Cinque Terra/Central Italy

Oct 3rd, 2006, 09:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Cinque Terra/Central Italy

2 active, young 50's couples plan to travel to Italy for 2 weeks mid-October of 2007. We have just started our planning. We plan to make Tuscany our main focus, but we will spend several days in Venice and Rome also. We hear that hiking the Cinque Terra is a must. Please give opinions and lodging/restaurant suggestions. Thanks
marciamcb is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 10:33 AM
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Hi Marcia,

OK - for starters, give us more info so we can help!

Is this your first trip to Italy?
What is your lodging budget, exactly?
Do you plan to rent a car?

Hiking the Cinque Terre is NOT a must. Depends on whether or not you like hiking! You could still visit the area and see the villages by train and the coast by boat if you don't like hiking.

Lots of options on lodging and restaurants. Use the "Search" box up above and put in your keywords. That will keep you busy for HOURS!

Dayle is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Yes, we like to hike. We do plan to rent a car. It has been suggested we take the train and do the big cities Venice, Rome, Florence) first, then rwent a car the last week. Our lodging budget is flexible in that we want a mix of accomodations counting out the ultra/least expensive ones.
Hope I've clarified my needs somewhat. Thanks for your interest.
marciamcb is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 10:48 AM
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P.S. One of the 4 of us (my husband) has travelled to Venice. The rest of us have not been to Italy. Thanks
marciamcb is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:37 AM
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As for Cinque Terre:

Where you stay is a matter of personal preference, but we like Monterosso -- nice views, good hiking, Old Town and New Town for diversity.

Hotel: Consider the Hotel 5terre in the New Town. Friendly, helpful staff (they refuse tips when bringing baggage to your room), quiet location, good breakfast. You don't mention budget, but this place is in the middle range of CT hotels. Also, there are many family-run B&Bs that others can help you with.
j_999_9 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Hi again Marcia,

A basic itinerary suggestion would be:

Venice - 3 nts
Cinque Terre - 2 nts & pick up car
Tuscany - 5 nts, drop car
Rome - 4 nts

Personally, since you are going in mid-Oct, I would save the Cinque Terre for the next trip and add those nights to other destinations. I do like the Cinque Terre (we stayed in Santa Margherita Ligure 3 nights), but I like all the other destinations better!

Places I have stayed personally and was happy with:
Santa Margherita Ligure - Hotel Laurin (3*)
Tuscany - Chianti area - Hotel Residencia San Sano (4*)
Tuscany - Montalcino - Il Giglio (3*)
Umbria - Spello - Palazzo Bocci (best ever, 4*)
Rome - Hotel Giardino Rome (a humble 2*, great location)

You'll get zillions of opinions here. Happy planning.
Dayle is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:49 AM
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My trip report may give you some ideas.
Feel free to e-mail if you have questions.
Henry is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:51 AM
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Posts: 1,790

Here is a link to a thread about hiking the CT. (Maureen put together a nice compilation of comments.)
bat is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 04:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I agree with J999 that Monterosso is a good home base on the Cinque Terre. It has the best selection of accommodations and restaurants, plus other amenities like a laundromat, internet café, grocery stores... We stayed at Manuel's guesthouse but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. I have heard good things about La Colonnina Hotel in Monterosso.

Hiking the Cinque Terre is not a must, however it's a nice experience. We did the most strenuous hike, i.e. Monterosso to Vernazza, and although I sweated my heart out, the reward when you catch your first glimpse of Vernazza is amazing. We used trains and boats to explore the other towns and that worked very well too.

I disagree about the person who suggested saving the Cinque Terre for another trip. You should explore this area while you are still active and healthy. You can do more of Tuscany when you get older. However, since you are also trying to see Rome, Venice and part of Tuscany this time around, you will be on a tight schedule. For a first trip to Italy, given the information you have provided, I would suggest the following:

Rome: 3-4 days
Siena and Florence: 2 days each
Venice: 3 days
Cinque Terre: 3-4 days

That's just my humble opinion but I think it would give you a nice first taste of Italy.

Good luck
Littlefrenchbird is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 12:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Dear Marcia,
My husband and I just returned from Italy, including a week in the CT.We chose to stay in Levanto as we also had a car, and found it to be a great.We stayed just outside of town (20 min. walk) at Villa Caterina for 70euro/rm/night and it was gorgeous.As Levanto is not officially one of the towns of the CT, you will experience a real Italian village, with easy access to trails, trains and ferries.After our day hikes, we would sit in the park/piazza and watch families gather and children play. Experiencing that sense of community was even better than the hiking.As for hiking, ensure you hike from Levanto to Monterosso. I would also suggest catching the ferry from Levanto to Portovenere (via the CT villages)and then doing the walk from Portovenere to Riomaggiorre.I found these to be more real 'hikes',and they weren't crowded with the larger tourist groups in the CT. I agree with Little French Bird that the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza is worth the reward of your first glimpse of Vernazza, it is amazing.If you do stay at Villa Caterina, ask Vittorio for his opinion on the nicest beach in the area and do the hike there. (Sorry, but I think if I tell you the name, it will be the most crowded beach by October 2007)
happyhiker is offline  
Oct 4th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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Happyhiker, is there a view from Villa Caterina? Can't tell from the website.
LAwoman is offline  
Oct 5th, 2006, 09:09 AM
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Hi LAwoman,
No there is no view from Villa Caterina.Our room had French doors out into the garden and I think the other rooms may have as well.
happyhiker is offline  
Oct 5th, 2006, 09:50 AM
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I think the cautionary note about CT is related to the weather.Maritime Italy mid-October could be fabulous or it could be miserable, cold, slippery underfoot.
LJ is offline  
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