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elnap29 Oct 13th, 2010 02:17 PM

How to Spend 6 nights after Venice, before Rome via Train
Hmmm ...We're rethinking our plan to go to Cinque Terre between Venice and Rome, mainly due to possible weather issues that could mar the idea of hiking in Lake Como area and Cinque Terre in late April/early May.

We plan to take the train, preferring not to rent a car. What charming locations to visit? We do not want a big city on this part of the trip (enough of that high energy activity in Venice and Rome). Any suggestions for low key stops, smaller towns/villages that are not on the typical path of the Venice to Rome tourist? Open to all suggestions.

zeppole Oct 13th, 2010 02:50 PM

If your original idea was to go someplace scenic for hiking in late April/early May, I'm not sure why you are giving up Lago di Como or le Cinque Terre.

Lago di Como is famously abloom with azelea and rhododendron. Yes, you can experience rainy days, but not six days worth. If you position yourself right, you can spend rainy days in Milan or other cities.

Likewise, if it rains six days straight in le Cinque Terre, it will be the end of le Cinque Terre. If it is too rainy to hike in le Cinque Terre, you can take a train to Lucca. You can hike above Portofino. Or Genoa. Or see museums there. Or in Pisa.

However, if you are sensitive to touristy places, you should know both those places -- Lago di Como and le Cinque Terre -- are touristy to the hilt. Maybe you want to position yourself just a bit outside the tourist hot spots, but still with good transport connections.

Othewise, to answer you question:

Mantova offers lots of great activities, indoor and out, and would be on your way to Venice.

The pedestrianized town of Ferrara might be what you are looking for an all-weather base with good train connections.

PeaceOut Oct 13th, 2010 02:52 PM

We had perfect hiking weather at the Cinque Terre in early May. Sunny, not too hot.

We stayed three nights at Santa Margherita Ligure, a smallish harbor town with nice restaurants. Good location for visiting the CT and Portofino.

We also enjoyed our three nights in Florence.

elnap29 Oct 14th, 2010 12:15 PM

Thank you both for your replies.

We would like to see (experience) le Cinque Terre, but I started to worry that rain would be a likely impediment, and since the trip is costly, we'd rather make sure we can fully enjoy each day.

zeppole, your suggestions are just what I was looking for. Can you tell me what you like best about being in Mantova and Ferrara?

Peaceout, we thought we'd skip Florence this trip in order to have a different type of experience from cities/museums/crowds, since Venice and Rome will be in more of that category. Glad to hear you had good weather for Cinque Terre in early May. If we go there, it will be during the first week in May. Already we are finding inns booked with only the most expensive rooms available, so we may start to look outside the 5 Terre. Thinking Camoglia. Or ???
The trickiest part is deciding if we want to risk weather in this region. We hike at home in the Sierras in rain, so it's not that we're soft in these matters; we just want to have the best experience possible in Italy.

While researching lodging, I found Villa Rosa in Camoglia. It looks nice but rustic and you have to hike a nature trail to get there. This got me thinking about the possibility of having an experience similar to this in another region, where rain would not impede. Just pondering it all. I'm appreciative of all suggestions.

ellenem Oct 14th, 2010 01:39 PM

We spent some lovely days at Lake Como a few years ago, April 26-30. One day was on-and-off cloudy with momentary showers. The others were sunny. The azaleas and rhododendrons at Villa Carlotta were glorious. I thought it was a great time to visit.

Another possible stop along your way would be Ravenna, which has churches with truly awe-inspiring mosaics and a small town vibe. It is on flat terrain, so there's no dramatic scenery. All the drama is in the churches. I've visited here as a daytrip from Bologna and also on a two-night stay. Tour buses will stop here in the morning, but by early afternoon the buses are gone and you have the town to yourselves and the locals. Lots of bike riders here. I don't know if it's still true, but in 2001 there were bikes parked in public bike racks that visitors could just take and use.

PeaceOut Oct 15th, 2010 07:31 AM

Your time-frame is good, because you will be there before the throngs of tourists. And flowers will be blooming, like azaleas on the Spanish Steps. It's a good time to visit. We were glad to be there then, because we've heard so much about the heat and the crowds, and we did not experience that at all in our 15 nights of our trip. Weather was good for us, too. Just one morning of rain when we were in Rome, May 8.

