Ahh, Northern Italy! A trip report.

Old Oct 24th, 2001, 01:13 PM
  #1  
bb
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Ahh, Northern Italy! A trip report.

I’ve finally recovered enough from my nasty case of jet lag and gotten my laundry done so it’s time for a trip report! I traveled alone and on a budget...but not so strict a budget that I denied my self much...but I am a gal with simple tastes!

Flew into Milan after a layover in Gatwick...made for a very long first day. Took the Malpensa Express into town---it is a very easy and convenient way, especially at a time when you’re not thinking your clearest. Checked into my hotel, the Antica Locanda del Mercanti, a lovely small boutique hotel with fresh flowers in the rooms, great mattresses and no televisions, which actually was a bit of a relief...no need to turn on CNN! Spent my day in Milan touring the Duomo, (go to the roof for the view and the intricate carvings...and great gargoyles!), the Castello Sforzesco and the Brera picture gallery.

Then, on to Bologna! I had been told by a relative that Bologna was his favorite city in Italy, and after eating there, I can understand why---there was not a bad meal to be had--from the traditional Bolognese lasagna, the wonderful cheese and cured meats...and of course the wine. But being a gal of simple tastes, the “vino della casa” always suited me just fine! My hotel there, Holiday, was the most expensive of my trip and was my least favorite...dark and dreary. But I was lucky to get a room at all as there was one of those “trade fairs” that seem to take all the hotel rooms of the cities you want to visit. I hit all the places of interest...the Basilica, Santa Stefano--where an avant-garde theatre performance was moving chapel to chapel--climbed the Torre degli Asinelli and visited the Bologna art museum where I was fascinated by the differences to be seem in the Bolognese painting scuola. Walking around the city was a treat...all the buildings painted warm hues of gold and orange, the covered sidewalks humming with people, young and old.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2001, 01:14 PM
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bb
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Then on to my favorite place of all...Venice! Having been there before, I did have an idea of the lay of the land but nevertheless, got lost finding my hotel off my vaporetta stop...I do find getting lost in Venice amusing but not while I’m carrying my duffel bag! Anyway, the Hotel Do Pozzi was lovely, tucked away in between San Marco and Piazza San Stefano...no canal view but set back far enough on a courtyard that it was quiet. Spent my first two days walking around, visiting churches that I had missed on previous visits, spent a day visiting the islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello (my favorite...the mosaics at the Basilica there are amazing!) and a day at the Biennale, which was absolutely amazing this year, especially the international exhibits at Arsennale. Truly, if you care at all about contemporary art, this is the show you must see. It is the reason I try to get to Venice every other year. As far as restaurants, I really just hit cafes for a plate of pasta off the beaten track in San Croce or Dorsoduro...Venice dining is expensive and usually substandard, so I saved money by eating simply. But the $14 spent on one Sambuca listening to the orchestra at the Cafe Florian would negate any cost savings...but oh, well, gotta splurge occasionally, you’re in Venice! Did a day trip to Verona, squeezing in all the sites in a day...would have liked to stay longer but one of those darned “trade shows” had taken all the available hotel rooms!

My last few days were spent at Bellagio at Lake Como. For me it was a really good choice as when I am on holiday, mostly in cities I go and go from morning to night from museum to cathedral to architectural site. It was a nice winding down to have a few days to take boat rides, hike and just enjoy the peace. I stayed at the Hotel du lac...a pretty room on the forth floor with a little balcony overlooking the lake. The weather was lovely, sunny in the 70s...all the better for hiking around the hamlets, touring the beautiful gardens at the Villa Melzi and Villa Carlotta and reading in a lakeside cafe, sipping wine.

But alas, all good things must come to an end, so I made my way back to Malpensa (there is a bus leaving from Como’s Piazza Cavour...all the better to avoid the train back to Milan and then another to Malpensa). I spent the night before my early flight back at Hotel Cervo, a clean nice hotel near the airport with very friendly proprietors and a shuttle van. Up at 5am for the long, long trip back to the states. Sigh. I always think that time flies so fast yet feels so slow when I am in Italy.

If I can answer any questions, just fire away...I figure it’s the least I can do after getting so many helpful tips from this site!
 
Old Oct 24th, 2001, 03:41 PM
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Holly
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Welcome back, and nice report!
I'm curious as to what the room was like at the Do Pozzi -was it a single? Average? Tiny? Cost?
 
Old Oct 25th, 2001, 05:59 AM
  #4  
bb
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Holly, the Hotel Do Pozzi was very nice...the lobby and breakfast area typical venetian style, but my room was recentley redone, modern furniture, new tiled bathroom, while small, not as small as some of the singles I've had throughout Italy. It cost 230.000L/$110 a night which I think, for the location, was pretty darn good. I would definately recommend it!
 
Old Oct 25th, 2001, 06:42 AM
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Holly
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Thanks, bb. Good to know. Do you happen to have the website?
 
Old Oct 25th, 2001, 07:12 AM
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bb
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I booked it through www.charmingvenice.com...it was a good service, as when you made a request for one hotel, others would email you too with availaiblity...so it was a good way to pick and choose among different places.
 
Old Oct 27th, 2001, 11:37 AM
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Keith
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HI,
Just about to head to Italy for a week with my wife, Milan, Florence and a villa in Umbria. We will be staying at the Locanda in Milan like you did, is it worth the money?
Keith
 
Old Oct 27th, 2001, 06:02 PM
  #8  
Mgiggle
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Topping and thanks for a great report!
 
Old Oct 28th, 2001, 05:16 AM
  #9  
Don and Linda
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Hi Holly,

Here's the hotel's own web site:
http://www.hoteldopozzi.it/home-eng.htm

 
Old Oct 29th, 2001, 06:25 AM
  #10  
bb
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Hi Keith...sorry if I've missed you...if you're already in Italy, I'm jealous! I miss it already!
As for the Locanda, I liked it, an excellent location right off Via Dante, tastefully decorated and quiet. The unusual things are that as there is no breakfast room, breakfast is served in the room, very simple, just croissant, juice and coffee...and the bill must be paid in cash-no credit cards accepted. The mattress on the bed and the linens were worth every penny, eh, lire!
 

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