The Day Italy Tried to Stop Mussolini's Fascism.

The Unsung Story of a Small City's Resistance to Fascism. 
  The 'Facts of Sarzana' Begin With A Fascist / Socialist Confrontation. 

It Ends with Fourteen Fascists Killed by Carabinieri or Political Opponents. 


Fatti di Sarzana  Memorial to Fascist Victim
First victim of fascist violence, here fell Luigi
 Gastardelli, June 12, 1921. Sarzana, Liguria. 
On a back street in the peaceful Ligurian city of Sarzana, a little plaque marks an infamous event in Italian history. It is the spot where an innocent man, Luigi Gastardelli, became the area's first victim of fascist violence - shot by a squadrista firing carelessly as fascists rampaged in Sarzana's streets. Italian politics in 1921 were chaotic and political violence between rival groups was becoming common, but the symbolism of this death was clear: Mussolini's new political ideology had evolved and the fascist squadrons felt they could act with impunity.

The violence that erupted in Sarzana on June 12, 1921, was the opening of a series of conflicts over several weeks known as  'I Fatti di Sarzana' (The Facts of Sarzana).  It is historically important as one of the few armed resistance efforts against the rise of fascism in Italy. Reflecting the times, it involved armed fascists, the Royal Army, police, socialists, communists, anarchists, farmers, workers, and a paramilitary group known as the Arditi del Popolo (comprised of socialist-communist workers). The Sarzana conflict culminated on July 21 with the death of 14 fascists by carabinieri rifle fire or sectarian assault, and of one corporal of the Royal Army by fascist fire.  Ominously, although the events drew national attention, the example of the event at Sarzana did not serve as a spur for meaningful resistance to fascism by the King, the government, or other political parties.

The Cinque Terre Express Train Service Begins.

The '5 Terre Express' Train Runs Every 30 Minutes to All Five Cinque Terre Villages. 

Stops: La Spezia Migliarina, Centrale,  Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso, Levanto. 

Manarola at Twilight  Cinque Terre
Manarola at Twilight                                                     CC By Lorraine Tan
Just in time for the long Easter weekend in the Cinque Terre, the new "Cinque Terre Express" train service begins Saturday, March 26, 2016. Operated by Trenitalia Regionale with support from the Region of Liguria, the new service will enhance transportation options to the famous five villages comprising part of the Ligurian UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There will be 44 daily trips in both directions between Levanto and La Spezia Migliarina Station* every half hour with intermediate stops at La Spezia Centrale, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia,Vernazza, and Monterosso. Trenitalia Regionale Liguria is to provide reception, information and assistance to passengers, and enhanced 'customer care' during busy times.

Crowded Vernazza Train Station Cinque Terre
For 2016 the new 'Cinque Terre Express' train will mean much less crowding.
Vernazza Train Station.    CC By Kylie & Rob (and Helen)

In the first phase of the service, fares will be kept unchanged at the current rates for all, both residents and tourists.   The "5 Terre Express" will remain active until 1 November and will benefit both commuters and tourists with less crowded trains.

It is expected that La Spezia's many cruise ship passengers travelling to the Cinque Terre will be boarded at Migliarina Station, thus relieving congestion at La Spezia's Centrale Station.

See our map of La Spezia for the Centrale and Migliarina train station locations. Map: La Spezia Transportation Hubs

* Traveler beware. We visited Migliarina station on May 30, and there was no notice on the schedule board or other signs about CT trains. There's also no one to ask, as there's no ticket window.

Cinque Terre - 16 Tips for Avoiding the Crowds.

How You Can Skip the Lines in Cinque Terre

Pointers on Where to Stay, When to Go, Where to Hike, What to Do for the Best Visit

Night scene Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola, Cinque Terre                                                   CC By Lorraine Tan
The Best Advice to Minimize or Avoid Cinque Terre Crowding
You are going to love the Cinque Terre (CT), but you should realize these five small villages are very popular so they can get too crowded. We mean lining-up-to-walk-down-the-main-street crowded. Rick Steves and the New York Times have written about the Cinque Terre so many times, you need to visit the Cinque Terre places and activities that are less well known. We hope these tips will lead you in that direction. They are presented to inform, not to worry, not to deter you. Plan ahead for sure, but don't plan every hour, and remember you'll be in wonderful, fabulous Italy - the land that invented gelato and dolce far niente.*

Big News for 2016: New train service, the 'Cinque Terre Express' is running every 30 minutes from Migliarina station in La Spezia to Levanto and vice versa. It stops at all five Cinque Terre villages and La Spezia's Centrale station. The extra service will terminate November 1. This is decreasing overcrowding on the trains overall, but some delays and crowding are still occurring as the kinks are worked out..

