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Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

Dallas, Texas
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Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

We just returned from a trip to Italy and spent two days in Cinque Terre. We stayed in Monterosso at Villa Steno which was awesome, and we would highly recommend the hotel!!! However, we were slighly disappointed in the changes in Cinque Terre since we were last there 10 years ago. It seems much more toursity, and you now have to pay to hike on the trails!! We also encountered many people with Rick Steves' books and some restaurants even had "recommended by Rick Steves" in their windows. It is no longer a "hidden gem" in Italy which makes me a little sad. The hikes and scenery are still amazing but .... Anyone else visited in the past and recently???

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Lake George, New...
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1. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

I too saw the same changes in a span of about 10 years. I was most surprised to see the "Rick Steves" signs around. It was busy the first time I was there but the natural beauty had not been lost, but still it had changed some. I suppose that is to be expected. Someone had to let the secret out a good 10 years ago when I first went there - and I know a lot more has been published in the last ten years. Just imagine what it was like 20 or 30 years ago....

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

I was there in 1994 and it was really sweet - still had tourists but not jam packed - it was just before it began to become a uber popular destination. Everything I have read about it now makes me not want to ever return as I want to remember it the way that it used to be.

When I was there it was in September and there were just a few people on the trails - all day long.

I'm glad for the business owners as I'm sure they are doing very well and that is a good thing but the rest of it all sounds just too overrun.

Even going from one village to another on the train there were not many people back then.

Oh well...things change. Italy overall is much more crowded than it used to be even though it has always been a popular destination.

I remain forever jealous of people from the UK and the rest of the EU who can fly to Italy so inexpensively - does that make me a bad person?

Imperia, Italy
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3. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

The payment on the coastal trail (and it's only the coastal trail) is perhaps a good thing. All the money goes straight to the National Park authority which is responsible (among other matters) for the very expensive tasks of running the information centres in each village and for keeping the trails safe for the very large number of people who now use them.

Lake George, New...
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4. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

MomCat if that makes you a bad person then you have plenty of company in the club including me....

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

I'm pretty sure I'm in good company with my envy.

I agree that it makes sense to collect a fee for hiking as there is an economic need to maintain the area and it is a consequence of the use of the trails by the many tourists that make such upkeep and maintenance necessary.

When I went it was pre internet and I had a guidebook with a name of a place and asked my mom who spoke Italian to make the call to reserve the room for me because no one spoke any English at the B&B and also back then I didn't have to send deposits for hotels I reserved. For years I would call hotels throughout Italy and just make a reservation and never sent a deposit and I would show up and never had a problem with them having my reservation, etc. Amazing.

The B&B I stayed at in Vernazza was $40 per night with half board because my mom mistakenly booked it as such, which I didn't want but paid for anyway. So, I ate one meal there the first night then ate in different places the rest of my visit because I don't like eating at the same place every night.

But, the room was so cheap even with the half board that it was easy for me to have a terrific meal out - with primo, secondi, wine, dessert - all for about $12 at the most. Again, amazing. But, the exchange rate between the lire and the dollar was so good in our favor, everything was so affordable....sigh, or for the good old days.

Gourock, United...
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6. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

I've only visited the Cinque Terre once and it was this year in May. My first thoughts on this area were that it was a lovely place and the only things that ruin it are the tourists, however we have to remember that it's the tourism that contributes to the economy. I stayed in Vernazza for 2 nights and I must say that it was much quieter in the evenings once the vast majority of the tourists had gone. One day i would hope to return and maybe stay in another town overnight, maybe Manarola.

Here & There
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7. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

I agree with perilizia – The fee paid by all visitors to trek the trails has benefited the Cinque Terre. In 1999, the Cinque Terre National Park was created and there have been new restrictions on land and sea to protect wildlife, and also better maintain the trails, beaches, ports….

parks.it/parco.nazionale.cinque.terre/Eindex…

parconazionale5terre.it/…

The Cinque Terre is also a UNESCO site….

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/826

Vagabonda

Saint Paul
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8. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

Stayed 4 nights last month in Vernazza. Played tourist by day, but we always returned in the afternoon about the same time the tour groups left. Totally different place after hours, and we enjoyed it immensly, and would return in a minute.

tptr

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

we went to the Cinque Terre over 20 years ago before Rick Steves publicized it -- it was truly a hidden treasure -- when we hiked the trail the only people we saw were an elderly couple we started with but who did the trail in half a day and we wanted to linger for the whole day -- so they left us at Manarola -- and a class of Italian 14 year olds on a school hike

alas hidden gems are not hidden once they end up in guide books -- we won't be back -- the memory is too perfect

Dallas, Texas
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10. Re: Slightly Disappointed...Cinque Terre has changed

Even though I was "slightly" disappointed, I would still recommend Cinque Terre as a place to visit (and definitely stay overnight to get a different perspective). While the fee and tourists surprised me, I agree that it is a good thing for upkeep and the local businesses! We went in late October - had great weather and fewer tourists than the summer months.

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