Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

Cinque Terre Insider, my little blog which I started back in September of 2014, has blown me away.  I remember my tech guy encouraging me to start a blog and me laughing and saying, The last thing I have time for is a blog.”  But here I am, five years later with a blog with 150+ posts, hundreds of comments and well over a million views.  To put it lightly, I am shocked. And flattered.  And excited.  The future seems wide open.

It wasn’t until 2017 that I realized that I could (and should!) shift my attention away from our family business (more about what that is and my story can be found here) and onto the blog instead.  Up until that point, Cinque Terre Insider had been a labor of love with just a few bucks brought in through Amazon Associate links to help cover its hosting (grazie mille to those of you who have made purchases through the links). I came to realize what people had been telling me for quite some time:  the blog had the potential to be my actual job.

If so many people are contacting me and seeking help online for details on the Cinque Terre obviously there’s a hole in the market for practical tips, expert advice and insight (and no, simply visiting the area a time or two does not constitute an expert). It still surprises me how many travelers entrust their trip planning to people who have never even set foot here. Only a local will know the ins and outs, where to find the best hospitality & experiences as well as how to get off the beaten path to discover the best of the Cinque Terre.

Photo credit: Nicole O’Neil Photography

Photo credit: Nicole O’Neil

Those who know me personally know that I’m a planner, almost to a maniacal degree.  I love to think things through, including every teeny-tiny and minute detail.  I hate to be taken by surprise and you’ll never catch me without a Plan B.  I love to organize things (whether it be a vacation, a village festival, my closet, or just a get-together with friends).  I also have a love of information (in case you haven’t already noticed from the posts on the blog).  The driving force behind creating Cinque Terre Insider was my frustration and exasperation with the lack of current and correct information on the Cinque Terre out there on the web. Being bilingual and living here has major advantages.  Every single day I’m reading articles and press releases in Italian and processing them to see if it’s something of interest to those planning to visit the Cinque Terre.

So this is my next big (ad)venture… I’m flanking Cinque Terre Insider with consultation & trip design services.  My goal is to help you make the most of your trip to the Cinque Terre, to make your precious time here seamless so you can stress less and enjoy more.  We all know that Cinque Terre is a slice of paradiso, I want you to make the most of it while you’re here.  You can do that with a personalized, tailor-made itinerary that includes insider info as well as tips & advice from yours truly.

Here’s a breakdown of what I offer:

Consultation Services + Trip Design

Do you have questions about our area and you’re not sure who to ask?  Are you suffering from information overload and need some expert advice to help you hone down the best of the best? Whether you’ve already put together your own itinerary (and want some input and polishing) or need help mapping out logistics and details, I’m happy to lend a hand. I offer phone consultations so we can talk through all the details and you can rest assured that you’ve made the best decisions regarding your trip design.

Marriage Proposals

I adore helping to set the scene for clients who want to pop the question here in the Cinque Terre.  If you’re needing help orchestrating that special moment down to the tiniest detail, I’m your girl.  Whether you’re wanting low-key and natural or if you prefer to pull out all the stops, I can make it happen.  I work with a professional photographer so you’ll not only have unforgettable memories but also tangible ones to cherish for a lifetime.



To top it off, I’m offering myself up for “A day with Amy.”  I will be at your side to smooth *everything* for you for the entire day.  Am I a guide?  No.  Think of me as your personal travel coordinator/translator/concierge/Italian speaking BFF for the day.  I’ll create a personalized itinerary for you and I’ll be there firsthand to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. You’ll see just how smooth and easy traveling Italy can be when you do it with a local!

Amy in carugio

Photo: Nicole O’Neil

Is your interest piqued?  Want to know more?  Shoot me a message, I’d be happy to chat.

Ciao for now,

P.S. Please don’t forget that I’m on Italian time (GST+1) and I’m a mom of two.  I will do my very best to get back to email queries ASAP.  Grazie mille! 


