critique Italian itinerary

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
64415
Posts: 197
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:32 pm

critique Italian itinerary

Post by 64415 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:32 pm

Hello everyone,

I am planning an anniversary trip to Italy in the last half of October. We have been to Italy previously and saw Rome (2 nights), central Tuscany (5 nights at Terra di Nano, heaven on earth!), and Florence (1 night). This trip we would like to see northern Italy. In general, we like the beautiful rural areas of countries, where the pace is slower, the crowds smaller, and the locals friendlier. But we certainly try to see the important city based artistic and cultural sites on such trips. Our enjoyment seems to be maximized with a 70:30 ratio of time spent in rural natural beauty versus cultural city experiences.

Does the following rough itinerary seem reasonable to those of you who have been to northern Italy? We will pack light (carry on only) to keep the hassle of relocating to a minimum. 9 nights is our maximum due to family responsibilities.

Fly in to Milan and rent a car to go to lake area for 2 nights (Varenna ?), then 2 nights in the Italian Alps (Bolzano ?), then return the car rental in Venice where we would spend 2 nights. Then take the train to Cinque Terra for 2 nights (probably stay in Vernazza). Then take the last possible train of the day back to Milan to spend the night before our next morning flight back home.

I ask on Bogleheads rather than a dedicated travel forum because of the superior suggestions I have received here in the past.

Sincerely, Sebastian

SueG5123
Posts: 157
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:41 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by SueG5123 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:41 pm

FWIW, I guess I'd skip Venice. Great place, but I think you've got plenty on your plate already with Milan and the Cinque Terra. Add Lake Como and Bellagio. Save Venice for another trip.

Oh, and if you're hoping to see Leonardo's Last Supper in Milan, make sure you make your reservations on line in advance! Only about 20 people allowed in at a time, can be difficult to get entry.

Rolyatroba
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:14 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Rolyatroba » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:04 pm

I second skipping Venice...although it is eventually a "must-see" I'd suggest going when you have more time, and perhaps the luxury of going off- or mid-season.

As for Bolzano, this is hazy since I was last there in 1998, but I recall enjoying Merano much more (Bolzano seemed more industrial). Nor do I remember Bolzano feeling very Alps-ish compared to other places we visited in that vicinity. Cortina d' Ampezzo, though in the Dolomites and maybe too far in the wrong direction, was a much more glorious mountain destination.

We drove thru Bormio, which was also mountainous and may work better for your route, but wasn't there long enough to get a good feel. As I recall, the entire valley from Bormio thru to the Passo Mortirolo was quite stunning. (We drove over the Stelvio and Mortirolo, being cycling fans--absolutely horrifying climbs!).

Good luck...I'm sure you'll enjoy regardless.
Last edited by Rolyatroba on Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bluebolt
Posts: 1067
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by bluebolt » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:05 pm

Or, I would spend only 1 night in Venice and add that night to the Cinque Terre or stop over in Siena on the way to Cinque Terre (though the latter is too much moving around for my taste).

User avatar
Peter Foley
Posts: 5022
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:34 am
Location: Lake Wobegon

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Peter Foley » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:10 pm

Driving in Milan and to and from Lake Como are not for the feint of heart! I would be inclined to make my way to Venice from Milan using the train. Stops and overnights in Vicenza, Verona, and Padua are all worth while.

We enjoyed the Aosta Valley area a lot, but it is a bit out of the way.

Bliss
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:13 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Bliss » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:46 pm

I vote for Bolzano and think that 2 nights is plenty! Sightseeing must include Otzi (http://www.iceman.it/en/the-iceman/) and a trip up in some of the cable cars (http://www.bolzano-bozen.it/en/cable-cars-bolzano.htm). Food is excellent as well!

User avatar
FreeAtLast
Posts: 682
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:08 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by FreeAtLast » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:06 pm

You spent only one day in Firenze, one of the most beautiful - art and architecture and countryside - cities in the world? Please reconsider staying longer on this trip.
Illegitimi non carborundum.

curmudgeon
Posts: 1964
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by curmudgeon » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:24 pm

Some of those areas on on our list for visiting before long. My general thought would be to look a bit more closely at the implications of late-October for timing in the lakes and mountains. While the area will still retain it's natural beauty, a lot of tourist infrastructure may be closed and the weather more likely to be cold and rainy.

