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Driving Intinerary Starting in Venice north, south east or west!?!?!??

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Apr 9th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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Driving Intinerary Starting in Venice north, south east or west!?!?!??

My husband and I are leaving for Venice on May 8th and will be there thru the 25th. We are flying in and out of Venice Aiport and we'll spend our for 6 nights in Venice. We had a taste of Venice 3 yrs ago for the first time and got the sting. We are looking foward to our slow travel version. My tentative plan was to pick up a car in Venice and head to Mantova for 3 nights, the Bologna for 4 nights, would like to so a dya trip to Ravenna and or Parma, Modena, or Ferrara( although have seen mixed reviews from foderites on Ferrara but does sound nice in the guide books), then the last three nights in Padova and day trip to Vicenza while here. I am looking for a boutique type stays in Padova and not having much luck. Also wondering the best part of town to stay in Bologna if you have a car to deal with.

The alternative option would be heading west towards Milan Bergamo and Lake Como stay in Bellagio or Varenna, hesistant because this route seems more weather dependant and would not want to hang here in the rain.

All and any thoughts and or recommendations welcome!

tish
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Apr 9th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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Perfect ! Spend that time in Venice, then get the car and drive to the Val Gardena in the Dolomites, and finally to wonderful Bellagio[or Varenna] on Lago Como. That is a perfect trip to me--so much so that we will do it over 3 weeks in Sep and Oct. to celebrate our 50th. Holler if you need more details. It will be easy to include Bergamo and/or Mantua going or coming.
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Apr 9th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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I like the plan of heading to Mantova/Bologna and beyond. So much to see and do in this direction with lots of variety and cultural treasures. The Bergamo/Lakes direction would be beautiful around the lakes. IMO, this area is more scenery, outdoor oriented.

If you want to include the Dolomies as Bob suggested, I'd put that at the end on the way back to Venice and watch the weather. Depending on the snow melt rate and amount of rain, it could be a muddy mess at the higher elevations.
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Apr 9th, 2009, 06:16 PM
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Dolomies = Dolomites.
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Apr 9th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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Bob I definitely want more details, I took so much advise from you when planning my Sicily intin 2 yrs ago and was never disappointed! I have been focusing my research on the Mantova/Bologna route for the past 4 days so your summation of the alt intin would be a huge time saver for me. What are your thoughts about Jean's comments and snow melt at this time of year?

Also was wondring if you've been to Bologna, if so do you think the eating frenzy would be disappointing to a veggie/fish diet it seems like a lot of focus on the meats in that region.

Any thoughts about Vicenza and lago di garda. Your suggested intin sounds very inticing how far would you say Lake Como is via car to Venice? Where would you stop to and fro to break up the trip? We prefer to have a min of 2-3 nights per stop, but could be a bit flex with that rule.

Thanks for your interest.
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Apr 9th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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OK, I do see 4 destinatiosn since you seem intent on a food experience. I do not know Bologna well, but my client feedback suggests that Parma is a more intimate venue with fabulous food options. Here is a start:
Venice--6 nites--probably an apt.

Get car at Piazzale Roma--drive to Parma with lunch at Sirmione.--2 nites in Parma

Drive to Lago Como---5 nites--either Varenna or an apt. in Bellagio

Drive back via Verona to Val Gardena--Ortisei or Castelrotto---3 nites[later in May]

Last nite near VCE--depart for home

That is a start. If you need hotels/apts. then set your itinerary first and I can help.
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Apr 9th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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OK, I do see 4 destinatiosn since you seem intent on a food experience. I do not know Bologna well, but my client feedback suggests that Parma is a more intimate venue with fabulous food options. Here is a start:
Venice--6 nites--probably an apt.

Get car at Piazzale Roma--drive to Parma with lunch at Sirmione.--2 nites in Parma

Drive to Lago Como---5 nites--either Varenna or an apt. in Bellagio

Drive back via Verona to Val Gardena--Ortisei or Castelrotto---3 nites[later in May]

Last nite near VCE--depart for home

That is a start. If you need hotels/apts. then set your itinerary first and I can help.
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Apr 10th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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Thanks Bob, We are not that intent on the food experience in Bologna I think I got caught up in that while blogging. But I became fearful of 5 days down their when people started talking about horse and rabbit meat. I lean more towards a veggie diet and love the fresh seafood in Italy. Thus my second thoughts.

