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Cinque Terre vs the lake area OR neither

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We're looking at a trip to northern Italy (flying in and out of Milan) in the second half of May and are just starting to plan. I have a basic plan for a bike trip (Bolzano, Basso de Grappa, Trento, Vincenza, Padua, Venice) that I am still waiting to get more information on. I still have lots of research to do on the entire area, but I have a couple basic questions about places everyone has heard of-- Cinque Terre and the Lakes area--and whether they are for us, especially at this time of year.

We are in our sixties, very well-traveled in other parts of Europe but not at all in this part of Italy. We are low key, non-demanding, self-sufficient and lower budget. We enjoy the ambience of places and don't need major tourist attractions to keep us busy. We are fairly outdoorsy and like moderate day hikes, kayaking or canoeing, walking, biking etc. We like all water-based types of places. We like gorgeous gardens. We are absolutely fine with more quirky or off-the-beaten-track places and frequently find them more enjoyable than the places everyone raves about. And, tourist traps really turn us off. We'll take a quaint little deli over a fancy restaurant any time. Typically for stays of 3 nights or longer we prefer an apartment over a hotel.

So, knowing us, what would you have to say about visiting either (or both) of these places in the second half of May? Thanks so much.

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