About Me

176 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Amy, one last question before we head to Monterosso in 10 days. We are driving, and will arrive in the afternoon on a Saturday. What are your recommendations for parking? How do we make sure we have a place to park? Thanks so much and can’t wait to get there.

    Like

    1. Hi Amy, Thank you for all your information about Cinque Terre. We just returned home from 2 weeks in Italy and one of our ventures was to Cinque Terre. We drove to Le Spezia and parked down by the water for free on a Sunday and walked about 15 minutes to the train station where we purchased a combination all day park/ train pass. From there we took the train to Monterosso. We walked around and had lunch before setting out on what we thought would be a nice hike to Vernazza. The sites were beautiful, but let those be warned, this was a real workout and not for the faint of heart. I’m glad we went in April. I can’t imagine how crowded the trail could become in summer. The views along the trail were breath taking and the pain well worth it with an apertivo waiting to be had at the end. If you take the trail, be advised that they do have a checkpoint along the way to check your park pass.

      Dave Kramar

      On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 6:39 AM, Cinque Terre Insider wrote:

      > Steve commented: “Amy, one last question before we head to Monterosso in > 10 days. We are driving, and will arrive in the afternoon on a Saturday. > What are your recommendations for parking? How do we make sure we have a > place to park? Thanks so much and can’t wait to get th” >

      Like

      1. Ciao David!

        I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed your time here! The Monterosso to Vernazza portion of the coastal trail is actually the most difficult segment (not counting the Beccara, which is an alternate trail). Yes, your heart will get pumping!

        FYI: During peak-season the checkpoints for tickets on the coastal trail will always be open (but there’s no penalty if you arrive and purchase the pass there).

        Take care!
        Amy

        Like

    2. Ciao Steve!

      Where are you staying in Monterosso? My advice is to ask your hotel (or host) if they can arrange parking for you. If not, see if they have any advice. Monterosso has a large dirt parking lot in Fegina (the newer portion of the village) and also payment parking in the old portion of the village. If you get there early enough in the day you can usually secure a spot but if you wait until prime time chances are they will be full.

      I hope this info helps!

      Amy

      Like

  2. Hi Amy, Nice website you’ve got! i enjoy reading all the information and there are certainly some good tips that we will use. A hike we allready had in mind but a winetast afterwards is a damn good idea! I’ll surely spent some time on your site before we fly to Riomaggiore at the end of september this year; Ciao!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Amy,

    Thanks for sharing your advice and experience on this blog! My husband, daughter and I will be visiting the Cinque Terre area in June (unfortunately for only 1/2 a day) and I have two questions about parking at the La Spezia station. First, can you only reserve a parking space the day before you arrive? And second, is there a specific time by which you need to arrive to be able to enter the car park, i.e. is it possible to arrive there too early (or too late)?

    Thanks!

    Kathy

    Like

    1. Ciao Kathy!

      I’m glad you’ve found the blog helpful!

      You can actually reserve a space for the parking garage months in advance. I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute because the spaces that are available to book in advance are very limited (once those are booked out you’ll just have to show up and hope to find a space first come, first served) and because you have to reserve *at least* 24 hours in advance.

      When you reserve a space online, they will ask you what time you anticipate to arrive and depart (whether it be before 12 noon or after 12 noon). If you select the former you can arrive anytime between midnight and 11:59am. If you choose the latter time (after 12 noon) you can arrive anytime between 12 noon and 11:59pm.

      I hope this info helps you in your planning!

      Take care,
      Amy

      Like

  4. Hi Amy,
    I was referred to your website through the Rick Steve’s Italy book. It’s a great site you have here, very personal and informal. I thought I would contact you with the hope of getting some info about Cinque Terre, in particular the hiking situation – as far as what trails are open, etc. My sister is generously taking me to Italy from the U.S. this September for my 60th birthday and even though I’ve traveled a lot, I haven’t made it to Italy yet. I’m very excited. We will be in Italy from Sept 11 – 25th and I definitely want to spend time in Cinque Terre. I see I can leave my email below. I ‘d prefer to communicate with you through email as opposed to this public comment page. I hope that’s ok with you. I have a bunch of questions.
    Thanks and look forward to hearing from you soon,
    Ellen Wolf

