Need advise on route to follow


New member
Hi, everybody. I'm a solo budget traveler who will travel S of Cinque Terre this coming Fall. Being a good walker I want to spend 3 or 4 days in each of these places: Pisa, Lucca, San Giminiano, Florence, Siena, ending in Bologna. My stop in Florence will be relatively brief because I spent a full month there in recent years. I'm a retiree with plenty of time but very little money. I love Art, scenery and nature in Italy and I'll enjoy getting around exclusively by buses and trains. I'm OK at getting budget accomodation well located for my purposes, but I have NO CLUE on what public transport would be wiser for me to use when getting from one city to the next one -- or in what sequence would be best to route my trip. I'd really appreciate any ideas or advise. Thanks !!! Chilelily

Elena - Florence Guide

Well-known member
Ciao Chilelily!

Cinque Terre are known for their landscape and hiking trails, which in winter and fall are not always accessible due to very heavy rainfall.

If you like the sea then ideal time to visit the Cinque Terre starts from mid-May to mid-September. If you are interested in hiking - it starts earlier, from mid-March to mid-October.

I can recommend a very useful and detailed site (also in English) with a calendar about pro/cons on the fall visits. What is the exact period you are planning your trip?

September - Pros: ideal time for hiking and swimming in the sea.
October - Cons: usually rainy season begins in mid-October, some hiking trails are closed.
November - Cons: temperature, though not below zero, but still cold, very frequent rainfall.
See more at:

If you are particularly interested on how to move around in Cinque Terre (boat/train/little public buses), I would suggest the timetables on:

If you will be hiking in late October/early November you'll find most of the local agricultural workers along the panoramic terraces picking olives manually!

Buon divertimento!!!


The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Chilelily,

Where will you be starting your trip at? since you ask for help in the sequence, it would be useful to know where you're also starting...

If you're starting with 5T, maybe you're coming down from Milan/Genova... the best way to get there is by train. Monterosso is the first town starting from the north, then Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, ending with Riomaggiore. You can hike along the coast, but there are also trails further up in the hills to the very top along the crest of the mountains that separate the 5T from inland. They are all great trails, but as Elena pointed out, depending on when you're coming, some might be closed or off limits if weather has caused any slides along the way. This fall will be 2 years from the heavy floods that completely devasted Vernazza and Monterosso. While they have recovered mostly, it is the reason why fall can be a time when hiking might not be the best way to visit them... if that is the case, you'll have to stick to trains between the towns.

Then if you're heading south and inland, the order should be:
Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano (take train to Empoli, then to Poggibonsi, from there take bus) and then on to Siena (with bus or train), leaving Florence last before heading to Bologna. You can complete most of travel by train except for San Gimignano.

Hope this info helps! If you tell us where you start, we might be able to provide other ideas if it doesn't work with what I've suggested so far ;-)

As far as budget accommodation, take a look hostels but the best starting point is first the city, then the type of accommodation. Start here:
Don't leave out 1 - 3 stars, they are often very, very nice but at great prices as well as small, family run B&Bs.