There is a simple truth regarding the traveler’s choice of transportation in Italy. It goes like this: If you want to get out into the countryside, rent or lease a car. If you want to see just the cities, use the fast and efficient rail system.
Like all simple truths, one could spend a lifetime adding asterisks which attempt to patch the flaws in such utter simplicity. We’re going to add one now.
The Italian Riviera town of Rapallo sits on the sunny shores of the Golf of Tigullio. On Saturday, a market spreads itself out on the pedestrian streets, which are lined with little shops offering the best local cheeses and salumi. You can get a good fish lunch in the midst of this market at Trattoria da Mario.
Rapallo is a beautiful little resort town made even better on a sunny Saturday in October when the summer tourist hordes have gone back to their dreary jobs with the dwindling pensions.
If you took a train here, you’d see the churches, go inside the cute little castle, maybe visit the lace museum, then you’d be stuck, wouldn’t you? Perhaps you’d go on to the nearby Cinque Terre. After all, you’d have no way to get out into the countryside, or if you did climb that hill behind Rapallo to see the big picture, you’d waste valuable vacation time sweating in the sun…
But hang on. A five minute walk from the Rapallo train station brings you to the Funivia station. Don’t know the word “funivia?” It’s the aerial tramway, and in 7 minutes it will take you to a whole new world. If you play your cards right, you can put yourself right into an impressionist painting of the landed gentry having lunch in the sun-drenched countryside, looking down (way down!) on the Golf of Tigullio.
Here’s what it feels like in a short video: High Above Rapallo