Virtuous Reality - Teaching Religion 800 Years Ago.

Chiaravalle Abbey, Fidenza Duomo, Vigoleno Castle & Lunch!

Meet the Realistic, Humanistic Art of Antelami & His School Created a Century Before Giotto.


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. It has 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 Booking.com reviews, as well as the hotels' websites, amenities, and location.

An Italian Itinerary - Small Cities in Piedmont, Italy

A Travel Guide Exploring the Piedmont Region from Turin to Cuneo to Alba.

Attractions of Northern Italy's Historic Cities and Towns. Where To Stay. What To See & Do.

Vineyards around Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
Spring in the vineyards around Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy. Taken May 10.
Follow our experience as part of your self-guided tour of Piedmont and find a wealth of tourist pleasures in the center of Italy's second largest region. You'll see some lovely cities and towns, the pretty landscapes and vineyards, and the stunning Baroque Architecture of the area - all while enjoying Piedmont's splendid food and wine amid friendly locals who really like tourists.

The more we've written about Liguria - for example, in the Beautiful Villages of Liguria series - the more our curiosity about Piedmont has increased. The cultural ties between the regions are extensive, as are the historic trade links and the power struggles. With the need for information as our pretext, we recently visited the south central part of the Piedmont to eat, drink, photograph, and learn more stuff. Read about what you can see and do in Piedmont.....

Where to Rent A Car from Cinque Terre - La Spezia, Pisa or Genoa?

Complete Info for the Best Car Rental after Your Cinque Terre Visit.

All Nearby Car Hire Branch Locations with La Spezia Car Rental Map & Genoa Car Rental Map.

Advice for Renting at La Spezia,  Genoa (Genova), Genoa Airport, Rapallo, Lavagna, Pisa, Pisa Airport, Viareggio, Lucca.  See Our Map for Dropping Off a Rental Car in La Spezia.

You can't rent a car in Cinque Terre - or in nearby Levanto. You must take the train from the Cinque Terre villages to reach the nearest car hire office - this guide helps you figure out where to go. There are also no car rental offices in Portovenere or Lerici and this information applies after taking a bus or taxi to La Spezia.

Sections Below:      Leaving Cinque Terre - East / South / North
                                           Leaving Cinque Terre - West / Northwest
                                           Car Rental Tips
                                           La Spezia Rental
                                           Genoa Rental
                                           Rapallo Rental
                                           Lavagna Rental
                                           More Info
                                           Other Rental Locations
                                           About Us & Disclosure                            

LEAVING CINQUE TERRE
Tall Buildings in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza in the Cinque Terre                   CC by Alh1
Heading South, East, North. You should rent a car in La Spezia - all the details are below. Unless you have particular requirements, La Spezia is clearly your best choice for all destinations (including Milan) except other parts of Liguria, Piedmont (Turin), Val d'Aosta, most of France, or western Switzerland.

Driving out of La Spezia is fairly easy and the autostrada routes from La Spezia south to Tuscany (A12) or from La Spezia east to Emilia-Romagna (A15)  are very scenic and the traffic almost always light to moderate.  The La Spezia autostrada entrance is on our La Spezia Car Rental Map.

While Pisa Airport is the best airport for Cinque Terre, and it's the next good car rental location southbound, it involves either one or two transfers. Also, the rental might be more expensive due to the airport rental tax. However, Pisa Airport does have all the major car rental companies and office hours which include all day Saturday and Sunday.

Other possible car hire offices to the south are Lucca downtown (Avis, Europcar), Pisa downtown (Europcar, Hertz), Pisa suburban (Hertz at Ikea), and Viareggio (Avis, Europcar, Hertz).
See More Info below for addresses of these branches, or use a Rental Link under the La Spezia listings.

Liguria Hotel Guide & City Selector - Part 3 - Portofino Peninsula

Portofino, Santa Margherita, Rapallo, Camogli, Recco.

Independent Advice to Help Choose the Best City & the Best Hotel.

 Family Hotels, Lower Cost Hotels, Seaside Hotels, Hotels with Parking, B&B's.


Where to stay to visit Portofino, Italy? 
What is the Best Town to use as a base for visiting the Portofino Peninsula? Choose one of these five charming Italian towns & you can enjoy Portofino, great hikes in Portofino Park, Ligurian beaches, walks along the seaside, and even a trip to Cinque Terre. You can explore the many area attractions, enjoy a good hotel with parking, and you'll meet the real Liguria. 

This is Part 3 of Our Liguria Hotel Guide and City Selector. Here are the pluses and minuses of five towns along with Martha's hotel reviews and recommendations for each. They are all on the Portofino Peninsula (see our Liguria / Cinque Terre Map / Portofino Map).  All are on the sea and have ferry service, four have train service on the Genoa - Pisa line for easy excursions. Listed from south to north - click the name to jump down.
  • RAPALLO  A lively city, well located & equipped for both urban enjoyment and excursions . 
  • SANTA MARGHERITA  Italian perfection - combining resort, small city, art, nature, sea.
  • PORTOFINO  One of Italy's most famous towns. Beauty, fame, history, expense all in one.
  • CAMOGLI A fishing village grown into a resort city. Historic, romantic, lovable & a beach.
  • RECCO A pleasant small city with full amenities but fewer tourists & a very special focaccia.