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Bellagio and Verona or Santa Margherita Ligure

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Jun 19th, 2015, 03:07 PM
  #1
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Bellagio and Verona or Santa Margherita Ligure

August travel itinerary question

Lake Como: Varenna 2 Nights; Bellagio 2 nights (I know they are 15 minutes away from each other by ferry) and Verona 1 night

or skip Bellagio and Verona still stay in Varenna 2 nights and go to Santa Margherita Ligure for 3 nights instead?

thanks!
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Jun 19th, 2015, 03:34 PM
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Maybe I should be more clear - Traveling with two teenage boys
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Jun 19th, 2015, 04:07 PM
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I haven't been to SML in August, but I would think it would be crazy crowded.

The train Varenna to Verona would take at least 3 hours. Catch a very early train, or you don't arrive until after lunch. Is it worth it for only one night?

Where do you go after either option?
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Jun 19th, 2015, 05:05 PM
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The Original Itinerary

Milan 3 nights
Lake Como 4 nights
Verona 1 night
Bologna 2 nights
Venice 2 nights
Milan 1 night home


Any suggestions would be helpful. Been to Cinque Terre but never to Portofino. Looking forward to EXPO 2015; VENICE BIENNIAL and a food tour from Bologna.

Thanks!
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Jun 19th, 2015, 05:12 PM
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Maybe cut out Verona and stay 3 nights in Bologna?
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Jun 19th, 2015, 05:22 PM
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I am assuming train travel, correct?
I would not try SML in August as well. I would add time to Venice and see Verona as a day trip but not overnight.

Why not start at Lago Como and put your Milano time all at the end?
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Jun 19th, 2015, 05:30 PM
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That's nice thought re Milano. Thanks!

My older father - asked to recoup in Milan from the travel from US. But maybe we just get right to it. Also Im nervous about Bologna since Ricks Steves says skip it but thats where our food tour is departing from. Oh the troubles we have! Just kidding!
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Jun 19th, 2015, 05:31 PM
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recuperate not recoup!
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Jun 19th, 2015, 06:59 PM
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Bologna is a wonderful city to visit, filled with university students, great food and history. Also, I think teens would be bored in Varenna so suggest Bellagio would be better for the whole stay on Lake Como.I would add more time to Venice.
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Jun 19th, 2015, 07:09 PM
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Thank you happytrvlr for your advice and assurance on Bologna!
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Jun 20th, 2015, 02:14 AM
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I've never understood the pull of Portofino for some people, unless it's just to say they've been. It's a small village in a small cove with a few very expensive shops, restaurants and hotels. But it is tiny, takes an hour to see and is not memorable. It's a 30 minute, at most, walk from SML, or take a local bus.

SML is a nice enough town but again, I wouldn't take a detour to get there.It has some good restaurants and hotels. If you're a foodie, then Bologna is well worth the visit. Rick Steves knows nothing!

Verona is worth seeing if only for its amphitheatre. The "Romeo and Juliet" balcony is a balcony. You can do this as a day trip.

How about:

Como 3 nights

Land in Milan, straight to Como-it's about the same distance from Malpensa to either Milan or Como.

Bologna 2 nights

Venice 5 nights including a day trip to Verona

Milan for three nights and home.
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Jun 20th, 2015, 02:34 AM
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I think teens would be bored silly in either Varenna or Bellagio. The scenery is nice, but other than visiting villas and shopping, there isn't much to do. Maybe they'd enjoy a private boat rental, or a pedalo. If they're into hiking, there are some possibilities, especially near Varenna.

We were originally planning to spend three nights in Bellagio, but circumstances required us to cut one night from our itinerary. In the end, I was glad, because by the end of the first (half) day, we had already taken the ferry to Varenna and seen a good part of that town. We had also visited the Villa Carlotta, and my husband was resisting even a second villa visit. The restaurants we encountered were mediocre and overpriced.

The next day, we walked around Bellagio, but other than a nice medieval church (San Giacomo) and a navigation museum (which didn't much attract us), there were only stores, one after another. I wanted to find a grocery, but those are scarcer than hens' teeth in downtown Bellagio. In the end we visited another villa, the Villa Melzi, and spent a lot of time sitting by the lake.

