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When I went to… the Italian Riviera

written by Emma 8th May 2016

It’s so depressing getting back from being on holiday isn’t it? Especially when you’ve been to a little fairytale Italian town by the sea. Lerici is a small town tucked away in the hills between Genoa and Pisa (making it super easy to get to in ~45 minutes by hire car from Pisa airport). It’s not that expensive to stay in because for some reason it’s evaded the throng of tourists that you’d normally find in such a beautiful place. The harbour is really lovely, it’s lined with restaurants, bars and cafés so you can watch the sunset with a glass of prosecco, or if you’d prefer a quiet meal in a genuine italian restaurant (where they don’t have an English menu) then there are plenty tucked away down the little backstreets. One of my favourite things was sitting on the harbour steps with my feet in the water, watching the fishing boats coming in, and getting myself in a sticky mess eating a pistachio ‘gelato’.

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Lerici in the evening

The beauty of
Lerici is that you can access the Cinque Terre really easily by boat. You’d be
mad to drive. I’m sure it’s exhilarating if you like that sort of thing, but
driving along a narrow windy dirt track in the hills with a 400ft drop from a
cliff into the sea? On the other side of the road?! No thaaank you. There’s a
boat that goes to all the little towns for about €30 and you can hop on
and off as often as you please. You’ll probably find that it feels like you’ve
booked to go on a Saga holiday by accident (being the youngest person on board
by about 40 years) but do not panic! cause you haven’t, it’s just the sort of
place that old people go to. The Cinque Terre are these five little towns that
have been built into the cliffs but right at the bottom, so they’re literally
on the seafront (hence why it’s such a faff to get to them by car). They’re
super inaccessible, parking’s a nightmare and a lot of them don’t have water
and electricity in the houses but they’re BEAUTIFUL.

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Riomaggiore from the boat

Even though they
all look the same, each one has its own character and charm and its own array
of fish restaurants! Typical stuff on the menus is mussels, seafood mixed
grills, black squid pasta with shrimp – no lasagnes here I’m afraid. Rick Stein
would bloody love it. (cause Rick Stein loves fish… obvs) Also they’re lush because they’re all by the sea, so virtually all the restaurants have a sea view, which is why they all serve fish… because they’re by the sea. Ya get me? 

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Eating in Restaurant Belforte in Vernazza

Going to Italy in May was lovely because it wasn’t so hot that you can’t stand outside without getting roasted like a peanut, but it was hot enough that you could dip your toes in the sea and have an ice cream without turning into Elsa from Frozen. Plus, obvs with it being out of season it’s much cheaper! I stayed in a lovely Air bnb with a pool, parking and not one but TWO terraces, all for €450 (about £350 for 5 days which is a bargain for Italy).

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View of Lerici harbour

I’ve honestly never been to such a magical place before. The pace of life is such a dream compared to that of London, or any other major UK city. The locals swan around eating olives and drinking Aperol, and if you’re lucky they even give you free shots of limoncello at the end of your meal. The Italian Riviera is such a beautiful place, really easy to get to, and although food and drink is quite expensive, if you go out of season, you can find somewhere to stay for not that much, so you can have pesto pasta to your heart’s content.

(I don’t know if anyone cares, but in case you do, here are my Italian outfits and the links to get them.)  

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Top left: Taupe playsuit from ASOS, bag from Next, shoes from Primark

Top right: Blue chainmail dress from Topshop, shoes from Office

Bottom left: White bow sun dress from Topshop

Bottom right: Polka dot plisse jumpsuit from Topshop

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