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Changed our minds for 2007 trip-going back to Italy! Which itinerary?

Changed our minds for 2007 trip-going back to Italy! Which itinerary?

Aug 8th, 2006, 01:45 PM
  #1  
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Changed our minds for 2007 trip-going back to Italy! Which itinerary?

Hi everyone. I hope I'm not the only one that continually changes their mind about where the next trip will be to--first it was Italy, then Greece, now it's Italy again for sure! I shouldn't fret so much-Santorini will still be there the following year.

For Italy, we have 14-15 days (not including travel days.) Traveling either late May or Sept, 2007. Last trip was in 2003, and we went to Rome, Tuscany and Umbria.

Italian Riviera, Florence and Venice are definite (in that order..want to end in Venice.) The question is, where do we start?

DH wants to revisit Villefranche sur Mer, then train Italian Riviera, Florence, Venice. I'm thinking "what a long train ride, and we were there on our France trip last year."

I was thinking more along the lines of either:

Lake Como, Italian Riviera, Florence, Venice
or
Piedmonte, Italian Riviera, Florence, Venice

Does one of these make more sense than the other? We don't have problem renting a car for Piedmonte (although DH kind of likes the idea of not driving on a Europe trip for once.) I'm assuming we can do Lake Como without a car?

I very much enjoyed the wine, food and relaxed feel of Tuscany, so I'm thinking I would like Piedmonte a lot from what I've read. But, DH is saying "what is there to do in Piedmonte?" and "we should save the Lakes for another trip--too much running around."

I guess I'm thinking going all the way back to Villefranche (even though I enjoyed it) for 2 days with the crust of the trip being in Italy isn't the way to go. Help!
lhopp is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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We too are plnning an Italian Riviera visit..starting with a flight into Nice. We missed seeing Villefranche last time ..would do it this time for 1 night ..what was wonderful& what makes you want to go back?
Villefranche is only 1/2 hr from the Italian border so it makes sense to start there stay on the Italian Riviera ,& Cinque Terre , then see lake Como ( we stayed at the Ville d'Este - very opulent- would recco something lower key or stay in Bellagio across the lake - beautiful...then go on to Venice.
Riverfront is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Thanks Riverfront. Villefranche was just so quaint and relaxing. Not too big, not to small. We stayed at Hotel Welcome, right on the harbor. It was nice to go to the beach, stroll along the harbourside and pick a restaurant for dinner. Another plus is that it's very easy to daytrip to other towns for the day.

Anyone else have thoughts on which itinerary?
lhopp is offline  
Aug 11th, 2006, 03:24 PM
  #4  
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ttt
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Aug 12th, 2006, 07:42 AM
  #5  
jgg
 
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What is there to do in Piedmonte? Similar to what you would do in Tuscany only without the many toursits!! Great small towns to visit, wine tasting, great food and great people. We stayed in a wonderful B&B in Piedmonte in a town called Acqui Terme. The B&B is called Baur B&B (www.baurbb.com) and it is now one of our favorite places we have ever stayed.

We also stayed on the Italian Riviera at Lerici which is a great town where we were able to take a boat to Cinque Terre as well as easy access to the autostrada for a trip to Carrara.

Here is the link to my trip report:http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34830020
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Aug 12th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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If you are thinking "long train ride" from France, you are thinking correctly!

If your husband doesn't want to drive, it isn't necessary to do the trip you are contemplating.

Fly to Pisa and visit Firenze. Then take the train (via Pisa) to the Italian Riviera. I would pick Camogli, for beauty, boat trips and hiking, although Santa Margherita Ligure and Levanto might be good choices. You can pay a visit to Genoa if you like going to historic Italian citeis and not seeing any other tourists and eating like royalty.

From the Italian Riviera you can take a train to Lago di Como. From there, you can go to Venice by train.

Personally, unless you only want a very brief time in Firenze, I would eliminate Lago di Como for this trip.

