I hadn't thought we'd actually be able to, but I accomplished visiting places I had pinned on my Pinterest board! If you don't know about Cinque Terre and you're going to visit Italy, try to see it! It's five (cinque) small villages along the coast of Italy by the Ligurian Sea. From Florence, we took a 2 1/2 train ride to La Spezia train station. At La Spezia, they sell Cinque Terre visitor cards so you can travel from village to village by train, take the bus, use the public restrooms (which were quite clean), access spotty wi-fi, and hike the trails. For more information, go to this site: https://cinqueterreinsider.com/2014/10/16/whats-the-deal-with-the-cinque-terre-card/ or Google "Cinque Terre visitor card".
First, we took the train from La Spezia to Monterosso al Mare. Manarola is probably the most photographed village you'll see of Cinque Terre, but Monterosso al Mare was my favorite. It's small and the beach is beautifully dotted with colorful umbrellas for the swimmers and sunbathers. We ate lunch here, sitting right above the beach with a seaside view, eating pizza, prosciutto on baguette, and bruschetta with tomatoes and seasoned anchovies (which I ordered and it was delicious).
We hopped on the train and went next to Vernazza. Vernazza was also scenic and crowded, popular with tourists, but we didn't spend a lot of time there and went on to Manarola since we wanted to get back to Florence for a late dinner and still had three remaining villages to see.
Manarola has colorful buildings pressed into the rocky hillside.
The people love sunbathing on the rocks and diving off them, as well!
We stopped for a drink at a friendly seaside cafe on our walk toward Riomaggiore, and found out from other tourists that the walkway had closed off an area due to high water, which meant we had to take the train there.
A lot of people had put locks of love randomly throughout the villages and I found it quite charming.
As it was nearing 6:30pm by the time we headed for Riomaggiore, and Florence was over two hours away, we really didn't stay there long. The entire trip was worth it and so memorable for all of us.