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Bar Colombo, San Margherita Italy – Reader Feedback

Thanks for putting so much work into a top site. It was incredibly useful for us when we went to Cinque Terre last weekend.

Aside from all your useful info for everyone, can I recommend a few things:

Catch the train to San Margherita and then the bus to Portofino. Both are amazing, very wealthy and great for seeing how the other half live! Unless you have cash to spare take your own lunch – there’s no bargains to be had. If you do have cash I highly recommend Bar Colombo on the waterfront at San Margherita for a coffee or snack – the owner there was overwhelmingly friendly. The bus ride to Portofino is 1700L and is a great ride – gorgeous scenery as you drive around some hairy corners. Catch a ferry back from Portofino to San Margherita, Rapallo or Monterosso (6000L to San Margherita) – the towns look even more stunning from the water.

Your time frames for the 8 mile walk were really accurate. Walkers, if it’s a hot day take a hand towel. There are a couple of small pools between Corniglia and Monterosso that are great for dipping your feet in when you stop for a drink.

The hostel at Manarola is great – I booked on the Net and a prompt email came back to confirm my booking – too easy. I also recommend the restaurant Marina Piccola at Manarola if you are looking for a step up from pizza and pasta – a bit pricey for backpackers but if you have a little more cash it’s fantastic. US$20 a head got us a breads, a cheese board entree, mixed grilled seafood – prawns, crayfish, fish, baby octopus (superb), wine and desserts.

Can’t wait to go again!!


Ariane de Rooy

Cinque Terre Weather & Climate – Reader Feedback

Reader Dan Wood wrote to tell us about Cinque Terre when the weather is bad:

“If it has rained in the last couple of days, hiking may be hard. On our trip, the trails were officially closed, even though everybody went on them anyhow. The hike from Manarola to Corniglia just had a couple of mud puddles in the trail. Other routes may be tricker! If the weather in the area is bad and you can delay your visit to Cinque Terre, that may be a good idea.”

Remember folks, the weather is pleasant and warm in Cinque Terrre from Easter until the end of October. Try to avoid Cinque Terre in the high season, which is July, August and September. Enjoy!

cinque terre climate

cinque terre climate chart

The Secret Is Out On Cinque Terre

The secret is out that Cinque Terre is a great little place away from it all. I sometimes wonder if this little web site is partly to blame.

As John Vittoe wrote:

The last couple of trips my wife and I have noticed the CT is getting more and more crowded, especially with Americans looking for that quaint little Italian seaside village. As Rick Steves said, “That quaint little village isn’t so quaint when the tour bus pulls up.” I tell people who email me that the CT is not for everyone and I would not even consider visiting it during the months of June, July and August, there are just too many people. It becomes a quaint village again sometime in late September. Adapt to this beautiful place, don’t spoil the atmosphere and be considerate to local customs. Don’t be the ugly American, Brit, Swiss etc, as another silly summer season rolls around.

Finding a Pensioni in Cinque Terre Where English Is Spoken | Reader Feedback

Bravo for an absolutely stunning website. The most complete, attractive, useful, informative site I have ever seen. I found it on goggle, helping two friends plan a 2-week visit to Italy: Roma/Firenze and especially hill towns, and Cinque Terre.

They are being supremely sensible in:
a) going in May
b) preferring small towns to big cities
c) NOT renting a car
d) thus going only where train or bus will take them

Have ‘known’ about CT since 1990 when Rick Steves put it on the map (alas?) and finally got there in 1999 on a dreadfully inauspicious occasion August (yuk) and an unresponsive traveling companion we took the boat from Rapallo to Monterosso then trained to Vernazza and Corniglia (being 75 and not climbers, we skipped the town) and walked to Manarola (where we still owe a waterside cafe the price of a bottle of Pellegrino — as they couldn’t change a L 50,000 note) and then on to Riomaggiore.

Since my friends will be there in May, maybe, this far in advance (e con il mio ‘non tropo cattivo’ italiano al telefono) it will be possible to make a (secure?) reservation somewhere? After reading your comments, I think I’ll aim for Manarola or Riomaggiore. My friends seem amenable to my suggestion of only 3 nights in Roma and the same for Firenze. Do you know any ‘interesting’ pensioni in either city, that speak English. I know nothing about the hill towns other than Siena (where I spent four summers at the Accademia Chigiana) and beyond knowing the names of Perugia, Arezzo, Assisi and Chiusi della Verna, I am totally ignorant. Do you have any suggestions? I will be very grateful for any advice.

