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Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

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Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

My husband and I are planning to visit Italy in May 2013. My husband has been to Italy before (only on cruises), so we're looking for different experiences. We're both active 30 year olds. Love history & love hiking.

We're probably going to fly into Rome & out of Venice (or vice versa), but we don't have our itinerary done yet (obviously!).

Just wondering if Cinque Terre is worth the visit? Or if our time would be better spent in other areas!?

Thanks for being honest!! :)

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

Everyone's own personal opinion is "honest" - it just may differ than others. So, get ready to get a lot of different "honest" opinions on this question. There is no one answer and no one honest response - so, it may be more useful for you to read up on some of the many past threads in the Cinque Terre forums (lots of great info there), read about the villages in a good guidebook, look at photographs - and then take all that plus comments here into account before deciding.

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2. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

Thanks. I realize a lot of people will have different opinions, and I have been doing a lot of reading. Maybe I should have used a different word than "honest". From my experiences with TA, I have a hard time finding reviews on things that "didn't meet expectations" or "I would have done this different". I think Cinque Terre looks AMAZING, but I don't get the opportunity to travel too often, and I want to make the most of my time!! Not trying to be "glass half empty" here either :)

Thanks again!!!!

Portland, OR
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3. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

The first question is how long is your trip and what else do you want to see besides Rome and Venice?

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

we hiked the Cinque Terre over 25 years ago before it was discovered by American tourists -- we had the trail for a day pretty much to ourselves -- we saw only two other hikers and one class of Italian teens on a field day -- there were some German hiking groups arriving in town as we left -- we had some difficulty finding a place to stay as there were few hotels

it was magic

we revisited a few years ago and it was like San Gimignano -- filled with aimless tourists, crowded, full of little tacky shops catering to tourists -- and a whole lot less charming

whether to make it a stop or not depends a bit on what else you want to see and how much time you have -- if you have the time and it is a pleasant time of year (this would be a lousy bad weather destination) then a couple of nights and one day devoted to hiking the trail taking your time to enjoy stops along the way -- might be worth it

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5. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

Definitely depends on how long you will be spending in Italy. It's really beautiful, but if your total trip is only a week or so, I wouldn't invest the time. If you're in Italy for longer, it's a great place to spend a couple days, especially since you indicate you love hiking and a lot of your stops will probably be pretty city-oriented. As a hiker you may want to consider the Dolomites, especially if you have more time and -- ideally -- a car.

Edited: 6:00 pm, December 26, 2012
Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

You are talking five pretty little villages cut into the seaside cliffs. They are lovely, I believe the walks, when open, are very pretty (we haven't done much of the walks) but once you have visited there is not a lot to see other than the scenery and the picturesque villages themselves. We enjoyed staying nearby, visiting and eating there, but I wouldn't rate it as a must see for a first time exploratory visit.

But then I prefer art and architecture, history and churches and museums, none of which abound in the 5T.

Don't get me wrong. We have visited twice and love the villages. But I wouldn't prioritise them in say, a three week visit.

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7. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

My husband and I just returned from our 3rd trip to Italy. The first time, we hit the "big" 3- Venice, Florence and Rome. The second trip was spent exploring the Amalfi Coast and Pompei, the third trip we visted Lake Como, the Cinque Terre and Milan. In my humble opinion, I feel on your first trip to Italy it would be a good idea to see the "big" stuff. Being a fan of history, you will be blown away by the historical sights, museums, churches, etc found in the larger cities. Trust me, being in relatively good shape will be greatly appreciated when you're climbing to the top of the Duomo or wandering around any city. You will walk and climb til your calves are aching! If Rome and Venice are your definites, and you're not sold on Florence, just look on a map, there will be plenty of other cities along the way that would be worth stopping in. (Siena, Lucca, Bologna). The CT would be a bit of a detour, and again, it will depend on the amount of time you have to decide if it will be worth it.

I feel we were able to relax more on our subsequent trips, knowing that we had seen all of the major sights. If you feel like this might be your one and only trip to Italy, then some place with wonderful scenery, but not too much of a detour would be a good idea (maybe Verona and Lake Garda). Again, just my opinion. Happy planning!!!

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8. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

It's not overrated. We found it great just exploring the towns, but don't restrict yourself to just the 5 Cinque Terre villages. There are great towns just north worth a look, and going south Portovenere is worth spending a half day or so in.

Despite opinions to the contrary right through these forums, there's far more to these places than just hiking the trails between towns. We stayed 4 nights in Vernazza in September and rate the whole coast there as one of our best Italian experiences.

Rapallo, Italy
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9. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

Overrated, but because the whole region (Liguria) is beautiful, so there's not many reasons why all tourists should flock to that single spot.

That said, Cinque Terre are colorful and not too crowded in May... so they are well worth a day-trip if, say, you're in Pisa (or even a 2-day trip). However, hiking-wise, the trail from Riomaggiore to Portovenere (or its shorter variant from La Spezia to Portovenere) is far more dramatic. And swimming-wise Framura/Bonassola are more stunning.

If you're looking for hiking ideas, you're welcome to visit a Genova-based hiking website on http://liguriah.wordpress.com

Enjoy the journey plan :-)


Downers Grove, IL
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10. Re: Honest opinions - is this over-rated? 1st trip to Italy...

Our first trip we went to Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice. Trains in between each city, a few days in each. Milan surprised us by being a favorite. Main reason we went was to see The Last Supper, but the Duomo (walking around on the roof!) was wonderful. Our absolutely favorite day of the whole trip was taking the train from Milan to Lake Maggiore for the day. Took a ferry from town to town on the lake. Florence was our least favorite -- crowded and more art than we were interested in, but that's a personal preference. Still glad we saw David, though. We're going back this summer and will see the Cinque Terre, Lucca, Sorrento, Capri and Amalfi. You didn't say how long you'll be able to stay -- a big deciding factor as it does take some time to get from place to place. You can't do everything unless you have a very long vacation!

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