Riomaggiore is one of the coziest, most charming little towns I’ve ever stepped foot in.

In July 2011, my family and I visited Florence. We took a nearly three-hour train ride from there to Riomaggiore, a village on the Italian Riviera, and one of the Cinque Terre (“five lands”). The five villages are located along a stretch of rugged coastline west of La Spezia, in the region of Liguria.

Village-hopping among the five is a popular activity with tourists, as all of them are very picturesque and easy to navigate. The homes are very close together and the roads are steep. Many residents must access their homes, gardens and private vineyards via a network of stone stairways.

[photos by Marie Look]