Monterosso al Mare – the only of the five towns with a really accessible beach (but arguably the most touristy). I had a leisurely day of lounging on the beach, eating that famous pesto, and swimming in the Mediterranean. We waited for the very last train back to Florence, and ever since that train pulled out of the station, I dreamed about someday making my way back. I’ve written a bit about my trip to Rome and Tuscany back in July – and it was on that trip that I finally got the chance to return to Cinque Terre.

On our second day in Tuscany, we piled into the car for a multi-hour drive to Porto Venere. While not technically part of Cinque Terre, Porto Venere is an equally beautiful and less-trafficked medieval fishing village situated just south of the five towns.  The village’s picturesque harbor is lined with brightly colored houses, and the narrow medieval streets lined with shops lead up the hill from an ancient city gate to a castle. There’s also a church located high above the harbor with amazing views of the Riviera. If you’re ever visiting Cinque Terre, this lesser-known little sister is definitely worth a detour.

 

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in potovenere italy

[ Porto Venere ]

From Porto Venere, we drove through narrow, winding roads high atop the cliffs to Cinque Terre. After a somewhat terrifying drive, we arrived in Vernazza. While Monterosso and Corniglia are situated high above the water, Vernazza’s town center is more or less at sea level. We ate an indulgent lunch  of fresh seafood, pesto pasta, and a liberal amount of wine at Ristorante Gambero Rosso, looking out at the crowded harbor and small, pebbled beach of this vibrant coastal village. After lunch, Andrew and I found ourselves following some locals through a small cave labeled “do not enter” and stumbling onto a gorgeous, secluded beach. We then popped in and out of the shops with my mom and purchased some colorful pottery pieces to take home with us before continuing on.

 

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in a floral midi dress in cinque terre italy

[ we climbed through a tiny cave to get to this gorgeous beach in Vernazza, Cinque Terre ]

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in a floral midi dress in portovenere italy

[ Porto Venere ]

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in potovenere italy

[ Porto Venere ]

I wish we’d had time to explore all five of the towns, but our last stop was Corniglia, towering high above the Italian Riviera.  Corniglia is the ‘quieter’ middle village, sitting 100m-high and surrounded by vineyards. It is the only Cinque Terre settlement with no direct sea access, although steep steps lead down to a rocky cove. Corniglia is characterized by colorful four-story houses and breathtaking views of the water.

I was disappointed not to return to my beloved Monterosso – but maybe that shimmering memory of my sixteen year old self basking in the Italian sun and swimming in the glittering riviera is best left untouched for now.

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in a floral midi dress in cinque terre italy

[ Vernazza, Cinque Terre ]

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in cinque terre italy

[ Vernazza, Cinque Terre ]

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in a floral midi dress in cinque terre italy

[ Vernazza, Cinque Terre ]

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in potovenere italy

[ Porto Venere ]

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in potovenere italy

[ Porto Venere ]

 

lifestyle blogger emily ravenna of the hip suburban in embroidered wide brim straw hat in cinque terre italy

[ Corniglia, Cinque Terre ]

GET THE LOOK:

Dress: MINKPINK, here and here (on sale!) // Sandals: Soludos // Hat: Hat Attack NY // Sunnies: Karen Walker // Straw tote: Madewell, similar 

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