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Help with base in Liguria/Cinque T area

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Please, help to decide.
We are going to travel to Italy for 15 days next June. We would like take 4-5 days break between Florence and Venice in a little town where we can relax, do some hiking and/or short bus/train trips and come back every night for dinner and evening stroll on lovely promenade or main street. Somebody recommended Cinque Terre with Lerichi , Portovenere, Levanto, Sestri Levante even Santa Margherita Ligure as good budget base. Which one better? We are not going to have a car. We thinking to rent a condo/apartment with refrigerator in order to have a breakfast and sometimes lunch and eat out in the evening. We are less interested in the beaches, water is too cold in June for us.
Our doughtier like evening stroll, seat in cafe and do “people watching”, she never been to Europe before, so this city break is mostly for her, she is graduating high school this year and more interested to see people then historic stuff.
But after reading comments about overcrowding in 5T ,I am not sure what to do. Should we stay in other places in Liguria, away from 5T, or should we choose place in another area of Italy with good views and hiking?
We are open for any recommendations.
Itinerary from 5/30/2016 - Rome 3-4 days, Florence 4-5 days, unknown little town 5 days, Venice 2-3 days. Flying back to US from Venice.

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