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What a wonderful way to spend a lazy weekend, in a gondola, floating along narrow calli's and dreaming about every romantic notion attached to such a city. But, Venice is much more than just gondolas and canals. There is a deep history that you can read about here, and the beautiful architecture makes this city unforgettable. It's no wonder Venice is deemed an international treasure.
 
 
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Castello Estense di Ferrara
Ferrara as a city dates back around 1300 years when it was a Byzantine military castrum (fortified city). The Este family ruled Ferrara from 1208 to 1598, constructing many of the monuments we see today. Under the Estes, Ferrara became a center of the arts. Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, and Petrarch, among others, spent time under their patronage. But the Estes lacked a male heir. So the Pope claimed Ferrara and it became part of the Papal States, beginning a three decade decline before awakening in the 1900s, seemingly becoming aware of it's own glorious past.
Its city plan, designed by Biagio Rossetti in the XIV century, made it the first modern city in Europe. The main building is the Castello di San Michele (named after the deposition of its first brick on the 29th of September 1385, San Michele day), but it is commonly known as Castello Estense. Built in the center of the city, it is surrounded by a moat fed by the river Po, and it is the only European castle with a moat full of water.

Located on the Interstate A13, between Florence and Venice, Ferrara is the ideal pit stop for trying traditional dishes as cappellacci con la zucca, salama da sugo, pasticcio ferrarese and the local coppia bread . If you are a wine lover, do not miss the Enoteca al Brindisi, which  is known to be the oldest "wine bar" in the world.  

This is Nic's home province in the Emilia Romagna region.
 
 
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Monterosso Al Mare
This is the first or the last of the five villages- depending from which end you are traveling from. Monterosso al mare is an ancient sea village located at the eastern side of the Ligurian Riviera, between the tip of the Punta Mesco and the island of Tinetto. We began our hike here.
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Vernazza
Vernazza is the next fishing village in the Cinque terre-- how beautiful!
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Corniglia
The third village on our hike and the only one situated quite above the sea. Instead, it is on the top of a promontory about 100 meters high, surrounded on three sides by vineyards, olive and lemon trees, with the fourth side descending steeply to the sea.
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Manarola
It is the second smallest of the Cinque Terre, but is considered the oldest of the five villages, having a church that dates back to 1338.
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Riomaggiore
The last town of our hike,but not the least. We caught the boat back from here to Monterosso.