I personally enjoy Venice almost any time of the year, but spring and early fall would be my preference. November-March give more chance of grey, drizzly weather and high water. Stay in the city, not out in Mestre or Lido. Venice benefits from visiting with a relaxed schedule; our next visit will likely be at least 5 days. People I know who have day-tripped Venice, or rushed through with a tour group generally don't like it. Those who spend more time and relax usually see things differently.

chicagoan23
Posts: 365
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:34 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by chicagoan23 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:32 pm

Fly in to Milan and rent a car to go to lake area for 2 nights (Varenna ?), then 2 nights in the Italian Alps (Bolzano ?), then return the car rental in Venice where we would spend 2 nights. Then take the train to Cinque Terra for 2 nights (probably stay in Vernazza). Then take the last possible train of the day back to Milan to spend the night before our next morning flight back home.
A somewhat circuitous route going from Milan--Venice--Cinque Terra--Milan. Can you fly into Milan and out of Venice? Also, Verona is a nice stopping point in between Milan and Venice, and I would recommend Portofino if you are going to be on the Northern coast.

carolinaman
Posts: 4009
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by carolinaman » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:33 pm

64415 wrote:
I ask on Bogleheads rather than a dedicated travel forum because of the superior suggestions I have received here in the past.

Sincerely, Sebastian
I agree this forum provides great advice on travel. However, I use http://www.tripadvisor.com also and get great advice on international sites. I recommend that you use both.

Hockey10
Posts: 694
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Hockey10 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:53 pm

That is a lot of time checking in and out of hotels. If my math is correct, you will spend 9 nights spread across 5 hotels (not to mention the travel to the next hotel every time you check out). I would opt for something simpler - maybe 3 nights each at 3 different locations. I have been to Italy several times and have made the mistake of spending only 2 nights at a specific destination. My next trip will have 3 - 4 nights per city.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 18434
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Watty » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:04 pm

64415 wrote:Then take the last possible train of the day back to Milan to spend the night before our next morning flight back home.
That might be cutting it too close since you could miss that train or there could be a strike or something. I would catch an earlier train just to give you more alternatives.

You might even want to reverse your itinerary so that you have the rental car at the end of your trip and can just drop it off at the airport when you catch your flight.

jebmke
Posts: 10089
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by jebmke » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:07 pm

for 8-9 days I would limit my stays to two at the maximum. Note - I'd be hard pressed to justify the wear and tear of flying there and back for only 8-9 days to begin with though.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

cherijoh
Posts: 6380
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by cherijoh » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:33 pm

curmudgeon wrote:Some of those areas on on our list for visiting before long. My general thought would be to look a bit more closely at the implications of late-October for timing in the lakes and mountains. While the area will still retain it's natural beauty, a lot of tourist infrastructure may be closed and the weather more likely to be cold and rainy.

I personally enjoy Venice almost any time of the year, but spring and early fall would be my preference. November-March give more chance of grey, drizzly weather and high water. Stay in the city, not out in Mestre or Lido. Venice benefits from visiting with a relaxed schedule; our next visit will likely be at least 5 days. People I know who have day-tripped Venice, or rushed through with a tour group generally don't like it. Those who spend more time and relax usually see things differently.
I saw Venice on a packaged tour a few years ago and only spent 2 nights there. But we stayed outside of the touristy areas and ate in a typical neighborhood restaurant. I also did an optional early morning walking tour with a spry but elderly Venetian lady. She had some fascinating stories to tell. After leisurely wandering around the residential areas for about 90 minutes, it was almost culture shock to arrive in St Mark's square packed with tourists.

If someone tells me that they didn't care for Venice, I ask them if they ever got beyond the main square. Most had not.

Lillibelle
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:53 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Lillibelle » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:50 pm

I vote for Venice . . . Shelley's " fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven.”

Perhaps you can (as we did) fly into Milan and out of Venice?

rjbraun
Posts: 1491
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:22 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by rjbraun » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:17 pm

Well, the feedback you've received is kind of all over the map (so to speak). Not sure what I can add, but I would say that you can go from Milan (MXP - Malpensa) to Varenna by train. Not sure about Bolzano, but we flew in / out of MXP a couple of years ago and capped off our trip with a wonderfully relaxing stay in Varenna (five nights, I believe). Sprung for a top-tier room with large balcony overlooking Lake Como. We took the boat / ferry to Bellagio one day and I believe returned sooner than expected (only talking about a couple of hours difference) as we found Bellagio far too touristy and crowded for our taste.

