About Me

154 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.


    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” >


      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!


    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!



  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)?




    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,


  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


    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). 😉



      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.


  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?


    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!


  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!



  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?


    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,


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