It was a dream come true to visit Cinque Terre. The pictures that I’d stared at for hours online had come to life before my eyes. And of course, it was better than I had even imagined. What heightened the experience even more was staying overnight in one of these five seaside towns along the Italian Riviera. Can you believe that the photo above was taken by simply walking out of our apartment door? Welcome to Riomaggiore. Welcome to our apartment, Gramsci 31.
We spent three glorious evenings at the apartment where we truly felt as though we were living like locals. After spending an afternoon in Pisa coming from Florence, taking a couple of trains along the way, we were pretty exhausted. The apartment’s owner, Martha, met us at the train station and took care of everything. She was incredibly friendly, warm, and hospitable. Martha guided us from the train station, through a pedestrian tunnel, and towards the main street of Riomaggiore. With just one turn around Piazza Vignaioli (the only flat place in town, so a favorite spot amongst families and children to play!), we had reached the apartment.
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We walked up a flight of stairs and arrived at our apartment, Gramsci 31. The apartment was built in the mid-1800s and lovingly restored in 2014. Before I give you a tour of the apartment, let’s talk about location.
Gramsci 31 in Riomaggiore is situated in the ideal place for staying in Cinque Terre. It is a great idea to stay in one of the five towns if you decide to visit Cinque Terre for an authentic experience. Sure, you can stay in one of the neighboring towns and take the train to Cinque Terre each day, but you’ll miss out on one of the best times to be here – the evening. While all of the villages get busier during the day with hikers and tourists coming to the village, the crowds disappear in the evenings. The apartment is steps from the seaside, the ferry, the train station, restaurants, and shops. It’s close to everything. When you arrive from the train station, you don’t have to climb any huge hills to reach the apartment either. You can easily visit all of the five towns from here via train or ferry, and you’re also closest to Porto Venere, a town you also must visit while you’re in the Cinque Terre region.
Not only do I highly recommend staying at this place, but I highly recommend that you stay in Riomaggiore. It ended up being our favorite town of the five villages. Perhaps it was because we stayed here for three nights and truly experienced the place, but we fell in love with Riomaggiore the most. It was such a charming village with some of the most amazing views. From the colorful homes stacked along the cliffs to the sparkling deep blue waters, it was very beautiful and even magical. It is one of those places you must visit in your lifetime (or many times if you’re lucky!).
We were warmly welcomed to Gramsci 31 by our host, Martha, as you can tell by the brilliant sign on the front door! We were given a quick tour of the apartment upon our arrival. Let me show you around!
Here is the main living area that you see right when you walk in the front door. It’s a great spot to lounge or read a book. You can also watch some TV if you’re looking to unwind after a lengthy day hiking around the trails. I love the colorful stripes on the main wall behind the couch, along with the bright red pillows. Vibrant splashes of color are seen throughout the apartment, giving it a very cheerful vibe.
Next door to the living room is the bedroom. You’ll find plenty of storage space here if you choose to unpack your clothes into the large wooden wardrobe. You’ll also find a book on the nightstand where you can record your own journey and trip around Cinque Terre. Many past guests have described their stay at the apartment, as well as their journey around the area. It was actually really fun to write our own story and draw some pictures at the end of our stay. Martha has even left some markers in the nightstand so you can be creative and artistic in your storytelling! There’s a thermostat in the bedroom where you can control the heat or air conditioning. We found that the apartment got a little bit chilly at night, so it was great to control the heating for when we slept.
Now, for one of the most important spots when choosing a place to stay: the bathroom. This bathroom was very spacious with a walk-in shower. There were some toiletries and a hair dryer to use. It was bright, clean, and looked very modern with splashes of green tile against white.
And now for my favorite place in the apartment…the kitchen! I really loved spending time in this kitchen. We cooked a pasta meal here one night when we decided to make food rather than eat at a restaurant. It was so easy to collect the ingredients from the grocery store that was steps away from the apartment. This kitchen had everything that you needed to prepare a delicious meal: the pots, cutlery, and dishes. There was even a Moka Pot with espresso grounds in the cupboard so you could make your own coffee. Actually, there were many condiments in the cupboard such as olive oil and gourmet salt, so you could add those finishing touches to your meal. This kitchen was so cheerful. From the display of lemons and tea on the kitchen table to the bright orange fridge, it was just so cute and charming. There were clothes pins with a clothesline outside of the kitchen window in case you needed a place to hang your laundry. Looking directly outside of the window, you would see the walls of the adjacent building; however, if you stuck your head outside a little bit further, you could catch glimpses of the piazza and the colorful buildings of the town.
After our tour of the apartment, Martha sat down with us and explained all of the area attractions. She gave us the full details of the hiking trails that were open and closed. FYI: most of the blue coastal trail remains closed, except for the coastal trail between Monterosso Al Mare and Vernazza. She described the other trails we could hike between the towns, complete with maps. Speaking of maps, she also gave us detailed maps of each town. Martha told us the best places in town to dine, gave us important tips about buying the Cinque Terre pass, and provided us with advice regarding the train and ferry service. Later, I was browsing through one of the books that she had put together that was left at the apartment. There were photographs taken along the trails describing where to hike, and there were even restaurant menus for local dining establishments. Martha had truly thought of everything to make our stay as relaxing as possible, providing us with all of the information that we needed. Even though I did plenty of research ahead of time, you could truly plunk yourself down in Riomaggiore and have a few days of travel in the area all sorted out for you.
On our first evening in Cinque Terre and after settling in the apartment, we took a stroll out of those blue doors of Gramsci 31 to take in our surroundings. It hardly seemed real that we were gazing out towards the Mediterranean Sea from a centuries-old Italian seaside village. Yet here we were, and we savored those enchanting views. If you’re looking for where to stay in Cinque Terre, we highly recommend that you check out Apartment Gramsci 31 in Riomaggiore.
Apartment Gramsci 31
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
Disclaimer: We were guests of Apartment Gramsci 31. In exchange for our review, we were provided with a discounted stay. Our thoughts and opinions, as always, are completely our own.