I would do 4 nights Firenze, 3 nights Riviera, 2 nights lago, 4 nights Venezia.
nessundorma is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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Ooops -- sorry. I meant to delete my suggestion of eliminating Lago di Como after I recounted your days. I think with 15 days, you can easily include it.

nessundorma is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 01:52 PM
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Thanks for your replies.
jgg: Your trip report is fabulous. I read it last week, and it actually is what got me thinking about Piedmont-Baur B &B looks amazing--just the type of place we love!

Nessundorma: glad to have agreement on the train ride...looks to be about 5.5 hours from Villefranche to Camogli (which is one of the places on the Riviera we're considering staying.)

I didn't think about flying into Pisa and re-routing things that way to include the Lakes--good possibility. We can fly there from CLE with through JFK with stop in Milan.

I suppose if DH insists on Villefranche, we can train from there to somewhere along the coast of Italy, pick up a car, and drive to Piedmont for a few days. After that, go on to Riviera, Florence and end in Venice, saving the Lakes for some other time.



lhopp is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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If you are coming from France and want to go to Piemonte, have you checked out the possibility of taking a train to Torino from France?

Torino is a wonderful city. From there you can take a train to Genova/Camogli in about 2 hours. Then onto Firenze, then to Venezia.

Or, you could rent a car in Torino to do some Piemonte sightseeing. You can drive it to Camogli (it will cost you about $10 per day to park it) and the drive it Firenze and get rid of it.

I think you are wise to eliminate the lakes if France becomes part of the trip. (I also think if your husband insists on France, he should be willing to do some driving there.)

nessundorma is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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PS: I think it's about 3 hours from Lyon to Torino by train.

Also, you could consider flying from France to just about anyplace: Venice, Milan/Bergamo/Brescia (for the lakes) Pisa or perhaps even Genova (it's a rather small airport). You can use the whichbudget website.
nessundorma is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Thanks Nessundorma. I checked, and it's about 5.5 hrs from Villefranche to Torino. If we go to Piedmont, I was thinking of staying in Acqui Terme (possibly at Baur B&B, as jgg suggested.) I thought it might be good to fly to Milan and drive directly there, at only 1.5 hrs. Or, train from Villefranche, to say Savona, pick up car, and drive to Acqui Terme. That train ride was 2:50 and another hour to get to Acqui Terme.

I just saw your "PS"--didn't think of that...maybe we could fly from Nice to Pisa or Genoa...will look at that as well.

Thanks--you are a wealth of information!
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Aug 12th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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jgg
 
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ihopp-Glad you found my trip report helpful. We found Acqui Terme to be very well located for touring Piedmonte, and also fell in love with the charming town itself.
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Aug 12th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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Some other thoughts:

One plan that includes Villefranche would be to fly to Nice, rent a car, poke around the French Riviera, then take the car to Lyon, stopping en route in some Michelin-blessed restaurant/hotel. Then go to Torino via train, take in your favorite museum there, then rent a car.

If you decide to take a train from from the French Riviera to the Italu, then don't go any further than San Remo before renting a car. There really is no point to sticking to the train further than that. From San Remo, the autostrade will whisk you to your destination, whether it be Camogli or hanging a left at Imperia to get to Torino. (The coastal road is not terribly scenic and maddeningly slow due to traffic lights, roundabouts, trucks. etc.

If you need to stop in between San Remo and an Italian Riviera destination (Camogli, whatever?), then Cervo is a quite beautiful spot. But all of the towns have great eats and are loose and relaxed. You can't go wrong just picking a turn-off from the autostrada, heading to the water, and having a bite to eat at the first place that appeals to you.

Driving through Liguria to get to Piemonte can be a memorable time in itself. If you choose that route, slow down and enjoy it. There are many spectacular hilltowns, charming villages and lovely views along the way.
nessundorma is offline  
Aug 12th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Sorry for my typos! That should have read:

"If you decide to take a train from from the French Riviera to Italy..."