    Like

    1. Ciao Ellen!

      What a lovely birthday gift! You’re lucky to have such an amazing sister. 🙂

      While our business (Riomaggiore Reservations) has been listed in the Rick Steves’ guidebooks for years, I wasn’t aware that the blog was mentioned! I tried googling it to see if anything came up (like excerpts from the book) but had no luck. 😦

      As for the status of the hiking trails, be sure to check out my dedicated post: https://cinqueterreinsider.com/2014/09/26/current-status-of-the-cinque-terre-sentiero-azzuro-coastal-trail-september-2014/ This post is up-to-date and will tell you everything you need to know.

      I am actually unable to see your email (I’m using the WordPress app), I actually think they have you enter your email address as a security measure (to keep bots from leaving spam comments). At the moment, I don’t have an email address associated with the blog. I reply to comments here as best as I can (between chasing after the kids and whatnot). 😉

      x
      Amy

      Like

      1. Hi Amy,
        Thank you so much for taking the time to get back to me. I’m sure with taking care of two little boys and it getting closer and closer to the busy season, you don’t have much extra time on your hands! The dedicated post you referred me to was very very helpful!! It was the clearest information I have been able to find out of the confusing mess out there. Your blog is absolutely terrific and so thoughtful. It’s so great to be able to see all your personal insights and recommendations for restaurants and everything else. I will be asking more questions as time goes on. Take care.
        Ellen

        Like

  5. hello I’m spending three days in your area and I am very appreciative of your website

    we are coming to Portofino and cannot find a good hotel besides the Splendido. can you recommend two more ?
    also any good wine visits in the area?

    Like

    1. Ciao Tom!

      Thanks for reading the blog. 🙂 Portofino is teeny-tiny (seriously, it’s smaller than most of the Cinque Terre villages) so there’s not a lot of choice when it comes to accommodations (especially if you are wanting a specific star rating). Have you looked in Santa Margherita? It’s very close by and a small, lovely city so you would have a lot more options for accommodations there (and you’d still be super close to Portofino).

      As for wine visits, I’m not particularly familiar with what is offered in that area (they are about an hour up the coast from us). However, here in the Cinque Terre I highly recommend Gigi’s Walk ‘N Drink Tour in Manarola. He will take you on a walk through his vineyard and then down to his wine cellar to try his wines afterwards. His website is http://www.cinqueterrewalkndrink.com Be sure to tell him that you learned about him here! 🙂

      Hope this info helps!
      Amy

      Like

  6. Amy,
    Just got back from a wonderful European vacation and we visited Cinque Terre for 5 days. We stayed in Monterosso at the wonderful La Poesia with our fantastic host Nicoletta! It was a fantastic time and we visited all the 5 regions and thanks to your great blog/website we got to enjoy many of the hidden gems in the area. From having dinner at The Miky and Ciak to sipping coffee at Pasticceria Laura. We really loved being in Monterosso. Everyone was so friendly and the family atmosphere at night was so wonderful. THanks again for all your website information and for answering our questions before our trip. Ciao!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Steve!

      Thank you so much for the feedback! It makes my day to hear that you found the blog helpful and a great resource for your trip. I hope you didn’t miss out on a slice of the torta Monterossina at Pasticcieria Laura! It’s my absolute favorite… YUM! Makes me hungry just thinking of it. 😉

      Take care and we hope to see you back in the Cinque Terre someday soon!

      Amy

      Like

  7. Hi Amy!

    What a fantastic source of information!!! I have looked at many websites and books but yours is the most informative, well done.
    I am planing to visit “Your Paradise” end of August this year, together with family (10 Adults and 4 Children) will stay in Tuscany for two weeks and one of things to see will be Cinque Terre!
    We are going to use your advice and we are coming by train, not sure if we will park our cars in La Spezia or Levanto, we can’t book a parking yet as we don’t know registration numbers of the hire cars… in fact the big carparks on both side of Rail Station in Levanto looks OK and it is Pay as you stay (h rate).
    What do you suggest Amy?
    I also need your advice about baby pram, my little one will be 9 months old when we are in Italy and we will have a pram and baby carrier with us, I presume a Cinque Terre is not a best place to use a pram?