In downtown Bellagio, I could count on one hand the number of Italians I saw. (In Varenna, it would have required at least two hands.) The vast majority of the tourists was American, followed by English. There were a few Germans and a sprinkling of French, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. The proprietor of our hotel told us that there were more Italians in the summer, but that even then, the visitors were mostly American and English.

We went into a lakeside bar and ordered something to drink. The waitress gave us a perplexed look and asked us if we could speak English!

We stayed at the Hotel Fioroni, which is a small family-run hotel a bit uphill from the center. It was very near the Villa Melzi, and about a 15-minute walk downhill into town. (Uphill it would take longer.) Most transportation stops running very early, but there are "evening taxis" on call. From downtown to the Hotel Fioroni was a flat €10. It was a very nice little hotel, with an excellent breakfast, good air-conditioning (which was needed), and very kind and helpful proprietors. I can highly recommend this hotel.
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Jun 20th, 2015, 03:48 AM
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Hi,

I live pretty much next door to Santa Margherita Ligure, and it is not "crazy" in August any more than the other places you are going are crazy. It's actually a whole lot of fun. It's the holiday season, and that is the time to enjoy the Riviera. It is what "Santa" is all about. A young crowd from Milan will be there, dancing in the evenings to outdoor music. The trains and boats will take you anyplace you want to go. If you like to swim, it is great, but I recommend booking a hotel with its own beach area, especially if you are going in the last 2 weeks in August.

I very much enjoy all the places on your itinerary for teens, but most Italians in Milan and Bologna will be at the beach in August because it is so hot in the other places. The students will not be there because the university is closed in August. Bologna is only one hour from Milan by train, so you don't need to spend nights there to meet up with your food tour. I really enjoy the food of the Italian Riviera -- especially in summer -- and it shows off the variety of Italian regional cooking. It's really nothing like the food any place else you are going.

Anyway, up to you where you want to go, but no reason to be afraid of going to the Italian seaside in summer. It's heaven.
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Jun 20th, 2015, 06:31 AM
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Thank you everyone for your replies. Good thing planning is half the fun! We did go to Cinque Terre (stayed in Monterosso) in August about 6 yrs ago and it was perfect. The Italian Riviera is always calling us back! But we'll see... 14 days gets eaten up pretty quickly! Thank you for the tip @Rubicund that Malipensa is the same distance to Como as Milano. Did not know that! Luckily my sons are into photography and architecture so Im not worried that they will be bored by lake Como - most of our trips revolve around walking / hiking in beautiful spots rather than disney world type experiences. (not that there is anything wrong with that - they like that too) Lucky you @Sandralist for living so close to such beauty.
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Jun 20th, 2015, 08:59 AM
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If you do go to SML, take the bus for a day trip to Portofino. In 2005 we had 2 days there hiking the hills, eating on the plaza, swimming in the cove, exploring the museum, fort and church and enjoying the beautiful views from wherever we walked. Sometimes a small town is just what you need to slowdown and enjoy your Italian Riviera vacation.
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Jun 20th, 2015, 09:11 AM
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I didn't mean to imply that teens enjoyed only Disney type experiences. My kids were not at all into that sort of thing. They were into art and architecture, music, opera and that sort of thing. However, there's none of that in Bellagio. The architecture, other than the 18th and 19th century villas, was not worth writing home about.

I find villas rather boring, in general. Maybe you'd enjoy them more. I really don't get excited about how plutocrats lived 100 years ago. The Villa Carlotta has some paintings and sculptures, mostly late Victorian taste. The two villas we saw had lovely gardens, and would have been spectacular earlier in the year, because they largely featured rhododendrons and azaleas, which were pretty much finished for the year. I could have taken one more garden, but my husband had gone beyond his usual limit with two.
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Jun 20th, 2015, 10:28 AM
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If you do not need those first nights in Milan for Dad to recuperate, and only one night there in the end, you could add other places, Padua, Vicenza, etc, or all in one new place.
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Jun 20th, 2015, 11:14 AM
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You can take a boat to Portofino,stay an hour or so, and return to SML.
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