The Cinque Terre, Italy’s postcard perfect string of villages
 built on cliffs, was hit by an epic rainfall in 2011. In only
 four hours, 22 inches of rain fell.  Walls of mud
 flowed through the streets.
Fortitude is hardwired into the people who toiled
for years to transform the cliffs into fertile
terraces for vineyards.  Unfortunately, some
of those terraced areas eliminated stabilizing trees,
and the elements of nature took over.    
Note the bulldozer scooping up mud.  Monterosso
was hard hit, and is still digging their way out.
Picturesque Vernazza, where you can see the hillside
terraces for grape vines.  The local wine is amazing –
a glass of vino de la casa costs much less,
and is so much better than house wine at home.
We took a ferry from Monterosso all the way to
Riomaggiore, which is how we got all the great
village photos.
Riomaggiore, with the train track running on a trestle
over the village.  The 5 villages in the Cinque Terre
are connected by train, so you either hike, boat
or train from one village to the other.  Cars are
neither feasible nor welcome on steep streets
with severe limitations on traffic. 
Locks on the gate to Via ‘dell Amore, where the
tradition (as it is in many parts of the world) is to
put a padlock on the gate with your lover and throw
the key in the water, thereby sealing your love
Ah, but the Via dell’ Amore was
washed out by the rain, so that’s
still on our bucket list.
There are SO many steps in the Cinque Terre.
There literally doesn’t seem to be a flat spot!
Lovely villages, all in a colorful jumble of cream,
yellow and orange atop one another, with common
walls and friendly neighbors.  Living in a small
town… that is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
This cute little Italian boy was riding a
bicycle almost completely made of wood! 
Grilled calamari, fresh caught today :)
Boats dry dock during the day.
No marinas here! 
Vernazza – can you imagine mud pouring over these
steps?  Mike is taking a nap on the lower right.