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A month in northern Italy: Mountains, Lakes and Castles

A month in northern Italy: Mountains, Lakes and Castles

Old Sep 19th, 2015, 12:18 PM
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A month in northern Italy: Mountains, Lakes and Castles

Val d’Aosta, the Dolomites, Lake Garda, Torino, San Marino and Le Marche

Background – how I chose this itinerary. The last time I was in Switzerland, a few years ago, I went to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn, which is technically also in Italy. I love Switzerland but not the prices. I thought to myself, next time you want to spend some time in the Alps, do it on the Italian side (where the food is also better). So that was my focus. DH can only get away from work for 2-3 weeks at a time, while I, having chosen my professional carefully, have all summer off. So for many years now I’ve done a couple weeks solo before my husband joins me for another few weeks. Since I don’t like to rent a car solo I decided to do the things that were easily done by public transportation for my solo portion. I also knew I ‘needed’ some sea coast time which wasn’t going to happen in the mountains and I like to try to add somewhere new to most trips, so I added a week in Malta (separate report). Since San Marino and Urbino are two places I’ve wanted to see, and they are best done with a car, and not that far from the rest of the trip we decided to add them on as well. So my five week itinerary became:

1 night Milano, train to Torino 3 nights, fly to Malta 7 nights, fly to Bergamo 1 night, train/boat Malcesine (Lake Garda) 3 nights, train to Milano 2 nights – pu husband and car at Linate airport – 4 nights Aosta, 5 nights Bolzano, 1 Bassano del Grappa, 2 nights San Marino, 3 nights Urbino, 1 night Roma. (we ended up canceling the last night in Urbino and adding it to Rome once we got to Urbino).

Several of the shorter stops were repeats, and/or done for logistical reasons. Travel takes time and it’s much more pleasant if you can break it up a bit. It looks (even to me) like I was hopping around a lot, but if you take out Milano, Bergamo and Roma which were done for logistical purposes to coincide with flight arrival/departures (and all of which I’d previously been to) then it works out to about 4 days in each location which felt just about right.

While I hope the info in my report is useful to people researching trips to the same areas, I think my photos offer a better ‘view’ of what there is to see.
The Dolomites - http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/dolo...ino_alto_adige
Valle d’Aosta - www.pbase.com/annforcier/valle_daosta
Lake Garda - www.pbase.com/annforcier/italian_lakes (there are also pic in here of previous trips to the Italian lakes, but it’s mostly this trip)
San Marino and Le Marche - http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/san_..._and_le_marche
Todi - www.pbase.com/annforcier/umbria&page=all (they are in the middle of the Umbria gallery)
Rome - www.pbase.com/annforcier/rome (only a small portion of the Rome photos are from this trip)
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Old Sep 19th, 2015, 12:24 PM
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Days 1-4
Once nice thing about going to places you’ve already been is there is no worrying about finding the hotel, what it will be like, etc. I had stayed at Hotel Berna in Milan for several days the last time I was there and loved it. I was only half kidding when I said I was going back to Milan just for the breakfast in that hotel. I only spent one night there at the start of the trip, spent my jet lagged 95 degree afternoon just wandering around the city and took off for Torino the following morning.

Hotel Berna, Less than a five minute walk from Milano Centrale ( and the metro – or can walk to the Duomo area in 20 minutes or so). Hotel itself is lovely, the staff is always friendly and helpful (they sell metro tickets at the desk, also got my Milano Expo tickets from them). The AC and wi-fi are flawless, the TV gets a zillion stations in many languages. The mini-fridge has free sodas and water (and you can tell them when you ‘check in on line’ what type you want – as well as what temp you want the AC set at!). The breakfast is incredible, the best of any hotel I’ve stayed at – just imagine every kind of fruit, bakery product, cheese, yogurt, meat, etc. And – they give you a free rubber duck – what more could you want in a hotel.

TORINO AND SACRA SAN MICHELE – Three nights in Torino was just about right. One day I did a day trip to Sacra San Michele (THAT was an experience) and the other days just explored the city. Since I was going to the general region I felt I wanted to see the main city, and since there are flights from Torino to Malta on Ryan Air it seemed like it really made sense to spend a few days there. I enjoyed myself and am glad I went but I certainly wouldn’t say it was on a par with the Italian ‘biggies’ like Rome, etc.

