Comment on my Lucca-Milan trip

Old Jun 14th, 2007, 01:22 PM
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Comment on my Lucca-Milan trip

I am reposting hoping for any suggestions to this itinerary, things to consider or not miss.
Hello everyone. I have been reading and posting for months and departure is around the corner! We are arriving in Pisa next Friday 6/22 at noon and departing from Milan on 7/1..We will be spending 5 nights in Lucca which we will use as a base and plan on using trains to travel.I have heard that Lucca is very small but many places near by for day trips. We have been to Rome, Florence and Venice previously
Itinerary: My plans:1 and 1/2 days for Lucca-day trip to Cinque Terre,day trip to Viareggio,day trip to Bologna.-
2 days in Rapallo
2 days Milan -have been here before so a day trip on to Como (have never been to the lakes). Depart 7/1 from Malpensa.
Questions:
1. I gather there is not much to see in Rapallo, but we want to stay near the coast. What are your recommendations for the l and 2 half days here? Santa Marguerita and Portofino or go on to Genoa(1 day too little time)?
2.We have already been to Milan, but mainly the city center,so we would like to visit the Brera area.We are staying at Hotel Cristoforo Colombo, on Corso Bueos Aires.Is anyone familiar with this hotel and it's location?
3.The day trip to Como by train should be from which train station? centrale or Nord?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
misscarol is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2007, 07:21 PM
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You're leaving in a week. A bit late for comments, don't you think? Anyway, here goes:

Five nights in Lucca is about four too many for me, but this is your trip. Have you checked the train schedules from Lucca to all those day-trip destinations?

Since you want to stay at/near the coast, why not stay a few nights in one of the Cinque Terre and really see more than would be possible in a single day trip. I don't get the 2 nights in Rapallo.

Likewise, why not stay a night or two on Lake Como rather than day-trip from Milan? Depending on the time of your Malpensa departure, you could possibly spend the last night in Bellagio.

Unless you really, really like train rides, I'd leave Bologna for another trip. It just doesn't fit well into this short trip.
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Old Jun 15th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Lucca is l l/2 hrs and a couple of train changes to Cinque Terre and Rapallo
is only 30 min and no train changes. So
I don't think you would want to go to CT
from Lucca. Lucca is small, but a very
relaxing place good for eating lots of
gelato, strolling and riding bikes around
the park at the top of the walled city.
Have a great trip!
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Old Jun 15th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Thanks Violetduck for the suggestions. Will cut out the day trip to Cinque Terre and Bologna. Do you have any suggestions for day trips from Lucca? My husband will not rent a car, so either train, bus or private hire.
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Old Jun 15th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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The obvious day-trips from Lucca by train are Pisa and in the other direction Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini Terme and Pescia. Prato is the farthest, about an hour by train.

Prato and Pistoia have more indoor "sights" like museums and churches. Prato is known for its wool and textile industry. Montecatini Terme is a spa town made famous by Fellini's "8 1/2" and is more of a strolling town. There's a funicular to the old town on the hill. Not much up there, but the views are gorgeous. Pescia is a center for coppersmithing.
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Old Jun 15th, 2007, 06:43 PM
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I just read that the Italian state rail will be on strike June 2l from 9 pm to June 22 9 pm. Good to be aware, but don't
know how much this will suppress rail
travel.

Portofino is not to miss. A half day or
less should suffice.
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Old Jun 15th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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Hopefully you will be in Rapallo on Thursday morning for their weekly market by the waterfront! It is chockful of locals and it's a lot of fun. Rapallo is a very charming town.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the input. Vivi, we will be in Rapallo on a Thursday and the market is something we will definitely enjoy.
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 03:37 AM
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Jean can you be more specific about Lucca? What were your impressions?

Not meaning to hijack this thread but..
if you were flying in and out of Pisa and wanted to spend 12 nights in Tuscany at only 3 bases how would you divide your time? (end of Sept). Thank you!
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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topping
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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Calville, why three bases to explore Tuscany? I can see maybe two over 12 days, but it's not a huge area unless you hope to sneak into Liguria (Cinque Terre) and/or Umbria (Orvieto, Perugia, Assisi, etc.). What three bases were you considering? What are your interests? Is one of your bases Florence? Car or public trans?

