We started our 2 week trip around Tuscany on the edge of its northern borders and based ourselves in La Spezia, a naval port about one hours drive north of Pisa. Our first day of rambling was around the island of Palmaria and here we followed a circular path around the island and we were rewarded with spectacular views of the Gulf of Poets. At the end of our walk we crossed back over to the seaside town of Portovenere. This colourful town is set in a sweeping bay and was once the haunt of Byron and Shelley. Byron has a cave named after him as well as a few restaurants!!!! Standing over and dominating the town is the 16th century castle.
The following day we tackled the Cinque Terre Walk starting at Riomaggiore and taking in Manarola, Corniglia and finishing at Vernazza where we took the ferry back to La Spezia. The towns we passed were full of tall pastel coloured houses clinking to the cliffs and surrounding hillsides. The locals farm the narrow terraces, that cover the hills from top to bottom, and these were formed over the years well before the area became a tourist destination