Hotel Roma e Rocca - Nice old building on a nice porticoed street (full of lovely looking chocolate shops). The ‘piazza’ across the street is actually a park. You can see the hotel from the front of the train station. The room was large and clean with tons of space to lay things out, nice newly tiled large bathroom, great AC, mini fridge, free wifi (a little slow), lift. There is a ‘Brek’s Cafeteria’ two minutes down the street, a decent self service chain restaurant (several in northern Italy) that prepares the food as you order it.

Torino is roughly in the center of Piedmont–Valle d'Aosta (90 minutes west of Milan by frequent train); it's on the Po River, which stretches east all the way to the Adriatic. Torino's flatness and wide, angular, tree-lined and porticoed boulevards (supposedly 16km of them) and huge airy piazzas are very different from Italian metropoli to the south; the region's decidedly northern European bent is quite evident. Mostly an industrial city (numerous people asked me why I went there) but the center is pleasant and there was certainly enough there to keep me interested for a few days. I felt if I wanted to experience the real north of Italy I should see it’s major city. The guidebooks say it’s French looking, which I guess compared to Rome it is. This entire area has been part of France historically.
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Old Sep 19th, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Always love your photos, have revisited many of your albums... just salivating over the Dolomiti now (we have a week in Ortisei next July). Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Old Sep 19th, 2015, 01:39 PM
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And – they give you a free rubber duck – what more could you want in a hotel.>>

lol, i wondered if that was a euphemism for a nanosecond.

nice report isabel, and great pics.

keep it coming.
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Old Sep 20th, 2015, 03:02 AM
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Sounds like a lovely trip.
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Old Sep 20th, 2015, 06:10 AM
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As usual, some inspiring images to start my Sunday from Isabel. Loved your Dolomites shots.
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Old Sep 20th, 2015, 09:19 AM
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adelaidean - you will have a great time in the Dolomites. I hope that part of my trip report will be helpful, and if you any specific questions I'd be happy to try and answer them.


cornishannie - lol - no it was an actual rubber duck, but kind of a fun/nice touch

bob - thanks for liking the photos - and thanks for all the help you always are when planning trips
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Old Sep 20th, 2015, 09:22 AM
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Torino continued Here's my take on Torino:

Via Roma from Piazza Carlo Felice (more a park than a piazza) across from the train station is porticoed but ‘newish’ and kind boring. Lots of high priced stores. Piazza San Carlo is a very elegant large square – with two Baroque churches at one end and large statue in the center, but no benches or fountains. Via Roma after that is more interesting (architecturally speaking, still has mostly designer level chain stores) and pedestrianized. Piazza Castello is really large with four modern ‘pavement level’ fountains in the center. Palazzo Madoama on one side of the piazza is an interesting building. The back is a 15th century castle with a very Baroque front half added in the 17th century. It was named for the Savoy queen Maria Cristina, who lived there in the 17th century. The entrance is a grand double staircase. Really nice. Really Baroque. Really fancy. Free. Didn’t go into the museum. On the next side of the piazza is Palazzo Reale – even more white and more baroque and larger. These buildings on Piazza Castello are part of the Unesco World Heritage site : “The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy” (along with the hunting lodge outside of town).

Through a covered walkway is the Duomo (also under construction). Didn’t see an obvious entrance and had not read great things about the interior, and since I’m not that interested in seeing the shroud (which is only a replica anyway) I didn’t bother trying to go in. But next to it and across the street are some interesting Roman ruins and a huge city gate – the Porte Palatine - that looks like one side of a castle. And just past that is Piazza Repubblica and the Mercato – a gigantic fruit and veggie market (I think the largest in Europe). The scents of the fruit and veggies and especially the freshly cut herbs was incredibly intense. There is also a metal and glass market building – a tad run down but looks like if it were renovated it would be on a scale with Barcelona or Budapest.

From there I tried to get into the gardens behind the Palace but couldn’t find an entrance. And the streets around there were pretty run down and dirty. So back to Piazza Castello and from there I finally found an entrance. Trees and grass and benches, but it didn’t interest me in looking further to see if there were gardens or fountains. I didn’t see any.

Just past there is the Mole Anteonellia – very interesting, pretty building. It has an unusual square dome and thin, elaborate spire and is the symbol of the city. Built in the mid 1800s it was initially intended to be a synagogue was taken over by the city and now houses a huge cinema museum. The museum includes the history of photography which I found very interesting. The museum has a kind of Disney-like quality but was fun for an hour or so. I didn’t bother going up the lift as I didn’t think the view would be that great, as it was very hazy so no mountains would be visible. There was no line though. It was 10€ for the museum, another 4 for the lift (lift alone €7).

