All you need to know for a blissful holiday in the Cinque Terre
Here our replies to the most frequent questions we receive, but, to know more about our land, please, read our blog pages in the CT news section!
Adapters and Converters – yes, they are different here!
when packing fro a travel to Italy consider that the electrical system is different from that one of your country: different voltage of the current – here 220 ac – and different shape of the plugs – here 2 holes.
Newer appliances are set so to accept both voltages (US 110 and EU 220), eventually actioning a switch on them.
If your device does not show 110-220 it means that if you plug it it will be destroyed and, in that case, you need to buy an adapter (you can easily find them at local hardware stores home or, if you forgot to buy them, they can be found at airports duty free stores). In the Cinque Terre it is difficult, if not impossible, to find them at local stores, so, consider it before reaching the area.
Italian plugs can be more easily found at local stores at cheap prices or in the house/room you rented. So no panic.
Air Conditioning – go green in the Cinque Terre National Park!
most of the private properties in the Cinque Terre villages have no air conditioning. There are many reasons for that:
- the area is a National Park: we avoid creating pollution!
- most of the rentals are private properties originally used as villagers primary homes. Some of theme were built in medieval times, with thick stone walls that would keep rooms cool in summer and warm in winter; local architecture kept that tradition and even newer buildings maintained that structural characteristic so “air conditioning” is not part of the local culture, since inhabitants never needed that;
- closeness of one building to the the other prevents the installation of air conditioning machines and strict environmental decorative rules that preserve these historical places forbid owners to add new air conditioning equipments to their houses
Given all that above, all owners make their best to improve their properties and, when possible, they add even air conditioning machines to their rentals, but guests have to know that, on choosing a holiday in the National Park of the Cinque Terre they are conscious of renouncing to some modern comforts to benefit of pure air and enchanting, untouched Nature.
AirBnb Guests – don’t be surprised the owner is not here!
most of the reviews from our Airbnb guests say that they were disappointed since not welcomed directly by owners so their approach to the Cinque Terre was not familiar and warm as they expected to be.
Owners, unfortunately, do not live in these villages since they made a choice, years ago, to rent their own properties in an area where hotels cannot be found and cannot be built, in respect with environmental rules of the Cinque Terre National Park.
We, at Cinque Terre Riviera. work for them as managing directors and welcome their guests taking care of them as if we were the owners. Unfortunately, during high season and with many check-ins at a time, sometimes we have to quicken arrival formalities so to be of help to to highest number of guests. Sorry, about that, but consider we always do our best to listen to all our customers needs and provide the best possible assistance.
Ants – no panic, their are clean and they were here before you!
any room and apartment we manage is cleaned and sanitized at any check-out. So, no insect is supposed to be in there, but we live in a National Park where Nature is the Master. Ants and other harmless insects can anyway be tempted to enter, especially, soon after guests arrival, feeling new odors or finding food, especially cookies crumbles. So, please, do not leave food around, keep sugar into the refrigerator if possible, so ants will look for a sweeter place where to place their patrol routes.
Baggage – travel light, travel happy!
It is always advisable to travel light to the Cinque Terre. Most of the villages train stations have no elevators and trains are often crowded.
In Vernazza and Manarola we can provide at extra charge a porterage service but that must be requested in advance. In Vernazza price per bag varies from 3,00 to 10,00 euros per bag (depending on chosen property) and in Manarola 10,00 euros per bag. Consider that porters have no carts so they can carry only a maximum of 2 pieces at a time and in case of many baggages to be transferred this will take time and one of the guests will have to remain at guard of the bags still to be transferred.
In villages such as Manarola, porters do not reside in the village, so service must be requested in advance so to allow them to reach the place. Any delay must be promptly communicated. Failing that, the service won’t be guaranteed.
Beds – sleeping the Italian way!
Italian bed sizes might be different from those used at your own home
- A Standard Italian Double Bed, “letto matrimoniale”, is 160 cm wide. It is what internationally is called Queen Size Bed.
- A King Size Bed is 180 cm wide, but it rarely can be found in Italy.
- A French Size Bed, “letto alla francese”, is 140 cm wide and it might be often found in Italian private properties since rooms, especially in the Cinque Terre, are small, due to the restricted building areas owners had to build their own houses. Every inch is important here and sometimes, when missing, owners need to use clever ways to enlarge their homes sleeping capacity, now as it was in the past!
Cars and Car Parking Spots – let’s get rid of cars when possible!
if you like to reach the villages by car consider that the the road of the National Park is difficult, with lots of turns and bends, narrow passages uphill and downhill, often uneven and run by constructors and catering vans or emergency vehicles. There are limited car parking areas over the villages (about 15 eur per day), but far from properties (even about 1 km uphill).
