I stayed at the Affittacamere Vesigna Edi at the end of May 2004 for five days (Thursday through Tuesday). We stayed in a one bedroom apartment (room 18) on the 2nd floor overlooking Bar Centrale on the main street of Riomaggiore for approx. 70 euro a day. The place was wonderfully spacious with a LARGE bathroom, a balcony overlooking the street, cable TV with CNN (in English) and a kitchen. We cannot say enough about the accommodations for the price. The only drawback is that it is loud since it overlooks Riomaggiore main street.
Edi’s web site references apartments for weekly rentals. However, we obtained the apartment for less than a week. It think this was because we stayed a number of days (5 days) and checked in mid-week. You may have to negotiate a bit for a similar deal. Don’t arrive on the weekend during high season without reservations. We saw numerous people turned away on Friday and Saturday from Edi as well as other places offering rooms. I spoke to two young girls that were returning to Genova because the were unsuccessful in finding a place in all five Cinque Terre cities and surrounding towns.
Edi’s check-in office closes early (5pm)…so you need to time your arrival to Cinque Terre appropriately. We took a IC train from Milan. The trains stops frequently…so the ride to Cinque Terre seemed like forever.
Edi’s Apartment 18 is located next door to a launder mat. The launder mat is expensive, but convenient. ($12 euro to wash & dry a load. Including soap). You buy tokens at Edi’s main office. (Note: If you haul your laundry to the surrounding cities…its less expensive, but less convenient).
For entertainment, Bar Gulia is nearby. Bar Guila is ran by Franka who considers ‘all who enter’ her friend. Franka serves cappuccinos and a continental breakfast at a good price with a smile. Also near is Bar Centrale which serves the same thing at a slightly higher price without a smile. However, Bar Centrale seems to be more popular because it has outdoor seating and is more visible when first coming to Riomaggiore.
Nightlife consists of Bar Guila, Bar Centrale & and a gelato shop. There’s lots of conversation around bottles of vino. You’ll likely meet locals.
Buying produce (i.e. munchies & stuff to cook) is expensive in Riomaggiore. Buy items in Manarola & Vernazza and carry them back. There are plenty of restaurant and take away choices for food. Finally, the local Parks & Recreation Department offers free Italian lessons to tourists staying in approved locations (hotels, private rooms) during high season. The classes are great but you have to hike to the top of Riomaggiore to 107 Fiume de Something Street. Believe me when I say, “You’ll be winded” after you climb up what feels like a million steps. You can find more information at the Visitor Center near the train station.
Finally, don’t be surprised to meet lots of fellow Americans carrying around Rick Steve’s latest travel guide. I saw more copies of his book being carted around by tourists in Cinque Terre than I suspect that are in my local bookstore!