We've gathered the best 16 ideas from our own experience, from guidebooks and traveler forums, from both English and Italian websites, to insure you enjoy this enchanting part of Italy. Below are suggestions for Crowd Timing,  How to Travel, Hiking, Activities, Where to Stay, When to Go, When Not to Go, and More Info. We hope they help you. Happy Trails.
Vernazza, Cinque Terre Ferry Boat Arrival
Vernazza, Cinque Terre Ferry Boat Arrival     CC By Darren & Brad 

THE TRUTH ABOUT LIMITS. Misleading news stories in early 2016 screamed 'Cinque Terre to Limit Tourists' and 'New Tourist Ticket System for Cinque Terre'. These stories were not factual and your vacation is totally unaffected.  The truth is there are absolutely no visitor restrictions on the number of Cinque Terre visitors and no tickets and no reservations are required to enter the Park or the villages. The well established ticket system for a few of the most popular trails has not been changed.

1. Get Up Early / Stay Out Late.  Adjusting your day's schedule will greatly help you avoid crowds, keep you cooler, and the angled light will enhance your photos. The surge of short-term visitors on the trains and in the village centers is greatest from about 10 am to 4 pm. Schedule and route your activities to accommodate. Visit one of the lesser crowded CT towns in the middle of the day - Corniglia or Riomaggiore, or nearby Portovenere, Levanto, or La Spezia. Start your hike in the fresh morning, and stop for a picnic or up-slope restaurant lunch for midday. Enjoy the beach or rent a kayak when the sun is high.

2. Take the Boat. The ferry boats are a great way to see the Ligurian coast and reach the villages. While they are very popular, they are cannot be as crowded as the trains since boat capacity is fixed (especially true of the 1st boat of the day). A full day ticket (with stopovers allowed) is about 30 Euro and they operate to the CT from La Spezia, Lerici, Portovenere, and Levanto. There are also excursions from the Portofino and Viareggio areas. See our Ferry / Getting Around Page for links to all our articles with complete schedules and prices. Ferries can sometimes be canceled due to wind & waves, but that's unusual in the high season.

Virtuous Reality - Teaching Religion 800 Years Ago.

Chiaravalle Abbey, Fidenza Duomo, Vigoleno Castle & Lunch!

Visit the Attractions In & Around Fidenza - Fidenza Cathedral, Chiaravalle, Vigoleno Castle.

Column Capital on Central Portal to Fidenza Cathedral Duomo.
A Fidenza Duomo Capital: Elizabeth, Two Virgins of the Temple, the High Priest. 
We really had no good reason to leave Lunigiana - just sheer wanderlust. But one clear October day, we found ourselves driving over the Apennine Alps from Tuscany into Parma Province hoping to perpetuate our masquerade as travel writers.  You can help our cause by reading along as we see some wonderful buildings, some jaw-dropping art, and enjoy a great lunch. This article visits:

Chiaravalle della Colomba   A Cistercian Monastery founded by St. Bernard himself in 1135 AD. The large church is Romanesque-Gothic with a notable cloister.

Fidenza  Historic town on the Roman Via Emilia and the medieval Via Francigena. The best attraction is an  important formative Cathedral with narrative statuary from the 1100's.

Where to Rent a Car in Genoa, Savona, or Portofino?

Complete Info for the Best Car Rental in Savona & Genoa (Genova).

 Car Hire Office Locations & Hours with Savona & Genoa Car Rental Maps.

Advice for Car Rental in Genoa, Genoa Airport, Savona, Rapallo, Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure.

This guide makes it easy to rent a car when you arrive by train or cruise ship in Genoa or Savona. We show the way to the car hire offices from Genoa's Piazza Principe train station or Brignole train station. All the information is below or on our Genoa Car Rental Map or Savona Car Rental Map.

Piedmont Itinerary Hotel Guide

Hotel Reviews for Turin, Alba, Bra, Cuneo, Saluzzo. 

Independent Advice to Help Choose the Best Hotel in Central Piedmont. 

Where to stay to visit Central Piedmont? 
Read our story An Italian Itinerary - Small Cities in Piedmont to learn about these cities and other enjoyable Piedmont attractions. This article suggests hotels in the larger towns on that self-guided tour: Turin, Cuneo, Bra, Saluzzo.Alba

Click the city name below to jump down.
  • TURIN  Capital of Piedmont in most every way, this sophisticated large city is a treat.
  • CUNEO  A surprisingly lively provincial city of 56,000 close to the Ligurian Alps.
  • BRA  Home of Slow Food and rightly called, 'The Jewel of Piedmont Baroque.'
  • SALUZZO  Independent for 400 years with a movie set old town & a famous monastery near.
  • ALBA World famous for good food, truffles, wine, and Nutella, it has a splendid old center.
Our Central Piedmont Hotel / B&B recommendations below were selected by Martha as the best choices reflecting the different price levels, styles, and locations desired by different types of travelers. She has extensive experience choosing hotels, we visited all five cities recently, and she has weighed relevant TripAdvisor and reviews, as well as the hotels' websites, amenities, and location.