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Late August Trip to Northern Italy

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Feb 10th, 2016, 05:53 AM
  #1
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Late August Trip to Northern Italy

Hello! My husband and I have planned a one week anniversary trip to Italy (7 nights). We are in our 30s, active, and also looking to relax. We will be flying into Pisa and out of Milan. As of now my plan is to spend the first 3 nights in the Cinque Terre. He is concerned that we won't have much to do but I feel like there will be enough to occupy us for what is really 2.5 days. I also thought we can do a day trip to see Portofino if we feel like we have seen everything by the third day. I'm also torn on whether to stay in Vernazza or Manarola. I found a hotel I love in Manarola but it seems like Vernazza is a favorite with more restaurants, etc. From there we plan to head up to Lake Como. We have been before and we love it. Previously we have stayed in Bellagio. Since this our anniversary trip I would consider splurging on the Grand Hotel Tremezzo but again am torn because we love the town of Bellagio. We could split up 2 nights and 2 nights but not sure if thats more hassle than its worth. Any opinions / recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Feb 10th, 2016, 06:04 AM
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There are enough hiking trails in te 5Terre for 2 1/2 days. Don't underestimate Genoa if you like old palaces, churches, museums (for example the Sea museum with a old submarine of the italian navy or the acquarium).
No comment about Lake Como as you know it already.
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Feb 10th, 2016, 08:57 AM
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We recently stayed at Grand Hotel Tremezzo. The rooms are decorated in plushy historic style, very romantic. The pool (floating on the lake) is beautiful. The restaurant was, due to too many American guests, overpriced and mediocre, so we opted to walk a short distance to La Darsena, where they serve refined Italian cuisine which was twice as good as in the Grand Hotel and half the price.
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Feb 10th, 2016, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for tips!

neckervd do you know anything about the status of CT trails? My husband thought some of them might still be closed. Genoa looks really nice!

traveller1959 what did you think of Tremezzo? Did you make it to Bellagio at all anyhow do they compare? Good to know about the restaurants.
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Feb 11th, 2016, 01:38 AM
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List of actually closesd trails:
https://www.incinqueterre.com/en/trails-advice
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Feb 11th, 2016, 01:52 AM
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Be aware that in late August it is no exaggeration to say that Portofino will be an absolute zoo. It has become a feature of Portofino life that celebrities whose career is on the wane pile into Portofino in August in hopes of having tabloid photographers snap pictures of them, and international oligarch billionairs park their super-yachts in the harbor in hopes of same. Add to that the cruise ship crowds and the tiny town is swamped with a lot of manic shopping and people flashing jewelry. If you still want to see it, don't attempt to approach or leave the town by bus or taxi or car. Take a ferry boat from Santa Margherita Ligure in and out.

If you would like to experience some of the native charm of the Riviera and relax in a cooler, low-key spot, take the train to Chiavari for gelato or cocktails or both and escape the heat of the late August afternoon and foreign tourist crowds. The beautiful part of breezy Chiavari is not right at the seafront, but a 10-minute walk inland from the train station, at the foot of the hills. It's also a great town if you get a summer thunderstorm, because the streets are covered with porticoes.

Even if trails in le Cinque Terre are open, you might find that the only tolerable hiking hours are early in the morning. After 10am, the sun is really fierce on the cliffs exposed to the west, which have no shade trees, and that persists until 5pm.
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Feb 11th, 2016, 02:12 PM
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If you are looking for other things to do in the CT region consider Rapallo, Santa Margherita, Camogli, and Portovenere, none of which are quite as crowded as the CT towns themselves or Portofino.

Here's my pic of those places - http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/ital...ligurian_coast
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Feb 12th, 2016, 04:19 AM
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Bellagio is full of tourists, while Tremezzo is still an authentic Italian town.

Just a little story: On the market of Tremezzo we had a nice chat with an elderly lady who sold truffle butter. She was speaking nothing but Italian, but somehow we understood what she was talking about - the death of her husband, the little old cemetary and some more. I doubt, if such situations happen in Bellagio. BTW, the truffle butter was excellent.

And there is Villa Carlotta.

Where you stay is not too important, because you will use the ferries across the lake a lot. The boat rides are fast, fun and scenic. It is just a couple of minutes from Tremezzo to Bellagio.
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Feb 12th, 2016, 05:06 AM
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There are more closed trails near Vernazza than near Manarola, if that matters. The easier town-to-town lower trails near Manarola have been closed for several years now because of the risk of landslides. You can see this on the map link furnished by Neckervd.

The higher trails are mostly all open, but require more climbing and agility than the lower ones.

In Bellagio, you might have trouble finding someone who speaks Italian. We were there in May 2014, and found it an overwhelmingly English-speaking town. Once when we ordered something in a bar, the waitress even asked us if we could speak English! The proprietor of our hotel told us that there were more Italian speakers in town in August.
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Feb 12th, 2016, 05:18 AM
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Have a GREAT trip esp in Tremezzo. I'm not sure I agree that any restaurant in Italy is "mediocre" because Americans eat there but whatever.
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Feb 12th, 2016, 09:37 AM
  #11
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Isabel thanks for sharing the beautiful photos! What time of year did you go?

Does anyone know how long the trip from Cinque Terre to Como takes by car and/or train? I am wondering if we should stop somewhere for a night or two in between. We don't mind moving around. I want at least 3 nights at the lake and 2 nights in the cinque terre otherwise open to some suggestions.
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Feb 13th, 2016, 06:19 AM
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Monterosso (5Terre) - Varenna (Lake Como):
200 miles, all motorway
by train: 4 1/2 hrs, every 2hrs, change at Milan
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Feb 16th, 2016, 08:59 AM
  #13
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Thanks! If we get a driver between cinque terre and the lake is there a good place to stop in between? Maybe for lunch and walking around before continuing North.
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