Drizzly dining was becoming habitual during this visit to the Cinque Terre.
Before we left Manarola, we decided it was time for a snack. It had started raining lightly, so Mom and Dad squeezed into a restaurant for a sit-down meal in dry surroundings. Gino and I wanted instead to sample the farinata, a specialty of the Cinque Terre.
Usually sold in pizza places, this snack of chickpea meal, oil, and water is baked in a wood-burning oven and eaten like a piece of pizza. A tiny place nearby advertised homemade farinata, so we entered, smacking our lips in anticipation. The two small tables tucked into a corner were already occupied, so we stood while our treats baked.
Since the little farinata shop was full, we ate outside leaning against the wall of a stone building, trying to stay dry under an overhang. We barely noticed the drizzle as we crunched our way through the wedges of crispy treats, flavored with just a hint of rosemary and salt.
Weather, energy, and time suggested we skip Corniglia, the next town in line, and return to Vernazza. Back at home base, the sun miraculously returned and we spent a relaxing afternoon at the harbor.
It was our final evening in Vernazza so we thought it would be lovely to climb the hill behind the town and watch the sunset while dining at Franco’s Ristorante La Torre. Gino and I had enjoyed a memorable sunset dinner there back in 1996. Knowing we had needed reservations then, we hastened up the several steep and scrabbly steps to the restaurant to make them for that evening.
The waiter that greeted us assured no reservations would be needed on a weekday, especially at this time of year. But thinking of those crowds down below, we pressed him to write our names down for the sunset slot.
As the dinner hour came around, so did the rains. We waited to see if it might lighten up a bit, but it went the other way — it started coming down in torrents.
Knowing the weather would preclude any hike up steep and slippery stone stairs to a restaurant hanging on the edge of an overlook, open to the wetness and wind, we abandoned any thought to our evening reservations at Ristorante La Torre. I didn’t even try to stagger up the hill to cancel them, although my instinct for good manners was to let them know we wouldn’t be coming. Gino reasoned that they would know not to expect us.
We instead found Ristorante Incadase da Piva located up a steep alley off the main drag, but not too far. There were four tables outdoors, but protected and securely covered by ample umbrellas. We parked ourselves at the middle table with the most protection from the rain.
The end of the evening found us tucked safe and dry in our respective rooms, listening to the soft crash of waves and the lingering strains of late-night revelers floating in through our open window.