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CinqAHHH Terre :) {Part 1}

I have this annoying (or endearing?) habit of asking anyone that's traveled in Europe what their all time favorite trip was. Of course it varies, but about 3 times in 5, I seem to hear "Cinque Terre". Have you heard of it? It's in the northwest corner of Italy. Just 1 hour from Pisa (that's the airport we flew into) and less than 2 hours from Florence (one of my favorite cities ever if you were wondering) :) Since we're big "Rick Steves" lovers, I figure it would be best to let him describe his beloved region to you: " The most fantasy-fulfilling stretch of the fabled Riviera lies not in France, but just across the border in Italy between Genoa and Pisa.

The Cinque Terre (CHINK-weh TAY-reh, which means "five lands") is a series of villages clinging to a remote stretch of the Riviera coastline. Each town is a variation on the same theme: a pastel jumble of homes crouching in a gully like crusty sea creatures in a tide pool, undisturbed by traffic or modern development.

The rugged villages of the Cinque Terre, founded by Dark Age locals hiding out from marauding pirates, were long cut off from the modern world. Today the villages, linked by a milk-run train, a ferry, and a spectacular trail, draw hordes of hikers. To preserve the character of the towns and the area's natural beauty, the government declared the Cinque Terre a national park a few years ago. Visitors pay a small entrance fee, which stokes a park maintenance fund and helps to maintain the trails."

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