I love your website on the Cinque Terre, it certainly helped us a great deal in planning our trip. As part of a 5 week trip to Italy, we had 4 nights in Manarola in March this year (2002) and visited all the villages. We stayed at Casa Capellini, which we found via your site, cost was 42 euro per night, no breakfast. The view was fabulous, just like in the photos we had seen, the room was just OK, nothing to rave over. The room was not made up in the 4 nights we were there, no beds made, no fresh towels, nothing, which surprised me as we had stayed at other rooms in Italy which were made up daily. We had to pay cash. Casa Capellini is a fairly steep walk up the main street towards the church, then there are 3 flights of stairs up to the room. There are two B&Bs and a youth hostel about 3 minutes walk further up the hill.
We thought all the villages were quite similar, Vernazza was probably the prettiest but we liked them all. You have to walk through a tunnel from the train station to reach the town in all the villages except Vernazza. The time between villages on the train was between 2 and 3 minutes but we sometimes waited nearly an hour on the platform for a train. It didn’t really bother us, as we were in holiday mode and just sat in the sunshine, listening to all the accents around us.
We caught the train from Manarola to Riomaggiore one night for dinner and the train stopped just before Riomaggiore. We wondered if we should get off the train, but there didn’t seem to be any platform. The train started, and then sailed past Riomaggiore, obviously it had been stopped at the station and because we were at the end of the train, our section had been in the tunnel. We went all the way to La Spezia then had to catch another train back again. Luckily, we had bought a 3 day CT card, so we didn’t have to buy another ticket.
We did the hike from Corniglia to Vernazza which took us a leisurely 2 hours. The views were lovely. The trail between Manarola and Corniglia was closed due to a landslide and we also walked the easy half hour trail between Manarola and Riomaggiore.
It was fairly busy in CT, lots of tourists about, Americans and Europeans and a few of us Australians. Weather was pretty good, mostly sunny with a bit of cloud. It tended to be changeable so we took rain jackets on our hikes just in case.
Kay and John Fraser