Subject: Re: Trip to Italy - Cinque Terre / Venice
Hello Maria I second Frances' suggestion. Last year we spent a week driving from Rome to Spoleto, up the east coast of Italy, stopping in Ravenna for lunch, before going on to Venice. We stayed two nights in the Lido, which was fine for us, but for a first time trip I'd recommend staying in Venice proper. The city holds so much atomosphere after the day-trippers have left. In any case, you'd be well advised to book ahead.

We then drove west to Cinque Terre where we spent one night in Monterosso and two nights in Riomaggiore. In my opinion, Monterosso is the least attractive of the five. I'd suggest you stay in the latter and use the train that travels to all five towns. You can easily see all in one day if you're pressed for time but a stayover is highly recommended. (Contrary to what you might read on many websites, you can drive to each of the villages but the roads are squirrely and you'll waste too much time.) Bring good, solid shoes. Also be aware that some parts of the trail can be very difficult or just plain scary while parts of it are a lovely promenade; so talk to other travellers when you arrive in Cinque Terre to find out what shape the trails are in. Parts close from time to time for repairs.

After you leave Cinque Terre, you can visit Portovenere and have lunch, then on to Lucca, where you might consider staying over the night. Depending on how fast you travel, you can fit both Florence and Siena into the trip. My vote is for Florence.

Choosing between Amalfi and Cinque Terre is difficult but as you are in the northern part of the country, Cinque Terre is probably the best choice. Save Amalfi, with a side trip to Sardinia, for another trip.

Buon viaggi Lucy in Toronto