13 July 2014

Portofino Ferry Boat Schedules from Rapallo and Santa Margherita.

Ferry Boat Tours in the Portofino Area.  
Boat excursions to Portofino, San Fruttuoso, Cinque Terre, and Portovenere from Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure, Chiavari, Lavagna, Sestri Levante.
San Giacomo di Corte Church, Santa Margherita Ligure.
San Giacomo di Corte, Santa Margherita Ligure.

Portofino Ferry Boat Schedules 2014
Battelli Orari 2014
Wanderweg Fähre 2014

The ferry boat trips are one of the great attractions of the Portofino / Gulf of Tigullio area, providing fabulous views of the famous coastline and allowing stops in the little villages of Portofino, San Fruttuoso, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre - especially Vernazza and Monterosso.  

We have created these English language ferry boat timetables for 2014 to give you an easy way to find this tourist information. It's pretty simple. There are two basic ferry Line/Tour (1 & 2) going to Portofino/San Fruttuoso and three Tours (3, 4 & 5) going to Cinque Terre / Portovenere. There are also some Special Events listed below separately. Under each Line or Tour heading, information on the ports, the departure times, and the effective days is given, either directly or on a link to a separate Google document.

Your Homework. We also have three articles about the Portofino area you can read before you visit. The first is about how Portofino became famous: Portofino - From Fishing Village to Icon, and it will make you sing.  The second is about two fabulous walks from Santa Margherita to Portofino: Getting
to Portofino - Walking Hiking and More
The third describes a very pretty and do-able hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso: Portofino - Hike Camogli to San Fruttuoso.

Rapallo. Liguria's famous Trompe l'oeil.
Line 1  To Portofino / San Fruttuoso
Your RT ticket from Rapallo or SML allows you to stop over at Portofino and/or San Fruttuoso and

11 July 2014

A Dog Named Fido

Fido Means Faithful, One Hundred Percent 
 Fido the Dog Statue.  Borgo San Lorenzo, Tuscany
 Statue of Fido.  Borgo San Lorenzo, Tuscany.

Why are dogs named Fido? A doggy historian may well answer that it's because Abraham Lincoln named his favorite pet dog Fido. Wrong! - real dog lovers know that Romans named dogs Fido because it means 'I trust' in Latin. So here's our story about a dog named Fido who was really really faithful. Please read this story to your dog between his bedtimes.

One winter evening in 1941, not far from Florence in the lovely little city of Borgo San Lorenzo, a laborer named Carlo Soriani was returning home from work. When passing a little ravine, he heard a small yelp. Curious, he

27 June 2014

La Spezia Travel Guide: The Top Ten Attractions

Things to Do & See in One of Italy's Hidden Gems 
Travel tips and Tour Guide By Local Experts

La Spezia is an excellent place to visit.  Here's tourist information for Italy's great port on the beautiful Gulf of the Poets. Our tour guide describes museums to educate you, bustling streets and markets to keep you busy, and food specialties to keep you fed. The attractions are listed in a rough geographical order, so you can create your own vacation itinerary.  Down below there's more about the city in La Spezia in Two Paragraphs. Welcome to our port guide: What to Do in La Spezia:

La Spezia Public Gardens & Garibaldi
La Spezia Public Gardens & Garibaldi
1. The Waterfront and Public Gardens You'll understand that La Spezia and its Gulf occupy a special place on Earth when you walk along the Passeggiata Morin, especially in late afternoon. Begin at the eastern pier named Molo Italia near the Cruise Terminal. You can walk out on this wharf to see giant tugs resting and old guys fishing and young couples nuzzling. In the distance there are the giant gantries of the port and the mountains of the Apuan Alps. Walking west under the palms, you can survey the Gulf and the berths of the Maritime Consortium's Ferry Boats for Cinque Terre. Walk across a new little suspension bridge and you'll reach the new Porto Mirabello where you can appraise the private boats of the rich and the ordinary, and stop for a bright orange Aperol spritz. Beyond the mountain ridges to the west are the villages called Cinque Terre.

Across busy Viale Italia from the waterfront, La Spezia's Public Gardens are good for a stroll and for the children's playground. These extensive Gardens are a unusual asset for an Italian city. They were begun when the city's medieval walls were removed in the early 1800's and greatly enlarged with earth from the construction of the Naval Arsenal in the early 1860's. They are well known for the monumental Garibaldi equestrian statue and the large collection of botanical varieties. There are La Spezia Garden Club signboards, 'Percorso Verde', around the Gardens showing the location of different species.

