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Trip Report Trip report italian lake region and Milan

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We just returned from a 12 day trip to Italy. We stayed 3 nights at Hotel La Palma in Stresa. The hotel is modern and has a terrific location overlooking the water on the main street in Stresa. The room had an incredible view. The staff was extremely helpful and courteous. I would highly recommend this hotel to other travelers. We were able to walk into town each night for dinner. We had great meals at La Botte and Taverna del Pappagello. Restorante il Portico was just okay.
A ferry to the 3 Borromean islands was fun. All 3 islands are worth visiting.
We rented a car and drove to Milan expo. It was just too crowded. The lines for each exhibit were over a 3 hour wait. Due to the large crowds the experience was disappointing.
We then drove to Varenna on lake Como. We had a wonderful lunch at Osteria del Gallo in Como.
I would highly recommend this family restaurant. It is a few blocks from the Duomo. There are no menus and the food was exceptional. It caters to the locals and turned out to be our favorite restaurant on this trip.
We stayed at Albergo Milano in Varenna for 2 nights. It is a lovely 8 room hotel. It has a beautiful terrace overlooking the water.The owners of our hotel were quite helpful in providing ferry schedules and suggesting various restaurants One should not plan to stay or visit Varenna unless you can tolerate walking up and down deep steps! I mean steep steps!
We took a ferry to Tremezzo and visited Villa Carlotta. We also went to Lenno and saw Villa del Balbianello.. Both villas are a must!. We had a great lunch at Hotel Lenno in Lenno. We also stopped and walked around Bellagio.The scenery is spectacular!
From Varenna, we drove to Lecco and had lunch at Restaurant Pontile Orestiono on the lakefront .
The drive was lovely and allowed us to see another aspect of the lake.
When we arrived in Milan, we immediately returned the car. Milan is a walking city and the trams and subway system are quite easy to use. We stayed at Hotel Gran Duca York. It was a great find! The hotel has a terrific location.It is close to the Duomo and next door to Pinancotica Ambrosia which is a must see museum. The hotel provides a great breakfast, free wifi, and a mini bar in the room which is free and replenished every day.The staff could not have been friendlier and were most helpful.
At their suggestion we had wonderful dinners at restaurants nearbye ie., Hostaria Borromei,LaFettubta, and Borromeo Pizza.
We had purchased tickets for the Last Supper ahead of time in the U.S, This is a sight not to be missed! I called 011-39 0289-421146 via Skype to buy tickets. It was well worth the visit.
Other sights not to be missed are the rooftop of the Duomo, the central train station, sforza castle, and the brea art gallery.
Also at the suggestion of some friends in Milan, we had a wonderful lunch at BCEDCC,at Plaza Belgiosoa 2 located behind of the Duomo. It is also a local restaurant for business people.The atmosphere and food was terrific. Reservations are recommended.
Our only terrible restaurant experience was at Restaurant Giacomo Arengario. It is clearly a restaurant which caters to tourists. Its dining windows look out at the Duomo. We had heard of the restaurant and had made a reservations for a window table two months ahead. The manager was extremely rude and ignored our confirmed reservation and initially gave us a table looking at a wall. When we complained he stated that we should have specified the table number in our reservation. He would not acknowledge that this would have been difficult for anyone to do if they had never been to the restaurant. He finally agreed to give us another table with the stipulation that we leave at a certain time. Our waiter subsequently rushed the dinner and made it a very unpleasant experience. Also the food itself was not great. I certainly would not recommend this restaurant to others. I am only glad that this was not our first or last night in Milan.
To summarize, we had a wonderful trip and loved the lake regions and Milan.