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Ideas for change in our Italian itinerary please

Ideas for change in our Italian itinerary please

Old May 28th, 2017, 01:16 PM
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Ideas for change in our Italian itinerary please

This is our third trip to Italy, have already visited Rome, Florence, Sorrento, Positano, Capri and Ravello (which we loved.) This time we want to visit some other areas. We are flying into Venice and out of Rome. Our plan is 4 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Bellagio, 2 nights in Cinque Terre then 6/7 nights in Rome, planning to do two day trips from Rome by train. Our problem is accommodation in the Cinque Terre area. Most affordable hotels/B&B's seem to be full (our trip is early September) including the town of Levanto. On reading an earlier post, the reviewer said that Cinque Terre is very similar to the Amalfi coast and she suggested it could be skipped. As we are having accommodation problems, and it is quite a journey by train from Bellagio, should we skip Cinque Terre? If so, need ideas please on where else to visit en route to Rome. We are travelling by train and don't want to live out of a suitcase too much, hence the longer stay in Rome.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 01:30 PM
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Are you hikers? If not, I suggest you skip the Cinque Terre, at least as a place to overnight. I love the CT and have been there times (only once to hike though). But each time I visit, it seems more and more crowded.

You can still visit the Italian Riviera without focusing on the Cinque Terre. I just got back from three nights in the lovely town of Camogli, near Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino about an hour train ride north of the Cinque Terre towns. I loved Camogli and hated to leave - it's a quiet, charming Italian tourist/beach town not heavily visited by Americans. I did a long hike from San Rocco (up hill walk from Camogli) over to the abbey at San Fruttuoso - very hard hike (beautiful views!). I hiked for more than an hour (in retrospect, kind of foolish) without seeing other hikers - a stark contrast to the mobs of American hikers you'll find on the Cinque Terre trails. Not to say it's exactly the same experience - the CT hikes are outstanding, probably superior to the recent hike I did. You can ferry over instead of doing the hike I did and ferry on to other nearby towns as well.

If you just want to visit towns in the Italian Riviera including the Cinque Terre, you can base lots of places besides Levanto and the five villages and day trip to the five villages by train and boat. Sestri Levante is another nice town about a half hour north of the CT by train. Santa Margherita is really nice but touristy. There are other towns nearby like Rapallo that I didn't get to visit.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 01:37 PM
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We are travelling by train - you may know it but if not booking train tickets (long distance not regional trains) can save a ton of money over walk-up fares - www.trenitalia.com is the official site of Italian Railways - also www.thretrainline.eu has same fares (folks here say) and is easier for many novices to use. For lots on Italian trains check www.seat61.com - www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

If so, need ideas please on where else to visit en route to Rome>

Orvieto is on the way to Rome by train as could be Siena or other hill towns - Orvieto is the easiest to hit but could be done as a day trip from Rome. I would do some day trips from Rome perhaps like to Ostia Antica - rivals Pompeii to me in many ways but without the swarming crowds- Tivoli for Hadrian's Villa and the Villa d'Este's fabulous splish-splashing water gardens, etc.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 01:48 PM
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If you want to be by the water, Rapallo, Santa Margherita or Camolgi could all be pleasant options.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 02:13 PM
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The Italian Riviera is colorfully gorgeous, but less of a rare jewel-box than Ravello. for a 2 night stay, following Bellagio -- which is also a jewel box -- I think you run the risk of "meh" making the dogleg over to the coast.

It is hard to fit in a scenic destination between Bellagio & Rome because the long train transit in between takes the path of least resistance through some unscenic farm land.

So I suggest you think about 2 choices:

Either opt for a fascinating small art city in between Bellagio & Rome that is slightly off the beaten track in terms of mass tourism & your previous experience, but rich with rewards: I am thinking someplace like Parma or Modena or even enchanting Lodi or Pavia. Maybe Brisighella. Bergamo? It's not hard to reach from Bellagio.

Or, in the alternative, take a train into Tuscany and then then spring for the cost of a cab ride that would take you to a hilltop castletown for a 2 night break in the beautiufl Tuscan scenery. Without a car, you'd be confined to the town or farm where you stayed, and some countryside walks. But you might fight it interesting. I would aim for traveling to either Arezzo or Buonconvento, and then taking a taxi to a scenic Tuscan perch where you can find a restaurant with good food and wine, plus a pool if you like to swim?

Last possibility is: Overshoot Rome on the way down to Bellagio on a fast train, and enjoy 2 nights in Sperlonga at the seaside, then go back to Rome refreshed.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 02:33 PM
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Last possibility is: Overshoot Rome on the way down to Bellagio on a fast train, and enjoy 2 nights in Sperlonga at the seaside, then go back to Rome refreshed>

Great advice from massimop but Bellagio is of course in far northern Italy! from Bellagio?
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Old May 28th, 2017, 02:46 PM
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Yes, I did mean to write "Overshoot Rome on the way down FROM Bellagio"
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Old May 28th, 2017, 03:15 PM
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If there is any way you can rent a car, I would highly recommend a stay in the countryside, either Tuscany, Umbria or Le March. Driving in the countyside is a joy!

If no to a car, we loved staying in Santa Margherita Ligure for our Ligurian Coast visit. In the future I would retun and would definitely consider a couple of the towns mentioned above for the coast, but we enjoyed SML itself completely.
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Old May 29th, 2017, 07:50 AM
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I also loved SMLigure - and Portofino is a short boat or bus ride or even walk away - weday tripped to Cinque Terre from there and walked the whole path between the 5 Lands. SML is touristy but what is not on this coast of Italy?
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Old May 29th, 2017, 08:23 AM
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Have you considered Pisa? The Duomo is often overlooked and is incredible. Once one gets away from the Leaning Tower area, one finds a nice university town. We had to reserve ahead of time to walk up the Tower.

From our Pisa base, DH and I trained to Cinque Terre (trails were closed), Siena, San Gimignano, and back to Florence to see a special exhibit for day trips.
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Old May 29th, 2017, 08:42 AM
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We had a terrific time in Bologna and stayed a couple of nights there. It is a lovely town to visit with excellent restaurants. One highlight was a tour we took out into the countryside visiting places where balsamic vinegar, prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano are made.

Ravenna is also a lovely city with amazing mosaic artwork.

So many good choices!
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Old May 29th, 2017, 08:55 AM
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Agree with KT above; we also took a day trip via train to Ravenna and enjoyed it very much.
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Old May 29th, 2017, 12:49 PM
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Thank you all for the great suggestions. We are working on them as we speak. Grazie.
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Old May 29th, 2017, 01:42 PM
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How about Portovenere? You can't get there by train, but by bus or boat from La Spezia.

I haven't been to Portovenere myself but have heard great things and the photos are great. It should be less traveled because it's a little harder to get to. On my list!
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Old May 29th, 2017, 11:24 PM
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Portovenere is a cruise ship destination and can get quite packed during the day in summer. Lerici, which can also be reached with a bus or ferry ride from La Spezia, is a better bet if you don't like crowds of foreign tourists.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 07:21 AM
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We loved Camogli on the Portofino peninsula, described as 'Cinque Terra without the crowds.' There's a spectacular hike (Cinque Terra style) to a cove with the picturesque abbey of San Fruttuoso, or you can take a train to Santa Margarita and walk to Portofino. You can also train to Cinque Terre. Stayed at the fabulous Cenobio dei Dogi hotel for 3 nights. The perfect Italian seaside paradise - We don't usually return places, but I can't wait to go back.
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