The Riviera

France and Italy make up the Riviera along the Mediterranean and Ligurian Seas, with the Maritime Alps and the Apennines mountains in the background. The Riviera was a haven for painters and writers in the early 20th Century. With its temperate weather and beautiful views, its a vacation destination worth pursuing. Bridges and tunnels make up most of the drive. Vineyards, gardens and houses on the side of the mountains and hills defy gravity.

The beaches standout from high above the towns, with all hues of blue making the Riviera earn its name of Cote d’Azur. Though driving is my preferred method of travel through here, the train and bus are also options. Some even enjoy a good hike between towns.

Cinque de Terre, is made up of five hamlets along the coast of Italy, between Genoa and La Spezia. I recommend parking in the garage of the La Spezia Rail station, then taking the train for 4 euro to whichever hamlet you choose to visit. Be sure to hold onto your ticket or a reasonable one will turn into a 40 euro one to get out, as it did me. On several occasions I have stayed in Vernazza. The streets, other than the main thoroughfare, are stairs that ascend to homes and accommodations above. In the evening it is nice to sit outside having a nice dinner at one of the good restaurants, listening to the waves crashing on the rocks and watching the sunset. Most of the tourists have left with the exception of those of us staying for the night. Sweet music fills the air as a couple of musicians serenade happy guests eating and enjoying good company. I have stayed in Rina Rooms twice, and the guesthouse I Limoni di Vernazza most recently. Both are a few minutes away from the train station. The host of I Limoni was very kind to meet us at the station and walk us to our place for the night.

The Riviera will surpass what you dream it will be, no matter what town you visit.

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