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Jaykay06 Apr 4th, 2006 09:42 AM

Help with Italy Itinerary (Lake Como, CT/Camogli, Tuscany/Umbria)
I just purchased tickets for a last minute trip to Italy starting the first week of May. This is our second tour of Italy (first time we did the major cities, Florence, Venice, Rome). So we are excited that we were able to take 2 weeks off last minute to take a look at the country and seaside. Please bear with me as I just started planning. From what I have read on these posts and other websites - this is what I'm thinking for an itinerary.
Day 1: Arrive in Milan
-I have never been to Milan before, should I spend a day or two here? Or go straight to the Lake district?
Day 2-4: Lake District (Lake Como)
-Transportation: Car (driving from Milan to Lake, debating on whether we should take the train)
Still deciding on which Lake to stay on.
Day 5: Drive to Camogli
-Transportation: Should we take a train or drive?
Day 6-9: Relax at Camogli, day trip to CT and SML
-Originally, I planned on staying and visiting CT but after reading the forum, decided to add Camogli. But now am second guessing myself. Should I stay closer to CT since I'm travelling with a baby? Will I be able to do CT in a day trip (via train)? This is a big debate and I have been going back and forth. Maybe I should do two nights in Camog and 2 in CT? It is a lot of hotel change though.
Day 9: Leave for Umbria
Day 10-12: Umbria
-Towns to visit Spello, Bevagna, Montefalco, Trevi, Perugia, Assisi
Day 12: Leave for Tuscany
-Towns to visit: Siena, Orvieto, Montalcino, Pienza
Day 13-16: Tuscany (maybe also go back to towns in Umbria since I will be staying in Cortona)
Day 17: Rome (leave Italy) :(

Other Questions
1. Is this itinerary too packed? I'll be traveling with a 11 month baby (and though he is a good little travelor, I am hauling around alot of baby stuff)
2. Transportation - should we do train? or rent a car? I was thinking car would be better since we are carrying so much stuff.
3. I also like to squeeze in Pisa (to see the leaning tower I know, silly!) Think it is doable on the way over to Umbria?

nessundorma Apr 4th, 2006 09:56 AM

I think with a baby you are traveling too much and that you should rent a car and basically stay put in Cortona.

As much as I love Camogli and Liguria, I think you should drop it from this trip, or else drop Umbria. I think, however, you can more easily find a baby-friendly situation in Cortona than a baby-friengly situation in Cinque Terre and Liguria, especially when you consider how steeply hilly they are.

Milan's most enjoyable attractions are not baby-friendly, so I would head straight for the lakes. You have to decide which one, but I would suggest you splurge on a car/driver to meet you at the airport (since you'll be saving on that Milan hotel bill anyway.)

I would recommend Lago di Como, even though it is more expensive to get there than some of the other lakes, because it is the most beautiful and most relaxing.

After you've done your lake time, wherever that is, I suggest you rent a car and head to Cortona. If you are staying in Lago di Coma, you can probably easily rent one in the town of Como. Otherwise (and on other lakes) you may have to come back into Milano.

I suggest you drop Perugia from your itinerary. It's a fantastic city, but not necessarily as a day trip with a baby.

If you make your last stop in Tuscany Oriveto, you can drop off your rental there and take a train to Rome.

nessundorma Apr 4th, 2006 10:02 AM

Just to clarify, when I typed "stay put in Cortona" I wasn't suggestion you not do day trips. I was suggesting that you sleep in Cortona for the entire Tuscany/Umbria portion of your trip, and do day trips from there. If that is inconvenient to all the towns you would like to see, than pick a family-run agriturismo/apartment/villa situation somewhere in the Tuscan/Umbrian countryside that is.

pbing Apr 4th, 2006 10:04 AM

If you are going to Lake Como, I highly recommend a samll hotel we stayed in at Varenna. It is a really charming town, you can get a boat to Bellagio and around the lake and it is a wonderful place to decompres after your flight to Milan. We got a private driver to pick us up at the airport and drive us there. I believe I called a local travel agent in Varenna to arrange it. It was actually less expensive than the train & taxi (there were three of us.) Webite for great hotel and great website - the Alberego Milano in Varenna

Jaykay06 Apr 4th, 2006 02:41 PM

Oh Darn! After reading nessundorma posts I was convinced on Camogli. Is at all possible to cut out time from Tuscany/Umbria (i.e. less towns/daytrips) to include either CT or Camogli? I would love to go there and the baby is really a good traveller. We have taken him on hikes before and he will be carried in a back pack. We could always do train or ferry to CT as well.

nessundorma Apr 4th, 2006 04:29 PM

Well, sure you can go to Camogli! It's your trip!

