help with Italy

Old Aug 25th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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help with Italy

Hi,

Well, I started writing a couple of weeks ago, got very confused and am back again with different questions.

We will be in Italy from October 24 - November 3. We plan to spend a couple of nights in Rome. We will then go to Florence and this is where the questions start.

My daughter insists we go to Santa Margherita and drive down the coast on our way back to Rome. She was there several years ago and says my eyes MUST see this place.

Is it worthwhile to do this at that time of the year? Is doing this by bus or train a possibility? If not, how difficult is it to drive - my boyfriend gets very intimidated driving in other countries.

The other possibility is spending a few days in Tuscan towns but I've been hearing about Santa Margherita for so long, I really would prefer to do that.

Thanks for any and all info.

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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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Sorry but I forgot to ask if anyone has stayed in any of the Tuscan monestaries. I found a book about them in the library and am intrigued. Are they usually far from the towns themselves?

Thanks again.
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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 08:35 AM
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I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding the geography here. Have you looked at a map?

Santa Margherita is on the Ligurian coast. It's not on the coast that's between Firenze and Rome, so you wouldn't be anywhere near it "on your way back to Rome."

Also, in the short time you've got, I wouldn't make a detour just to see SML. There will be more than enough to fill up your days on that circuit from Rome to Florence and back.
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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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Have you been to Rome, Florence and Tuscany before? Do you depart on Nov. 3rd?

If this isn't a repeat trip, then I would be less inclined to spend the time making this coastal journey. Driving would take an entire day and would be a better idea over 2 days. You could take a train that closely follows the coastal road, but even that journey would be more than 5 hours.

If this isn't a repeat trip, then I would spend a few days in Rome, a few days in Florence and a few days exploring Tuscany in a car. If possible, fly home from Pisa or Florence or do the arrival and departure cities in reverse. If it must be Rome-Rome, then I like the idea of heading to Florence immediately on arrival.

Santa Magherita Ligure is beautiful. Your daughter is correct that you should see this place, but I don't think it works well in the limited time you have unless, of course, you've already been to Rome and Florence.
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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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Hi,

I live very close to Santa Margherita Ligure and I visit Firenze and Pisa frequently by train and by car. I can see why others are trying to discourage you, but my feeling is that you would only be adding a few hours in travel time -- and not necessarily even that much if the alternative is renting a car in Firenze and touring the Tuscan towns.

If you go to the Trenitalia website and plug in Firenze and Santa Margherita Ligure, you can see how long it would take you by train.

That said, I wouldn't want to drive from Santa Margherita Ligure to Roma. I would either train all the way or (most likely in my case) I would would go to the Genovese airport and fly to Rome.

At that time of year in Santa Margherita Ligure, you can get absolutely beautiful weather -- the main reason I live there. Nice for views and strolling and especially a bit of hiking, but there are not a lot of "things to do." If I were coming all the way across the ocean to Italy, I would definitely want to have a back up plan in case the weather forecast is solid rain. In that case, cancel reservations in Santa Margherita Ligure and do something else in Italy. My preference would be heading for Bologna/Ravenna/Ferrara. Not scenic, but rich in good food and art.

If you continue to think about renting a car in Firenze and don't really want to tour Tuscan hilltowns, read up on going to Portovenere instead of Santa Margherita Ligure. It is closer to Tuscany and to my eye even more beautiful than Santa Margherita Ligure. You can also reach Portovenere by train and bus (via La Spezia) and visit Le Cinque Terre from there (again, by taking a bus back to La Spezia if you don't have a car, and taking the train).

So many choices in Italy!



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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Here's Portovenere:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1gSaFxrwMM

Here's Santa Margherita Ligure

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trAMasS8X8k
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Old Aug 25th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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Here's more video of Portovenere and the boat ride up the coast to see all Cinque Terre:

http://www.webvisionitaly.com/catego...=&ref_item=379

I agree with Zeppole that Portovenere and Cinque Terre are the sites to see. Portofino is not easily accessible like Portovenere and CT.

I think Santa Margherita is probably a reference point for your daughter.

If you decide to go this direction then do think about seeing Pietrasanta. Ni video of Pietrasanta here:

http://www.webvisionitaly.com/catego...=&ref_item=379

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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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Thank you,thank you, thank you - I guess these boards really do what they are supposed to!!

Jean: I have been to Italy twice. Each time, for a week, I didn't want to leave Rome.

We are arriving Rome 24th, October and staying in Italy for 10 nights. We leave from Rome in order to have dinner with old friends from Prague who will be there then. So, it will be Rome for a couple of nights and Florence for 2-3 nights.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I should forget about Tuscany and hope that I get there some other time in my life. It would be too crazy to see a bit of Tuscany, and go North to S. Margherita Ligure.

Zeppole: I read all of your posts with great interest - you are a wealth of information. I will look up your suggestions.

Also, on a different thread I asked you about places you posted web sites for. Can't find them to save my life. They were Apricale, Triora and Bussana Vecchia. I have no idea where they are in reference to where I want to be but would love to know those sites again if it's not too much trouble.

WebVisionality: Thanks for your suggestions. I will look them up as well.

Those videos are wonderful.

Seeing S. Margherita Ligure is a priority for me and am willing to spend the extra time to get there. I've been hearing about it for 8 years (it was the highlight of a trip my daughter took) and it's time for me to go there. She and I share similar sensibilities.

Driving will not be an option. I'm New York City girl and don't drive. My boyfriend doesn't like to drive in foreign countries.

Are any of the towns you mentioned places we could use as a base for day trips? That way we could go to S. Margherita for the day?

Cinque Terre and Portovenere look great on the videos you sent.

