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Northern Italy in September

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After several years we are finally getting back to Italy, this time flying in to Venice on 9/7 and leaving from Milan 10/1. Nice a leisurely this time, instead of dashing madly around. The older we get, the smarter (finally). We will have a car until we get to Milan. We have planned Padova, Verona, then Lake Garda for the first 10 days. We will then drive for a special weekend at Antica Corte Pallavicina (reservations locked in), then head to Modena for 3 days before heading west again, thru Bergamo to Lake Como for 5 nights. We have built in 2 days flex, before arriving in Milan late Sunday, 9/27, allowing 3 days there to cover the city and Expo.

My question is regarding the two lakes. We are thinking to stay in either Bardolino or Garda on Lake Garda, and in Varenna on Lake Como.

We will be taking the ferry to see Lake Garda (Sirmione, Riva, etc.), and we plan one day trip to Trento. Comments on this? Also, trying to figure out if we should stay right in town or somewhere slightly away for more of a panoramic perspective. We don't know how easy it is to get into town, if there is parking or easy walking etc. My husband has some difficulty walking distances and up and down hills.

As for Lake Como, Varenna seems to be a good base, as we will be taking one day for a scenic train ride into Switzerland, but again, should we be staying close to the water or is that not an issue.

All comments welcome.

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