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A gem among Italy’s embarrassment of riches of Mediterranean splendor can be found a half hour south of the glitzy playground of the rich, Portofino Italy, here you will find the five towns of Cinque Terre, on the cliffs above the Ligurian Sea.

Because of their embarrassment of natural riches, the Dolomites became a World Heritage Site in 2009. The Dolomites have always had a huge imprint on those who admired them for the first time, and it is not a secret that they are acclaimed by many as the most beautiful mountains on earth.

When I told those in the know, I would rent a car and drive in Italy, they often would say something like: “You are a brave man,” other’s would say after a maniacal laugh; “you’re a freaking idiot.