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babycakes19 Apr 18th, 2014 08:10 AM

Day trip to Northern Italy Suggestions
I'm taking my family of four adults to Germany and Austria in mid to late September. Half way through our trip we will be in Innsbruck, Austria and I want to surprise my family and take them on a day trip to Italy for good cuisine and a short Italian experience. We will be traveling by car, so we are able to go pretty much wherever. I'm undecided if it will only be a day trip or actually drive to a city in Italy and stay one night before we head to our next destination, Salzburg. So, any recommendations?? I've looked into Bolzano, Merano, and Riva. They all look wonderful, but not sure which will be the best "Italian" experience for such a short time, and which place has excellent food. I know northern Italy's food isn't like southern Italy and has a lot of German influence, but I would really like to find a traditional Italian place to eat.

If we decide to stay a night, any suggestions of hotels or B&B??

dwdvagamundo Apr 18th, 2014 08:37 AM

If it were I, I'd go to Venice, park the car in the Piazzole Roma, and stay overnight or longer--you're going to want to stay once you get there. We did that a few years ago, although we stayed in Venice for four or so nites. Easy (and beautiful) drives both to Venice from Innsbruck and from Venice to Salzburg.

Use Tripadvisor to find a place to stay and a place to eat no matter where you decide to go.

Food in Italy is consistently good, but in that part, you'll get more northern Italian cuisine--butter instead of olive oil, and risotto and polenta rather than pasta. Not so much German influence as you'd expect (thank goodness).

HappyTrvlr Apr 18th, 2014 08:39 AM

You will have a more German influenced part of Italy in the the far north. I would go south to Verona.

asps Apr 18th, 2014 11:34 AM

Bolzano and Merano were in the Austrian empire till 1918, still the majority of people is of Austrian descent and speak a Tyrolean dialect. Generally speaking, food in restaurants is more refined in the Italian section of Tyrol and you can find Italian dishes, Italian is spoken along German, but there is not a big difference between Innsbruck and Bressanone/Brixen or Merano or Bolzano.

The first Italian speaking city going south is Trento - they also were in the Austrian empire till 1918, so that the first truly Italian city you would meet is Verona - we are talking about four hours driving from Innsbruck, so not fit for a day trip.

Mind you, I am not saying that the northern cities are not fine places for a trip. When I spend my time in Innsbruck I often have a trip to Bressanone. Still, it has not a really Italian feel. Still, you can find outstanding gastronomy. For lists of "starred" restaurants, have a look to:

bvlenci Apr 18th, 2014 11:55 AM

According to Google Maps, Verona is a 2 hour and 40 minutes drive from Innsbruck; maybe that's optimistic. I think that's also the best way to get a good Italian meal, and Verona is also a beautiful city, with an ancient Roman amphitheater. In Venice, the restaurants tend to be overpriced and geared to tourists.

sandralist Apr 18th, 2014 12:12 PM

Here is one suggestion for starting in Innsbruck and ending in Salzburg with scenic and gastronomic highlights:

Drive from Innsbruck toward Cortina d'Ampezzo via Brunico. That's about a 3 hour+ drive so you will want to stop for lunch along the way and you will also want to stop to take pictures. (Can't advise where to eat lunch because I don't know what time you would be starting out.)

After lunch, drive to Arta Terme in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and stay at this hotel and eat dinner there and sleep there. Eat pasta in particular, especially cjarsons and blec con speck. This is very traditional Italian food.

Next day, drive to Salzburg (3 hours).

But you really need to watch the weather forecast and switch plans if it isn't sunny.

SkipHudgins Apr 18th, 2014 07:10 PM

Verona or Bergamo

asps Apr 20th, 2014 02:43 AM

Frankly speaking, I managed to drive between Innsbruck and Verona in less than three hours and twenty minutes only once - it was a winter Sunday and there was absolutely no traffic. All the other times - and I have done it scores of times - it took more time and in most cases a short intermediate stop. In August weekends the highway is completely stuck with traffic and I time I had to stop in the middle - so taking two days for the drive. Google maps is usually optimistic with driving times, but the Brenner highway is a case in which Google maps is particularly optimistic.

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