Leaving May 1 returning May 8, yes, short Gate 1 Travel deal

Jackie yocum

New member
Hi, our first trip to Italy, we are staying 5 nights in Motecatini Terme, last evening near Milan airport. Goals are : Florence, Cinque Terrre, Pisa. Those are the musts for our group, my husband and me, our daughter and her girls (our granddaughters, their first trip abroad, they are so excited) ages 10 and 16. We do have a car that comes with the package and will be driving from Milan to Montecatini Terme (yes, I know it's far). Planning on using the trains most of the other times. Problems : getting conflicting info on drive time compared to train especiallly to Cinque, we were thinking of driving to La Spezia, paying to park for day and take train from there into Cinque. I thought this because I read the train trip was almost 3 hours one way from Montecatini to Cinque, is that actuallly true ? THe less driving, the bettter.Also cannot find train schedules on Trenitalia,Help ? Are crowds going to be terrible that fist week of May ? Any and alll input apppreciated.


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Jackie and welcome to our forum!

Yes, I just re-checked the Trenitalia.com website and the search from Montecatini to La Spezia yields some trains that take 2 hours but the majority are 3-3.5 hours. It is because of the time lost while making a train change, often in Viareggio. The longest ones actually have you return to Florence to take trains back toward Pisa and then on to La Spezia!

For the Trenitalia site, what problems are you having? Start typing the name of the city and always select from choices given, if you don't choose one of the names exactly as given, you don't get results.

It should be the start of the season so maybe a bit of crowds but nothing too bad since you're arriving after the May 1st national holiday. I expect crowds to be bigger that weekend before as many will take a long weekend.

To shorten the trip, you could drive halfway, let's say to Lucca or Viareggio and then from there take the train.
The drive to La Spezia is not too bad since it is all on the A11/A12 toll highways so lanes are wide and generally smooth.
I would take the train from there on because the driving into Riomaggiore or Monterosso definitely requires someone comfortable with lots of curves and narrow roads.