Consider some of these ideas:

Fly to Milan, go immediately to Lago Maggiore (50 minutes away) and shake off your jet lag with an overnight stay and to make sure the baby and you are all adjusted.

After lunch on Day 2, go back to Malpensa and rent a car and drive to Camogli.

Spend 3 or 4 days in Camogli. Do one or two day trips to CT. Or take a boat to Portofino and then walk back to Camogli through the Portofino peninsula.

Move on to a destination in Tuscany/Umbria that allows you to do day trips to your desired towns conveniently. Don't do more than you can handle.

Spello and Bevagna make an easy trip.

Trevi is too far.

Montefalco is not worth it this trip.

Assisi might be.

I'm not a great fan of Siena, so ask others.

I've not been to Montalcino or Pienza.

Drop off your car in Orvieto. Train to Rome.

If you still need more days at the lake, start looking at a map and thinking in terms of going to Lago di Como immediately after your arrival, then renting a car in the town of Como or Milan and heading for Umbria/Tuscany some limited townhopping (2 Tuscan, two Umbrian? A day or two of downtime in "your" village?). After that go to Liguria -- but instead of Camogli, try Lerici (so you can stay further south). 2 or 3 nights there should do it.

After Lerici, drop off your car in Pisa, take a look at the cathedral if you have the time and that leaning tower. Train from there to Rome.

nessundorma Apr 4th, 2006 04:32 PM

Sorry, I should have said above that if you choose Lago di Como after your arrival in Malpensa, you should give yourself at least 3 nights there.

My favorite hotel in Camogli is La Casmona. But there are other options, higher and lower in price, including b&b options you can find on the web.

nessundorma Apr 4th, 2006 04:39 PM

And one last thing:

Don't underestimate the power of the Ligurian sun in May on those treeless hiking trails. Baby will need plenty of shade protection. Hikes are best done sometime other than high noon.

The hike between Camogli and Portofino is often described as strenuous. You should make sure you know the typical travel time for accomplished hikers before you set out -- true of the CT hikes too. And have a plan for getting back to Camogli if you hike to Portofino. Know when the last boat leaves for Camogli, or take a bus to Santa Margherita Ligure, where you can catch a train back to Camogli.

You can simply take a train from Milan to Camogli and spare yourself the expense of a car. But taking a train from Camogli to hike in the CT will mean getting up pretty early in the morning. Check out the schedules and travel times (Camogli-Monterosso al Mare) on Trenitalia.

Jaykay06 Apr 4th, 2006 08:46 PM

Thanks! you have been infinitely helpful! Some follow up questions:
1. What is the rationale behind hiring a driver to take us to the Lake district? Is it really hard to navigate? So it seems like maybe the only time we need a car is during the Umbria/Tuscan bit. Everywhere else we can navigate by train. I'm not sure what type of trains these are - but will there be enough room for us to carry all our luggage and baby stuff (carseat, stroller) - that is the only reason I'm thinking about getting a car.
Argh! I have more questions but the baby is crying. Gotta run. I will post more tomorrow along with an new and improved itinerary.
Thanks again!

nessundorma Apr 4th, 2006 09:02 PM

If you want to get to Lago Maggiore from Malpensa Airport you take a bus. One hour.

To Lago di Como, you either have to wait for a bus to Menaggio (they only leave around noon, I believe) and then take a ferry to the town with your hotel if you are not staying in Menaggio. Two hours travel time plus wait for bus.

Or, for Lago di Como, you can take a bus to Milan, take a train to Varenna (and then a ferry if you are not staying in Varenna) Three hours travel time.

Or a bus to Milan, a train to Como, then a ferry (if you are not staying in Como). Three hours or more.

To Lago di Garda, bus to Milan, train to Desenzano or Peschieria del Garda (and then boat if you are not staying there). Two to three hours or more, depending on ultimate town.

Since you are lugging so much stuff and and a baby and will be jet lagged, a taxi sounds like a good investment in happiness for all unless you stay on Lago Maggiore.

Trains will have enough room for all your gear. Some stations will have fewer steps than others (Camogli has a lot).

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