It all started with a flight deal and it all came together with a single Google search. We found an amazing flight deal that started in Italy, and though we had no plans to be in Italy, we said why not? Pisa sounded nice, a trip within a trip is always fun and a short hop from London would be no problem. That left just one issue: what to do with a day and a half in Pisa?!

One Search, Cinque Terra, Sold.

While having a quick Google of things to do near Pisa, one picture kept popping up. Yep, it looked a lot like the one that we took featured above. Despite plenty of leaning towers, that picture was all we could think about. We had to go there. After seeing that it was a mere 1.5 hour efficient train journey from airport to paradise, we began researching options. Quick problem: there were basically no suitable hotels.

So We Used The "Airbnb" Of The Cinque Terra...

After failing to find a single hotel which made me wish to spend the night, let alone pay the near extortionate tourist prices I again Googled "rentals in Cinque Terra". I was quickly directed to CinqueTerraRiviera.com, the "Airbnb" of the area, with properties and relationships across all five dreamy fishing villages which comprise the Cinque (five) Terra (land). The properties were gorgeous, the rates were extremely reasonable and after enquiring Miriana was promptly in touch with what was available. 

We Chose Manarola, Closest To Pisa, Most Famous Postcard View...

We stayed in the "Lambiccu" apartment offered by CinqueTerraRiviera.com and paid $260 for one night, one of the more moderate to high price offerings. The apartment is owned by one of the most respected sommeliers in the region and she kindly left us some of the most delicious, non distributed wine upon arrival as a welcome gift. The apartment is in the foothills directly above the busy town center, offering a little bit of peace and a whole lot of incredible view. It was literally a PERFECT place to spend a day, night and morning before a long day of flying and certainly worth the money. The pictures above are of the open plan living room and do not show the large bedroom, kitchen or deck, which were nice pluses! 

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Our Tips For People Headed To The Cinque Terra...

First, the train is absolutely fantastic. It's cheap, efficient and generally on time. The difference between first class and standard is about $5 in advance and well worth it. Taxis simply are not worth the expense, running over $200 each way in comparison to about $20 for the solid train service. Second, pack light. The hills are legitimately (think San Francisco on steroids) steep. We looked like idiots with two full sized roller bags and two carry on rollers. Third, definitely look into Airbnb style rentals like our "Lambiccu" apartment from Cinque Terra Riviera. And fourth, the most important one, DRINK THE WINE. It's otherworldly good and offers a true terroir to the region. There's something you can Google too...