    Regards
    Michal

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Michal!

      Grazie mille! Hearing that readers find the blog useful makes everything worthwhile. 🙂

      I haven’t yet posted on this option (but it’s in the works!) but there’s the possibility to park for free at a secondary train station in La Spezia called La Spezia Migliarina. You can check train times and schedules at http://www.trenitalia.com (enter in that you’d like to leave from La Spezia Migliarina and then enter which village you’d like to make your way to first). Most options you’ll have to change trains at La Spezia Centrale but if you time it right you can actually catch one that goes straight through and won’t require a change (which is ideal, especially since you are traveling with so many people).

      A few things to keep in mind about this option:
      1) The Migliarina station is secondary and pretty deserted. There’s no assistance, TI office or anything else there other than an automated computer kiosk where you can purchase tickets. If you are planning to buy the Cinque Terre Card, you will not be able to do that at the Migliarina station.

      2) The free parking at the Migliarina station is lined in white. There are 48 (yes, I actually counted them!) free, white-lined parking spaces there at the station. There are even more free parking spaces a bit further from the station. Just be sure not to park in blue (payment) or yellow (reserved for residents or handicap) lined spaces. These parking spaces are uncovered and unguarded (so you’ll be parking at your own risk). Be sure not to leave anything in sight or of value in your vehicles (although this is a common sense rule that applies universally). I would feel fine leaving my car there during the day. I might be a bit more concerned about leaving it for a longer period of time, especially if it has a non-Italian license plate.

      If you decide that you’d prefer to reserve in the underground garage at La Spezia Centrale, you can actually reserve and enter the license plate number as RENTALCAR. 🙂

      Lastly, I recommend a baby carrier but if you’re really stroller dependent, I wouldn’t take more than an umbrella stroller (I most definitely wouldn’t take a big, bulky stroller on the trains).

      I hope this info helps! And be on the lookout for a blog post on the Migliarina station parking option (which should be coming soon!). 😉

      Take care,
      Amy

      Like

      1. Good morning Amy,
        I have managed to persuader one of my friend to go to Cinque Terre and he is there right now!!!
        I have another question. Looking for a best possible (not crazy expensive and posh) restaurants and places to eat, it is very important they are very local make fine food using local ingredients and recommended by You!

        Like

      2. Ciao Michael!

        Some of my favorite restaurants in the Cinque Terre include:

        Trattoria dal Billy in Manarola (off the beaten path at the top of the village)

        Ristorante da Miky in Monterosso (a bit fancier)

        Dau Cila and Rio Bistrot in Riomaggiore

        Enjoy!
        Amy

        Like

  8. Hey there Amy,

    So, I’m back again with more questions. I figured out my itinerary and I’ll be there with my sister from Sept 16 through the morning of Sept. 19. I am trying to decide if I should stay in Manarola or Vernazza. I know you have a special place in your heart for Manarola, but from reading some stuff, it seems that there are more options as far as places to stay and places to eat in Vernazza. While these things are important, they’re not the only things to think about, y’know what I mean? My plan basically is to do some hiking around, walking around, eating, drinking, and just soaking in the beauty of Cinque Terre and the people that live there. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the differences between the two towns. Hope you and your family are well and enjoying the season.
    Thanks,
    Ellen

    Like

    1. Hi Ellen,

      My wife and I stayed in Vernazza for 5 nights about a year and a half ago. Like you, we frequented this blog for the best information for our trip. Amy really puts her heart and soul into helping visitors to the Cinque Terre. A true labor of love. I enjoy the blog so much that I keep up with it so I can live vicariously through those who are visiting the region!!

      Forgive me Amy if I am intruding, but I wanted to make a comment on places to eat. Although we stayed in Vernazza for 5 nights, we only had dinner there for two. With the train pass that allowed for unlimited rides between the 5 villages, it was a breeze to have dinner in Manarola, and then catch the train back to Vernazza. We did the same for Cornelia and Monterosso. At the end of the day, we just had dinner in whatever village we found ourselves. However, if you do want to freshen up in your guesthouse, the train rides between villages are short. Later in the day, the trains aren’t always timely, but we enjoyed soaking in everything: even waiting for the train at the platforms!

