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Northern Lakes: how to affordably stay at 2 places in 10 days?

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We are healthy U.S. 60 year olds planning to travel to Milan mid- september. We would like to spend 10 days staying at two places in the greater Lake Como district. One could be near that lake and the other within an hour at another lake/mountain area.

Would love some help with the planning basics:

1. If we want to stay at 2 different places, does that rule out a more affordable complete package deal (air fare, hotel/BB, maybe car?)

2. How necessary is it to have a rented car (if both locations are close to the train)? Are there buses to see more of the area if we have no car?

3. Are any packages available which would have air travel dates 10 days apart at Milan and include say 7 days at one hotel/BB and 3 or 4 days of a car rental for exploring and finding a second place to stay a few days?

4. Can you suggest some enchanting towns in that area that tourists don't flock to (with vistas, history, walks, etc)

Many thanks

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