You can easily park your car in La Spezia, at the garage below the train station (approx. 15 eur per day – and you pay at the end of your staying) or, if you come from Genoa, in Levanto, at public car parking spots in front of the train station (more difficult for paying ticket since you have to pay in advance at machines with money and not credit card).
Then you can easily move from there by train (frequent trains. – approx. 20 min ride). Train is anyway the best way to visit the area, trains run frequently and till late night.
That’s to be read carefully!
Standard check-in time for our properties is 3:00 to 6:00 pm. We necessarily have to ask our guests to respect these times.
Early check-in is usually hard to get since we rent private properties, not hotel rooms, and since check-out time is maximum 10:30 we need time to clean and prepare the property for the incoming guests.
When possible, if incoming guests arrive earlier than 3:00 pm, we can check they can at least drop their bags at their property and then settle later when the unit is clean and ready. This can only be considered on arrival, depending on maids working plan.
Late check-in must be always planned in advance since most of the owners do not reside in the villages and our office closes at 6:00 (7:00 from July to August). The area is difficult. Our local assistants, who live in La Spezia and only can move by train. They can do ASSISTED LATE CHECK-IN if planned in advance but only at extra charge (from 30,00 to 100,00 euros depending on chosen property) and anyway arrival time will have to be within 10:00 pm since otherwise they might have no trains to go back home.
All guests who feel they do not need assistance at check-in can request SELF LATE CHECK-IN. We will provide all detailed, necessary instructions to get their keys and enter their apartment. NO WORRIES!
Check-out – we are sorry you have to leave!!!
Standard check-out time for our properties is 10:00 (10:30 maximum). We necessarily have to ask our guests to respect these times. Since we rent private properties, not hotel rooms, and since check-in time starts at 3:00 our maids need time to clean and prepare the property for the incoming guests.
Each property will have proper check-out rules though and those will all be given in your voucher. Please, ask for them at check-in in case you have any doubt regarding key drop-off.
Cinque Terre Card
Since 2001 the Cinque Terre National Park has adopted a service card, the Cinque Terre Card and the Cinque Terre Card Treno MS, the latter being the result of an agreement with Trenitalia S.p.A. Le Cinque Terre Card aims to enable people to use the services supplied by the Cinque Terre National Park Authority, and it represents a kind of self-financing. The proceeds of the Cinque Terre Cards are mainly aimed at the upkeep and the recovery of the territory, and to allow the transport services within the territory as well.
More at http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Ecinque-terre-card.php
Destination Weddings in Italy – general rules
Necessary Papers: Passports or armed forces ID cards; certified copies of birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); declarations “atto notorio” sworn to by four people before an Italian consulate officer attesting that they know of no reason to object to the marriage under the laws of the couple’s home country; declaration sworn to by both parties that there are no obstacles to the marriage under U.S. law
Note: Certain documents must be translated into Italian with special “apostille” seals from the secretary of state from the state from which the documents originated. Additional requirements apply if one of the parties is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy. Requirements may vary by region and city. It is highly recommended that you work with a wedding planner to help you fulfill all requirements properly. A translator may be required to attend the wedding if neither the bride nor the groom speaks Italian. We can provide him/her.
For More Info: Italian consulate nearest you; the Italian Government Tourist Board Office, (212) 245-5618; the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Italy, usembassy.it
Destination Weddings in Vernazza
here some info on weddings that can be celebrated in Vernazza.
Civil weddings can be celebrated only at the town hall (eventually in the cloister) and are accepted against presentation of legal papers (quite long and complicated) and a fee that in 2016 was 1000.00 euros to this fee you will have to add our wedding planning fees that vary depending on guests (I see you are a small party) and requested services if you choose to have a religious wedding you can have just the religious rite (against presentation of legal catholic church papers) or both religious and civil rite which the priest will celebrate but still with presentation of legal papers to the town hall and payment of the fee.
If civil rite is extremely stressful and complicate, the religious and civil together is really a night mare and our wedding planning fees much higher
I would suggest you to have the official authentic civil right at home, at your local town hall, and then, to have a symbolic wedding here in Vernazza absolutely cheaper and less stressful
Please, review these few info and let me have your preference
Garbage – help us run a clean Cinque Terre Park!
Since 2017 there are strict rules in the Park for recycling. Please, accurately watch them as visitors and resident guest. If you rented a room or an apartment with us please, check the recycling rules in your property.
We kindly ask our guests to remove garbage on their check-outs. This might sound weird or unpleasant but we are forced to do that due to the peculiar garbage removal regulations of the Cinque Terre Villages.
