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lavender Jan 11th, 2015 04:40 PM

Ligurian coast base 7 days- final leg of 5 week trip.

Middle aged couple
Independent travellers no car- prefer to use trains
Travelled to Italy several times- and in particular have spent several weeks in Rome previously

We will have 5 weeks in Italy. May-June

Confirmed itinerary so far .all except for the Liguria leg

Rome: 3 nights
Bologna: 7 nights
Verona: 7 nights
Varenna: 10 nights

**Liguria** ( but undecided where) 7 nights

Rome 1 night then fly home

On previous trip spent 3 nights Manarola ( Cinque Terre) and 1 night Camogli....loved the area.

Undecided whether Genoa is the right place to base with day trips....we usually stay in "budget conscious" apartments, but I feel unsure if this is the way to go in Genoa-

Am curious about the area west of Genoa.... but am really open to suggestions.

Where would you base for the 7 days or should we split the time?

sandralist Jan 11th, 2015 05:46 PM

What week of what month would you be there?

What is your major interest in Italy?

Are you willing to fly back to Rome?

lavender Jan 11th, 2015 06:00 PM

We expect to be in Liguria June 9- June 15

Interested in history, local life, culture

Not interested in flying back to Rome- we actually enjoy the train journeys...even the regional ones

isabel Jan 11th, 2015 06:17 PM

I loved Rapallo as a base for that region. I was there 5 days, could easily have spent 7 though. I stayed at Hotel Italia which was right by the castle and I thought was quite reasonably priced.Great breakfast.

Here's my trip report - scroll half way down to get to the Ligurian part.

sandralist Jan 11th, 2015 06:41 PM

Train rides that begin west of Genova headed for Rome are really quite long -- probably longer than anybody would want to do in a single day. If you decide to stay west of Genoa you might consider at least one overnight enroute to Rome preferably close to Pisa (ever been to Pietrasanta?) Or you might enjoy Chiavari. Or Genova itself.

At the time of year you are going, it might be nice to stay in Bordighera, which is rather close to the French border. That end of the Riviera tends to be a bit more dry and sunny at the end of spring than the more easterly parts of the Riviera. Monet painted in Bordighera, and there are Roman sights nearby available by train and bus, including slightly inland (Dolceacqua). If you are planning on going to Ravenna as part of your stay in Bologna you can also see an historic echo of the great mosaics of Ravenna in the Ligurian town of Albenga, so rewarding to visit. You can also visit the great markets of San Remo and its historic center. There are other pretty villages along the coast just for strolls and good food. It is easy to get into France from Bordighera, and visit sights like Eze or even the museums of Nice. It is interesting to see the contrasts and similarities of France and Italy near the border.

In many ways, Bordighera is the heart of the original Italian Riviera. Just about 100 years ago, a Sicilian novelist wrote a romance set in Bordighera, describing a love affair between a local doctor and a visiting British girl (who conveniently breaks a foot and must spend weeks recuperating under the handsome doctor's care). The novel became so hugely popular in Britain that people began flocking to the Italian Riviera to see the paradise the book described (which they had previously always believed was some sort of bug-ridden wasteland). What became the annual European film festival was first located in Bordighera (not Cannes). Royalty came and British gardens were created. There were casinos and polo games. Two world wars destroyed it, especially when the Nazis took over hotels along the Riviera and used them as prison camps.

After WW2, the upper classes in Italy were impoverished, so they sold their grand villas and property by the sea to developers who built a lot of cheap tourist hotels. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn made the French Riviera romantic, and the Italian Riviera went back to being viewed as shabby and uncomfortable. A few fashion designers and jet setters made pretty Portofino famous, but it wasn't until Rick Steves began promoting le Cinque Terre that tourists began stampeding to the Italian Riviera instead of Capri or the Amalfi. They turn their nose up at the Western Riviera because it isn't "quaint" and there is no hiking like so many Americans think ought to be a part of every vacation.

But the food is fantastic, its a lot of fun, there is prettiness and charm and unique local culture found nowhere else in Italy. One bumps into some Belgians there, a smattering of Germans and still some Brits, but that's about it.

sandralist Jan 11th, 2015 06:47 PM

If you decide to go to Bordighera you can read the book that started it all for free online. It's called "Doctor Antonio"

vinoroma Jan 11th, 2015 11:17 PM

I love Chiavari, and in June Sestri Levante will be lovely too - already awake but not yet full to the gills.

lavender Jan 12th, 2015 03:35 AM

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond- plenty of food for thought.

Isabel, found your blog re Rapallo very interesting, your travel style seems similar to ours- had never considered Rapallo before but will now look into it.

sandralist- thanks for your very comprehensive thoughts and background info- again, somewhere new to research.

vinoroma- more good suggestions to read up on


lavender Jan 16th, 2015 01:16 AM

Just thought I'd pop back in to update in case anyone else is interested in a similar itinerary.

Will preface it by saying that we were driven by- selecting bases with good transport hubs, selecting bases that were easily connected by train, destinations offered good budget/value accommodation.

Thanks to Fodorites for helping me to get the ball rolling...

Confirmed itinerary..

Rome 3 nights

Bologna 7 nights

Verona 7 nights

Varenna 10 nights

Genoa 2 nights

Rapallo 4 nights

Grosseto 1 night

Rome 1 night

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