First trip to Europe (Italy)! :)

Dec 29th, 2001, 12:17 PM
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First trip to Europe (Italy)! :)


My husband and I are traveling to Italy in September 2002 for his sister's wedding. Her fiance's family lives in Lecco and the wedding location will be in the Lake Como area (though the site has yet to be chosen). We are planning to fly into Milan, on his sister's advice, and arriving two days prior to the wedding to spend time with the family and see Lake Como and the surrounding area. I am guessing that we will not be staying in Milan, but rather in Lecco or wherever the wedding will be held.

Here's the quandry...we want to stay about a week after the wedding and travel around a bit. However, we are just buying a new home and want to be reasonable about a budget, while not camping or staying in hostels or anything like that. Neither my husband or I have been to Europe before and are not sure what we would like to do. We enjoy being outside and seeing beautiful views of water, cliffs, and the like...we love to hike (shorter hikes), and just generally enjoy nature. Venice looks wonderful and romantic, while Milan looks beautiful and exciting by its own right...I was also reading about another region along the northwestern coast of italy...Terre something...? Sorry, but the name escapes me now.

In addition, we were toying with the idea of taking a train to Salzburg (as I am a musician and have always wanted to go). But, we are afraid of crunching in too much and not having time to enjoy the sites.

At any rate, does anyone have suggestions for first timers? We are very pleased and excited to be embarking on this journey, and are looking for something romantic and a trip we will really enjoy! Please offer up any suggestions about locations, hotels or B&Bs, etc. THANK YOU!!!

Dec 29th, 2001, 01:57 PM
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You might go to your local library and check out some travel books on the areas you're interested in going. That way you aren't paying for all books until you decide where to go, but you'll have information about budget accommodations, restaurant, attractions, etc. Also, check out as many web sites as possible and Rick Steves site for great train information.
You might want to consider covering one or two areas within a week on your first visit. It will seem less confusing. And you'll REALLY get to know that area.
All travelers have different styles. Some like to covering lots of territory; some like to stay in one spot longer. After you and your husband have done a couple of trips, you'll know what your style is.
Enjoy your first trip to Europe. I bet you'll become addicted as many of us are and begin planning the next as soon as you return.
Dec 29th, 2001, 07:28 PM
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Hi Denise, my suggestion would be to spend maybe 1/2 day in Milan to see the "must sees", Duomo & Last Supper. Then do the Lake Como family/wedding thing. On to the Dolomites & Venice. If you can't fly out of Venice (which you should be able to do for about the same price) then finish in Milan - but I wouldn't spend a lot of time there. Just that it's not a big priority for a first ever trip. If going back to Milan, you could catch Verona on the way. My preference is a mix of city/countryside & scenery/museums and to travel by train. You'll want a car for the Dolomites however. Have a wonderful time!
Dec 29th, 2001, 08:57 PM
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I'll second Dayle's suggestion of Venice and limiting your time in Milan. You can easily take the train to Venice or rent a car which will give you a bit more flexibility with stopping in towns to look around. Venice is a magical city, completely unlike anywhere else in the world and you will truly feel transported there. If you feel very ambitious then spend three nights in Venice and then travel to Florence for three nights and then fly home from there. You'll feel as though you've "done" Italy if you've seen the Lake region, Venice and Florence. Salzburg will probably need to wait until next time.

Affordable accomodations are available throughout Italy, you just have to look for them. In Florence I'd recommend the Hotel Porto Rossa. Look to the Rick Steves guides for further budget accomodations. Have fun!
Dec 30th, 2001, 05:37 AM
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The Cinque Terre is awesome! It is possible to hike from any one of the towns to the others, however, train travel is easy. I would not recommend driving, although we did it (drove to Levanto). Vernazza is especially delightful. I would not spend much time in might consider Florence and Tuscany for a few days. The museums in Florence are wonderful and seeing Michaelangelo's "David" is not to be missed. We loved the countryside of Tuscany, especially San Gimignano. We stayed in a farmhouse outside San Gimignano which has been converted into a B&B, full of charm and quite reasonably priced. If you'd like info on it, I'd be happy to send it. But you'll love Italy, it is our favorite of all the European countries which we have visited.
Dec 30th, 2001, 06:15 AM
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Hi denise
I'd suggest limiting yourself to that northern band of Italy- from Milan east wards towards Venice. There are so many wonderful places, all within easy reach of Milano and the Lakes by train. As well as Lake Como you might like to visit Lake Garda- we loved Sirmione. Then there's Padua and Vicenza and Verona as well as the ultimate treat, Venice which is so unique and incredibly romantic. Enjoy!
Dec 30th, 2001, 11:48 AM
Henry Schulte
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You have a great advantage in visiting Italy, you have relatives there, ask your sister-in-law for suggestions. In answer to your question Cinque Terre fits your list, water, cliffs, nature, hiking, inexpensive. Here are some sites to start your research: If you want more info e-mail me.
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