Garbage can be taken to the trash cans only before 10:30 or past 16:30. Since guests check-out is around 10:30 our maids cannot take guests garbage to the trash cans without being fined.
This is the reason why we ask our guests to cooperate with us in respect of local regulations.
This is the reason why we put a fee in case guests do not take out their own garbage.
Heating – yes, we are forced by law to respect rules!
according to the Italian Law heating can be turned on only from Nov 1st to March 31st. Out of that period all owners are punishable and rick to pay high fees. So heating won’t be running from April 1st to Oct 31st, unless, due to exceptional weather conditions, Italian Authorities authorize owners to do so.
Sorry, if we won’t be turn heating on, but we will provide extra blankets in case of exceptional cold weather out of those dates.
Consider to bring extra clothes, since weather in Italy might not be as you expect!
But we’ll do our best to bring sunshine for you!
Hiking – 5 terre, the hiking kingdom!
Hiking is the primary activity in the Cinque Terre National Park. Any village (plus la Spezia and Levanto) has its own Park Office at the train station and there you can buy hiking cards and get maps plus info on open/closed paths. You can get info in advance checking the Cinque Terre National Park website http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Eindex.php
Local Assistants – they are proud to welcome you!
Check-in info will give you info on eventual presence of a local assistant mainly for Manarola and Monterosso villages
Usually, our assistant will be in the village to handle you keys (if arrival time is within check-in ours 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.) and show you the apartment. (Late check-in times can be requested in advance and may require an extra charge if assisted Self check-in info will be provided so to avoid travelers to skip extra fees). Any property has, anyway, individual rules, and ad hoc check-in info will be provided once booking will be completed.
Our amazing assistants (eventually with basic English) are more than happy to answer your questions and introduce you to the marvelous Cinque Terre region.
Local Rules – 5 terre, our Open Air Museum!
A few rules are to be followed to enjoy most the place: dignity of these simple people must be respected when visiting their villages.
The Cinque Terre are like an Open Air Museum, where living Nature and People at work are the most precious pieces. So when approaching them we have to act as if we were visiting a far relative, a friend we have not seen in years: we enter his home, we dine with him, we respect his habits and he fills us with the warmest of welcome. So enjoy his wine but do not exceed with it, try the delicious dishes of his table but do not waste anything and help him to keep the place clean, speak low, follow alert advice when going at sea, avoid traveling here by car and if you have to do it, get informed before your arrival where to park your vehicle. Do not look for big supermarkets here, people defend small stores where food is genuine and often produced locally. Do not look for high fashion branded stores here, but try to spot the most peculiar artisan workshops. Do not look for air conditioned rooms here, summers are never too hot and houses are wisely built: big stone walls that keep places warm in winter and fresh in summer. 10-15 days as a maximum are to be considered extremely warm within July and August and this does not justify big air conditioning equipment that would ruin the environment and waste energy needlessly.
Go Green! Think Green!
Pickpockets – be smarter than them!
as any tourist place that attracts thousands of visitors every day the Cinque Terre National Park is an “interesting” place for pickpockets. They usually “surprise” visitors on the trains and on the tracks. Please, be aware. They are usually young girls wearing tourist typical garments and items (shorts, tank tops, straw hats, backpacks,…). They have several techniques, such as pushing on getting off/on the trains, dividing family groups, throwing banknotes at passengers feet,…
Please, always keep on eye on what’s going on around you, especially when in crowded situations.
Restaurants – oh là là! that’s the best part!
quality and number of restaurants is high in the Cinque Terre villages. Most of them are family run business and located in small villages; any of them work and struggles to get and maintain a good reputation. So freely choose! You won’t be disappointed!
Our recipes are simple and natural, based on a long lasting tradition that has its fundamentals on the poor and healthy kitchen of our ancestors with small portions of land and limited resources.
Consider that some restaurants (but not all of them) serve food all they long, but normally stop service at night around 9:30 10:00 pm, since most of their staff resides out of the villages and depend on trains.
Self-Catering Private Properties – just a few words
Our website provides accommodation mostly at private properties. They are self-catering. It means owners and property mangers provide the basics to welcome you into their houses (linens, towels, hand soap, shampoo, toilet paper, dishwasher and washing machine soap when washing machines and dishwashers are available, sometimes breakfast kit for the very first day of breakfast) and they hey also struggle everyday to offer comfortable, clean and welcoming properties, most of the time with amazing views, and always with a personal and human touch and with high management costs (given the difficult area where properties are located), but guests are then requested to buy lacking products when they come to end. There are small supermarkets and groceries stores in all the villages at short distance from properties, so it will be easy to pick up needed products for a happy staying at our rentals.
Showers & Boilers – yes, this is a tough topic!