I just might go to the Italian Tourist bureau to find out about trains, etc.

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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 08:09 PM
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Driving is easy, but the trains are easier. What exactly do you need to know? The train journey from Florence to SML is 3-4 hours depending on the train you select. The journey from SML to Rome is about 5-6 hours. If you leave by mid-morning, you can make the trip to Rome in daylight. You won't need to purchase your tickets before you leave home.

You can check train schedules at this website:

http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html
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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 08:25 PM
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Hi, Goldiept,

If you are not going to drive, and you want to see Santa Margherita Ligure, you need to take a train from Firenze. The journey takes a bit more than three hours if the Trenitalia gods are smiling that day, and you need to change trains in Pisa.

You might as well just stay in Santa Margherita Ligure, yes? If you want to climb around the goat paths of the Cinque Terre, you just take a train (about an hour). If you would prefer to just take a nice flat walk high up and see a great view, take the bus from Santa Margherita Ligure to Ruta, then walk to San Rocco. (40 minutes, all flat.)

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Im...di_Camogli.jpg

If you come at lunch, you can eat a nice big meal at Nonna Nina, or have a nice light meal at the Bar Pippi. When you are through,
if you have good knees, you can walk down the stairs to Camogli

http://www.jndstravelog.com/Europe/C...es/Camogli.jpg

and take the train one stop back to Santa Margherita Ligure.

If you would like to go to Camogli without walking down stairs, you can take a train or bus from Santa Margherita Ligure, or a bus from Ruta or San Rocco.

Other easy day trips from Santa Margherita Ligure are to Portofino (best by boat) and to Rapallo, where there is a cable car to see the views if that would amuse you.

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/med...ar-journey.jpg

Or if you are highly motivated, to to Genova.

To take the train to Roma, you get on in Santa Margherita Ligure, and the journey takes a between close to 6 hours, usually with a change in Rapallo.

You can also take public transportation to get to Genova airport to fly to Roma, although none of the flights leave early enough to enable you to connect through to a very early morning flight bound out of Rome.

Apricale, Triora and Bussana Vecchia are all close to the French border, which is another three hours away, and none are near the train line. So you will need to go on a separate trip.

I myself am not sure which webistes you are referring to but here's my favorite restaurant with a view of Apricale:

http://www.lafavoritaapricale.com/eng/dove_siamo.asp

here's a website for the town of Triora

http://www.comune.triora.im.it/regno...gb/framegb.htm

and here's one for Bussana Vecchia

http://www.bussana.com/index.htm

Enjoy the pesto!

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Old Aug 26th, 2008, 08:31 PM
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PS: Goldiept,

You should continue to check the weather for Santa Margherita Ligure after you arrive in Italy. If it looks like you would encounter a lot of rain -- several days in a row -- you should cancel your reservtions and see Santa Margherita Ligure some other trip. You won't see what your daughter thought was so pretty if you come in the rain.

At that time of year, you will easily find accommodations in another part of Italy less dependent on sunny weather to be enjoyed.

But I'm hoping for sun, and many time the weather in late Oct and early November is dry and clear.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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Levanto is a good base to see CT (water taxi goes from Levanto all the way to Portovenere), Nothern Tuscan coastal towns, and Santa Margherita.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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Hi,

I hope you will forgive the professional response (ie from someone who works with Italy day in, day out), but you are staying at two of my favourite cities, whilst Florence is where I got engaged, Rome is where the heart is as they say! Tuscany is also wonderful. I would really recommend you take a villa between the two city breaks and brave it with a car: you can see so much more that you would otherwise miss. It is a real delight exploring small towns and villages, places like Vinci or Greve, having some wine tastings and finding trattoria off the beaten track. Trust me, SM is nice but the Tuscan countryside is very hard to beat. Forgive the plug, but view some of the houses on my site
www.qualityvillasitaly.co.uk
There are other sites of course, but something you should bear in mind.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Sorry, Dan, but no advertising is allowed on this forum.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 08:03 PM
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I have to watch the convention!!!
Just wanted to check and see that this is real and all of you are out there with your wonderful knowledge and ideas.
Have spent the last 2 hours at Barnes and Noble reading a little bit - there is so much. Wish I could just leave my job for at least 2 months to do this.
Will check back in tomorrow.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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well, it's tomorrow night's convention I want to see, so here's my two cents for now:

Stay in Santa Margherita Ligure. It's a fine base. You don't need to be closer to Cinque Terre. If anything, you probably want to be further from it, just to get away from the people who only come to Liguria to go to le Cinque Terre.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Hi,

I've been MIA for a few days.
There is now a change in the way I wanted the route to go because my boyfriend's 38 Year old daughter will be joining us for 4 days.

Turns out she is willing to go across the ocean for just 4 days which seems foolhardy to me but....The 4 days she will be there are the days I was hoping to be in 5Terre and she doesn't want to travel that far from Rome is she's going to be there for such a short period of time.

So, my new questions (which I have for me anyway) are:

1. Has anyone been to Lucca for either the antiques fair or the crafts fair? Are they worthwhile?
I love that stuff, just looking is OK for me - don't need to buy. If it's not GREAT, I would rather spend the day in Florence. We don't have nearly as much time away as I would love. The more I read the more I wish we had more time there!!!!

2. Should we make Lucca a day trip from Florence? Only so we don't have to check in an out of another hotel.
Or should we stay there overnight in order to see more of the city?

3. Which neighborhood is a good place to stay in Florence where it won't be too noisy?

Can you recommend hotels in Florence?
I read on these wonderful boards about Residenza Villano, Tourist House Ghiberti and Alloro B&B. Any experience which one is best for not being too far off the beaten path or too much noise.

Thanks again.

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