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36 Hours in Cinque Terre

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

This place was probably contrarian 50 to 100 year ago. Maybe during the pre-war era. Now, you’ll meet all kind of mainstream middle managers from Middle Europe, Americans on the Rick Steve’s tour. You’ll find tchtachke shops, and Japanese group tours, and prix fixe menus, and all kinds of things we like to avoid.

But you gotta do it. Too damn beautiful. The towns of Cinque Terre are precariously placed on one of the ruggedest stretches of Italy’s Mediteranean coast. Think Big Sur. Then think of what Big Sur would be like if it was taken over by the Italians — vinters and foodies and monks. Seriously, Cinque Terre combines spectacular coastline - great hikes — with what we like best about Italy: Romanesque architecture (the cutest Italian villages) Italian people (the Ligurian, northern, genteel kind) and food (we’ve never had better anchovies). Where else in the world can a five hour hike give you five Siena quality towns?

So here’s the NY Times article “36 Hours, Cinque Terre” to whet your appetite. Then, the Contrarians will give you the CT take on the CT. Lacy’s been there, as has Lael. Maybe even Rob will throw in the metrosexual angle.

In brief, we’ll tell you about a hostel in Vernazza, where you won’t run into Rick Steves, a park bench in Manarola, where you won’t be harassed by the carabeneiri. And the precise time and month when Europe forgets about the five towns.

Next week…

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