25 March 2012

An Extra Special Birthday

This year is the first year in my entire life that I celebrated my birthday in Italy. For some reason or other, I have always been outside of Italy for my birthday. So this year, I had high expectations of how to pass my special day. I had considered many options, many places, but in the end I decided that what I wanted most was to spend a lovely day in the Cinque Terre, visiting friends and enjoying the views.

It started with a morning train ride to Manarola to have breakfast at my new favorite place, the Bar dell'Amore. Our friends recently took over this jewel of place located right on the path called Via dell'Amore, or Walkway of Love, between Manarola and Riomaggiore. Make sure to read all about this great new bar here.

Pretty good start, right? Yeah, it's nearly impossible to beat this view, but if you add a creamy cappuccino, a nice chat with a friend and the Sublime album playing in the background, it's even better! I haven't heard that album in years! I swear, I was born and raised in California, but sometimes I wonder if these Vernazzans are more Californiana than me!

After soaking up some hot sun and the incredible views, like the clear water just below our feet, my husband and I caught the 12:11 train to Vernazza.

Vernazza never ceases to amaze me. So much work has been done in such a small amount of time. Even though most businesses are still closed up, that old feeling is back. Mostly everyone has returned to their homes, laundry is again hanging from the windows and the sounds of smells of people cooking are again filling the air. Vernazza feels alive again!

I stopped to call a friend just down from the station and my instinct was to pop into the Blue Marlin to get a coffee. No--still closed--but the fact that I had that thought shows that things are starting to feel like they used to. Don't get me wrong--all the businesses along the main road are still closed with the exception of the pharmacy, but what I mean is that the feeling of normalcy is returning. The last time I walked down via Roma, even with it all cleaned up, you could still feel the tragic wound of a village torn apart. But today, under the warm spring sun, with locals walking up and down the paved street, it feels different. I popped in to a construction zone say hi to my father-in-law and then met up with my friend for a stroll through town.

Piazza Marconi is clear, serene and warm. Life is also returning to the piazza with the new opening of the Gambero Rosso, La Taverna del Capitano and the Pizzeria Baia Saracena at the end of the road.

The lovely ladies of Per Vernazza Futura keep a stand and wall of photos every Saturday and Sunday to accept donations and sell photographs of the clean-up effort. All proceeds go to rebuilding Vernazza. While stopping to chat, my husband found a beautiful picture of himself in the church, resting after a long day of digging in the mud. After jokes of being the only one pictured sleeping, we bought it!

The plan was to have lunch at Belforte Ristorante with a stunning view of the sea, but we didn't know they are currently only open M-F. So we decided to head to Monterosso for a quick lunch before continuing on to Levanto for a leisurely stroll through town and of course, a gelato! 

All in all, it was a great Italian birthday! What would your ultimate birthday be like?


  1. Happy Birthday! So happy that you got to celebrate it in Italy and the Cinque Terre. So far my ultimate birthday was spent in Versaiille and Paris, but I plan on spending many more in some of my favorite destinations such as Vernazza, Venice and new York.

  2. Ciao Nicole!
    Happy Belated Birthday! What a Splendid way to spend your day- one of beauty, happiness, and hope.
    My Favorite birthday was also spent in Italy. I celebrated my 40th Birthday in Italy, not just for the day, but for 8 Blessed days!

  3. Presently you are making arrangement for travel some place, the Levanto Short Term Rentalsis an exceptionally alluring spots for it. Here you can delight in taken care of Levento.

  4. TheCinque Terre italy"five grounds" is made out of 5 little towns in the Italy. It is one of the best clean and decent zone in Mediterranean Basin, It is found to the west of La Spezia in Italy.


I really appreciate your comments.

Vernazza Updates:

Vernazza is well on its way to normalcy and while I no longer write updates on their status, you can learn about the devastating floods of 2011 by clicking the label "Vernazza Updates". For the latest information from the organizations in Vernazza and Monterosso, visit SaveVernazza and Rebuild Monterosso.

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