Via Po which runs from Piazza Catello down to the river has the prettiest porticos in the city. It ends at Piazza Vittorio Veneto – the biggest square yet. Gigantic. But with a busy street running through it, it doesn’t actually feel much like a piazza. The roman bridge across the Po at the end of it is beautiful, lined with petunias. The church, Grand Madre de Dio, at the end of it, makes for the most picturesque scene in Torino. The river is faster and fresher looking up here near the mountains than further south.

I walked along the river to Parco Valentino, a large lovely park that stretches a long way along the river. It has numerous kiosks selling drinks and ice cream with umbrella covered seating. A few playgrounds. A garden with fountains. All quite nice.

The Borgo Medioevale is really interesting. The complex was built for a General Exhibition in 1884 and is a faithful reproduction of a typical Piedmont village in the Middle Ages with a few craft shops, houses, a church, and a couple stores, clustered in a couple narrow lanes, and in the center of the village is the Rocca Medioevale, a medieval castle. Village free. I didn’t see any entrance to an interior but walking through the ‘village’ was interesting (and free).

In addition to the piazzas and porticoed streets, Torino has several impressive gallerias, not quite on the scale of Milano’s, but pretty. Just off Piazza San Carlo is Galleria San Federico which houses the Cinema Lux, an art deco movie theatre. Galleria Subalpina, built in 1874 connects Piazza Castello with Piazza Carlo Alberto and is one of the most elegant areas of the city. Slightly more run down is Galleria Umberto I, near the Porta Pallazo area, connecting to the mercato. It was apparently the site of the first hospital in Turin.

The Basilica di Superga is visible from miles around and is quite a beautiful church. Thoroughly Baroque, early 18th century and since 1731 has been the burial place of kings: at least 58 members of the Savoy family down in the crypt. Basilica free, crypt €4 It’s very pretty from the outside, just OK from inside. I imagine the view might be nice on a clear day but tit was so hazy the week I was in Torino that you really couldn’t even make out the buildings in Torino, much less an Alps. Seeing the church took all of ten minutes. It was “OK” but it took quite a while to get there and back - boring bus ride, plus nice but not exactly thrilling old fashioned train ride up the hill, then waiting to get back down - so not worth the total 3 hours or more and 9€ for the train and bus rides.

All in all I felt Turino has a ‘nice’ feel. The porticos keep the sun off and are easy to walk in. There are several large piazzas, some with small fountains, a few benches. A lot of the architecture definitely feels more northern European than Italian – more like Luxembourg or Strasbourg France or Trier, Germany, etc. Looks like a livable city, but I don’t feel any great need to return like I do with Rome.
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Old Sep 20th, 2015, 10:21 AM
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As always, wonderful photos and TR--thank you! Following happily along with particular interest in your time in the Dolomites.
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Old Sep 20th, 2015, 02:29 PM
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I have just 'wandered' through your Malta photos, totally WOW!!
Obviously a scenic country, but I love how you compose your photos, and I am always fascinated by street scenes (which lead me to your Sicily photo album... and those fabulous crazy streets of Palermo).
Anyway, we are planning our first trip to Italy, and figured a week in the mountains would be relaxing after a few weeks of cities/ towns. Your photos of Bolzano made me think it might be a good option should we get a rainy day in Ortisei.
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Old Sep 21st, 2015, 02:35 AM
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Yeah, the Dolomites were certainly a highlight of the trip (though the entire thing was great, I'd do it again in a heartbeat). And we were very happy staying in Bolzano, which I know is not what most people seem to prefer. We just felt it had a much more interesting feeling than any of the smaller towns, which were basically just ski resort towns. It meant slightly more driving each day, but not by much and it was pleasant.

But before I get to the Dolomites - I 'had' to climb up to Sacra San Michele. OMG! Neither the photos or the description of it can catch how hard that was.

Sacra San Michele – A UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have a car getting there is a piece of cake cause you can drive right up there, but I had read that you could get there with a half hour train ride from Torino and then either get off at the Avigliana train station and take a taxi or continue onto the S.Ambrogio station and hike up the path. I did read that it was ‘strenuous’ but only about an hour and a half. Usually I go faster than the stated times in guide books and reviews so I though it would be a decent workout but perfectly doable. OMG!!!