(I flunked my 10th grade typing class.)
nessundorma is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 02:45 PM
  #15  
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Thanks everyone.
Still thinking about it, but leaning towards Piedmont, Italian Riviera, Florence and Venice (4 days each--although maybe only 2-3 for Florence?)

After a long discussion the other night, DH is sold on Piedmont! Thanks for all your advice.

Still settling on dates for Sept, 2007, but thinking if we want particular hotels/B&B's in Florence and Venice, we should be inquiring soon, correct? I've seen several postings recently that hotels were already full for various dates in 2007, especially in Venice.
lhopp is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Dear Ihopp,
I think you're trying to cover way too much ground in too little time--you're trying to cover most of northern Italy in 2 weeks, from east to west, north to south! Get a good map of the country and really look at where you're thinking of going and how much time it will take. Allow for traffic and getting lost. For example, it took me 8 hours to drive from Milan airport to a hilltown in Tuscany in a driving rain: there goes one full day.

Part of the fun of having this much time in Italy is to meander among the towns of Liguria--from Portofino to Santa Margherita to Chiavari to Cinque Terre; that could easily fill 3-4 days and doesn't even include Genova.

You could easily spend a week in Florence (especially if you like art and museums) and just scratch the surface...make sure you allow enough time there.

And there are delightful towns between Florence and Venice--Parma (home of Parmigianno Reggiano and Parma ham), and Mantova (Mantua on English maps) and Cremona. All have palazzos and much history and are delightful walking towns. Mantova was dominated by the Gonzaga family--they were like the Medicis of the area--and there are incredible Mantegna frescos in their palaces.

I would save Lake Como/Cernobbio/Lake Garda for another time. You've heard of the "Slow Food" movement? The Italians have also started the "Slow Citta" movement to focus on the urban things that add joy to life. Slow down and savor these...you'll enjoy the trip more than packing too much into too little time.

JanDelaware is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 04:17 PM
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Thanks Jan for your comments. We have 15-16 trip days (not including travel days.) As of the moment, we plan to spend 3 or 4 in Piedmont, 4 or 5 on Italian Riviera (not planning to visit Genoa), 2-3 in Florence (we're not huge art people, but I do want to see the Duomo and David), and 4 in Venice. We're not doing the Lakes with this trip. The distances are not that far between each of these places, and we typically find that 3-4 days per destination works well for us.

Thanks for the suggestions of small towns between Venice and Florence...that is something I will definitely look into.
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Aug 16th, 2006, 07:50 PM
  #18  
jgg
 
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Glad you are narrowing in on Piedmont. I think you will really enjoy it. Never too soon to make reservations once you get the dates nailed down. A recommendation for Venice - Locanda Orseolo (www.LocandaOrseolo.com), our 2nd favorite place in Italy (just a touch behind Baur B&B). A lot of great comments on here and trip advisor. I believe it is rated #1 in Italy on Trip Advisor.
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Aug 17th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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Thanks jgg. We're working on finalizing our dates soon. We're thinking Sept 10th-24th, not including travel days. It seems as if this is a good time time to visiting Piedmont and the Riviera? (although I imagine Cinque Terre will be crowded.) We wanted to be in Italy for our anniversary, which is Sept 11th (I know, not a very good day to celebrate.)

Thanks for the recommendation also on Locanda Orseolo. I already made contact with them, and they are accepting reservations for next September, so they will be the first one I get in touch with when ready to book. Yes, the reviews are terrific, and it sounds perfect for us. In fact, the comments about it remind me of the place we stayed in Rome, Residenza Cellini. We felt like family when we were there!

If Piedmont it is, we're definitely hoping to stay at Baur B&B as well! Thanks again for your great trip report and for your comments on my posting.
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Aug 17th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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jgg
 
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Yes, I suspect Sept. is a beautiful time to be in Piedmont and the Rivera. I think the truffle festival in Alba is the first week in Oct. but maybe you will be in Piedmont in time to do a little truffle hunting!

My son's birthday is Sept. 11 so I know what it is like to have to celebrate on that day.

Have a wonderful trip!
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