We've visited Italy several times recently and have always traveled by train. Very convenient and comfortable, in my opinion. One year we flew into MXP and went straight to Verona for four nights, followed by Mantua and Padua. From Padua we did a barge cruise to Venice, with stops along the way to see various Palladio or Palladio-influenced architecture. The water approach to Venice was really special.

Another year we went from MXP to Bologna (5-6 nights). Day trips to Modena and Parma. Then on to Ravenna (very nice) and Ferrara (several nights each). This was the year we finished with the Varenna stay. Again, all by train. The only place a car would have helped was for the day trip to Comacchio. But, if we had planned better the trip would have been feasible by public transport (we went but just didn't get as much done as we could have with a car).

Late October could be nice as it could be shoulder season or off-peak for some of the places you've listed. We were in Cinque Terre in late October and Venice in early November. Definitely didn't see a lot of sun (obviously, weather can be variable), but it was nice to also avoid crowds and pay lower hotel rates. We did experience high water (acqua alta) in Venice. Interesting to see once. :shock: We've also been in Venice in the summer. Light is totally different. The city was beautiful both times. Just different. Definitely want to stay in Venice itself, so you can wander around in the early and later hours of the day. I recall how we only needed to walk the equivalent of one city block to escape the crowds, and this was in late June. Literally. We were sitting in the second largest square, I think, in Venice, and it was just locals. A few women watching over small children.

Topic Author
64415
Posts: 197
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:32 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by 64415 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:49 pm

[quote="FreeAtLast"]You spent only one day in Firenze, one of the most beautiful - art and architecture and countryside - cities in the world? Please reconsider staying longer on this trip.[/quote
Yes, Florence will be a 90 day base when we retire. Very friendly people, great food, and wonderful museums with great day trip opportunities into Tuscany.

Topic Author
64415
Posts: 197
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:32 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by 64415 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:51 pm

jebmke wrote:for 8-9 days I would limit my stays to two at the maximum. Note - I'd be hard pressed to justify the wear and tear of flying there and back for only 8-9 days to begin with though.
The time factor does bother me, I much prefer slow travel (which we have done in the past) as it is far less expensive, but that is not the hand I am dealt at the moment.

radiowave
Posts: 2299
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by radiowave » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:16 pm

One option to reduce your travel/hotel burden is to consider basing in Florence and then take day tours to Tuscany, Cinque de Terre, Rome, etc. We had a wonderful few days and there are excellent tour services with modern busses that are based at the main train station. Let someone else do the driving for you and enjoy the ride! The trains are excellent for the most part in Italy. Florence to Rome is 2 hours so a day trip is feasible from Florence.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

daveydoo
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by daveydoo » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:26 am

I think we were similar in our rural:city preference when we were there about 18 months ago. I like the comments I see here and I agree with your itinerary. We've generally done the stay-put-in-a-great-flat-and-learn-the-major-European-city thing but we did what you're proposing for Northern Italy. We loved Milan and could have spent more time there. The Duomo in Milan was about the coolest thing I've ever seen, if you climb up to the top (or even if you don't). AGREE about the Last Supper (that was my department and I dropped the ball). Florence was fun with a flat that overlooked the Duomo (di Firenze); agree that one day is too few. But, the Uffizi is not the Louvre (sorry). In Cinque Terre, do the hike from town to town and get gelato in each town; hopefully the trail is intact again after the washout.

See this similar thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=196566&p=3005152&h ... n#p3005152

This is kinda what I had to say before, adapted a little for this thread:

...did Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Florence, and then Milan in that order -- about 3 nights each. We loved the gradual country-to-city transition. (Thought we'd eventually come back for Rome and Venice.) On Lake Como, Bellagio was busy and tourist-y and a bit claustrophobic for us; we stayed across the lake in Menaggio (tons of ferries all day), which was sleepy and you could hike up behind the town into the hills and look down into the lake. It was pouring for the hike and we got drenched, but it was a great memory!

