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Just returned from Parma, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Florence, Pienza, Pitigliano, Perugia, and other points in Umbria . . .

Just returned from Parma, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Florence, Pienza, Pitigliano, Perugia, and other points in Umbria . . .

Jul 9th, 2000, 07:41 PM
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Just returned from Parma, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Florence, Pienza, Pitigliano, Perugia, and other points in Umbria . . .

. . . and I'll be glad to answer any questions. My wife and I traveled both by train and by car. Every place we visited was wonderful, every meal delightful, all the people friendly and helpful. Flight was in and out of Malpensa (Milan). We put to good use all the advice I got from you who frequent this forum - the least I can do is reciprocate!
Jul 9th, 2000, 10:36 PM
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Frank So excited to see your message. Help! We are a family of 4 thinking of spending a week in the Cinque Terre area. Is it beautiful? Is there enough to do and see in a week? Is it touristy? Would we be better off staying in Santa Margherita and taking day trips to Cinque Terre? We'll be travelling by car. Our kids are 20 and 22. Any advice would be appreciated. Terri
Jul 10th, 2000, 03:51 AM
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Hi. I saw your response about the CT and if there is enough to do. I don't think that there
would be enough to do there for a week. Parking is also difficult . We stayed in Santa
Margherita at a hotel on the water and did day tripsto the CT by train which was very
efficient and inexpensive. It also depends on how old your kids are but I do think that a
week is too much. If they swim and you are staying a hotels, definetly stay at a place on
the water. We stayed at the Hotel Continental which had a wonderful swimming area (the
best in SM)

Hope this helps!
Jul 11th, 2000, 08:32 AM
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Congrats on your great trip! I would love your feedback on my dilemma ... I've been to Northern Italy and Florence several times, but want to explore Tuscany, Umbria and points more Southern. I'm 32 and female and want your opinion on whether on should try this solo or join up with a group tour of 15-20 others. I love independent travel but am not sure it as enjoyable to go solo in these areas. Plus, if you just feel like writing about all of these wonderful places, I would love to hear that, too! All input is welcome.
Jul 12th, 2000, 03:33 AM
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Sorry for the delay in answering these posts -- I can't get this to appear only in the Italy topic, so one has to hunt to find it buried in the general Europe section.
To answer Terri's questions first, the Cinque Terre are definitely beautiful, and we'd highly recommend a visit. I think a week may be a bit much, unless you just want a relaxing week of staying in small towns and doing some swimming and hiking. There are no musueums and other tourist sites to visit (which is part of their appeal). I would not bring a car there -- it would be useless, since you can't drive from one village to the next. At least some of the towns (maybe all) have areas where you can park outside of town and have a short walk in, but mostly you either walk or take the trains, which are often and convenient. I think your kids are old enough to appreciate the hiking and swimming, and there are a lot of young people they might meet and mix with (at least there were in June). The towns are a bit touristy, but not objectionally so. We particularly liked Manarola, where we stayed. Vernazza is also nice. I didn't see Santa Margherita, so I don't know what day trips from there would be like. Others have said that Portovenere would be a good place from which to visit the towns.
Heather, I can't really answer your question about traveling solo versus in a group. Our own preferences are to travel alone, not in a group, but then we're a couple. We saw nothing to indicate that traveling alone in Tuscany and Umbria would be unsafe, so it's just a question of how much you want or need company. You'd have the opportunity to meet lots of fellow tourists if you chose. We really liked all of the places we visited, especially the six nights we spent in Perugia and the day trip to Gubbio from there. We found Orvieto and Assisi to be a little on the touristy and crowded side -- go early in the day, especially to Assisi, to avoid the crowds on tour buses. Pienza, Pitigliano, Todi, and Gubbio were all charming little towns, not crowded and very scenic. Let me know if you need more info about accommodations, etc.

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