Five Lands Gets Five Stars

Breakfast with Beppe each morning quickly became the highlight of our stay in Corniglia.

Breakfast with Beppe each morning quickly became the highlight of our stay in Corniglia.

Italy, Day 6

(Spoiler Alert! You might want to start with Day 1 to follow this trip from the beginning...)

Monday morning we awoke at 8am and climbed the steps up to Beppe's apartment. He had breakfast — calzione — prepared and waiting for our arrival. The spread was simple but certainly more elaborate than we'd grown accustomed to in Italy. The table was neatly organized with homemade apricot jam, biscotti, toast, milk and coffee arranged into zones.

While the food was great, the real highlight was Beppe, who spoke not a word of English. He immediately began conversing with us as though we were fluent in Italian. After a few "Mi, dispiache, no capito" (I'm sorry, I don't understand), Beppe slowed down as one would to speak to a three year old.

It was clear he found joy in teaching us to speak his language as he pantomimed to help us better understand. Like playing an incredibly fun game of charades, we giggled our way through a basic conversation, often reaching for our iPhone to help us translate words when necessary.

After our meal we caught up on some napping / blogging while we waited for the light rain showers to pass. Our room overlooked the plaza just outside the duomo and, as travelers entered Corniglia from the surrounding villages, the town came alive with accents from all over the world. Once the sun came out, we decided to make our way to lunch then walk down to the sea.

Fresh flowers and fruits line the streets of Corniglia.

Fresh flowers and fruits line the streets of Corniglia.

We enjoyed a few slices of fresh faccocia then found the steps that led down to the ocean. They were steep and ancient and free of crowds. Boats lined the path along the marina, some hidden away in caves built into the walls of the earth. The sea was much more emerald than we imagined and the waves crashed gently against the coast.

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We would have been content just to sit at the water all day but the weather was phenomenal so we pushed on to wander through the narrow streets of Corniglia. That the afternoon, we stopped for a gelato in the picturesque village then made our way back to the room to get ready for dinner.

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At 8:30pm we arrived at Osteria a Cantina de Mananan for dinner and were lucky to get some of the last seats in the house. Smaller restaurants in Italy only seat their guests once so we were relieved not to be turned away.

We were seated in between a German and American couple from Laguna Beach, CA and struck up a friendly conversation with the latter. I must admit, I felt guilty for how grateful I was to be speaking English for a bit. Our neighbors were delightful and invited us to visit their bar, The Saloon, should we ever find ourselves in the area. Si, grazie.

For dinner we selected grilled artichokes in olive oil and pasta with pesto sauce as it originated in the very Ligurian region that we were in. Zan chose the coniglio (rabbit) stewed with rosemary, olives, carrots and pine nuts. (For those of you keeping track, you can now add rabbit to the 'animals I actually ate on purpose' list.) The panna cotta with honey was a delicious dessert and paired perfectly with our espresso, a common Italian digestif.

Full from a day of fantastic vistas and authentic Ligurian food, we strolled by moonlight back to our room. We were anxious to not only find sleep but to share another conversation over breakfast with Beppe. Buonanotte.