My wife and I plus our two oldest daughters and three of their friends stayed for a week in a villa in Tuscany (il Borgo near Luca) then went onto the Cinque Terre in August 2004. We (my wife and I) stayed at Hotel Villa Argentina for a week at the top of Riomaggiore whereas the remainder of our party stayed in a flat that had cooking facilities.
We all purchased a weekly train ticket that allowed us to travel at will between the five villages plus we walked between the entire five villages. The scenery was beautifully awesome and our cameras were well used.
The cuisine and culture of the people was enjoyed by all. In particular we found the exercise of walking between the villages and ascending or descending over three steps to get to and from our hotel kept us fit and with an appetite to enjoy the local produce.
The available swimming and sun baking facilities at the villages were also enjoyed by us all. The chiming of the church bells near Hotel Villa Argentina is something not to be missed. At night we often visited the cafe that is situated on a steep cliff on the sea at Riomaggiore and took in the sight of ships with their lights sailing by.
All our party would highly recommend the Cinque Terre and Tuscany of parts of Italy not to be missed. We all (Australians) regularly reflect upon the good time had at these locations. Will contact you again soon and if we win Lotto the first place we will go back to is the Cinque Terre.