Anyone driven in Cinque Terre?

Apr 13th, 2004, 10:47 AM
  #1  
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Anyone driven in Cinque Terre?

My husband and I will be driving from Rome, through Tuscany, and onto the Cinque Terre and points north. I have heard there is a new parking lot in Vernazza. Has anyone parked there? I have heard through the hotel that there is a guard on duty during the day, but not in the evening. Wondering abour rental car safety. Any suggestions getting/or staying there is appreciated.
Googs is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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Sure, several times but not to Vernazza by car. We prefer staying in Portovenere, but the easiest access with a car is to Monterosso.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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I don't know if there's an even newer parking lot in Vernazza but there's one that was new for me (from being there in 1987) two years ago when I was last there. It's a fairly short distance above the town -- but still quite a way to walk -- so there's a shuttle bus to take you back and forth. There is someone there during the day to take money, etc. but I suspect what the hotel told you is right, that they are not there during the evening. Our rental car was parked there for two days without incident. Just the same, I would not leave any personal belongings in your car.

It's a very scenic drive down to Vernazza on a narrow winding road. Have fun!
capo is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 04:34 PM
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We originally were going to keep our rental car in Vernazza, I believe at teh Hotel Villa Steno. Now we are dropping it off in La Spezia. Sorry I can't be more of a help, but check out that hotel to confirm whether or not they can offer you parking.

Also, does anyone know which car rental office is easier to drop off a car in La Spezia? I saw "downtown" or "city" locations on my request. We will be driving in from Lucca. Thanks! (Googs, sorry to jump in on your thread to ask a ?)!
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Apr 13th, 2004, 07:27 PM
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We drove to Monterosso where we had booked ahead at Villa Steno which has parking spaces (unique in Cinque Terre). From Monterosso you can take the train, boat or hike to all the other towns. Villa Steno must be booked 'way ahead and you must ask for a parking spot when booking. Nice hotel, good breakfast buffet, very reasonable. Frequented by Rick Steves tours, as well as others. We saw the parking lot at Vernazza but didn't park there so don't know the particulars. For convenience and overall value, I don't think you can beat Villa Steno in Monterosso.
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Apr 13th, 2004, 09:37 PM
  #6  
euroenvy
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We drove down to our favorite place...vernazza and it was a highlight of the trip. It is not scary except you have to watch for the cars going up.. The scenery reminds me of the terraces in Germany in the 60s and the woods are wonderful after you get off the main highway too! The parking was just like pulloff in a park overlook when I was there a few years ago so it must be bigger now. it was by the clear stream that you follow downhill ...Loved watching the locals puttering in their groves,vineyards and gardens ..and the little huts.it is easy but be careful with your choice of shoes as I was looking around at eveything and tripped much to the amusement of the local women. We left nothing in the car except some food and souveniers in the trunk. People are around there coming and going .I felt confident it was safe but are we really anywhere? Monterosso is nice but more resorty. We stayed on the harbour in Vernazza and saw the night fishermen and the fish market with the flipping fish in the morning. Seeing the the colored umbrellas the rosy terracotta buildings ,the church,the boats and the sleeping cats,the glittering water... it was heaven and in May not crowded as they say it can be. Take your suit and swim in the harbor and sit and sun on the rock.Eat everywhere and it will be wonderful.You will never want to leave.Go for it dont miss it..if you can handle Rome this will be a piece of cake
 
Apr 14th, 2004, 07:20 AM
  #7  
 
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I have driven to Vernazza twice and parked there. Last time was October 2003 but I did not notice a "new" car park. Like euroenvy said the drive is spectacular! we loved it. We arrived early enough to get a parking spot but they will find a spot for you if you have a reservation with a B&B there even if they are cramped. The attendant was there both times. We left most of our luggage concealed in the rental car and it was fine. It is a very remote area and very dark at night, I cant imagine anybody getting to it. I would drive in an instant. Remember when you are driving through La Spezia to hug the coastline all the way around the town keeping the water on your left and you wont get lost (we did first time). The signs for Cinque Terre are small green signs. Have fun, Vernazza is magical!
Aine is offline  
Apr 14th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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We are spending our last three nights in Vernazza before heading home out of Milan Malpensa with a 10:15 am flight. My plan is to leave Vernazza at 5am. How long or difficult is the walk from Vernazza train station to the car park? Any advice as to how long the drive is from Vernazza to Malpensa?
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Apr 14th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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Hi this question just came up a couple of weeks ago. We found the walk pretty tough. We found it hard going because we were not used to the steep incline even though we both go to the gym every day. It took about 30 minutes (I think) maybe it was less but it feels like forever, the attendant told us it was 900 mtrs, but I have not figured that out yet. Just be aware the hill is steep all the way up, no level portions. I hope it will be light by that time. Maybe you should bring a flashlight?

I am going to be doing the same thing in October but staying my last night in Como. Mapquest I got a time of Vernazza to Lake Como, door to door, is 3 hours and 4 mins. I'll bet its around the 2 and half hour mark to Malpensa. The trip looks fairly easy - all highway and what is nice is you bypass Milan - Malpensa is a little more north. Whatever you do, go back through La Spezia. We thought the little back roads looked quicker on our way there once - added HOURS to our trip. Good luck with "kill hill" as we named it, and pack very, very light. Now that I have prepared you though, it probably wont seem that bad when you are doing it. Let us know and have a great time
Aine is offline  
Apr 14th, 2004, 03:17 PM
  #10  
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Thank you, thank you!!! I know have the courage to drive to Vernazza.

