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Train from Florence to Cinque Terre?

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In September four of us are planning 3-4 nights in Venice, and then take the train to Florence for 3-4 nights. While in Florence we would like to take a day trip to one of the towns in Cinque Terre. Is it feasible to take a train and back in one day, or would it be better to rent a car?

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    www.viator.com/tours/Florence/Cinque-Terre-Hiking-Day-Trip-from... Tours or DIY in a rental car for 1 day tigercarrentals.com better than train would be a 6 hour RT or more on train via Pisa Lucca La Spezia giving you very little time there. Like to train over and overnite at least personally. torrettas.com Manarola my fav. viamichelin.com
    for DIY route planning pretty far though might just do San G pretty lots closer to Florence lots better day trip.

    Happy Planning!

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    6 hour RT or more on train via Pisa Lucca La Spezia giving you very little time there>

    Do NOT go via Lucca by train as this is a sideline detour that would take much longer than direct Florence to La Spezia trains via Pisa - take a couple of hours each way - I did a day trip to all 5 Cinque Terre towns last year from Florence - trains connect all five towns so you can see more than one but I would first go to say Vernazza, arguably the cutest of all five villages.

    Trains run at least hourly to La Spezia Centrale then you change to the local regional 'mil train' that serves all 5 Cinque Terre villages and these run requently as well. Just buy tickets once in Florence - never any problem getting on trains. For loads of great info on Italian trains check out these fab IMO sites - www.trenitalia.com for schedules and fares and www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

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    Let me tell you what we did.

    We were in Florence for 9-10 days. We did daytrips on 6 of them.

    Actually, two of the daytrips were really overnighters.

    We went to San Gimignano, slept over in Siena and then returned to Florence in the evening.

    On the other overnighter we went to Lucca (stopped at a train station in Pisa that very few people know about and is 5 minutes from the Leaning Tower).

    After biking around the town on the wall and wandering inside we trained to La Spezia and checked into our hotel a block from the train station.

    Took a train to Riomaggiore to watch the sun set and have dinner then returned to La Spezia to sleep over.

    The next day we trained to Riomaggiore, hiked to Manarola and on to Corniglia. Since Corniglia doesn't have a marina and we just missed the train back we hiked back to Manarola.

    Then we took a boat to Portovenere and eventually took a bus back to La Spezia.

    We picked up our luggage at the hotel and took a 3 hour train back to Florence.

    A great two days.

    You wrote you'll be in Florence 3-4 nights. I'm not sure how that translates into complete days but you might be interested in what we did.

    In Florence we had pre-booked tickets for the Accademia (David, etc). We didn't pay in advance and walked right up to an empty ticket booth.

    The other ticket booth had a line around the block for people who didn't pre-book.

    There's a number you can call.

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    I recalled a post about a day trip to CT from Florence. Andrea was living in Florence at the time and posted a long thread. It's in the middle of it so I'll post the info below, but here's the link if you are interested in reading it.
    http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/florence-one-artists-move-to-italy.cfm

    >>>>>laartista on Sep 24, 08 at 11:37am

    Yep, those are man purses Sandi! So we were supposed to go to 5 Terre on saturday but were up really late with our Mexican/German get together so we decided to just go Sunday. The weather was SUPPOSED to be about 75 and sunny both days, not the case. Sunday started out nice but by the time we got to Monterosso it was overcast, drizzly and cool.

    We took the 10:27 am train to Monterosso with a connection in Pisa. About 2 1/2 hours in all and 30E RT p/p. Going there,there were NO seats, we each got a jump seat at the beginning of a car. Not the most comfortable but better than standing.

