As I await the beginning of Texas Wildflower season, I’ve spent some time going back over old photographs of my travels (before kids!).

One of my favorite places in the world is the Cinque Terre on the west coast of Italy. This area is made up of five small villages that cling to the rocky cliffs of the Ligurian Sea. The entire area is called Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, or the Cinque Terre National Park. The five villages, from south to north, are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. There are several trails that connect each village, and you can hike the entire 10 or so miles in a day.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit here many times. My first few visits were backpacking trips back in my college days. On one visit, I can still remember arriving late one night by train and not having any place to stay. My other travelers and I threw out our sleeping bags on the beach and spent the night there. I can see so clearly waking up on the beach of Monterosso al Mare and seeing the sky change to pastels of pink and orange and blue as the sun rose over the cliffs and thinking I’d remember this moment for the rest of my life… and so far I have. That memory has connected me with friends as we reminisce on those travels often. On my most recent trips I’ve made Riomaggiore my home base. From here, I can catch the milk trains that run often to any of the other towns, especially convenient for early morning trips to photograph sunrises over Vernazza or Manarola.

In October of 2011, some of the Cinque Terre was devastated by floods. The wonderful town of Vernazza was hit especially hard and still recovers to this day, though it has nearly returned to normal after a long recovery.

This image of the Cinque Terre is actually a stitch of two images and shows the town of Manarola on a summer’s afternoon. It isn’t the best image I have of this little village on the Mediterranean Sea, but it has some emotionally bonds for my wife and me.

Thanks for looking!

The village of Manarola in the Cinque Terre is a great place to spend an afternoon or a week.

The Cinque Terre is an amazing area of five small villages perched on rocky cliffs above the Ligurian Sea in Italy

For more Cinque Terre images, please visit My Cinque Terre Gallery

For images of Austin, please visit My Austin Skyline Images

For Texas Wildflowers, please visit My Texas Wildflower Gallery