      I hope this is helpful. And again, my apologies for the intrusion, Amy. I’m sure I’ll have more questions when we visit the Cinque Terre in 2 years for our 10 year wedding anniversary!

      Ciao,

      Brian

      Like

      1. Ciao Brian!

        Thank you so much for chiming in and for all of your kinds words! I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner but I’ve been under the weather this week and as a bonus same goes for our youngest son. We’re *finally* starting to feel better!

        Ellen, Brian gave you some great insight and advice! 🙂

        Take care!
        Amy

        Like

    2. Ciao Ellen!

      Nice to hear from you again! Based on what you’ve told me, I would choose Manarola over Vernazza. It’s true Vernazza offer more restaurants & shops but the ratio of visitors to locals is hugely out of balance in the village. I think you’d have a more “authentic” experience staying in Manarola. As for eating out, don’t worry… you can easily eat in any of the five villages as the train run until midnight. 🙂

      I hope this advice helps!

      Amy

      P.S. Be sure to visit Vernazza in the evening (rather than mid-day) to cut out the crowds and make it a more memorable experience.

      Like

  9. Hi Amy,

    I forgot one more thing. If I do stay in Manarola, is there anybody available to help with transferring luggage from the train station? I saw Bagagli Express on line, but didn’t contact them or anything yet. Is that a possibility? Not that I’m going to have a ton of stuff, but I’m not dying to walk with what I will have up a lot of steps.
    Thanks
    Ellen

    Like

      1. Hi Amy,

        Thanks for the advice! Very helpful as usual. Good to hear you and your son are on the mend. And thanks to Brian as well! So, I think I will try to find a place in Manarola. Quick question: I was a little unclear about the cost of the train pass that I can buy to go between the towns. Is it 33.50 or 16.00? And that’s per person I assume, right? And I might have missed it in one of your many great posts, but did you post a schedule for the train?
        I guess that’s it for now
        Thanks a million! I hope I can meet you when my sister and I are there!

        Ellen

        Like

      2. Ciao Ellen!

        The €33.50 pass is the monthly pass (“abbonamento mensile”) for unlimited train travel between the villages for an entire calendar month (it has paid itself off after you’ve caught nine trains). The €16 pass is for a 1-day Cinque Terre Card. That will include unlimited trains between the villages, use of the ATC buses, hiking along the coastal trail (the only portion that requires payment) and a few other perks. You can get a 2-day Cinque Terre Card for €29 or a 3-day Cinque Terre Card for €41. You’ll really just need to do your sums to see what option works best for you based on your plans. Don’t forget, the price to catch a train from one village to another in the Cinque Terre without one of the aforementioned cards or passes will be €4. The hiking pass for the coastal trail is €7.50.

        Hope that helps!

        Amy

        Like

  10. Hi Amy,

    I just had to tell you that we made reservations to stay at Da Paulin in Manarola and I’m so excited!!!!! I can’t wait!

    Ellen

    Like

  11. Hi Amy,
    Hello Amy,

    Your post is very helpful and thank you for sharing your knowledge especially to those trying to plan a trip from afar. I have been researching and still stumped on the best route to get to the Cinque Terre for a day trip. If you could provide your input it would be GREATELY appreciated. I like most want to see a lot while on my visit to Italy (first timer as well). A little background in summary on my planned trip: Arriving in Rome Sept 18—getting rental car at airport—driving to Montisi (staying there for 5 nights)—as recommended having rental car for the entire duration of my stay there. Day 6 driving to Florence and dropping off car close to the train station and not having car for duration of trip—staying in Florence 3 nights—taking train from Florence to Rome to finish the last 2 nights there. My major predicament is: as I am well aware Florence is closer to Cinque Terre then MontisI BUT Florence I only have 3 nights and I want to make sure I have time to see and experience Florence as well as I am taking a day trip to Venice while there. Because I am staying 5 nights in Montisi having my day trip to Cinque Terre make more sense as far as time wise. My direct question is as I have read driving sounds like it can be a bit scary as well as parking. I have read your column on parking at the train station which seems like a good fit. My thought is to leave very early in the morning—drive to a close town to easily get a short train to explore the villages. I am thinking that driving somewhere at least close to a train will save on time? Or do you think I should just pick between Venice or Cinque Terre while in Florence. Just think that if I can drive (and not be scared to death doing so) to get close to a train that would be a really great option. I don’t want to be in the car for hours and hours but a 3 ½ car ride to get there seems doable. Sorry for the length just really need HELP! Hahha. Thank you in advance!

