The Quest to Cinque Terre: A Blessing in Disguise

In this week’s Florence Friday we find ourselves on the Italian west coast. Professor Susan Moore led an optional trip to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre translates to “the five lands” – five sister towns that span about 8 miles along the coast. Our plan was to travel by train from Florence to Cinque Terre, returning the same day, as we were to travel from Florence to Rome the following day.

As we made our trek through the Tuscan mountains aboard a train to the equally rugged northwest coast of Italy, we were filled with much anticipation. We had heard that Cinque Terre was an absolute paradise, so every student was bright eyed and ready to shoot.

The train ride started like any other, making routine stops to pick up and drop off commuting passengers and tourists alike. We stopped at the station in La Spezia and a voice came over the intercom, speaking Italian. This particular message came without an English translation, which was peculiar. People started to get up and exit the train, much to our confusion. After some investigating by Professor Moore, we were told that there was a train strike and there would be no more trains until five o’clock that evening.

We had to make a choice and quick – find an alternate destination, stay in La Spezia, or continue on to Cinque Terre by a different method of transportation. Mere minutes later, our group was shuffling through the town of La Spezia with the hope of reaching a boat to Cinque Terre.

After much nervous excitement, our group reached the boat that would take us to our destination. I immediately grabbed my camera and began to shoot the amazing Italian coast along the way!

Fezzano, Italy. Photograph by Ryan Shields

Fezzano, Italy. Photograph by Ryan Shields


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