Florence to Cinque Terre

Feb 21st, 2015, 02:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Florence to Cinque Terre

We're going to Italy for a week in early June. We were told to hit up the main three cities, so we are attempting to visit Rome, Florence and Venice. We know there are so many more things to see so it seems that another trip to Italy is evident in the distant future. However, during this trip I really want to try to see Cinque Terre. Is it possible to go to Cinque Terre from Florence, and if so what is the most efficient route? I have looked into several options and it seems it will take at least 2.5 hours by train one way, which I think is too much for a 1.5 day trip to Cinque Terre. I also don't know if we should spend more time in Florence and cut down that time in Cinque Terre. Anyway, we will have a car but I have read that we should not drive to Cinque Terre, but is there a good option to park in one of the nearby towns if coming from Florence? I just want to consider all my options before I cancel going to the CT because of the inconvenience.

Thank you so much for your help!
bhu is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 03:06 PM
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There's no faster way to get there than the train as far as I know. And exactly how do you plan to be in Florence with a car, which will be a liability.
RonZ is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 04:03 PM
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Way too much for one week. How many days do you have not counting travel days? Remember, you loose at least a few hours if not more traveling from one place to another. I would visit two out of the four cities. Either Rome and Florence or Venice and the CT. You can take the train from Venice to the CT. Stop in Pisa for a few hours along the way. Good Luck
lancer11 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 04:19 PM
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Just Rome, Flirence, and Venice will be an awful lot for one week. Consider limiting this to just two.

Also a car is actually more of a hindrance than a help in these cities. Parking is difficult and expensive; there are ZTLs (limited traffic zones) where you can not drive and will be hit with heavy fines if you do (difficult if you are not very familiar with Italian street signs); traffic and roadways can be slow and challenging, and there are not even roads to drive on in Venice. Unless you have a very specific reason for needing a car, you will find it faster, cheaper, and less stressful to take the train between these three cities.
msteacher is offline  
Feb 21st, 2015, 04:22 PM
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We drove to CT last summer thought it was fine. It was a beautiful drive. Yes, it's a narrow road but if you are comfortable driving in the mountains it is the same. We also found somewhere to park right when we pulled into town. They have a parking lot that costs some money but not very much. We stayed two nights. Everything says not to drive but we had a rental car and I would do it again.
I am headed to Italy again this summer and plan on driving to it. It is a slow drive once you get down into the area because of how narrow and windy it is but it was beautiful looking down on the ocean.

If you do plan on going back maybe narrow it down between your cities too. The area around Florence is breath-taking, just relaxing, romantic, and beautiful. I would suggest doing Rome, and then driving up to the Tuscany area then on to CT. This is what we did our first time. Or maybe leaving Rome out this time and doing Venice then drive down to Florence, Tuscany, and CT. I know it's hard leaving something out but once you go you will go back.I had no idea I would go back this soon!

I am going back this summer and will do Venice last time we didn't have enough time. Rome needs at least 3 days, at least. It's so amazing. I have a great place to stay in Rome if you haven't found one too. Good location and great breakfast. Staying there again this summer.
Kaysib is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2015, 01:30 AM
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Forence - 5Terre:
all boring motorway (with no seaview) for the first 170 kms. Small and sometimes congested local mountain roads for the last 20 kms. Count about 3 hrs OW.
BTW: Europeans who love Italy never go to 5Terre between April and October; it's a exclusive domain for English speaking people from ovrseas.
neckervd is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2015, 11:43 AM
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Whether to drive to the Cinque Terre is debatable. Driving between Rome, Florence, and Venice isn't debatable at all. The train would be both cheaper and faster.

Most Italians wouldn't go to the Cinque Terre between November and Marche, because of the risk of bad weather. I've been there in October and another time, I think in the spring, but I'm not sure. There weren't q whole lot of Italians there either time, but there were some (us for instance).
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 05:28 AM
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I was tiwce in the area in February (after having consulted the weather forecast and booked the hotel by phone the evening before, of course!).
I left Berne by train at 18.34, slept at Milan and began to hike at Monterosso the following morning shortly after 11am.
There were only few hikers, most of them from Germany, Piedmont and Lombardy.
Everything was fine. ...and the tollgates were open, of course!
neckervd is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 05:57 AM
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If you are considering all your options, consider what you would really like to do on your trip trip to Italy rather than doing what other people told you that you must or is basic. Many people go to Italy the first time and do not see Venice, Rome and Florence for their first trip.
sandralist is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:23 AM
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That's very true. The first time I was in Italy, I skipped Venice altogether to spend more time in Rome, because I'm very interested in ancient history. One of my daughters has been in Rome half a dozen times, and still hasn't seen the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. She's more interested in modern art, and has seen three of Rome's museums of modern and contemporary art.

Some people spend their life savings on a vacation and end up seeing what they're "supposed" to see rather than what they'd really enjoy. Would you let a perfect stranger choose a car for you?
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:30 AM
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Necker, your strategy of booking at the last minute based on the weather conditions is the best way to visit the Cinque Terre in the off season without encountering crowds.

For those who intend to hike in the Cinque Terre, it's also a good idea to consult the trail map of the national park service:


The area has been stressed in recent years by storms and floods, and a good part (marked in red on the map) of the lower trails, along the coast, has been closed for several years now because of the risk of landslides. The higher trails require a bit more stamina, because most of them have some climbing involved.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 08:54 AM
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For my first trip to Italy I took Florence out of the mix -- not because I was uninterested, but because it would have meant cutting back on Rome and Venice -- plus I really wanted to go to Ravenna and one of the lakes for my first trip to Italy.

Huge numbers of people who post on Fodor's went to Italy many times before they went to Rome, or to Venice or to Florence. Many people still have not been to one of the cities, although they have hiked in le Cinque Terre. For many people who have been to all 4 places -- Rome, Venice, Florence and le Cinque Terre -- they will tell you that le CInque Terre was their favorite place and the highpoint of their trip to italy.

I'm not saying you should go to le Cinque Terre. I'm saying hundreds of thousands of people have created their own first trip to Italy based on their own personal wish list and had a great time.
sandralist is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 09:46 PM
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It can be done. Several years ago, winter time, we went to CT for a day trip from Florence. Left on the early morning train 6.30am and left CT around 7pm I think. It was a fantastic day. We managed to get to all five villages and loved every minute of it. We were able to walk between the first two villages easily, and then tried between the second and third, but there was a landslide half way around, which blocked the access, so we had to do the rest of it by train. Really, it was great, would have liked more time there, but better one day thank nothing at all, in my opinion.
nz101 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 07:31 AM
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With only a week, pick two.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 04:41 PM
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I haven't been to Venice, but... given 7 days, you need to not burn too much time traveling between cities, and I agree 3 cities is too much. And Italy outside the big cities is so nice, give it some of your time.

I'd do 4 days in Rome (allows time to get over jet lag and see all the big attractions), 1/2 travel day via fast train to Florence, and 2 1/2 days in/around Florence, skip Venice this time, and then you have time for CT (5T?)

Warning: EVERYONE does day trips to CT in the summer and the rush hour trains to and from CT can be very hot and crowded. Next time I would go against the crowds: train in the afternoon, spend the night in CT, and come back in the morning, and have a nice evening in (pick a village... probably Monterosso) at night when the masses are gone. Pisa is not too far out of the way on the CT train; you could see it while you're in the neighborhood.

If CT ends up being too much travel time, consider a day trip from Florence to Lucca... 75 min train from Florence. Not as special as CT but very nice.
david_beav is offline  
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