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Critique request: Florence/Cinque Terre itinerary--a few ?? too

Critique request: Florence/Cinque Terre itinerary--a few ?? too

Feb 25th, 2005, 08:48 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 576
Critique request: Florence/Cinque Terre itinerary--a few ?? too

This is for early May of this year.

Day 1 (Friday): Flight out, transfer at Gatwick (shopping!) to Meridiana flight

Day 2: Arrive in Florence, check in to Villa La Vedetta (Piazzale Michelangelo), explore in the evening.

Day 3: Museum day. Any tips/web sites for booking in advance?

Day 4 (Monday): Day trip to Siena since museums are closed.

Day 5: Second day trip to ??? or stay in Florence. Something food related (not necessarily wine related) would be wonderful. I'd love to hit the outlets, but I think they might be a waste since the dollar is so worthless *sigh*.

Day 6: Check out, train to Cinque Terre. Possible stop in Pisa to see tower.
Arrive in Monterosso.

Day 7: Cinque Terre

Day 8: Cinque Terre or ??

Day 9: Check out, back to Florence. Check into cheaper hotel (TBD).

Day 10: Wake up VERY EARLY for 8 a.m. flight, taxi to airport.

Here are some basic questions/comments about this itinerary:

We're staying four nights in Florence because my husband's company is paying for it (he'll be doing an hour or two of business the day we arrive), so that can't be changed since we'd be insane to give up a free hotel.

My big priority for this trip (my first to Italy) is food! I love to eat and cook Italian food, so any pointers about good restaurants or places I can't miss are greatly appreciated!

Am I in Cinque Terre too long? My husband and I love to hike, so I can't imagine we'll be bored exploring, but I'm wondering if there's someplace we should stay overnight either on our way from or to Florence. Originally we had wanted to hit Venice for a day/night after Florence, but that seems like too much.

I'm leaning towards Monterosso after reading the posts here, but originally I liked the idea of staying in Vernazza. I understand both are crowded, but I lived just outside of Waikiki for a year so crowds don't bother me much. Any thoughts on one over the other?

Are there non-seafood options for food in Cinque Terre? I'm not crazy about fish although I'm willing to try a bit, but I'd like to know that there are options in case I'm not feeling adventurous.

Thanks to any and all helpful responses.
MerryTravel is offline  
Feb 25th, 2005, 09:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,942
Some basic answers to get you started. The food in Florence is wonderful! Tuscan food focuses on meat, not seafood, so you will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy that in Florence. Do a search on this forum for "Florence restaurants" for lots of ideas. Several that we have enjoyed include Osteria de Cinghale Bianco and Beccofino in the Oltrarno section and Giostra in the Santa Croce area.
If you like to hike, I don't think you are spending too long in Cinque Terre but you could always stay in Florence a day longer and take a day trip to San Gimignano or Siena.
Cinque Terre has other than seafood options. You can always turn to pastas - the pesto sauce in that area of Italy is the best!
mamc is offline  
Feb 25th, 2005, 09:46 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,740
Your itinerary sounds fine. I didn't have to book in advance for the Uffizi Gallery nor the Accademia, however, I was there in the Fall and you will be there in May. You might try accessing Aliwest Travel ([email protected]), they are a booking agent in Florence that book museum reservations all over Italy (I booked my reservation for "The Last Supper" in Milan - was just there and saw it this last Tuesday!)

You will love the Cinque Terre, I don't think you are there too long. You will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere compared to the city life in Florence. I like Monterosso, Riomaggiore, or Manarola to stay in. Looks like you are correct in leaning towards Monterosso. You can certainly visit Vernazza and the other towns during the day (or walk to them!). Seafood is prevalent all over the CT, however, Liguria also is home to pesto and focaccia so you will find lots of pasta dishes with pesto variations, steak, etc. The seafood is absolutely wonderful there, fresher than anything you have tried previous, give it a try!
Huitres is offline  
Feb 25th, 2005, 10:02 AM
  #4  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,320
Hi MT,

Nice visit.

Uffizi and Academia Museum Reservations
The easiest and cheapest way is to call Florence 011 (U.S. international access code) 39 (Italy's country code) then 055-294-883 8:30-18:30 M-F and 8:30-12:00 Sat. Florence time. You will get an English speaking operator and in 2-3 minutes YOU CAN RESERVE FOR BOTH. This is through the reservation service at the Uffizi and costs beyond the normal entry fee only about 1.60 euro for the service. This is MUCH cheaper than the commercial booking services.
You will not be charged for the reservations unless you use them.

Il Ritrovo Via de’ Pucci 4/A 055.281688 Best food for the price Has fish. Full dinner w/wine abt 40E pp Closed Monday
From Pzza San Giovani (NW corner of the Pza del Duomo) walk one blk East to Via dei Martelli. Go left to Via dei Pucci. Turn Right. Look very carefully on left. No sign. Door could be locked. Ring bell.

ira is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 07:22 AM
  #5  
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Any more opinions around?
MerryTravel is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 08:35 AM
  #6  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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And thanks to those who have helped me so far -- good to know I'm on the right track!
MerryTravel is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 02:02 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 42
Your itin look very doable to me. One thing I'd encourage is to allow yourself some "planned spontaneity." In other words, keep your options open. For instance -- some people love Florence, others find it a disappointment. If you haven't been there before and don't know which category you're going to fall into, I'd leave Day 5 open for either a second day trip or another day devoted to Florence. (Personally, I'm a Florence fan -- I could happily spend the entire duration of your trip there.)

Same thing goes for the Cinque Terre. There are attractive places to visit along the coast aside from the CT. If you end up spending a day there and find for whatever reason you've had your fill, you can take a train into Genoa (another city I really like -- great palaces standing above the narrow lanes of a car-free medieval city center), or visit the towns of Camogli, Santa Margerita Ligure, or Portofino, each of which has its own appeal.

Finally ... halfway between Florence and the CT is Lucca, which is always a good option for an overnight. The old city center is surrounded massive ramparts that have become a kind of public park; in the evening it feels like the whole town is up there taking a stroll.

Anyway -- it's a wonderful part of the world. Hope you have a great trip.
mlongobard is offline  
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