Lake Garda sounds nice for a lunch stop any specific recommendation on the restaurant? Someone suggested if we head down here to Mantova to ride along the Mincio River and stop at Valeggio a restaurant called Borssa on the river for tortilenni's. Thus Parma vs Monatova for 2-3 nights, then head to Lake Como and Bellaggio from here. Any idea how long a drive this transfer day, also any good lunch stop along the way?

Would love a recommendation for our stay in Bellagio or Varenna. Should we expect hordes of tourists this time of year? Is it typically dry in mid May?

Tell me more about the drive back to Val Gardena-Ortisei-or Castelrotto. Should we plan an over night in these towns, if so where and which do you recommend?

Finally what is your take on staying last two nights in Padova to be close to aiport and stroll this town, maybe side trip to Vicenza.

Loving your input grazie mille!
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Apr 10th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Regarding the Dolomites, you might want to follow this active thread on Tripadvisor:

www.tinyurl.com/c4nykt
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Apr 10th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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A lot depends on your preferences and budget.
I am a big fan of apts. for stays of 4 plus nites. Look at La Limonera apts. in Bellagio for good value. The drive to Val Gardena[Dolomites] will take 5 hours and not leave time for many stops. In Varenna, there are several cute hotels but parking is a big hassle. You would need to car ferry to Bellagio. Look at Haus Silbernagl in Castelrotto for a great value B&B. I would spend 2 or 3 nites in the Dolomites and then take the famous Dolomite drive to Cortina as you transition back toward Venice airport. There is a Holiday Inn Express near Marco Polo. I do not like towns the size of Vicenza and Padova with a car. There are other towns, like Asolo, that are cute in Veneto. What time is the flight?
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Apr 10th, 2009, 12:23 PM
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We were in Northern Italy last Spring and loved it. It is a very destination rich area, so much so that we are headed back again in about a week. Bologna was great and u don't need to like meat to have good food there. It's a beautiful university town with fabulous food and fashion and doesn't attract a large number of tourists. It's a very walkable town.

Whatever u see, dont miss Ravenna. For some reason we had never been and it was fabulous. The mosaics are stunning.

One small village we happened across is worth a stop if you have time. Dozza is on the way from Bologna to Ravenna, maybe 20 miles southeast of Bologona. They do a contest every other year and artists are selected to draw murals on the walls of the houses and the winning entry remains on the wall. They have a castle and there are great views of the surrounding countryside. So you walk thru the hilly streets and see all these really neat paintings with the panorama in the background. We also had a really good meal there.

Vicenza was very nice--small compact tourist core. It was not bad to drive into and park. Also thought Asolo was charming and spent a few hours there. We liked it so much so that we are returning and staying for 2 nites this Spring.

We were in Bellagio in mid-May and it was sunny and beautiful and not crowded. Thought Lake Como was beautiful, but I think we preferred our time in some of the villages/towns elsewhere. We did do a lovely drive from Vicenzo up thru the mountains and around Lake Garda.

This year we will be staying in Padova and could not find a boutique type place. (Last year we were headed there in our car and turned around due to the traffic congestion and inabilty to find parking.) We are staying at Hotel Belludi which got good reviews on Trip Advisor. I will say I've had a fair amount of contact with the staff and they have been great.

Have a great trip - I can't imagine u will go wrong with whatever destinations u choose.
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Apr 11th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Bob You really tempted me with the Lake/Dolomite rte but after experiencing winter in Apri this spring in Park City,following the thread that Jean had suggested, and mtg up with friends from the Swiss Alps last night who confirmed similar snow levels we are opting for the southern verision of the itin and saving this one for another season perhaps a ski trip to Europe.

Yestravel Thanks for the ideas for the Bologna rte would you recommend spending 4 nights in Bologna or is this one too many? I looked into Hotel Bellundi and that seems perfect for us, thanks for the info. If we drive up from Bologna and around the western coast of the lake the Gardone area, and end up in Vincenza, do you have a hotel suggestion?