Cyclops Figurehead La Spezia
Cyclops Figurehead La Spezia

2. Naval Technical Museum This is the most important naval museum in Italy, and it is a favorite of ours.  No matter your interests, you'll find something to fascinate you in this old fashioned museum, such as one of the best ship figurehead collections in the world. We have a small article with photos about it to convince you. Not Just for Children or Rainy Days

Museo Tecnico Navale   1 Viale Amendola    Phone 0187 784693     Website: Museo Tecnico Navale

3. CAMeC Museum This museum has three large permanent collections of contemporary

24 June 2014

A Guide to the Local Food of La Spezia

Food Specialties of Liguria Levante
Piatti Tipici in La Spezia, Lerici, Portovenere, Cinque Terre 

Portovenere Food Specialties Menu
Vegetable Pie and More in Portovenere.
When Italians refer to 'piatti tipici' (dishes typical of the area), it is serious business. This is where the culture meets the mouth, and every city, every province, and every region has its unique dishes. When Italians visit another region of Italy, they always eat the specialties, so you should too. The good news is you can tour Italy for the next decade or two and not encounter them all.

Here's our little food guide to the specialties that you might encounter on your visit to the Gulf of La Spezia area. This is only a select few from a long list. If you see or hear about others, all the better - just say yes.

Farinata This is first because it's one of our favorite things. It's a giant chickpea flour pancake that's baked in a wood oven in a pan about a yard in diameter, cut in to slices, weighed, and handed to you as a snack. It's nutty, smooth, crunchy on the edges, creamy in the middle, about ¼ inch thick, and just delicious. It's gluten free, but not gluttony free. Usually available in the morning and after 5 in the afternoon.

Foccacia You see it everywhere in the world now, I know, but it's indigenous to Liguria, and here it comes in many forms, many shapes and sizes, and is almost always interesting. It can be thin or thick, topped with oil and rosemary and salt, or split in half and stuffed with meat and cheese. It can be baked with cheese in it (this style from Recco further north is focaccia da Recco). Bakeries and snack places carry varieties, just keep trying until you find your favorite. At some snack places, you can ask for foccacia stuffed with farinata, odd sounding but great.

Torta di Verdura Ligurians love vegetables, and these large round pies are filled with cheese and a variety of greens and vegetables. They could include leeks, swiss chard,

14 June 2014

Cinque Terre 2014 Ferry Schedules - Mobile & QR Codes

Cinque Terre, Portovenere, Lerici, La Spezia

Boat / Ferry Timetables 2014

Battelli Orari 2014

Lean Edition for Smartphone, I-Phone, I-Pad & Mobile Devices

PDF Schedules with Links, QR Codes & JPEG of Main Timetable

Complete Cinque Terre, Portovenere, La Spezia Boat / Ferry Schedules Summer 2014

Lerici, Levanto, Viareggio, Portofino Boat / Ferry Timetables 

Current Tour Schedules for Summer 2014 Gulf of La Spezia / Cinque Terre Boats.
Cinque Terre Battelli Orari Estate 2014 / Cinque Terre Wanderweg Fähre 2014

The best way to see the unique and beautiful coast of Liguria Levante is an excursion around the Cinque Terre, Levanto, Portovenere, Lerici, and La Spezia area. Down below are PDF links with prices for Gulf of La Spezia / Cinque Terre Boat / Ferry Schedules for Summer 2014 covering the period starting June 7, 2014. Or click the photo for the most popular tour timetable.    We also have an article for Mobile. Link: Quick Schedules for Mobile & QR
Cinque Terre Portovenere La Spezia Ferry Boat  Schedule 2014
Cinque Terre Portovenere La Spezia Ferry Boat
Schedule for Summer 2014. Click to enlarge.

To see other time periods around the Gulf of La Spezia / Cinque Terre area, use these links: SPRING 2014 Timetables (March 26 to June 6, 2014) or AUTUMN/FALL 2013 Timetables covering September 9 to November 3, 2013.

Why Old Schedules?  The schedules for the boats based around the Gulf of La Spezia are only available when the boats are running. So we've created archives of the recent schedules including the price (in pdf format). These timetables are for planning, and may vary from the official information available during the season and found here: Gulf of the Poets Maritime Consortium.

The schedules are similar from year to year, so you can use them to figure out your next vacation, but be sure to verify before you travel if your schedule is time sensitive. The boat service is cash only and subject to cancellation due to weather and wave conditions, which is uncommon in summer, infrequent in spring, but a distinct possibility in autumn.

Ginestra flowers above Punta Corvo beach, Gulf of La Spezia
Ginestra (broom) flowers above Punta Corvo beach on the Gulf of the Poets.
Is There Service to Portofino?
There is Service to Portofino on Mon./Wed./Fri. from La Spezia, Lerici, Portovenere, the Cinque Terre, and Levanto on the high Summer schedule, which in 2014 started July 2. There are timetables below.

There is also excellent Portofino service from ports further north in the Gulf of Tigullio, such as Rapallo. Look at this article: Portofino Ferry Boat Schedules from Rapallo & SML.

Are the Cinque Terre hiking trails open?  Unequivocally yes. While a few trails might be closed at any given point, there are always plenty of trails open.  Use this link Cinque Terre National Park Trail Status to check. Famous trails will often be crowded - for energetic hikers with a car, consider this wonderful hike in the Apuan Alps a few miles away: The Via Vandelli.  For occasional hikers (like us) consider a neat hike on the other side of the Gulf near Lerici:  The Forgotten Villages of the Gulf of the Poets .

The Cinque Terre Boat / Ferry Schedules