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Posts tagged ‘Cinque Terre’

Cinque Terre weather alert continues

Cinque Terre remains under Weather Alert 2 until midnight tonight.
Visitors are asked NOT to come today. The rains have been held at bay, probably due to the wind. My thoughts are with everyone in the area and those that suffered tremendously in Genova. Photo credit L. Castrucci


Sofia – A Journey with Leukemia

sofia journey with leukemiaMy long time readers know about my love of Vernazza, one of the small villages in the Cinque Terre along the Italian Riviera.  The same village that was ravaged by mudslides almost two years ago is now facing a very intimate battle.  The battle of little Sofia.

Sofia was recently diagnosed with leukemia and has already undergone a series of chemotherapy treatments.  Her father Andrew explained that she is a strong spirit and this is not her first fight.  Born two months premature, this family already understands how precious life is and how a moment can change everything.  I am a mother myself of two young children.  My son is the same age as Sophia and also born early, spending his first weeks in the NICU.  I can’t help but take it a little personally.  I can’t help but wonder if I could be as strong.  I can’t but see my child’s eyes in hers.  To be honest, I am weeks late in writing this post for lack of the right words.  I can’t begin to imagine and I’m sorry certainly doesn’t cut it.

999414_155193354675230_1271573226_nSofia is home now, right where she belongs but the road ahead of her and her family is filled with unknowns and difficulties.   She has a FACEBOOK page where kind and encouraging words are appreciated.  The family also has a site on You Caring where donations are most certainly cherished.  At the time of this writing, the family is half way to their fundraising goal.  Please CLICK HERE to help.  While living in a village as beautiful as Vernazza, there are significant drawbacks during times like these.  Her parents run a small store as their only source of income and have had to close the shop frequently to be with Sofia, causing obviously financial strain.

“We want to give Sofia whatever she needs to make her life as easy as possible in this time.  We hope you can find it in your hearts to help us and in turn help little Sofia.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts”

Thank you all.



Daily Italian Doses | Via dell’Amore Trail

I have had lots of travelers asking if the Via dell’Amore in the Cinque Terre will be open and sadly the answer is no.  I wanted to share with everyone my personal favorite picture from the trail.  It is of my parents (high school sweethearts and happily married 41 years) participating in the romantic tradition where lovers leave a symbolic lock.

For anyone wanting more travel details for the area, follow this link for information at Rebuild Monterosso.

Cinque Terre via dell'amore

Lovers Locks

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Copyright 2013   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Daily Italian Doses | Summer in Vernazza

summer italy vernazza cinque terre

If this doesn’t have you at hello, then there is nothing more that I can do for you.  Courtesy of my fellow blogger and travel extraordinaire.  She has a lovely blog called Cultural Comments.  Do click HERE and say hello!


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Copyright 2013   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Best towns to homebase in Italy without a car

I love finding a place in Italy and parking it there for an extended period of time.  I believe this is THE best way to connect with the people and have as close to a true cultural experience as a tourist.  Not to mention this is a great way to save money, decrease travel time and get to actually relax.

I will be listing a few of my favorites towns to home base in for travelers that are using public transportation only.  Unlike the US, it is fairly easy to get around using just the train systems.


I love Cortona.  One of my favorite restaurants is here.  Also my favorite weekly market.  And wine store.  And antique store.  You get the idea.  The town itself can keep you busy for a few days.  Florence, Assisi, Orvieto, Spello and Perguia are all within easy train distance.

cortona italy


My very first hilltown I visited when I was 19.  You can never shake your first love.  Orvieto gets loads of attention because of its location near the autostrada, but it still maintains its beauty and charm.  Evenings are exceptional here.  My favorite handbag store in within the walls of Orvieto.  The views are some of the absolute best.  Easy connections from Orvieto by either bus or train are Rome, Florence, Cortona, Civita, Bolsena, Chiusi and Montepulciano.

orvieto italy


If you are planning time on the coast, stretch it out and really make a vacation out of it.  So many people rush in and out of this area.  Vernazza is my favorite home base for seeing the other four villages of the Cinque Terre.  There is more to be visited in the area by easy train connections like Portofino, Portovenere and Sestri Levante.

Cinque Terre

To be continued…….

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Featured Photo Friday | Storms in Vernazza


A Photo taken by Davide Balboni

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Vernazza One Year After The Flood

Courtesy of Students for the Cinque Terre

Just over one year ago a massive flood and mudslide buried one of my special places on earth, Vernazza.  So much has been endured, rebuilt, rethought and rejoiced.

As fate and nature would have it, on the very day an Alert 2 went out to the people of the Cinque Terre but thankful everyone in the area weathered the storm well.

Much is still to be done.  Please keep Save Vernazza in your minds as we move towards the close of this year.

Below is a link to some fabulous people who have been a part of the recovery process as they celebrate Vernazza’s bittersweet anniversary.

Students for the Cinque Terre Commemoration.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Susan Van Allen featured Article | Vernazza

italyMany of you might remember my review of Susan Van Allen’s 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go.  If you haven’t gotten it yet, go now!  Imagine my delight when she asked that I take part in her Golden Days in Italy with my ideal day in Vernazza.

To see my full article click here and make sure to follow her blog!

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Featured Photo Friday | Vernazza’s One Year Anniversary Since Flooding

Remember help is still needed.  Please visit Save Vernazza today!

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

A Year in the Blogging World | Strange search terms and Dr Oz shows

I realized just the other day that I have been blogging for just over a year.  I didn’t even want to start, my husband made me.  Kicking and pouting but trusting in his marketing prowess I began my journey in the world of the blogger.

Little did I know that within a month, disaster would strike my beloved Cinque Terre and through my writing I would be able to reach thousands of readers.  The networking and relationships built and made through the experience remain strong twelve months later.

A few months after beginning, I soon became ‘on-line’ friends with other writers and authors of books I loved.  Their stories became my inspiration and I began to write even more.  With my writing came followers and with followers came encouraging feedback and comments.  The fire and passion to share began to burn brighter, and so the cycle began.  WordPress added fuel to the obsession with its detailed stats page and the ability to track favorite posts, clicks and likes.  Although I no longer check my stats hourly, it is the last thing I look at before turning out the lights.

I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this journey and growth.  A blog the started with only my mom following me has grown to over 200 subscribers with at least that many views daily, over 300 Facebook followers and twice as many on twitter.  I am nearing 100,000 views and my busiest day to date was 1,123 views.  My posts have brought people together, help to Vernazza, made preparing for travel to Italy easier and hopefully a smile to everyone’s faces.  This blog even got me on the Dr Oz show, although embarrassingly it was for a personal poo story not as a travel expert.  If you can find me on Facebook then you might find the video link!  I can’t WAIT to see what the next 12 months bring!  To celebrate I have a few fun and …. well…. interesting facts about my blog.  Enjoy!

Most Interesting Key Words:  These are real life snips of real life keywords that brought readers to my blog.  Unfortunately, I am sure many were disappointed.

italy travel humor

Now that I would like to see.

travel italy humor

All at once?

blogging key words

I don’t even WANT to know

blogging keywords

Another disappointed viewer. I would hate to see what would happen if I DID write a post about a penis.

My blog read around the world


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Top TenI’m obsessed with feedback, let me know what you think.Love it??  Pass it on!Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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