We stayed in Santa Margherita Ligure, because we wanted one day at Cinque Terre, and it gave us options in case of rain. Luckily, we had a gorgeous day to walk two of the hikes. If you are interested, I created a thread on this forum which gives details about each segment of the CT. I personally walked from Vernazza to Corniglia, which is an extreme uphill stairstep adventure! Gorgeous vista views.

Good luck with your planning. It's fun to do, and you can post any of the specific questions you have, like about Villa Rosa.

elnap29 Oct 15th, 2010 09:10 AM

Thanks for the encouragement to keep CT in the itinerary.
Peaceout, I would love to read your thread but couldn't find it. Could you possibly post a link?

Looking at more photos of Bellagio and Varenna fans the flame of inspiration to go there, too. I can tell Lake Como and CT areas are touristy by the high prices of lodging. We had hoped this "middle section" of our travels would be less expensive than Venice and Rome.

Peaceout, have you stayed at Villa Rosa? There are many places with a similar name. This one is high on a hill and you must walk a 'nature path' to get there.

PeaceOut Oct 15th, 2010 09:18 AM

No, we only stayed at the B&B in Santa Margherita Ligure, called the Albergo Nuova Riviera. Here are my notes:

"The hotel management prefers people check in by 6:00 p.m., but they graciously agreed to our later arrival because I’d called in advance from Venice to discuss our train schedule options and to request the late check-in. To arrive earlier would have meant more train connections, so we were happy to take just two trains: one train from Venice to Milan, then another from Milan to Santa Margherita.

We really enjoyed the Nuova Riviera, via Belvedere 10, The little B&B hotel is located on a slight hill, on a quiet narrow road, in a nice semi-residential neighborhood, only 200 meters from the harbor and the center of town. They call it a “liberty villa with garden”, and you feel at home there.

The owner met us at the front gate, to assist with our bags from the taxi up to our room on the third floor. There is a beautiful staircase at the Nuova Riviera, but no elevator. Breakfast is included (very simple pre-packaged rolls, but nice cappuccino, also simple juice). Our room was very reasonable, 98.50 EUR for a double/twin with breakfast. (It would have been slightly less expensive if I hadn't gone through

Actually, our room had three twin beds, and was quite large with a big wardrobe, a desk, a roll-top desk, and two upholstered chairs. The room had a unique rounded wall, with large windows, and also a ceiling fan. The bathrooms are relatively new, with nicely tiled shower stalls. It was sparkling clean and very charming.

The owner and his manager live there, I think, so they are there to say Hello and Goodbye whenever you are coming and going. It's a very personal touch, so you feel like you're staying in a private residence really. They are very helpful in answering questions, providing maps and directions"

PeaceOut Oct 15th, 2010 09:18 AM

The CT thread is:

I topped it for you.

alihutch Oct 15th, 2010 09:20 AM

There are cheaper places to stay around the Lake Como....the village that I usually stay in has a great hotel that has simple clean rooms with stunning views for €55 for a double. The apartment we usually stay in (which sleeps 2 - 6) is about €100-150 a night, and is right on the lake edge.

alihutch Oct 15th, 2010 09:22 AM

There's also very good hiking around the area

JillDavis Oct 15th, 2010 09:24 AM

I responded to your questions that you asked me on my trip report of Venice...check it out.

elnap29 Oct 15th, 2010 01:59 PM

Thanks, Jill.
Alihutch - which village/hotel at Lake Como?

uhoh_busted Oct 15th, 2010 03:05 PM

If it were me, I'd do Verona and Bologna then Rome. But I'm a real foodie. I've not been to Bologna, but totally loved Verona and would go back in a flash.

elnap29 Oct 16th, 2010 09:47 AM


alihutch Oct 17th, 2010 03:34 AM

The Tre Rosa in the village of Nesso which is half way between Como and Bellagio.

TDudette Oct 17th, 2010 04:00 AM

Some of the Umbria hill towns could give you some hiking! On one trip, we based in Spoleto (which we loved) and visited Assisi, Orvieto and Spello by train.

Sorry to through in a separate suggestion when you seemed pretty certain about CT.

elnap29 Oct 17th, 2010 07:30 AM

At the moment, the only thing certain is that we start in Venice and end in Rome. Thanks for the suggestions. I am researching them all. Realizing that it could rain at any point in the trip, we want to lessen the chance of that having a negative impact.

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