We asked, you voted…and the January 2018 #DolceVitaBlogger’s topic is….
Your favorite city in Italy!
Choosing a favorite anything is nearly impossible for me. Once I accidentally ended up saying Despacito by Justin Beiber was my favorite song because that was literally the only thing that came to mind in that moment and I figured it was less embarrassing to claim JB as my favorite than sit there hemming and hawing in indecisiveness (because that’s how difficult is is for me to choose ONE). Same with my favorite hobby. I am THE definition of multi-passionate. I am always following my shooting stars, and so that’s why I finally decided my favorite hobby is learning because learning gives me LIFE and kind of covers it all. Favorite food? that one is pretty easy because it’s always PIZZA. But if you give me a chance, I’ll take a buffet because I get to try ALL THE FOOD. (Good thing I’m from Nevada, the buffet capital of the world).
So choosing a favorite Italian city is quite the task. Fairness is the ultimate virtue to me, and choosing ONE city doesn’t seem quite fair. Each and every Italian city has something special and desirable about it. I absolutely adore the enchanting mysteriousness of Venice, the vibrant colors of Burano, the medieval walls with climbing vines of San Gimignano, the eternalness of Rome…(and that’s not even the half of it!)
But if I’m going to choose a favorite, it has to be by the sea. As a water sign (Cancer) and mermaid in another lifetime, I am at home wherever the sea is. Now, there’s a very good chance I haven’t been to my ultimate favorite Italian seaside town yet since Italy has so much coastline to discover…and it was impossibly difficult for me to choose a favorite seaside city that I have been to already because there are 3 that come to mind. What they all have in common are a mountainous coastline (come to think of it, what part of Italy’s coastline is not? lol). There’s Taormina, Sicily that I visited briefly over a decade ago and it has never left my mind since – vibrant blue water set against a dramatic backdrop of a crumbling Greek theater and Mt. Etna. I’d go back in a heartbeat.
And then there’s Positano, which really is worth the hype. This picture speaks for itself. Stunning.
The only problem with Positano for me is its verticalness. Heights (where there is a cliff) give me MAJOR vertigo (and thus make my heart race with fear – I literally feel like I’m falling when I’m not), and the fact that we had to share a cliffside road with giant tour busses, taxis, scooters, cars etc. was a little too much for me. (I also have a slight fear of cars as a pedestrian due to a freak car accident that resulted in a broken leg…long story). In a nutshell, I love Positano when I’m safely on the horizontal lines of the beach. But otherwise I felt like I couldn’t quite relax since I was always facing my fears of either cars or heights. (Although I suppose staying right near the beach next time could fix that!) Nevertheless, mozzafiato (breathtaking) Positano will always have a special place in my heart for helping me confront my silly phobias in the most beautiful way possible.
So that brings me to my number one favorite city in Italy that I have been to thus far:
Lerici is located in Liguria in the Golfo dei Poeti, just south of the more popular Cinque Terre, and nearly nudges up to the border of Tuscany. It’s a stone’s throw from La Spezia, the major transportation hub in the region, but Lerici itself does not have a train station. However, it’s a short bus or taxi ride from nearby La Spezia or Sarzana.
Lerici’s slight isolation is its charm though. It’s also a Zona Traffico Limitato (basically only residents are allowed in with a car). Near the castle, the narrow streets are pedestrian only (YES, THERE’S A CASTLE!!! Super exciting for an American girl whose previous encounters with castles were only in fairy tales). In other words, Lerici is super peaceful because it is slightly removed from the main tourist hustle and bustle of the Cinque Terre and its streets are free of crazy Italian drivers. It has a piazza filled with restaurants facing the sea, where families gather in the evening and children play. This is the essence of la dolce vita for me.
Two years ago on a family trip, we stayed in an AirBnB near the castle with not one but TWO balconies and this view of the sea:
More and more I feel called to nature rather than the bustle of city life. I would say I am more of a vacationer than a traveler. When I go somewhere, it’s to relax – not to check off destinations. In my younger years I couldn’t get enough of museums and city architecture. I still appreciate these things, but at the moment I am drawn to places where I can just be, soaking up the sun on the beach, or taking a hike with stunning views of greenery and water, and then relaxing with a glass of wine, good company, and a mouth-watering meal.
Although Lerici is quite small, there is plenty to explore in the surrounding areas. The coastline is dotted with quaint and charming seaside villages to explore (in addition to the Cinque Terre) like San Terenzo, Portovenere, and Tellaro. In fact, we were enchanted the most by Tellaro. (Seriously why does the Cinque Terre get all the press??) We took the bus there, but supposedly you can hike from Lerici to Tellaro.
A visit to La Spezia is also certainly worth it for the amazing Piazza del Mercato. I’ve been there twice and once there was an antique market and another time it was a farmer’s market. There is also the Museo Tecnico Navale della Spezia if you’re into military history like my dad.
Most people arrive in Cinque Terre by train, but hands down, my favorite way is by boat for the breathtaking views. I ended up getting a little seasick due to the choppy waves, but it was entirely worth it.
Lerici & the surrounding area are my favorite not only for the natural beauty and the sea, but especially for how I feel there. Perhaps it’s the Ligurian in my DNA, but there is something in the air in this region that makes me feel refreshed, renewed, and revitalized. Or maybe it’s the combination of the salty sea air and the clean crispness of the nearby mountains, but I feel so alive here. Sea, sun, sand, and good food…what more can you ask for? That is my bliss.
What’s your favorite city in Italy? If you are a blogger or vlogger who loves Italy, add your own blog post or video by clicking this link:
Be sure to check out some of the other #DolceVitaBloggers posts and leave a comment (just as if we are chatting at aperitivo!)
#DolceVitaBloggers is s mothly link up for Italy lovers hosted by myself, Jasmine from questadolcevita.com and Kristie from mammaprada.com. Every 7th of the month we write about a new Italy related topic to connect with our fellow Italy lovers.