Word of warning: when we were there, nearly everything outside of Milan was pretty much "cash only." Lots of Rolex-wearing proprietors at restaurants and even hotels telling us "there's a cash machine just three blocks away." Even our HomeAway condo in Milan insisted that the four-figure balance be paid in cash and were willing to risk not getting paid at all (!) while I cobbled together the cash from repeated cash-machine withdrawals over many days. Getting museum tickets: "machine's broken; cash only." Getting tickets on a private ferry: "machine's broken; cash only." People were friendly in towns and cities and we had a wonderful time, but I got the sense that most of the hospitality industry is under-the-table, and some of it seems like outright theft from public institutions.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

Topic Author
64415
Posts: 197
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:32 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by 64415 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:42 pm

chicagoan23 wrote:
Fly in to Milan and rent a car to go to lake area for 2 nights (Varenna ?), then 2 nights in the Italian Alps (Bolzano ?), then return the car rental in Venice where we would spend 2 nights. Then take the train to Cinque Terra for 2 nights (probably stay in Vernazza). Then take the last possible train of the day back to Milan to spend the night before our next morning flight back home.
A somewhat circuitous route going from Milan--Venice--Cinque Terra--Milan. Can you fly into Milan and out of Venice? Also, Verona is a nice stopping point in between Milan and Venice, and I would recommend Portofino if you are going to be on the Northern coast.
I am going to look into an open jaw into Milan and out of Venice.
jebmke wrote:for 8-9 days I would limit my stays to two at the maximum. Note - I'd be hard pressed to justify the wear and tear of flying there and back for only 8-9 days to begin with though.
It seems the impression is our itinerary is too ambitious. There must be some wisdom in the consensus. We are going to skip the Cinque Terra and split our time between Venice and one other site, preferably a beautiful lodge in an Italian valley allowing day hikes into the mountains.
Rolyatroba wrote:I second skipping Venice...although it is eventually a "must-see" I'd suggest going when you have more time, and perhaps the luxury of going off- or mid-season.

As for Bolzano, this is hazy since I was last there in 1998, but I recall enjoying Merano much more (Bolzano seemed more industrial). Nor do I remember Bolzano feeling very Alps-ish compared to other places we visited in that vicinity. Cortina d' Ampezzo, though in the Dolomites and maybe too far in the wrong direction, was a much more glorious mountain destination.

We drove thru Bormio, which was also mountainous and may work better for your route, but wasn't there long enough to get a good feel. As I recall, the entire valley from Bormio thru to the Passo Mortirolo was quite stunning. (We drove over the Stelvio and Mortirolo, being cycling fans--absolutely horrifying climbs!).

Good luck...I'm sure you'll enjoy regardless.
Perhaps we will find our 4 night lodge stay in Cortina d' Ampezzo.

User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 13737
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by HomerJ » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:26 pm

daveydoo wrote:Word of warning: when we were there, nearly everything outside of Milan was pretty much "cash only." Lots of Rolex-wearing proprietors at restaurants and even hotels telling us "there's a cash machine just three blocks away." Even our HomeAway condo in Milan insisted that the four-figure balance be paid in cash and were willing to risk not getting paid at all (!) while I cobbled together the cash from repeated cash-machine withdrawals over many days. Getting museum tickets: "machine's broken; cash only." Getting tickets on a private ferry: "machine's broken; cash only." People were friendly in towns and cities and we had a wonderful time, but I got the sense that most of the hospitality industry is under-the-table, and some of it seems like outright theft from public institutions.
There is a reason why International investing may not be the same as U.S. investing.

rfowler
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:42 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by rfowler » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:47 pm

Italy is such a wonderful country, it's hard to go wrong.

Venice is indeed a must, and I would highly recommend 3-4 full days. Visiting Venice during the off season will allow you to fully explore this fascinating "living museum" at your leisure without throngs of tourists. We were there in December one year (it snowed!) due to business travel, and thoroughly enjoyed it. On a separate trip during April, also for business, the city was still enchanting, but the crowds at that time were a bit annoying. That cinched it for us to always travel to Europe on shoulder or off season times.

We also enjoyed Verona (twice), which a beautiful "real" city for strolling. If you plan 2--4 days between Verona and Padua (only 30 minutes apart) in October you'll be able enjoy the city along with many of the real residents of these cities who are out enjoying their time with family.

