Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Italian Riviera


To say that I have come crashing back to earth with a bump is an understatement. Mr Bell and I spent just under a week in Italy. First stop was Bologna where we indulged in pistachio ice cream from what is apparently Umberto Eco's favourite ice cream shop. And it was heavenly.
We then caught a train, armed with enough food to feed the Roman Army, for a 4 hour journey to the Cinque Terre or five towns. We spent days walking the coastal path and having our breath taken away by the views.

We swam in the sea, found ancient churches up in the hills and spent our evenings watching the incredible sunsets.

We stayed in Riomaggiore and as you can see in the photo, bunting has been strung between buildings in the harbour. I am a huge fan of bunting so was thrilled to turn a corner and see it festooned over the boats.

We stumbled upon an old monastery above Monterosso that has a statue of St Francis at the entrance, to protect the bay. The evening light was incredible, as you can see from the photo, and we wandered around the cemetery accompanied by the sound of the waves far below us. An idyllic resting place.
We met this cat on a path up in the hills, in the middle of nowhere. I was very tempted to put him in my rucksack and bring him home. But, he scurried off into some nearby olive groves. After all, who would want to leave such a haven?

We spent hours watching the light play on the sea.
The view of Vernazza from the coastal path.
Bologna was lit by golden evening light which I always think of when I think of Italy.

On our last day in Italy I made Mr Bell accompany me on a 3 hour train journey to Florence as I just had to pop into my favourite paper shop for bookbinding supplies. I spent a vast sum of money on many sheets of hand marbled paper which I had to transport back on a rather packed Ryan Air flight. I managed to get them home without any creases and they are now waiting for me to turn them into notebooks.


  1. Spectacular photos! I've wanted to visit this area for ages and your post has reminded me of looks like heaven. I've got many lovely memories of a holiday to italy a few years ago - such a wonderful country. And this notebook making sounds intriguig- you must post about it when you make them!

  2. Oh it looks like you had a blissfull holiday :o)

  3. Incredibly beautiful, next time you'll have to have a longer break. You will have to teach me how to make notebooks.

  4. Oh darling! WAVES of jealousy - it looks absolutely beautiful. What a magical time you must have had. And you deserved it! I hope one of those notebooks is winging my way...x

  5. What a beautiful holiday ! Your photos are lovely .
    Italian paper is well worth bringing home , well done !

  6. Sigh .... what a beautiful holiday and photographs too. I don't blame you for detouring to Florence either.

    You have prompted me to add the Cinque Terra to my 'must see' destinations.