When you visit the birthplace of pesto, there is no such thing as bad pasta. Think linguini, trofie, and spaghetti all homemade to order with Cinque Terre’s famous seafood selection and a starter of #foccacia bread, also a dish that originated in this area. Yes. Your prayers have been answered. Now pack your bags and head to Italy!
During my travels in Cinque Terre, I delighted in each and every meal! My first sunset dinner on the Mediterranean was squid ink linguini with shrimp at the seaside restaurant, Marina Piccola, in (my favorite of all the villages) Manarola. If it was possible to marry food, it would be that squid ink linguini. It was a new experience for me to be sure, but overall, everything from the sauce to the wine was divine!
*If you are planning any meal in Italy, and especially Cinque Terre, you MUST make a reservation at the very least six hours ahead of your preferred dining hour*
A hop, skip, and a two hour hike to Vernazza from a nearby town brought pizza on Via Roma from Pizzeria Fratelli Basso. We arrived just moments after they opened so everything was piping hot and fresh out of the oven – a much needed relief after the hike from Monterosso al Mare early that morning.
Also shown above are candids from the unending gelataria options. Gelataria’s are on nearly every street – usually multiples stacked on top of one another – and each has something different to offer. Signature flavors are those such as pistachio, hazlenut, coffee, stracciatella, and lemon.
A refreshing delicacy I fell in love with was the lemon granita. These were found in abundance in Corniglia, the only village in Cinque Terre not exclusively on the water, but up on the cliffs. The lemons were picked off the trees in the surrounding hills and made into a slushie of sorts – perfect before or after a meal… or both. Also in Corniglia are fruit and yogurt smoothies, which made the thousand stair journey worth it!
A good majority of the wine served and sold in Cinque Terre is made from the eclectic vineyards that surround each of the towns and brings a quite literal meaning to the term “made in the backyard.”
As I mentioned earlier, Cinque Terre is not only famous for giving life to pesto, but is also famous for their seafood. Many of the dining options offer catch-of-the-day, calamari, a large emphasis on mussels, tuna, and sea bass. So, if you feel as though all you have eaten is pasta, pizza, and paninis (not a terrible fate, but heavy after a spell) you’re in luck! The second course on the menu consists of the fish and meat steaks that you can pair with grilled veggies, mushrooms, or french fries. That way you can feel better about tasting all of the desserts, wines, and cheeses because it’s Italy!
Back to desserts! At Trattoria da Billy, my night ended with frozen cream with a mixed berry flavor paired with a limocino.
If you simply want to explore the town with a slice of sizzling hot pizza, foccacia bread, or fried-fish-to-order in your hands, then grab a fresh peach and apricot from one of the local markets along with a souvenir of dried pesto mix and olive oil! There is always more to do and see in such a picturesque part of the world, and more specifically, of Italy.
After it all, Cinque Terre has my heart from the scenery to (definitely) the food. Try a new dish, don’t be afraid to explore! When it comes, wherever italian word you couldn’t pronounce on the menu will be divine!!
Then you can say, this is what I did! This is where I went, what I tried, what I experienced! Because it is better to have planned and done something than wished you had.