As you may know, the 5 Terre was hit with a devasting storm last week that completely destroyed Vernazza and badly damaged Monterosso (For the story, see: Disaster Strikes Vernazza; for new updated information, see: Vernazza: Good News and Bad News or click the label "Vernazza Updates" for all related stories). I have received many questions from travelers planning to visit in the coming weeks. They have asked if they are still able to stay in the other towns that were not damaged and if they can still hike the trails.
Please understand that the entire area is in crisis mode at the moment. Many of the roads are washed out and the rail lines are on limited service only for residents and emergency workers. The only hiking trail open at the moment is the Via dell'Amore in Riomaggiore, but all the other trails are closed from damage. As far as rooms and hotels go, even though the other towns are not as damaged, they are providing room and board for the people of Vernazza and Monterosso that have lost their homes or been evacuated.
It is unfortunate that your travel plans have to be rearranged, but it is just not advisable to come to the area at this time. The eastern coast of Liguria should be fine, with beautiful cities like Savona, San Remo, Imperia, Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo. There are numerous beautiful towns between these as well. Please note that the main railway to Genova runs through the 5 Terre, so there will be delays and possible deviations in your train schedule. If you are coming from Rome or Tuscany, you can get to La Spezia without problem and there are many hotels in La Spezia. Sarzana is another nearby town that is very small and lovely in it's historic downtown. Check with the Trenitalia website if your plans route you through Liguria. Otherwise, there are plenty of other areas to visit. We hate to send away valued tourism, but at least for the next few weeks everyone in the 5 Terre needs to focus on clean-up and rescue.
There are so many wonderful sites to see in Italy. Rent a car and explore! You can search for Agriturismos all over Italy which are active farm houses that serve as bed and breakfasts as well. They often offer affordable rates in beautiful countryside surroundings. A site to try: http://www.agriturismo.it/en/. The photo above is of Villa Vignamaggio in Chianti, the original family home of Mona Lisa. They are a lovely winery, hotel and restaurant in the hills above Greve in Chianti. A truly beautiful and enchanting place!
Autumn is a fantastic time to be in Italy! Chestnuts, pumpkin, porcini mushrooms and wild boar are all in season now. Visit the countryside, go wine tasting in Chianti, visit Parmiggiano factories in Parma... There is so much to do and see. Plus, there is so much to do and see in Florence that you can stay extra days there to really enjoy the culture. Here is the official Tuscan Tourism website with things to do in Tuscany:
If you have any further questions, just leave a comment below and I will try to answer as best I can.