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Nice to Cinque Terre to Florence to Venice, advice on train travel!

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My husband and I are traveling from Nice to Cinque Terre on to Florence then to Venice. We have decided to go "point-to-point" travel and not buy a pass. We don't mind traveling 2nd class, and we want to be efficient in the way we travel (i.e. no long layovers).

Does anyone have advice on what to expect from these train rides?
Is there a city in Cinque Terre that is best for coming and going on a train?
Are the lots of stops or train transfers between Nice and Cinque Terre and Cinque Terre and Florence?
Are there more and less efficient ways of traveling between these cities, if so, how?

We plan to take the train to Rome after visiting all these places. Any advice on how to plan our train travels would be much appreciated! :)

Thanks a latte! :)

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