16 thoughts on “My services

  1. Jorge Alonso says:

    Hi Amy!
    We are driving in from switzerland, are we parking in La Spieza or do we try to get to the Vernazza station?


    1. Ciao Jorge!

      I definitely recommend parking in La Spezia (or Levanto) over driving to Vernazza.



  2. CJ says:

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks for offering some info. I will be arriving in La Spezia Centrale after Friday midnight and my accommodation in Manarola will not check me in by then. Is it safe to stay in La Spezia Centrale station to wait for the train to start back up again (about 4 am) on Saturday?

    Appreciate your insight?


    1. Ciao CJ,

      I personally don’t recommend being at the La Spezia Centrale train station between midnight and 4am. There are some unsavory characters at the station in the late night hours and I personally wouldn’t feel safe there. My advice would be to book a room near the train station or take a taxi to Manarola.

      Hope that helps!



      1. CJ says:

        Thanks Amy. Great advice.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Prego! You’re very welcome!


  3. Jeff K says:

    Traveling from monterosso to la spezia October 3rd. Concerned about on time trains in the Cinque Terre. Would a ferry boat be a better option to get me to La Spezia. Final destination is Rome if you have a better idea.


    1. Ciao Jeff,

      It’s absolutely *not* a good idea to use a ferry to connect to the La Spezia Centrale train station. My recommendation is to simply take an earlier train to La Spezia to ensure you have plenty of time to catch your train to Rome. 🙂



  4. Maeve cosgrave says:

    Hi Amy. Great to see a site full of practical info. We are 5 women’s with a love of good food, wine, nice walks, with average budgets, travelling end June 2019 To cinque terra .flying into Pisa. Which town would you recommend us staying in for easy access for 4 day trip please? Any help greatly appreciated.


    1. Ciao Maeve!

      Easy access? I’d say Monterosso. It’s the flattest of the five villages. You can easily visit the other villages by train or ferry (or you can hike).



  5. Neil Thurling says:

    Just wanted to say that the thoughts of my entire family are with the wonderful people of Cinque Terre after your recent storms – particularly after the horrific previous one. We spent a wonderful week there 2 years ago (time to come again) and fell in love with you all. Hope everything is back to normal very quickly.

    Neil – Australia


    1. Thank you for such a kind and thoughtful message, Neil! ❤️


  6. Jay Be Chex says:

    Hi Amy, hi all,

    first and above all: thank you so much for your efforts to provide information useful for travellers. It is very helpful. But still, after reading through all of your stuff, I have a question:

    We will spend a few days off in November at Vernazza. I understand that it is recommended to park our car in La Spezia and then take the train to Vernazza. My questions: Would you recommend to use the La Spezia Centrale underground parking or rather the free parking on Piazza d’Armi? Is it ok (i.e. safe from being broken in to) to park our car in the open, unprotectedly, for a few days? Or would you recommend the underground parking? Or how about the public parking outside Vernazza? I can’t find any information in the internet about it. How much does it cost, how to get there, does the busshuttle still run in November or only during high tourist season?

    And I also understand that for hiking through the national park we need a pass (i.e. a permit), right? Where can we buy such a permit?

    Thank you so much for your help, all the best



    1. Ciao Jay!

      If you’re staying in Vernazza in November, I recommend parking on the Fegina side of Monterosso (there’s a parking lot there) and taking the train just a few minutes to Vernazza. I don’t recommend driving to Vernazza. The road is very narrow and pretty scary and the parking lot is far from the village.

      You’ll find all the details for the different passes (Cinque Terre Card, hiking pass, etc.) here on the blog:

      There are lots more posts under the “PASSES” tab here on the blog.



  7. Susan Giovannotto says:

    I’m hoping you can help me. I came across your blog as I’m searching for a patron saint San Giovanni Battista pendant for my son. Our family is from Vittoria Sicily, and San Giovanni is the patron Saint of the town. I’m looking for the pendant with writing in Italian versus the standard “Saint John the Baptist” in English. do you know of any jewelry store there that would have patron saint pendants? I’m not finding anything online.


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