Can You Help With Italy Itinerary

Old Mar 5th, 2004, 01:35 PM
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Can You Help With Italy Itinerary

We're planning a trip to Switzerland and Italy (8/25 - 9/7) We're flying into Zurich and meeting up with family in St. Mortiz, but just for a couple of days. I will then have 11 days to spend exploring Italy. We can return to the US from Milan, Venice or Rome for essentially the same price.

This will be our first time in Italy. We definitely want to spend time in Venice and Florence. We could spend time in Rome as well, but I prefer to actually enjoy a particular place for longer, rather than shorter, so I don't want to spend our time too thin.

There's also a lot to explore in Northern Italy (lakes regions, etc) so I'm pretty overwhelmed just figuring out what we should do. We love beautiful scenery, history, museums, wandering, shopping, eating and just enjoying new environments.

My last question -- should we just get a train pass or should we rent a car for part of the journey?

Thank you in advance for all your comments and suggestions.
ChefToly is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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This would be my general approach to such a trip:
-Train from St. Moritz to Lake Como area (you pick a city--Como, Bellagio, Varenna, etc). Spend a few days.
-Train to Florence. Spend a few days.
-Train to Lake Garda area. Spend a few days.
-Train to Venice. Spend a few days; fly home from Venice.

That would be my preferred itinerary, based on what you have said. Maybe you can fill in some of your choices and ask for more advice in another post. Good luck.
Wayne is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:03 PM
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I would rent a car, once you have gone by train to the first available place to pick up an Italian car... Lugano? Locarno? Como? Milan?

I would forego Rome for time at Lake Como, Garda or both. Florence could come between the two, or simply after Como or before Garda. I would finish with 3 or 4 nights in Venice, where I would turn in the car, and fly home from there.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:05 PM
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A couple of suggestions:

Consider spending a few days in the Bernese-Oberland region in the heart of Switzerland. It is near Interlaken. Wonderful mountains, beautiful villages (Murren, Wengen, Grindlewald etc)and great hiking. Can't beat the scenery. We stayed in Murren. Just terrific. Suggest 2-3 days or more.


Consider the Lake Como area. Also beautiful. IMO the upper lake region is prettier. Be sure to see Bellagio. You may even want to stay there. suggest 3 days.

Then head to Venice (3 days) and on to Florence (3 days).

Since that leaves you with 2 days may I suggest spending it touring the Tuscany region.

You could take the train within Switzerland (the Swiss trains are excellent) and then to Lake Como (to the town of Como).

I would recommend a car for the time in Lake Como (pick up in Como). Although you could get around by ferry on the lake, it is more convenient by car.

You should take the train to Venice for you can't use a car there and continue by train to Florence.

You can then rent another car for the 2 days touring Tuscany. You can stay in Florence and then do 2 day trips to Tuscany. Its about an 1 1/2 hour drive to Sienna for example. It may be easier if you spent one night in Tuscany instead of coming back to Florence.

From Florence you can head to Rome or Milan for the flight back home.

leeg is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:05 PM
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My husband and I have traveled around Switzerland and Italy, and always by train. The train route from Zurich or Bern to Venice goes through and, depending on the particular train, often stops in Stresa, a lovely little town on Lake Maggiore (forgive my spelling). You could spend a couple of nights there, and visit the three islands plus other little towns on the lake. Then, you could head on down into Italy. I've spent time in Venice, and one short trip to Florence. There is nothing in the world like Venice -- be sure to spend some considerable time there. We staying 8 nights on our last trip. We've never been that time of year, though. I imagine it will be really hot.

Have fun!
dingoruff is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:20 PM
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Everyone has a variation on the same theme which is to get to Lake Como from St. Moritz--I agree. However, you have 2 better transport options. First, trains are not direct and take too long. The postal bus runs to Menaggio on the west shore of Como and takes about 2 hours--very easy. Or, better yet, take the fabulous Bernina express scenic train via Tirano and get off at Varenna on the east shore of Como. That takes time but is one of the best train routes in the world.
After 3 nites at Como, I would then go to Florence and end in Venice--get a car only if you plan to spend time in Tuscany. Good luck !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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This is why I love Fodors.

Thanks so much for your replies -- I'll probably have more questions as I start planning (I'll be sure a do a "search" first!), but I like the idea of spending time in Lake Como, Florence, then Venice.
ChefToly is offline  
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