It’s a 10 minute, less than ½ mile, flat walk through a relatively cute village to a relatively cute church. Go right behind the church, turn right almost immediately and come to another church, go right behind that and start going up. Directions so far were perfect. Well marked as the walking trail to Sacre San Michele. It’s a mule trail, paved with large boulders/rocks, mostly shaded, birds signing. That’s the good news. It was the steepest, most grueling hike I’ve ever done. It’s a 600 meter (1800 feet) ascent. Fitbit said it was 153 flights (to the bottom of the basilica) – the Empire State Building is 102 flights! Plus there is another 20 flights up to and in the church itself. Perhaps on a less hot/humid day it wouldn’t have been so bad, but it was truly awful. It took me 2 hours. I met a guy coming down, and from the point where we met he said it was another hour and it was, so he must have been going the same speed. Another guy passed me early on and then almost at the top he was coming back down so he obviously was going faster. They were both about my age. A few other, younger people looked pretty beat too.

Fortunately there are two fountains mid way up the trail where you could cool down. Other than that (and the 14 stations of the cross) and one or two benches it’s just trail. Coming down was much easier cardiovascularly speaking but probably more dangerous. The rocks are slippery, and there’s also tree/leaf debris so it would have been pretty easy to twist an ankle or slip and fall and break something. I had to sidestep a lot. There was a narrow path in the dirt to the side of the ‘paved’ part so obviously other people had trouble with the boulders as well.

Once you get up there, there’s a bar selling sandwiches and drinks where I got an ice tea that took less than 30 seconds to drink. The abbey itself is of course beautiful, very Romanesque and built right into the rock. Nice church plus lots of terraces and ruins and other bits. Great view of the valley and the towns below (though a bit hazy, would probably be better on a clearer day – it was sunny but the air was very thick). At least now I have bragging rights. But no, I would not do it again if I knew then what I know now.
Here's the guidebook description of it:
“The abbey is a religious complex on Mount Pirchiriano, situated on the south side of the Val di Susa overlooking the villages of Avigliana and Sant Ambrogio in the foothills of the Alps. It may have begun as early as 966 but most of it was built in the 11-12th century. It is located atop a rocky crag base and towers above the valley. The church façade leads to a staircase, the Scalone del Morti ("Stairway of the Dead"), flanked by arches, niches and tombs in which, until recent times, skeletons of dead monks where visible (hence the name). At the top of the 243 steps is the marble Porta dello Zodiaco, a masterwork of 12th century sculpture. The church itself is accessed by a Romanesque portal in grey and green stone, built in the early 11th century. The church has a nave and two aisles, and features elements of both Gothic and Romanesque architecture and really is very beautiful. There are some wonderful frescoes as well. There are some ruins of other buildings, the Torre della Bell'Alda ("Tower of the Beautiful Alda"), and a terrace with breathtaking views of the village and valley below” (especially if you know you WALKED up there).
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Old Sep 21st, 2015, 12:26 PM
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After Torino I did a ‘side trip’ to Malta for a week – for ease of people looking for info on Malta I posted that as a separate trip report – here’s the link to that and the photos that go with it. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ta-in-july.cfm

Returning to Italy, I landed in Bergamo, a town I had visited as a day trip from Milano a few years ago. I loved it and was happy to have the evening there, although I only had a few hours. Early the next morning I took the train to my next destination: three days on Lake Garda.

Sunday, July 12, 2015 – Sunny and hot – 90s – The train to Desenzano (6.70€) was on time, but two other trains were seriously delayed (40 min +). The walk down to the harbor is pleasant in the (relatively) cool morning and it’s downhill, about 15 minutes. Plenty of time to buy the ticket (18.50€) for the boat to Malcesine and look around a bit. The ‘fast’ boats are just barely noticeably faster than the ‘regular’ boats. There is inside and outside seating, they are larger. But not like some hydrofoils I’ve been on (Greece, Naples) that are like being in a bus with dirty windows. The top open deck was all shaded and not easy to move around, but it was outside. It stopped at Sirmione, Garda, Salo, Gardone and Maderno before Malcesine. Malcesine looks more interesting than the others (well except Sirmione). The lower half of the lake really is just a large lake with slight hills around. But a bit before Malcesine the actual mountains start and are very impressive. Definitely ‘fjord’ like.

