This is the easiest blog I have written. It was recently suggested that I blog about
my favorite place
In my head I quickly travelled to the Italian Riviera. To a place called Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre or 'The Five Lands' is a string of seaside villages along the western coastline of Italy. Put yourself in Florence, then take a 2 hour train ride Northwest to the coast.
I visited Cinque Terre first in 2003 as a student during a study abroad trip and again in 2012 during our honeymoon. In February, I wrote a blog titled Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Date an Architect. In that blog I joked about architectural travels:
Well...this blog is proof that I was half right in my summation of architectural vacations. Cinque Terre is a place of remarkable beauty where you get great architecture and the beach.
And I do take pictures of my family!
Danielle didn't know that she would one day be a famous model for the BuildingsAreCool website. That town in the background is Monterosso al Mare. The Northernmost of the 5 lands, Monterosso is where I stayed on both of my trips.
The 5 lands are connected by a series of hiking trails called the Sentiero Azzuro or Azure Trail. It is approximately a 1-2 mile hike between each village. Since the towns are located at the bottom of the hills, your hike to the next village will likely start on a:
The paths, alleys and streets are full of these wonderful steps. The path turns rustic pretty quickly once you get outside the villages. Slowly you work your way up and down the hillsides. Everywhere you look there are:
Not bad right?
Eventually the next town will start to peek out between the trees.
There is a wonderful sequence of spaces as you make your way up or down through the villages. It is very dramatic.
The architecture of the towns would not be described as remarkable. The buildings themselves are quite plan. But it is the assemblage of all these parts, which makes a wonderful space. The buildings work together to form rooms. Those rooms are streets, alleys and squares. Or as the Italians call them, Piazzas.
People Own the Streets
Notice. No cars. Imagine what our cities could be?
Boats Own the Streets
Don't forget to look back.
As you make your way back up the trail towards the next town, you will look back over your shoulder and capture more breathtaking views of the town you just visited.
Everywhere you look there is something astonishing. I felt like I was in a place from a Fairytale.
Throughout the Five Lands I kept finding these wonderful framed views.
Our 2012 visit occurred 6 months after the area was ravaged by torrential rains, floods and mudslides. Vernazza and Monterosso had extensive damage. In the photo below you can see workers repairing the street. Notice how they have painted murals on the boarded up doors.
I know. We are so cute, right?
Thanks for joining us!
This article was written in contribution to the ongoing ArchiTalks Series. For ArchiTalks #8, New York Architect Marica McKeel suggested the topic Favorite Place. Be a pal and check out the Favorite Places of my Favorite Bloggers.