Do you mind my asking the linguistic derivation of your very interesting name? Since your site seems to be in Switzerland, can I assume you are Swiss and by a process of elimination I come to Romansch am I wrong? I would really like to know.

I recently sent Happy Birthday to a German friend in Los Angeles. I found the correct words on line, and starting with a North German dialect, and Denmark, clockwise, I sent greetings from Poland, Czech Rep, Austria (including Wiener dialect) Switzerland (all five!-including Schwitzer Deutch) France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Netherlands (couldn’t believe she didn’t get the geographical choice and arrangement). Bravo again for your incredible site, and thank you for any advice you are willing to give.

Dan Scarlett
Santa Rosa, California

Cliff Statue at Monterosso Italy, Cinque Terre | Reader Feedback

Having just returned from a trip to Italy, with the Cinque Terre being one of the highest highlights, I have just found your website! How dumb! We walked from Riomaggiore upwards, contrary to most of your correspondents, carrying heavy camera gear and tripods (I am a 65 year old female, friend 58). It was an exhilarating experience.

However, upon our arrival at Monterosso it was raining very heavily and almost dark. Nevertheless, we managed to take some photographs of the statue carved into the cliff face despite these conditions. This statue is huge but doesn’t seem to be mentioned or identified anywhere that I have found.

My question: Who is it and who carved it?

Thanks for your informative site.

Marion Rodgers

Diving at Cinque Terre Italy | Reader Feedback

I just got back from Italy and visited Cinque Terre. I did a dive at Riomaggiore. I just want to let other divers know what to expect if they go diving. You can use this paraphrase for your website if you wish:

Diving at Cinque Terre occurs at Riomaggiore in the Marine Sanctuary. I used the only dive shop there. It is located down stairs of the tunnel connecting the train station to the village. Go down the steps that lead to the lower village when you come out of the tunnel and look for it on your right. Diving there was different than what you may find in the US. Be prepared to put on all your gear, carry it to the boat, and carry it back to the shop when you return. It may be difficult for some as there are a number of steps involved. My rating of the diving was just OK. I have quite a number of dives in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean. Nothing like them. It is similar to lake diving, as there is mostly large rocks on the seafloor. No hard corals to be found, only some scattered soft corals and small sponges. However, there were a large number of octopus that made it worth the trip. It is also worth it if you want to say you dove in the Mediterranean at a unique area. The cost was $55 (euro) for a one tank dive with all equipment and a guide. Happy Diving!

Darren Marhanka

EDI Apartment Rental, Riomaggiore Italy | Reader Review

Hi I want to thank you so much for the web site. I found it to be so very useful. Cinque Terre is now my most favorite place in Europe. I stayed in Riomaggiore for 7 nights and did not want to leave. I rented an apartment with EDI and it was fabulous, granted things are more expensive these days than when most of the info was written, but still pretty inexpensive. I would definitely recommend EDI and the people that run the business. They were awesome. We called one day in advance and need a week to stay with a ocean view. However they close at 5 pm and we were not arriving until 10 pm. They had no problem with this. They left the key and good directions at the front door. The apartment was great! Very clean and well stocked with everything that we needed. It had a terrace that overlooked both the ocean and the main town.

We paid 500 euro for 7 nights which is not necessarily the best deal, but I do not regret a cent of the money spent. They were able to take credit cards in the end, but they didn’t really want to. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you sincerely for the info and hope that you keep this site running and updated.


Our Visit To Cinque Terre Was A Stroke Of Genius | Reader Feedback

Placing our visit to Cinque Terre at the end of our Italian tour was a stroke of genius. The National park and medieval villages afforded a cadence to life that was restorative and deliciously self indulgent. After a sharp ascend from the train station (there are no cars in this 20 mile long paradise) we emerged out of the mountainside tunnel into the town of Manarola . Our host greeted us in the courtyard of the village and escorted us to the gorgeous little rooms we had arranged to let over the internet. There were no disappointments. Although accommodations are small by modern travel standards, the immersion into the culture was so heartwarming that one scarcely noticed the inconvenience. After all who wanted to stay in the rooms? Cinque Terre is simply teaming with adventures and quickly rewards the wanderer.