As to Lucca, well, it just didn't do it for me. Maybe I had expectations that were too high or perhaps we picked the wrong two days over two different trips. We didn't spend a night there which may also have contributed to our impression. For me, one full day there plus lunch and dinner would have been more than enough time. In any event, Lucca as a base works better if you have a car and are not relying on public trans.
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 07:35 PM
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Jean, I was going to edit my last posting but we had lightening and a power surge and I didn't get a chance-strange it posted on its own without my hitting "post."

I remembered why I chose 3 destinations over a relatively small geographic area: because we want to relax and travel at a slow pace and not spend too much time traveling to various destinations.

But I really would like to hear bad things about Lucca so please tell me
Or if anyone else has negative comments about Lucca I'm all ears.

Misscarol- my apologies for posting on your thread.
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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You won't hear "bad" or "negative" comments on Lucca from me. It was just a place that didn't click in my heart the way I thought it would.

Enthusiastic descriptions of walking atop the ramparts fueled me for about 20 minutes. I've walked atop other city walls (Lucerne comes to mind) that I thought were more interesting with better views, but perhaps if I had stayed for a few days I might have enjoyed the passagiata there in the evening.

The central piazza was more charming and architecturally interesting on the postcard than in person. I'm not a shopper, so I can't and won't comment on that. We did visit on a market day, and I thought the array of produce was very colorful and attractive but certainly not any more so than other small town markets we've seen.

Although we visited both times in October, I got a vibe from the locals (particularly at the market) of tourist fatigue.

Calville, what are the three bases you are considering?
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 07:15 PM
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We were lucky to have a car while we stayed in Lucca and had great day trips to the far north of Tuscany. Many of these towns are accessible by rail, but might be by bus. Perhaps you could write the Lucca APT?

As far as Lucca as a base without a car, I'm not sure. I do like the idea of visiting Prato, Pistoia and Montecatini Terme. Pisa is also a good day trip. You may be able to get to San Miniato by bus.

We enjoyed the Albergo San Martino in Lucca. It was very nice and clean, and well located for the train station. It was also inexpensive. They have bikes for guests to ride atop the walls. Breakfast was a little weak, but there was always a nearby cafe for another coffee.

All in all, Lucca wasn't that bad. We went to every museum, church, market, piazza, garden, palazzo, and took a daytrip everyday.

The food was excellent. I didn't see much great shopping, though.

I think Lucca does lack a bit of the charm of say, hill towns. It is a little dull and flat, but if one seeks out all it has to offer, I think an enjoyable time can be had.

We were there of 9/11, and I think that colored my impressions very much. I walked around crying for a couple of days; it was hard to have a good time.
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Old Jun 21st, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for your replies. We will have a car and were planning 3 nights in Lucca, 5 in Montepulciano and 4 in Greve in Chianti. Perhaps we should add a 6th night to Montepulciano?

We know of people who rave about Lucca-(kind of second hand sources of info) and we wanted to be close to Pisa after arrival in case there are baggage delays and also to avoid alot of driving after coming off a coach class trans atlantic flight.

While in Lucca I thought we might go to Viareggio or up to Barga or the quarry towns. I'd love to see the CT on a day trip but that might be too ambitious? I've been a little turned off to CT after reading of the horrendous crowds- but would really love to be out on the water.

We are planning to stay in small inns rather than staying in an agriturismo or renting an apt.

Jean, Tuscanlifedit and other fodorites, what Tuscan base/s would you pick for a 12 night stay? Thanks so much for any replies.

(We tend to like off the beaten path, rural areas with scenic beauty. Tuscany sounds wildly popular so that may be hard to achieve).
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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 01:51 PM
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misscarol,

I just found this thread and was wondering if you have any comments to offer about your trip.

I am particularly interested in your opinion of Lucca. Also, did you ever get to Lake Como?
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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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No need to reply misscarol, I found your Italy trip report.

I plan on reading it tomorrow - too late tonight.
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