Euroenvy, can you tell me how to get a hotel with a view of the harbour in Vernazza?
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Apr 15th, 2004, 10:09 AM
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Hi Googs. I was recently looking for accomodation on the square - I stayed in Gianni Franzi before, and although it was lovely, I wanted to stay on the square for a change. I found this:

"Albergo Barbara
Your window in this pleasant pensione will open onto one of the most enchanting views along the Cinque Terre. On the harbor square, the inn is run by Giuseppe and his Swiss wife, Patricia. . The place is simply furnished but clean, with adequate corridor bathrooms. Each bedroom is also equipped with its own sink. Try for room 8, which offers a particularly stunning vista, or for one of the larger doubles with a view. Breakfast isn't served but there are cafes nearby.
Piazza Marconi 21, tel. & fax 0187-812-398)
[email protected]"

I tried to email them but they did not respond. Maybe you can call and snag Room 8! Do a search for them and you will see pictures - it looks nice.

No place I saw in Vernazza is in any way luxurious, but clean and very cute. I think luxurious would be totally out of place there. I hope you love it!
Aine is offline  
Apr 15th, 2004, 10:34 AM
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Driving in the CT is not widely encouraged. Most drive TO it, but then keep their cars parked in the local town parking areas/garages. All the parking areas I have seen have a parking booth near the entrance and a gate that lifts letting cars in and out. In Riomaggiore, for example, the guard is at the booth until ~ 12 midnight daily. Your rental car will be fine in Vernazza. These are all sleepy towns, not the 'big city' like Florence and Pisa nearby. The best route up from Rome is through La Spezia, then there is a local road that runs along the top of the ridge and goes down into each of the towns. Enjoy the CT, you will have a great time there!
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Apr 15th, 2004, 07:15 PM
  #13  
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Piazza Marconi may have some views, but they don't seems to have private bathrooms. A little deturant for a gal like me.

Has anyone had a room with a view in CT?

Googs is offline  
Apr 15th, 2004, 07:40 PM
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Hi Googs. You might want to check out the rooms that Franca Maria rents in Vernazza. We had room #2 which is very small, but was clean with a comfortable double bed, a small refrigerator, a private bathroom (w/shower), and a nice view out over the harborside piazza (there's a photo at the website.) The price was around 70 euros (two years ago in April.) Good luck!

http://www.francamaria.com
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Apr 16th, 2004, 04:58 AM
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Googs: Also have a look at the Gianni Franzi site. http://www.giannifranzi.it
Its a bit of a hike up steps but worth it when you get there. I did stay here and the little terrace has a wonderful view (bring your wine from down town for the sunset). This place is spotless, about the best if not one of the best places in Vernazza. You have to fax Marisa your request and then she will fax you back requesting your credit card for deposit although she only takes cash. Did this already and very safe and fine. If you need any further info let me know.
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Apr 16th, 2004, 07:06 AM
  #16  
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Wow, there are more Vernazza hotels out there. So great to hear! Thank you all!

Capo, that web site is awesome! So many pics.

Aine, up the hill towards the parking lot would suit us fine. Did Gianni Franzi have private bathrooms?
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Apr 16th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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Hi - Gianni Franzi actually owns a bar/restaurant in the town square, and their b&b/hotel is up steps from the square. It is about 100 steps though. Yes private bathrooms, renovated. The water pressure was not good in any place I stayed in Vernazza though. Honestly, these little things become minor issues when you arrive in Vernazza. I am a total bathroom (HAVE to have my tub everynight), hairdryer, flat hair iron kind of girl. But the beauty and atmosphere of Vernazza just takes over and enjoying it is all you were thinking of. I went out for breakfast next morning with very tossed hair, my sunglasses, a slick of lipgloss, threw on the wrinkly dress from the night before, something I would never do in a million years at home. My husband still teases me calling it my Italian Movie Star look! This is really a different kind of place, you will love it.
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Apr 16th, 2004, 02:41 PM
  #18  
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I'm going crazy with so many Vernazza options that I never new about. Thank you so much.

Aine, I'm picturing Gianni Franzi high up while Albergo Barbara and Franca Maria may be close to the water Is this true?

Has anyone ever been to Mike and Franca Castiglione's rooms?
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Apr 17th, 2004, 11:05 AM
  #19  
euroenvy
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Yes sorry it took so long... We stayed at the Barbara and it is four flights up but so handy to the square try calling. They speak English. we only paid like 23$ a few years ago.The people were nice and helpful. the room spartan but clean and quiet.It had a Linoleom floor and although you have your own sink you share the toilet and nice tub.Theres just a few rooms but its the view that's killer!if you get a place elsewhere up the hill you may have tons of steep steps. My legs couldnt take it. those building on the square take up most of the direct view,smell,sounds of the activites below IMO. the walk back up to the car is an incline but just a rest halfway up is enough. are you taking roller bags and/backpack? you could always just take A COMBINED BAG JUST DO THAT AT YOU LAST HOtEL not in the lot. this gave me so many memories of the old fashioned Italy! I threw open those shutters in the morming and let the breeze waft thru the white gauzy curtains and hung out the window and watched the ladies put out their laundry and the waiters set up the tables etc.don worry about the car as long a s you have insurance (Amex)
 
Apr 17th, 2004, 12:01 PM
  #20  
euroenvy
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My room had two windows looking due west out to the ocean the other buildings face north or south and you would have to lean out the window to look directly at the ocean.I Looked at the other sites and it seem most of them have partial views with one window. I got a room for three people and it was bigger that the others so it might be worth it to reserve a triple.
 

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