For us rushing to take in the whole region was not on the agenda. We wanted to stroll, enjoy the people, and bask in the Mediterranean climate. Oh to be sure we walked to Corniglia and Vernazza because who could resist the splendor of these walled and steeply staired villages? But utopia was found in Manarola. Reading books on the stone walls of the dozen or so little courtyards buried into the architecture of the village. Enjoying dinner every evening in the same restaurant so that we developed a beautiful repore with the waiters and the owner. Bottles of wine, loaves of olive bread, wedges of cheese, my wife and I holding hands on the rocks as the youthful Germans goaded me into stripping and taking a plunge into the not quite yet warm enough waters of the Mediterranean . Rarely in my travels have I seen a town that seemed to honor and embrace my quest for rest and peace. We found friendly smiles, appreciation for tips, kind words, and a willingness to let a stranger sit and become a temporary piece of their world.

Typically people on European vacations are franticly pressing ahead to check off yet another attraction. Indeed for the energetic who need to conquer the next mountain, Cinque Terre offers plenty of physical activity. However if you are incline to engage in a restorative retreat that preserves the pleasures cross-cultural entertainment, then fly into Firenze, enjoy the train ride through Tuscany, (first class please, you deserve the leather and the window) and string up your hammock in Cinque Terre. Here you will a find a place where your body can slow down enough for your soul to rejoin your life once again.

Dr. William H. Chadwick
Portland , Maine

How Holding Rick Steve’s Book Got Us A Place in Vernazza | Reader Feedback

My husband and I visited Cinque Terre last May (we loved it!!!)…. I had planned to buy the little post card with the pesto recipe but in the excitement of hiking/ touring forgot to go back for it. Since you travel there, I was wondering if you happen to have the recipe and would share it with me? I would like to make the dish for my husband for our Anniversary in February.

As far as where we stayed… it is a funny story. We had not called ahead and just planned to find something when we got there, turned out it was a busy time of year and there did not appear to be anything left in Vernazza where we wanted to stay. We were sitting in the harbor on a bench and a little elderly gentleman came out of the building we were leaning against, saw our Rick Steve’s book, and invited us to rent his spare bedroom! He spoke only Italian and we spoke none (although the Spanish classes in high school helped a little) but some how we were able to communicate. He and his wife were the most wonderful people!! In the end, we enjoyed Manarola & Vernazza the most of the five villages… hope to go back some day!

Thanks in advance for your consideration!

Stacey Raben
Pocatello, ID USA

Warning About Guvano Beach Italy | Reader Feedback

A word of warning about Guvano beach. Having got used to nudist beaches in places like Germany and Greece, I assumed the usual “code” applied here too – i.e. that even as a woman on my own I wouldn’t be stared at or bothered beyond perhaps an acceptable minimum. This was mistaken and probably stupid of me, but I have never had experiences like this anywhere else. Despite hiding behind a rock I spent a miserable few hours covering and uncovering myself as a changing crowd of men quickly gathered around me like vultures, settling very close on the rocks. At various points several of them started masturbating. I told them I didn’t like this and to stop and go away, but they just ignored me. When I got angry one of them fetched his friend, which at first felt threatening. He then proceeded to explain to me (in far more detail than I wanted) that this was known to be a beach for swingers, or anyone (male, female, single, couples…) looking for no-strings sex. Once I made clear that this wasn’t what I was after, he seemed to spread the word that I wanted to be left alone, but not all of them respected this, so I left.

All in all it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience, which was very sad as it is a lovely beach and I had a good memory of it from the previous visit. However, even on that occasion I was told some guy took photos of me while I was asleep. I also encountered and was followed by a young guy on my walk home along the deserted cliff path. Although nothing much happened, it was really scary as he a) didn’t seem to find anything wrong with pursuing and wanking “at” me, and b) there would have been nothing I could have done if he’d attacked me.

So I would strongly advise women in particular to be careful – it seems we are considered fair game.


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