Milan in 2 days was sufficient for us, but we are not keen on large cities. We took a full one-day tour (small group) to Lake Cuomo and Bellagio. Absolutely well worth the one day and we often fantasize about coming back for a month.

One possibility, given you are flying in to Milan is stay there for 3 days with a day-trip to Cuomo/Bellagio, then go to Venice for your second base for 6 days, then taking day trips by train or car to Verona and Padua. This part of Italy is very easy to drive (freeways), and once you enter the city, use your GPS to get close to city center. However, I would recommend you make Verona the third home base for 3 days so as to enjoy the evenings there. You are sill quite close to Venice to catch your departing flight.

Regarding planning travel, I have found Fodors forums to be full of great ideas.

Woodshark
Posts: 462
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Woodshark » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:21 am

I would agree on skipping Cinque Terre. It has been so popular that, like Key West, it really has been loved to death. It has lost it's quiet charm and is now filled with t-shirt shops serving throngs of tourists from cruise ships. We spent a few nights there on our honeymoon back in 1990 and have returned several times through the years. Last Spring we visited it again and decided that we would probably never return.

On the flip side, we never cared for Venice in the past (summer-hot-humid-crowded) but since our flight home was from there, we spent the last few days of our vacation seeing it again. We rented a short term apartment outside the tourist area. With the lower crowds and cooler temps, this trip we absolutely loved our time there.

Chadnudj
Posts: 830
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:22 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Chadnudj » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:39 am

FreeAtLast wrote:You spent only one day in Firenze, one of the most beautiful - art and architecture and countryside - cities in the world? Please reconsider staying longer on this trip.
Agreed. I'd actually skip Cinque Terre -- it's fine and all, but that time of year it'll be a bit cooler (and the most fun in Cinque Terre is when it's warm for hiking/swimming), and it's rainy season. Florence has better food, better art/architecture/culture, and would offer more options rain or shine.

Ninnie
Posts: 390
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:17 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Ninnie » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:44 am

My musts would be Verona, Lake Garda, and Padua. I've been to Verona several times and it's by far my favorite of the northern cities. You could easily spend several days at Lake Garda- it's gorgeous.

Leave minimal time for Milan/Venice- the smaller cities are so much more enjoyable.

beardsworth
Posts: 2135
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:02 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by beardsworth » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:47 am

Watty wrote:
64415 wrote:Then take the last possible train of the day back to Milan to spend the night before our next morning flight back home.
That might be cutting it too close since you could miss that train or there could be a strike or something. I would catch an earlier train just to give you more alternatives.
With the caveat that we haven't been to Italy in many years, I second the suggestion to avoid train plans that require absolute dependability and conformity to preconceived itineraries.

We remember (fondly) spending more time in a town on the Italian Riviera than we'd originally intended. We were only going to be taking the train further west into the south of France, not trying to make an airline connection anywhere. But first there was a one-day strike, and then there was "un Giorno di Ripóso" (a day of rest). It was all very civilized, announcements posted in advance at the train station so that travelers would know. We'd just go back to our little family-run hotel, from which, fortunately, we hadn't yet checked out, and ask "Can we have another day?"

My point is not to disparage train travel in Italy, as we much prefer train (between cities) and bus (between cities and nearby small towns), anywhere in Europe, rather than the hassle of driving and parking. I only suggest allowing some flexibility in the schedule, i.e., not depending on the absolute last train before an airline flight (and perhaps not even the last available day), in case you get some unexpected in-country "ripóso."

Ninnie
Posts: 390
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:17 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Ninnie » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:15 pm

I would add that I drove from Austria and Bolzano was utterly forgettable. Innsbruck is worth seeing, but now you're talking about a different trip. Don't try to combine Alps with 8 days in Italy.

havehad
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:43 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by havehad » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:10 pm

Sounds good. We did a few days in the Veneto and did day trips to Verona ( most touristy) Vicenza
and Padua ( a little down on its luck) on the way up from Milan, we drove a couple hours and stayed
at a very affordable and impressive looking hotel the Villa Fenaroli Palace Hotel, in Rezzato.

We were sleep deprived so just crashed and ate dinner there. On the way back to Milan, we stayed in
Mantua a most pleasant town. In the Veneto we stayed in Asolo, a quiet town in the fall. We stayed
at the Auberge de Soliel but there is also a Cipriani hotel nearby and we had drinks and dinner there
one day.

