HELP- Piedmonte, Valle D'aosta, Cinque terre, and Emilia Romagna
I am headed to the above locations the second weekend in January. I know this time of year is definitely the off season....I have been stressed that hotels and restaurants will not be open. I will be going from 12th-19th (i know bold itinerary, considering the amount of time). If I can get some help in any genre- food, accommodations, etc...that would be awesome.
You need to watch the weather reports for the Ligurian coast and give it a miss if there is any chance of ice or snow. But you will find hotels and restaurants open. The winter is a popular hiking season.
Also, I hope you are not planning to drive this itinerary. Even apart from le Cinque Terre, you will face lots of hazards, including ice, snow and fog.
Rather than base in le Cinque Terre, since the weather is so unpredicatable, you might consider a larger town like Rapallo (catch a train there for a day trip to le Cinque Terre if the weather is nice). Eat in neighboring Chiavari, at Luchin (closed Sunday) for exquisite and cheap farinata. If you want something very high end, Lord Nelson in Chiavari is fabulous, and fabulously expensive.
Otherwise, I second the recommendation that you do a search for restaurants in le Cinque Terre and Levanto.
Because of work restraints, I am only able to travel during the winter months. For the past several years, my wife and I have rented a car and explored northern Italy. We have prowled the back roads of all the areas listed, but we are drawn back because there is so much we haven’t seen. There are new discoveries around every turn and in every little village. The people we meet are so warm and relaxed without the tourist hordes of summer. We travel without a real itinerary or reservations. Dining and lodging is never a problem. We use the Slow Food “Osterie & Locande D’Italia” to find places to eat wherever we land. There are newer, three and four star hotels on the outskirts of most major towns, which are like Holiday Inn Express, etc. Last night, I enjoyed a fine bottle of Travaglini Gattinara at Biba’s in Sacramento, CA. This is a wine I first discovered in the village at L'Enoteca Regionale di Gattinara, which is near the Malpensa Airport in Milan. We have never found our driving to be a waste of time.
these are my recent reports on Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont:
If you do a search on towns and cities such as Bologna, Modena, Parma, Alba, Turin(Torino), etc., you will find much more. I don't know if the places we visited will be open but I would advise getting a Michelin guide. It lists closings for restaurants and hotels so you can look up any place you are interested in and not have to contact each one for this information. I also would like to point out that if you are planning to visit these 4 regions in a week you are trying to pack in way too much. You will waste a lot of time traveling and not get to see much of each place. I am not someone who lingers in one place for a long time, but 3 to 4 days each in 2 of these areas would make a lot more sense. I also think I would skip Cinque Terre at this time of year.
Be sure to do a "Search this board" search for all the areas & cities you are thinking of visiting. You will find many helpful posts that have been made here over the past 6-12 months.
Here is a recent & extensive post on Piemonte & Lake Como:
If visiting the city of Modena, be sure to try to book a table for lunch at the Guisti food shop. There are several posts about it on this board. Search for them.
Have a great trip!