We took the boat from Riomaggiore, and what a surprise! Porto Venere is molto bello! Nice restaurants, quaint shops, narrow lanes, and a wonderful old fortress to explore. There are rocky places along the harbor to sit out by the water. We only spent a few hours here but wanted to spend more and take our time to explore. We had an excellent lunch at a place popular with locals, Osteria del Carugio. I would think that if you wanted to stay in the Cinque Terre but found that it was full, a very good option would be to stay here, just south of the Cinque Terre in this picturesque village. I dont think it is connected by rail, but it is by bus and boat. Let's face it, the Cinque Terre is wonderful but there are many Ligurian coastal villages that are just as nice.
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