Cinque Terre is great in April!

Apr 19th, 2005, 02:09 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 425
Cinque Terre is great in April!

I just got back from a 2 and a half week trip to Italy, seeing Rome, Orvieto, Siena, Florence (with my husband and 2 teens, who returned home at this point), and then Cinque Terre, Sorrento, and Positano with my sister who joined me in Florence. For all of you who wonder if 5 Terre is worth it, consider going in April. We lucked out with cool but decent weather (it rained one night, some clouds and sun during the days), and uncrowded towns and trails. The wildflowers were beautiful and the sea gorgeous. The downside of going then are less ferries between the towns(but we got to take one)and the water is too cold to swim. When my sister and I talked at the end of the trip which we liked better, 5 Terre or the Amalfi Coast (we day-tripped to Amalfi and Ravello too and took a great hike between the two), though we agreed they were very different and wonderful areas and we loved them both, 5 Terre edged out Amalfi. But then neither of us is into fine dining, shopping and luxurious hotels, which is what you get on the Amalfi coast, along with the beautiful sea and cliffs. (And a chance to visit nearby Pompeii, which was great too.) Bottom line: We wouldn't have missed any of it, every town was different, and it was all beautiful.

We can highly recommend Villa Rosa in Positano (it was hard to leave that gorgeous terrace), and La Torrettas in Manorola.

rickandpat is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 04:27 AM
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It sounds nice. What did you do in the Cinque Terre - did you hike ?
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Pat, I'm doing a very similar trip in two weeks (minus Rome plus Venice)
I would love to hear more details about your trip including where you ate and what you saw. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed CT I have been looking forward to hiking there ever since I first learned about the area five years ago.
Thanks, Kay
kemarshall64 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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After Rome we spent an afternoon and night in Orvieto. The Duomo was great, the underground tour lame, the wall walk and general kicking around lovely.

Siena we had a great meal at La Sosta di Violante on Via di Pantaneto (south of Il Campo). It's one of the few places we ate I remember because I took a card. There were only one or two meals that weren't good on the whole trip. In Siena after the usual Campo, Duomo (amazing), wandering, the next day my husband and son took a bike ride out of town. One thing we learned is you have to roll with the punches, because the bike place opened several hours later than it was posted (and no sign on the door to say when they'd be in). We had MANY late trains or buses. And it got really confusing when the road around Positano was closed due to a landslide, but the bus drivers wouldn't tell anyone how to get to the other side of town to continue on to Amalfi and beyond, just shooed them out the door in the middle of nowhere.

Florence I didn't care as much for, though I loved all the art and history. We stayed in a nice affordable hotel that was on a busy street just north of the Duomo (Hotel Europa), and if we could have stayed at someplace in the older part of town, more pedestrian (as we had in all the other places) I would have liked it better. The highlights were the Uffizi, the Baptistry, the Duomo (we LOVED climbing the dome, though our daughter was scared by the heights and narrow stairs), the Museo del Opera behing the Duomo (they had a young American giving free tours, well worth the time), Florence Walking Tour (worth it, entertaining and we learned a lot), and the Bargello. We didn't get to many places, such as Pitti Palace (the San Croce wasn't so hot,a lot of scaffolding when we were there), but we are very glad we walked up to San Miniato to hear the Gregorian chanting at 5:30 - great views of the city.

My sister and I headed to Manorola Sunday morning, a seemingly easy train ride. But we were having a lot of trouble with misinformation about trains from people, learn to read the posted schedules of stops for yourself. No matter, we ended up hiking from Riomaggiore to Manorola with our luggage, but it's a very easy walk. The next day, since the trail between Manarola and Corneglia was closed due to a landslide, we hopped the train to Corneglia and hiking to Vernessa for lunch. Lovely, and very few people. A lot of up and down - a hike, not a walk - but it only took us 1 1/2 hours tops. Then we hopped the train to get back to our hotel. We found this area to be very easy to get around in. The next day we hiked from Montessorro to Vernezza, which was again great.

That night we took the overnight train from La Spezia and slept on our way to Naples Centrale. Downstairs is the Circumvesuviana trains, easy to get on that and go to Sorrento. We took it easy that day, napped and shopped (lots of sourvenir shops). We were thrilled with the flowers everywhere. The next day it was back on the Circumvesuviana to spend the day at Pompeii. We couldn't believe we were there 6 hours, it went fast. We were disappointed that so many areas, such as the brothel!) were closed, but a security guard took it upon himself to give us at least a 20-minute private tour. It made the day, Antonio was a fun and informative guy. We found the audioguides to be more difficult to use here than in other places, the numbers aren't as prominently displayed (aesthetically the right thing to do, but confusing for the poor tourists).

The next day we went to Positano by bus, and somehow made it to our wonderful hotel with a great sea view. We took it easy this day too, shopping, exploring, enjoying the Duomo. The next day we went to Amalfi where we caught the next bus on to Ravello. Beautiful little village, a wonderful unique duomo, and had a picnic at the gardens at the end of town. It was pricy to go there, 5 euros, but it was lovely. Then we started the hike down to Amalfi from right outside the garden entrance. No one else was doing this hike, and it was wonderful, though quite a few steps down (it took an hour or so).

The next day was back to Rome (almost an all day excursion - 2 buses, 2 trains), and then home.

I hope that's what you were looking for. I'm happy to answer any more questions, though heaven knows I'm no expert.

rickandpat is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 84
That was a great report Pat, thank you! You sound like my kind of traveller...I can't wait for the beautiful walks on the CT and AC. I am going to the cities because of what they offer culturally but what I am really anticipating is quiet times in those beautiful settings. I just hope CT won't be so overcrowded that it overshadows that part of the trip.
Thank you! Kay
kemarshall64 is offline  

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