Going to Italy at the end of april with husband, visiting venice, florence and rome. However, want to do a day trip from FLorence via train and wanted reccomendations on Cinque Terre, likley Riomaggiore, Manarola, and Vernazza VERSUS Sienna and maybe San Gimignano if time permits. I am aware that it is rushed, but we want to see as much as possible. Any insight would be appreciated.
I like them both, but if you are going by train I would say CT. Fun place to hike and hang out by the Sea in some amazing little villages (yes, touristy, but who cares?) If you are driving and can enjoy the Tuscan countryside then I would say a few villages...but, both are wonderful. If you get home, what would you regreat most not seeing? For me it would have been CT.
I have limited experience, but we did Siena /SG on our one trip, and it was ok - didn't love it. Cinque Terre looks amazing to me and I really want to do that! So I would vote Cinque Terre!
It is like comparing chalk and cheese and depends if you want to see the great outdoors or well preserved medieval cities.
It's really a decision only you can make, because different people are turned on by different things. Do a search on Google images and see what you like better. One thing you need to consider is that on the day you are in Florence it could be a rainy day (April may be rainy) and therefore the Cinque Terre on a rainy day is a waste of time. You need to decide on the spot based on weather condition too. These are the logistics. Cinque Terre are 2.5 to 3.5 hrs from Florence by train. 2 train changes likely required (Pisa, La Spezia). Siena is 70 min away by Sita Bus.
San Gimignano canbe combined with Siena easily if you have a rental car. Via bus it may be a problem to fit both in a day (SG is approx midway but not exactly on the same route)
Cinque Terre! Spectacular Mediterranean views and lovely towns. To get from one town to the next you either train or hike (walk). Its nice if the weather is nice. Go to your first choice town first, because between getting to CT, hiking, taking the train, and sightseeing, it would be really hard to see 3 towns.
You would have more time if you didn't have to go back and forth to Florence. Could you visit Venice, then Florence, then Cinque Terre, then Rome? Taking trains between all those cities is easy.
A few years ago we had a driver pick us up in Florence and we did about half a day in San Gimignano-very picturesque town-but last summer we stayed in Riomaggiore for two nights, and then did Vernazaa for one night-Great ! towns-Manarola, which we walked to fro Riomaggiore is a great ! place to jump off the rocks and go swimming (we were there in mid September) and then we took the boat from Riomaggiore to Vernazza and stayed in Vernazza overnight. Riomaggiore was great fun and a real welcoming town-Vernazaa is smaller and just did not get the same feeling, as Riomaggiore-but still a nice town. Have Fun.