Last week I wrote an article on the Cinque Terre. While that sounds pretty standard, a travel writer covering one of the most popular destinations to visit in Italy, I decided to not cover the area as a destination but as once a place of undiscovered beauty. Thanks to the popularity of Rick Steves and other writers, the area is now a tourist’s Mecca.
I received quite a bit of feedback on this take on the Cinque Terre. Those remarking they love Steves or addressing the problem itself. Someone commented on the piece, saying how she had been visiting the area since 1994. Back in those days, she explained how the area was just a string of fishing villages. What a difference 15 years makes.
I visited Cinque Terre with my family back with I was awkwardly trying to figure out junior high. I don’t know if anyone has figured that out yet though. Putting my gangly appearance aside, our rental car headed into the town of Moneglia, just outside the popular five towns that make up the Cinque Terre. As we road through in a maroon colored minivan, a group of Italians pointed and stared at us, with one child exclaiming “Americani! Americani!”. I distinctly remember that feeling, the ultimate “oh wow” this little Italian boy has never seen an American, almost like never seeing snow. The experience was far from the beaten path.
I returned to the area in May of 2008 to find the Cinque Terre inundated with tourists. Germans and Americans seemed to outnumber the Italians this time around. Strangely enough, everyone seemed to also carry one travel writer’s book, Rick Steves. I even ran into people from other worlds, that is, the world back home and out of the fairytale that Italy is to me. Even those familiar faces from college toted Steves in their backpacks.
The inspiration coming from my last visit to Cinque Terre was not to write an article on the hike through the five towns or where to stay and eat. Rather I decided to address the man himself and other travel writers. To read the full article, please click on the link below.