Hotel Erika is quite nice. Immaculately clean, room is very large with good AC, wi-fi, TV. Erika is very pleasant and helpful. Breakfast has the usual assortment (no croissants but muffins, nice change actually although I do prefer croissants). Unfortunately no mini-fridge. And as there are only 14 rooms (and it was not full) she locks up pretty early (before 10) and you have to use a key to get in which is not a problem as long as you pay attention to her instructions as to how the key works (which I admit I didn’t really do, it didn’t seem that complicated and I didn’t think 10 was ‘late’, so I had a bit of a scare when it took me forever to figure it out the first night). And actually the other nights the lobby was open later. It was a fine location for someone arriving by boat, but it would be perfect if you were driving (there is a garage).

After lunch I took the 2pm boat heading north. It was going to be 18.50€ to go to Riva del Garda and return, and only 20.50€ for an upper lake day pass so I got that and stopped in Limone. Limone was packed (more so than Malcesine or Riva). So I decided to put further exploration off and got the boat 20 minutes later to Riva del Garda.

The mountains get really good as you go north from Malcesine and Limone. There is one area where the lake becomes very narrow and becomes some what of a wind tunnel and is thus the windsurfing capital of Europe. There were hundreds of them. Plus a few sail boats, but mostly windsurfers.

Riva del Garda is the largest town on the north part of the lake, it’s a proper town, not just a tourist town as Limone and Malcesine have become. It has a lovely waterfront with plenty of shops and restaurants, and a nice small castle (with a photography exhibit) but it also has many more side streets and then even further back a more modern town. The 5:15 boat back was a ‘fast’ one so my day pass required a supplement so I just waited for the 6pm (the last one). Because of the tall mountains, the west side of the lake becomes shaded quite early so it was actually pretty cool.

But Malcesine was still beautifully lit (and hot) when we got back at 7:15. By 8pm Malcesine was hopping, practically every restaurant was full. Later there was a free concert at the harbor with a jazz band playing on the “Siora Veronica”, an old sailing ship that moors in the harbor and goes out a few times a week for cruises. It pulls into the middle of the very tiny harbor and they put chairs all around the very tiny promenade for the concert. A lovely introduction to Lake Garda.
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Old Sep 21st, 2015, 01:43 PM
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Those towns look lovely.
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Old Sep 21st, 2015, 02:02 PM
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@isabel - quite a few years ago we tok our kids who were then 10 & 13 to Garda for a week in August - it was pretty hot but we had a terrific week. Garda is not the prettiest of the towns round the lake by any means but it's ideally situated for getting round the lake as both the slow and the "fast" boats stop there, and you can easily get to either end of the lake; if you stay at one end or the other, it's much more difficult to get to the other end and back in a day.

we loved everything we saw and could easily have spend at least another week there.
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Old Sep 21st, 2015, 09:09 PM
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Just noticed this Isabel and really enjoying it.

We were lucky enough to have 6 nights in Ortisei and 5 in Malcesine in late July and loved the whole experience.

I haven't even had time to take a proper look through our photos or write anything as just after we arrived home our young adult daughter became ill so we have been kept busy.

So double thank you for sharing this and bringing back wonderful memories - we cannot wait until we go for a longer visit to both places!

And Malta is also on our list and I have not been there and my husband keep telling me it is a must.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2015, 12:00 AM
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Hello Isabel
I've just stumbled across your most interesting TR too. Thank you so much! It's a wealth of info & a joy to see the pics.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2015, 12:38 AM
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Have enjoyed the report.

We spent a weekend in Torino and really enjoyed ourselves (not fun to drive in though because of ZTL). We don't usually do the hop-on-hop-off bus, but found it very useful there.

Just an FYI,The car did come in handy to get out into the surrounding wine country however. Particularly well done is the wine museum in Barolo, if anyone is interested in that sort of thing. However, we found the wine tasting set up in the lower level of the castle (run by the cooperative?) not worth the extra money...I've never been to a tasting where the majority of wine they have you "tasting" isn't available for sale and you're expected to buy (usually much more expensive) bottles un-tasted! Quite bizarre! But we like Barolo very much.

Also to add for anyone considering Riva del Garda in August who would be traveling with children, checkout the dates of their annual children's Notte di Fiaba...each year it's a different theme derived from famous children's fables (the year we were there it was Robin Hood and his Merry Men)and it is truly all about kids, big and little, having a great weekend and the whole town comes out and participates. Heck, we didn't have kids, and we had a fabulous time!

Thx for the reporting Isabel!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2015, 01:16 PM
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I agree with all you who enjoyed Malcesine. On a previous trip I visited Sirmione as a day trip but felt it was a bit too crowded (at least during the daytime). I was really happy that the northern part of the lake was more quiet.