    I had been to 5 terre before about 4 years ago. Robin's 1st time. Bottom line it's beautiful in any weather. First time I was there was early March, everything was closed and stayed at a place that I really liked called Locanda Gigante. That trip was a solo one to 5 Terre, Milan, Innsbruck and Zurich. Was in 5 Terre for 3 days. Funny story: When I checked into Locanda Gigante a woman named Maria Pia checked me in. I had spoken with her on the phone before arriving. She was very nice, showed me my room, told me reception ( which is basically a desk) leaves at 8pm and gave me a key to get in later than that. There was only one restaurant open for dinner in town.I went at 7 was super jet-lagged and came back and crashed.

    Well I was awoken around 3 am by a massive thunderstorm. The lights were flickering, I was a bit freaked out but figured at least there were other guests there in case of an emergency. I guess I finally passed out again. Around 8 am. KNOCK,KNOCK on my door. I open it to see Maria Pia holding out a cell phone.

    "Andrea, Tua mama,il telefono" What? My mother? Si, Si, tua mama. I was confused! How did that woman get Maria Pia's cell number. I had given her my itinerary but I didn't even know Maria Pia's cell number.I take the phone still half asleep.
    Ma?, she says, Ang? You never called, I was woried! I say, MOM, you're calling Maria Pia's cell phone, I'll call you back! What? Who's cell phone? Who's Maria Pia? ANDREA! LOL, I said, Mom, I will call you back from with my calling card.( no cell yet)

    I apologized to Maria Pia, told her my mama was loco, then she offered to make me breakfast which was really a nuked croissant and a cappuccino. Over breakfast she said that she almost came back to the inn in the middle of the night during the storm. I asked why. She said she was worried about me, with the phone lines being down ( AHA! call was forwarded to her cell from the inn's main number, that's how mama Brody called). She said her husband said I would be fine , Andrea is from NYC, she's fine! I told her that was true, not a big deal, besides the other guests were there with me. Yeah, NO! No other guests! What? No other guests? Seems I was alone in that inn that night, good thing I did not know that, I wouldn't slept a wink.

    Anyhoo, present day, we hiked the 1 1/2-2 hr. trail from Monterosso to Vernazza. this is one messed up trail. Seriously, not for faint of heart or those not in at least good physical condition. I personally don't really exercise that much, Robin does and even she was having trouble at some points. There are a gazillion stone stairs, It's so worth it but totally exhausting!

    We finally got to Vernazza. the views stupendous and we were starved. It was about 3;30,the place was mobbed with tourists an all the restaurants were closed until 7 for dinner. Can you imagine? Only pizza places were open. Pissed we each grabbed a slice. I had my heart set on steamed mussels. It started raining again so we opted to take the train to the 3rd town. Off the train and took one look at the stairway that led to Corniglia. My legs felt like jello. I looked at Robin and asked , " You want to climb those stairs right now?" Nope!, You?, I answer nope! and we start the 40 minute much easier walk to Manarola.

    We encountered all kinds of people along the way. Many times on the walkways you have to stop to let someonepass, it's that narrow. Next statements just from my experience that day. Americans, British, Australians, most polite, always stop, always say thank you when you move over for them, always smile. Italians will run you off the side of a cliff, GET OUT OF THEIR WAY! PRONTO!!!. Germans, I was suprised, we ran into alot they never moved to the side for you, never said thanks.

    We got to Manarola expecting everything to be closed but no, restaurants were open AND they had steamers. Perfect way to end a day. The rain got harder, we sat down to eat, had a beer, steamers and some gnocchi and pesto. I LOVE THE PESTO! Decided to skip the last town and take the train from Manarola directly to La Spezia where we would change trains and arrive in SMN at 9:20.

    I had gotten an email from Fodorite Ky Bourbon the night before saying she would be in Florence that night, one night only on her way to Amalfi Coast. I wrote we would try to stop by, but we were still damp from being rained on and cold and exhausted and so my apologies. Next time. Ok below the pix from CT. There are a boatload of them, had trouble editing. Also Robin's in almost every picture, and she says I'm in all her pix so we'll have to swap photos for our families and next time remember to switch cameras!

    http://picasaweb.google.com/bandaidhand/5Terre?authkey=P0NsQeuh_X0#

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