Moneglia - one of the beautiful cities along the Italian coast just outside of the famed Cinque Terre. Like many places I have found myself over the past few years, the Cinque Terre is one of them that I never imagined I would actually see with my own eyes.
We spent most of our trip in Europe camping - it's a fantastic way to travel: you spend less on lodging which means you can spend more on the things that matter, in this case we are in Italy and the food and wine are incredible! Anyhow, we found a wonderful campground just outside of town located right on the water called Camping Smeraldo. We had arrived the day before and it was fully booked; we should have known as it was August (the time of year most of Europe is on holiday) and it was late in the day. The next morning we arrived bright and early and were able to get a spot - so if you are going to the coast of Italy in August and you want to find a place to camp, go early when people are checking out.
To get from the campground into town you have two choices: The road into Moneglia is a way one road that is mostly tunneled out of the rocky cliffs that create the coastline. When you drive to town, you must wait as the road runs one direction at a time for 15 minute intervals before switching directions for 15 minutes. If you want to walk, well the road isn't exactly wide enough to allow for vehicles and pedestrians so you must follow the shoreline to town. On foot, it took us about 20 minutes one way.
The coastline is fairly mellow - it's rocky, but not rough. There's only one small section where you need to climb up and over an outcropping to get around. There is a cable anchored to the rocks and you can use it to help you get up or down depending on which way are going. To put the walk along the coast into perspective: it may be rocky, but we did it while wearing sandals.
We would walk into town to get food, hangout or take the train down to Vernazza. Moneglia is a quaint little town and far less busy than those down in the Cinque Terre. We found charming cafes to grab afternoon snacks at and exquisite restaurants to dine at in the evening. This is Italy: the food is unbelievable and the wine is fantastic, oh, and cheap too! House wine was cheap and better than expensive wines I've had in the US. Not only is the food in Italy amazing, so are the people. Every person we encountered was charming and friendly - the hospitality and genuine happiness expressed by the people of this region is unparalleled.
So the cover photo... Every time we walked along the beach, we would pass a beachfront resort. It had a designated swimming area with markers in the water that lead your eyes from the shore to the horizon. I saw it numerous times and kept telling myself, "I need a photo of that." Well one night I decided to bring my camera and tripod with me into town for dinner so I could finally capture what I had seen on several occasions.
To capture this image I used my LEE little stopper neutral density filter (click here for more info). It allows for a longer exposure which is what gives the water that silky, smooth look. Another key piece of equipment for a nice long exposure is a good tripod. I have a Gitzo mountaineer tripod, and though [admittedly] they aren't cheap, the build quality, ease of use and Ground Level feature make this tripod worth every penny (click here for more info). I setup my camera, put the adapter ring on for my LEE filter holder, composed my shot and put the filter on and took this.
The result, well, needless to say I am very happy with it. The colors are so soft, yet vibrant, the rocks in the foreground with the water slowly moving back and forth, the boat on the horizon and the moving buoys in the water take your eyes from the beach to the vast open water on the horizon. This picture, for me, captures the breathtaking beauty of the Italian coast.