Monday, July 13, 2015 Sunny and hot – 90s, but with a lot of haze and some clouds especially on top of Mount Baldo. I took the cable car up to Mount Baldo. It’s 20€ round trip all the way to the top. (15€ if you buy your tickets before 9 am). First you take a 45 person car to the half way point. Great views of the town and the castle during the first minute or so of that ride, then you’re too high.

Unfortunately the big glass windows are totally smudged and it was hot as hell in there. At the half way point you get out and get in another cable car, that looks exactly the same except it’s bigger, holds about 70 people and that one rotates 360. But just as hot and smudgy windows. At 9:45 there were enough people to just about fill the cars but no line other than waiting for the car (about every 15 minutes one goes in each direction).

At the top there were fabulous views down to the lake and over to the other mountains and valleys. Unfortunately, while it was sunny and hot down at lake level, with a bit of clouds but you could still see the top station perfectly fine, once up at the top it was so hazy you could barely tell there was a lake down there and really couldn’t see the impressive mountains on the other side at all. I walked the ‘flat-ish’ walk – about ¾ mile to a great look out point.

There are tons of walks you can do. Despite the lack of views there were some critters to shoot. First there was a pack of alpacas that some guys were moving from one place to another (you can apparently ‘rent’ an alpaca that they will put on a leash and you can take it for a walk for 40€). There was also a large herd of cows, all wearing bells, it was so beautiful to hear the ‘music’ they were making. There are at least three restaurants in the area that I was in (one at the cable car station, one about half way to the point I walked to, and another just past the cable car station in the other direction.

There was hardly anyone going down when I did (just before noon) but by then the lines to go up looked pretty serious and the area you wait in is very hot and stuffy. I did notice that it was substantially cooler at the top. It’s 1765 meters.

I spent the afternoon in Malcesine, wandering around the town and lakefront and visiting the castle which is small (but the largest one on the lake other than Sirmione I think) with decent views of the roof tops of Maclesine and the mountains around the lake. There are several museum exhibits but it was pretty hot and stuffy in those rooms so I just poked around and of course climbed to the top of the tower. There’s a bell up there, cast in 1442.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2015, 01:59 PM
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Tuesday, July 14, 2005 - and HOT 96. Much sunnier than day before – also even hotter. But still a bit of haze around. Briefy considered another trip up to Mount Baldo to see it without the clouds but decided not to. Better to take a boat ride to Limone. Since the ‘private’ boats (at 9€ round trip, cheaper and more frequent than the ferries) supposedly didn’t start till 10, I sat by the beach to the north of the Castle. Turns out that’s not only the best view but early morning is the best light. Photographed a family of ducks in the morning sun. It was beautiful and peaceful, one or two people taking an early swim. The gentle sound of the lake’s waves lapping the shore. A really wonderful way to spend an hour. The boat ride from Malcesine to Limone is a pleasant 15 minute crossing.

Limone has a much larger lakeside promenade but otherwise is much steeper and the back ‘streets’ are not as charming as Malcesine. Even more clothing, shoe and jewelry stores than Malcesine, more crowded with tourists. There was a market going on at the far end of the promenade, mostly clothes, one or two stalls with veggies. No castle, no cable car, less charm – I’m glad I picked Malcesine. Very hot in the sun, but not too bad in the shade with a tiny bit of lake breeze. Got the BEST granite and sat on a bench, even in the sun I was cool enough while eating it. One of those “this is why I travel moments” (along with the duck family in the morning sun that morning and the cows/alpacas on Mt Baldo the day before). Virtually all the tourists in Limone and Malcesine are German. No American English heard at all, and not that much British English or even Italian (except the locals speaking to each other).

The only problem with the private boats is that when I got to the boarding dock there were few people there (1:30) but by 2:00 when the boat left, there were so many that half didn’t get on. That would be a bummer to have to wait an hour in the hot sun, and I’ll bet half of those people won’t get on the following one either.

Wednesday I took the 'slow boat' down the lake (takes almost four hours but is very enjoyable) and then the train back to Milano for two nights. Thursday I went to the Milano Expo which I did a little mini trip report on at the time (knowing it would take a long time to get around to this and I figured someone might be debating whether or not to attend and could use the info then).
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Old Sep 23rd, 2015, 02:08 PM
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What a lovely itinerary. Lake Garda looks like it has a wonderful mix of cute towns and natural beauty.
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