Thank you all for taking the time!
happy trails
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Apr 12th, 2009, 07:32 AM
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We stayed in Bologna 3 nights. We spent 1.5 days checking out Bologna and then one whole day taking the train to Ravenna. We easily could have spent a 4th day in Bologona. Also not sure what route you've settled on, but u may want to do other day trips from Bologna. It was something we thought about and didn't do last year.

If you like the room that is shown on the website at Hotel Beludi-- the one that looks larger than some of the others and looks out to St anthony's u can request that room when booking. All rooms are the same price.

Our lodging in the Vicenzo area got messed up. We ended up having to wing it for several days. It was during "bridge week" -- the week between 2 holidays and everything was packed those days with Italian tourists. We were supposed to stay 6 days in the hills outside Vicenza at Le Vescovane. They are who messed our reservation up and we ended up staying there for 3 nights and loved the place. We actually had the whole place to ourselves. I have mixed feeling about recommedning it due to the reservation mix up. Other places we stated were not particiularly noteworthy.
Along the lake Gardone area we just stopped to look at scenery and such and were on our way to Bellagio.

We stayed at a very inexpensive small hotel way up a hill in Bellagio, Hotel Il Perlo (http://www.ilperlo.com/). It had a fabulous views of the lake and town. Free parking and they ran a free shuttle into Bellagio. It was also about a 15 minute walk in to town. Not fancy, but very adqueate.

Is Mantova still on your itn? We'll be there this year and I found what I hope is going to be a really neat place to stay.
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Apr 12th, 2009, 07:40 AM
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I forgot to add -- last year we started with 5 nights in Venice. We took the train to Bologna cause u really don't need a car in the city. We picked the car up when we were leaving Bologna, so we didnt have to hasle with parking or driving into a busy city.
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Apr 12th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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I am still working the kinks out of the itin, I do want to stop in Mantova and was looking into the Palazzo Arrivabene, We got shut out of the Hotel Bellundi in PAdova, so I am still trying to figure out our last 2-3 nights prior to flying out of Venice. I like the idea of training from Venice to Bologna how long is that ride? My husband is now reguesting that we go coastal after Venice due to his horrible spring allergies and his love of the seafood on the med. Have you explored the Adriatic Coast or Le Marches at all. I am not that turned on by the little I was able to gather on this site. We have been to Cinque terra and Portofino so I am now looking into the northern liguerian coastline. I was thinking about a stop in PArm?mantova and then heading for the coastline. But Bologna is still very tempting. I guess weather will play a big factor as well.
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Apr 12th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Too bad about Hotel Beludi. We're staying at Palazzo Arrivabene in Mantova.

Train ride was maybe 2.5 hours - 3 at most fro Venice to Bologna. Not long at all. We've not explored the Adriatic Coast or Le Marches. Cant help u there. There is just so much to see in Italy, its always hard to choose.
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Apr 12th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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I have no problem driving in Italy (I live near Portofino) and driving in Emilia-Romagna is flat and easy, but so many of the places you are going are so well connected by train, you might consider training almost all the way. There really isn't any part of Bologna that is car friendly, so I would try to go from Venice to Bologna, do sightseeing by train from there, and then pick up a car for Mantova and the lakes, or perhaps Parma and the Med.

Anyway, if you want to see the Adriatic coast (great idea if you want to get far away from the typical tourists!) you should avoid the road closest to the coast, which has lots of stoplights and trucks, and take advantage of the superstradas a bit inland. Some wonderful destinations you should Google are Cesanatico, San Leo, Commachhio, Rimini, Santarcangelo di Romagna, and of course Ravenna. But I would go more for the quirky charm and the unusual sights than the beaches.

Roads in Le Marche are marvelous, and so are the still mostly secret sights, including such places as Urbino, Sant'Angelo in Vado and San Leo, or anywhere in the hills of Montefeltro.

But until you were distracted by the idea that anybody leaving Venice in a car should go to the Dolomiti, you had a great idea, I think, for seeing Mantova and much of Emilia-Romagna. It's a wonderful area. If you are near Parma with a car, try to see the Torrechiara.
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Apr 12th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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zeppole, thanks for the tip on Torrechiara. We were in Urbino and aboslutley loved it. Its been a few years since we were there.
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