    Like

    1. Ciao Mary!

      Might I ask why you’ve decided to spend so many nights in Montisi? Unless I had a particular reason for staying there for five nights (like visiting family or whatnot) I would arrange my dates a little differently. Both Venice and Cinque Terre deserve more time than a day trip if you can swing it.

      If everything regarding your itinerary is already set in stone, then I would probably drive the 3 hours to La Spezia from Montisi and park at the Migliarina train station (see my blog post on the subject). It’s pretty low stress getting there (vs. La Spezia Centrale which is in the busy city center). But keep in mind that would be a total of six hours of driving in just one day! If you could shave off a night in Montisi you could drive to La Spezia, stay one night in our area and then leave the next morning for Florence. Just an idea. 😉

      Hope that helps!
      Amy

      Like

  12. Hi Amy,
    Just wanted to say I’m loving your blog! You’re spot on with blogging about really usefully (and inspiring) topics! I’m soon to visit Cinque Terre for the third time and am really enjoying reading through your blog in preparation!
    Cheers!
    Amy
    amygoesadventuring.com

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ciao Amy!
    I am so excited to have found your blog – you give personalized and very helpful information for Cinque Terre visitors.

    I had a question for you about traveling to Cinque Terre in mid/late October. Are there any days of the week that shops and restaurants are more likely to be closed since peak season is coming to an end? We will only be there a short time, but love so many of the restaurants so we want to make sure we come during the week when you’d recommend (e.g. if Mondays most things are closed, we will avoid Monday).

    Thanks for your time and thank you for your wonderful blog!

    Molly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Molly!

      I’m so happy to hear you’re finding the info here on the blog helpful!

      Things in the Cinque Terre will start slowing down mid-October (I love that time of year!). However, most businesses brave through and start closing after the November 1st holiday.

      Did you have any particular restaurants you wanted to eat at while you’re here? I could tell you their weekly day of closure (not every place has one but the ones that do stagger their day of the week with other restaurants). 🙂

      Amy

      Like

  14. Hi Amy,
    I will be in CT on August 26th. My husband and I are staying in Vernazza for five days. We will visit all the towns of the CT. We can’t wait.
    I wanted to ask you three questions. I am allergic to tree nuts, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, etc…. I know the CT has a lot of pesto, which has pine nuts in it. I need to know how to say “I’m allergic to pesto”. Could you help me?
    I know this is a weird request. I will also ask the woman who we are renting our airbnb from too, but I thought it doesn’t hurt to know earlier.
    Next questions is, we would like to hop on the boat from Vernazza and just relax and enjoy the view and go back and forth viewing all the towns. I know they have a daily pass for around 25euro. I just want to make sure that I understand that we can stay on or hop off at any village and get back on until we want to get off at Vernazza. Is this true?
    3rd question, is it worth going to Portovenere?
    Thanks Lynda

    Like

    1. Ciao Lynda!

      I would make a card that you can hand to waiters/shop clerks etc. with your specific allergies (versus simply saying you’re allergic to pesto which could create confusion as to what ingredient you’re allergic to in the pesto).

      Sono allergica a:
      Mandorle (almonds)
      Noci (walnuts)
      Pinoli (pine nuts)
      Frutti a guscio (nuts in general)

      If you’re not allergic to peanuts then I would specify that on the card:

      NON sono allergica alle arachidi.

      The day pass on the ferries (€25 per person) will be for an unlimited number of trips (hop on, hop off at your pleasure) throughout the Cinque Terre for that day.

      Portovenere is definitely worth visiting, especially since you’ll be here for a good chunk of time. 🙂

      Hope that helps!
      Amy

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s