We all remember that quote by Julia Roberts while in Italy in her “Eat, Pray, love” movie: Il Dolce Farniente! (Yep I watch too many movies 😀 ). How poetic does that sound right?! Without even giving it any meaning, it sounds like a beautiful love song made of words that are so sweet to say. Il Dolce Farniente, just keep saying it, it’s addictive I promise! I think that should be the first Italian words anyone learns, not only it’s wonderful to say but it’s one of the best gifts Italian culture brought to the world, well the 2nd best gift if we count Alessandro Del Piero 😉
When you translate it in English, “Il Dolce Farniente” means “the sweetness of doing nothing” but not in the lazy way, I tend to see this “niente” as an active nothing. OK, the concept of the active nothing might be kind of difficult to get, but just imagine you go on holiday and by the 3rd day, the stressed person you are becomes a peaceful human being. Your jaw line is no longer tense and your face softens, your skin glows (I can guess what you’re thinking, yes I’m prettier when I’m on vacation, we all are 😉 ), you surrender to the barrier that makes you careful around people you don’t know and you talk… to strangers! You remember how a sunset is a beautiful miracle and how the smell of sweet flowers is mind blowing. Do you see what I mean? Well that feeling is the 2nd best reason I always go back to Italy (The 1st one being food, Amira if you’re reading this I love you :p ).
For my 3rd trip to Italy last June, I decided with my best friend living in Florence to discover the “Cinque Terre” a place we’ve been day dreaming and reading everything about on the internet (Basically it was more looking at pictures for hours than reading anything about it). Located along the northern Italy’s Riviera, Cinque Terre is made up of five small coastal villages – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. At the first glance the colorfully painted houses in those villages seem to be stacked on top of one another and each village has its unique aesthetic and atmosphere. So here are 8 reasons why I fell in love with this little piece of heaven…Because listing 10 reasons is too mainstream 😉
Reason 1. It’s like a postcard, only it is real right there before your eyes. During the 3 days I’ve been there, words like amazing, stunning, gorgeous, beautiful, have become my everyday usual language, sometimes even silence would say it all 🙂
Reason 2. Not one, not two, but five villages to explore and each has something different to offer. Riomaggiore with its colorful houses, Manarola with its cliffs and “Via Del Amore”, Corniglia with its 300 stairs (that we almost died while climbing), Vernazza with the magical sunset on its dock and finally Monterosso with its beautiful beaches.
Reason 3. Ligurian seafood is in a different league. Cinque Terre is located along the Ligurian sea, and naturally, it has an abundance of seafood. Lots of fish, prawns and anchovies. If you have never been a fan of anchovies, just wait till you try the fresh anchovies – a local specialty – in Cinque Terre.
Reason 4. It is the perfect getaway spot from the hustle and he stress of the city life. In Cinque Terre, there is no traffic, roads are mainly pedestrian and cars are forbidden to enter the towns, well who needs a car when you can walk a road called “The road of love”!
Reason 5. Walking along this picturesque part of Italy. One of the best ways to explore Cinque Terre, and to avoid the crowd, is to walk. There are various hiking trails from town to town, with different difficulty levels. Walking takes an average of 45 minutes for each town, 2 hours if you stop every 5 minutes to take a bunch of pictures (true story). But if you are rich, old and don’t have enough time to walk there are ferries and trains which take around 5 to 10 minutes by village.
Reason 6. Watching sunset across the Ligurian sea in Vernazza and wishing you could stay there like forever. Of course, you can watch sunset everywhere in the world. But trust me, watching the sunset from the vast Ligurian sea in Vernazza is really special, take it from an anti-romantic clichés kind of girls.
Reason 7. Every spot is a photo spot or postcard material. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take the best pictures ever. And weather you stay in a 4 stars hotel in Monterosso or a small family managed B&B in Riomaggiore, you’ll always have the most breathtaking view.
Reason 8. Locals are super-duper nice. Italians hello! Whether it’s asking for directions, pictures or stopping to have a quick Gelato, locals are always available to chat even if they don’t understand any of the languages you speak. You’d be surprised how much people can communicate over the universal language of smile 🙂
The culture I come from has trained me into thinking that achievement and success is the essence of happiness, that every spare minute of the day is an opportunity to work and strive for more. But what about warmth, reflection and creativity?! Those things that make me human? So for the sake of humanity, everyone should experience Il Dolce Farniente, and the people of Cinque Terre are really good at it.
Cheers to the places we have to go to!