• Vernazza

Cinque Terre

In the traffic-free Cinque Terre, a remote chunk of the Italian Riviera, there's not a museum in sight — just sun, sea, sand (well, pebbles), wine, and pure, unadulterated Italy. Enjoy the villages, swimming, hiking, and evening romance of one of God's great gifts to tourism. For a home base, choose among five (cinque) villages, each of which fills a ravine with a lazy hive of human activity — calloused locals, sunburned travelers, and no Vespas. While the Cinque Terre is now discovered (and can be unpleasantly crowded midday, when tourist boats and cruise-ship excursions drop by), I've never seen happier, more relaxed tourists.