I am traveling with 5 friends next summer (June 2015) to Italy. We are flying into Milan on Weds, June 17, and departing on a 7-day cruise from Venice on Saturday June 20. We will return to Venice on Saturday, June 27 and are flying out of Milan on Weds, July 1st. We would love some advice on how to spend our few days pre- and post-cruise in Northern Italy! We are a mix of novice and experienced travelers ranging from 24-32, with limited Italian.
We are interested in the following, in order of importance:
-Food tours, cooking classes, wine tastings/tours
-Markets, coffee shops, local culture
-Taking in local scenery and architecture
-Museums, art, famous sightseeing spots
Here is our tentative itinerary:
Weds: Fly into Milan
Thurs: Day trip to Parma (or Reggio Emilia, or both in one day), return to hotel in Milan
Friday: Explore Milan, late afternoon/evening train to Venice
Saturday: Morning in Venice, depart for Cruise
Saturday: Return from cruise, day in Venice
Sunday: Day trip to Verona
Monday: another day trip?? Or spend in Venice
Tuesday: Morning in Venice, afternoon train to Milan
Weds: flight home
I am thinking day trips are the best bet from our "home bases" in Milan and Venice, rather than, say, doing a night in Milan, a night in Parma, a night in Verona, etc. I'm worried we would spent half the day checking out of a hotel, dragging our luggage around, waiting to check into another hotel, then finally getting to explore. Though Verona is on the way to Milan, so maybe it would be worth spending a night there?
If we're really interested in doing some food/wine stuff, is Parma our best bet? Is there another nearby town to either Venice or Milan that would better meet our needs? One member of our group has been to Bologna and would rather visit a new place.
What do you think? We would love any advice!! Thanks!
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Seeking Advice on Itinerary for Summer 2015 Northern Italy Trip