The majority of our rentals has showers instead of bathtubs, but, often, hot water is provided though small boilers. It means that long showers cannot be taken, 2 people can shower with the same charge of hot water, but you will have to change your usual habit and not keep water running while soaping. Consider that boilers recharge quickly, anyway, so after 10 minutes it is possible for a second/third person to have a shower again.
Stairs – you can’t escape them in the 5 terre!
The Cinque Terre National Park is a difficult area where houses are all built stealing space to the rocks. Buildings are necessarily like towers, one close to the other for many historical reasons (space saving, concrete and rocks saving, energy saving, defensive reasons, climatic reasons,…). Steps are the only ways to have access to our apartments. No elevators can be added. That’s our way of living in the Cinque Terre. Owners started to open their houses many years ago to travelers and now, year after year, they did a lot to improve them, but they cannot change their houses structure. So guests with walking difficulties are not encouraged to choose this land as their holiday destinations. We have very a few properties with easy access and anyway train stations are lacking of elevators and best points of interest can be reached only walking uphill.
The Cinque Terre National Park – proud to be here!
You can find all info on the Park consulting its website at following address http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Eindex.php
Trains – best way to visit the 5 Terre
The best way to visit the Cinque Terre villages is train (even if they might be overcrowded in peak hours); due to a growing of number of visitors the Park receives from April to October, they are always crowded especially in peak hours (mid morning – mid-afternoon). We suggest guests to buy train tickets in advance, so to avoid long queues at train stations and to travel as light as possible.
Beware of pickpockets on train tracks and onboard. Usually gipsy girls in disguise appearing like tourists, wearing sunglasses, sun hats and shorts. Since the villages have narrow and small train stations, please be aware not to stand close to tracks. It is always extremely risky.
Train schedule can be found on www.trenitalia.com
Weather Alert – do not underestimate our alert messages!
The Cinque Terre National Park and all its villages are a delicate natural area. On the experience of past flood that struck the area in 2011, authorities, in case of severe weather conditions, may issue weather alert 1 or 2 (the most serious one). In case of weather alert 2 guests checking in that day will be informed not to reach the area and to stop in safer villages/towns before approaching the park.
All guests occupying low floors properties, if those will be considered at flooding risk, will be asked to move to higher floors properties if available or to move to a safer property in other villages).
In case of weather alert cars won’t be allowed to remain parked over the villages and they will have to be taken far from the critical areas. As per our rental agreement no refund is due in case of weather calamities (but we can still ask owners to consider an eventual refund).
WiFi – do not go to the 5 terre if WIFI is a must
WIFI is often an issue in the Cinque Terre and most of our reviews, even the most enthusiastic and positive, mention disappointment for WIFI service provided (or not provided).
GOOD WIFI SERVICE: that’s a miracle!!! So be surprised if that happens!
If phone companies won’t improve their service consider that, in The Cinque Terre, wifi does not work nicely. We do our best to offer the service, but we are not responsible for any failure! You are advised!
So we need to point out a few basic info on this argument.
Being the Cinque Terre a National Park with ancient buildings and reduced ways to add phone lines and repeaters (they would inevitably destroy the environment !) WIFI SERVICE IS INEVITABLY BAD OR LACKING.
Where possible, owners and property managers struggle to provide the best available service, but it must be clear to all the Cinque Terre Lovers and Travelers, who choose this destination to discover Nature and Landscapes, that they they cannot get, at the same time, CITY LIKE services.
A lack in comfort and civilised (and stressful) services is the compromise to be paid to get as close as possible to Nature.
Most of the owners that offer complimentary WIFI to their guests, also struggle, everyday, to offer comfortable, clean and welcoming properties, most of the time with amazing views, and always with a personal and human touch and with high management costs (given the difficult area where properties are located).
It is really frustrating for all of them knowing, at the end of their guests staying, that the only comment is on their wifi service or receiving bad reviews just for this.
We offer for free, at Cinque Terre Riviera Company, out of our office premises in Vernazza a FREE WIFI SERVICE (FREEwiMAN). This service is acceptable and well working 24/24 for all guests having Google or Facebook accounts and that’s what we can do to help our guests not staying disconnected when in the Cinque Terre.
But we hope, anyway, that a holiday in Vernazza and in all the other villages will not be spoiled by the lack of the internet.
We would say that NO WIFI is a plus!!! Enjoy your holiday, have fun and relax!
There’s so much out of the WEB and in your HEARTS to be explored!
HAPPY NO WIFI HOLIDAYS!
ANYWAY SINCE 2017 MOST OF OUR PROPERTIES WILL HAVE WIFI AND SERVICE HAS BEEN IMPROVED AT LEAST IN VERNAZZA!