Lexi
Posts: 128
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 10:28 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Lexi » Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:18 pm

A caveat -- it has been a while, but if you fly home from Milan, check the timing carefully. Public transportation from the center city to the airport does not run all night, the ride to the airport takes time, and you need to get there way before the flight departure time. The airport can be very chaotic and if the earliest public transportation does not get you to the airport with enough time to spare the distance from the city to airport = a VERY expensive taxi ride.

As for the Dolomites, I view Bolzano as a transportation hub more than a place to stay. I would pick one of the villages a little way into the mountains for your hotel.

BeneIRA
Posts: 700
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by BeneIRA » Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:48 pm

I will tack onto the chorus here that your original itinerary is too ambitious. While Cinque Terre is great in the summer, when you are going in late October it can be very unpredictable. It wouldn't be inconceivable for it to be dreary and raining both days you are scheduled to be there. I would definitely recommend going at some point since it is something you have to do at least once, it probably doesn't make as much sense this time around. Meanwhile, Venice will be outside of high season when you go, so it would be worth it to go there. While an open jaw will cost a bit more out of Venice than out of Milan, it shouldn't be too much more. Milan to Venice isn't a bad train ride at all.

A tip on booking The Last Supper. You need reservations for it, but the website is ridiculously unreliable. I went on a couple of days after the window opened to book and no matter which, allegedly open, date I clicked on, it said it couldn't be booked. I called the location in Italy, they speak English, but the system hangs up on you after three minutes if no one picks up. On the third try, I got someone and it turns out the whole day was opened. It was 12 Euros per person.

Quark
Posts: 1045
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:32 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Quark » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:13 pm

radiowave wrote:One option to reduce your travel/hotel burden is to consider basing in Florence and then take day tours to Tuscany, Cinque de Terre, Rome, etc. We had a wonderful few days and there are excellent tour services with modern busses that are based at the main train station. Let someone else do the driving for you and enjoy the ride! The trains are excellent for the most part in Italy. Florence to Rome is 2 hours so a day trip is feasible from Florence.
The train between Florence and Rome is only 1:30, making that even more attractive.

Florence can be very crowded in October. About two and a half years ago, it was teeming with tourists, including too many Americans, in mid-October. We just got back and early February is much nicer in terms of crowds. It is a fabulous city.

FraggleRock
Posts: 362
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:50 pm

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by FraggleRock » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:54 pm

Have been to: Cinque Terra, Firenze, Venezia, Balzano and enjoyed them all.
With only 9 days, I would do Milano, Firenze with a day trip into the pre-Alps.

JLG1111
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:37 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by JLG1111 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:03 am

Hi OP - If you haven't yet finalized your itinerary or for others of thinking of traveling to Northern Italy, I just wanted to add my $.02. We just returned from a two week European trip that included Northern Italy. Having been to Italy 5 times before, I thought I knew all of the best places to go, but now that we've experienced the Dolomites, I'd absolutely recommend that area to anyone planning a trip to Italy. We stayed in Cortina d'Ampezzo, which is an upscale Alpine ski resort but in the summer it is filled with hikers/cyclists/runners. It is a beautiful little village with nice shops and restaurants and a good central location to many of the mountain passes and hikes. We combined this part of the trip with a few days in Venice. Now when people ask for my Italy recommendations, the Dolomites are at the top of my list.

Whatever you decide, have a wonderful trip!

Valuethinker
Posts: 39406
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: critique Italian itinerary

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:29 am

JLG1111 wrote:Hi OP - If you haven't yet finalized your itinerary or for others of thinking of traveling to Northern Italy, I just wanted to add my $.02. We just returned from a two week European trip that included Northern Italy. Having been to Italy 5 times before, I thought I knew all of the best places to go, but now that we've experienced the Dolomites, I'd absolutely recommend that area to anyone planning a trip to Italy. We stayed in Cortina d'Ampezzo, which is an upscale Alpine ski resort but in the summer it is filled with hikers/cyclists/runners. It is a beautiful little village with nice shops and restaurants and a good central location to many of the mountain passes and hikes. We combined this part of the trip with a few days in Venice. Now when people ask for my Italy recommendations, the Dolomites are at the top of my list.

Whatever you decide, have a wonderful trip!
Thread restart from February.

Post Reply