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esd7747 Mar 27th, 2015 08:13 AM

Exquisite side trip from Cinque Terre?
We (3 ladies in our 60's, but in pretty good shape) are planning on spending 4 days / 3 nights (mid-late September) in CT (Monterosso most likely). We'll hike the trails between towns, but not the more rigorous hill trails. We were thinking about a day trip to a neighboring town, perhaps by boat... something with a little different flavor. Does anyone have any suggestions for a sweet side trip that took their breath away? For example, when we are staying on Lake Como we'll do a day trip taking the Bernina Express to have lunch in St. Moritz. (that's our idea of an exquisite side trip). Thanks so much!

vincenzo32951 Mar 27th, 2015 09:17 AM

The ferry to Portovenere is a nice trip, and the town is a good spot to walk around and have lunch. Walk up to the castle on the point for a great view. The ferry stops at each CT town, too.

HappyTrvlr Mar 27th, 2015 09:18 AM

We went to Portovenere. Also, look at visiting Santa Margherita Ligure by train.

neckervd Mar 27th, 2015 09:44 AM

train to Camogli - boat to San Fruttuoso monastery - hike to Portofino - boat to Sta Margherita - train to 5Terre;
train to Genova, visit of the Museo del mare, the Aquario, the Palazzo Ducale and other palaces, the cathedral, the cablecar to Righi viewpoint, guided boat tours through the harbour;
hike from Lerici or Montemarciano to the sandy beaches of Bocca di Magra;
train to Carrara and Carrara marble tour

Belinda Mar 27th, 2015 10:00 AM

Neckervd just recommended what I would consider my exquisite side trip - to Carrara with a tour. I'm a huge fan of Michaelangelo and his genius in finding the art hidden inside a block of marble. I know that Carrara isn't a "beautiful" locale, but I'd love to get up close the place where Mr. Buonarati selected his materials.

sandralist Mar 27th, 2015 01:07 PM

I think the hike from San Fruttuoso to Portofino is only for people who really, really enjoy hiking. But it's a fine idea to take the train to Camogli and the boat to San Fruttoso and have lunch there. From there you can take another boat to Portofino and the same boat will take you onward to Santa Margherita Ligure, where you can take a train back to 5 terre. If you've got the energy, it would even be fun to make a stop for an cocktail or ice cream in Chiavari (Cafe Defilla for ice cream or a shakerato).

Something else you could do is ask around, once you get to le Cinque Terre, if you could hire a private boat to take you to the islands off La Spezia (I think there is a restaurant out there). Maybe include Portovenere.

However, you need to ratchet down your expectations of matching St Moritz. One of the peculiarities of the long, thin region of Liguria is that the towns strung along the coast are so remarkably similar to each other, especially along the train line. They basically only vary in size, although if you know region, you can detect dfferences in "who goes where" when it comes to beach demographics.

However, the interior hills of Liguria is something quite different, and very insular landscape, rather Swiss in appearance, a real feeling of yesteryear. However, it is quite remote, so you really need a car to make any sort of dent in it, and your idea of a great time has to be stumbling across a tiny farming village in the middle of nowhere that makes chestnut ice cream.

If Carrara doesn't interest you, another possibility might be taking the train to the near-secret medieval pilgrim's town of Pontremoli (Tuscany) and having a wonderful lunch of testaroli with pesto, which is ancient pasta that is more like crepes. If what you like is places posh and sassy, you can take a train to Forte dei Marmi (also Tuscany) and drop some serious bucks shopping and eat at the Michelin-starred Lorenzo.

But the Italian Riviera is mainly an ideal destination for people who think life is exquisite when they are basking in the sunshine, by the blue of the sea, surrounded by fruit-gelato-colored buildings, the smell of olives and salt in the air and -- nothing on the agenda! (Except lunch, of course.)

esd7747 Mar 28th, 2015 07:33 AM

Thank you all SO much. Now I'm torn between Carrara and Pontremoli. Never heard of testaroli - right up my alley!!

esd7747 Mar 28th, 2015 07:54 AM

Do you know how long it may take to get from Monterosso to Pontremoli? Also, do you know which trains we'd take? I really appreciate your help. Thank you.

sandralist Mar 28th, 2015 08:00 AM

It's a switch in La Spezia. I think door to door maybe 40 minutes. It's a pokey train.

esd7747 Mar 28th, 2015 08:50 AM

Easy peasy - thank you!

tdk320n Mar 28th, 2015 10:28 AM


neckervd Mar 28th, 2015 10:34 AM

Pontremoli is a small town along the railway line La Spezia - Parma; about 1 1/2 hrs by train from Monterosso. Change at La Spezia Centrale.

Keren Mar 29th, 2015 01:47 AM


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