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Help with off the grid stop between Tirano and Venice

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Apr 8th, 2013, 08:38 PM
  #1
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Help with off the grid stop between Tirano and Venice

I am in the final throws of planning a 3 1/2 week for my family of 10 people ( 6 adults,4 kids ages 10-14.) I have been to Italy only 3 times but they have never been, hence they think I am an expert and assigned me this crazy task! We are taking the Bernina express towards the end of our journey and have 1 night at the end of that before needing to be in Venice for our final 4 nights. We will have cars and enjoy fun car journeys. Is there anywhere fun,interesting,different to stop for one night between Tirano and Venice? We will have already stayed in villa in Amalfi,apartment in Rome,hotels in Lucca,Verona and Lake Garda. I am really trying to create a diverse experience for my nieces and nephews so they learn to appreciate travel. Any thought are appreciated.
Kim
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Apr 9th, 2013, 12:12 AM
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An unusual stopover could be Marostica where the main square is a huge chess board where each year they hold chess matches with people dressed up in costume as well as Knights on horse. This would certainly appeal to the kids. Nearby is Bassano del Grappa and Conegliano. You could do tours to learn about both grappa and prosecco production with tasting (for adults only!).

If interested I am sure others could recommend who offers the best tour/tastings.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 08:04 AM
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I had forgotten about that town great suggestion! The kids would love the chess board. And we love to taste all the yummy liquid treats that we can. Thanks . Would love any suggestions for tours/tastings.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 10:37 AM
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ARe the cars going on the train?
I am confused.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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We are taking the Bernina express towards the end of our journey>

well they could just as well drive on a road pretty much paralleling the train line most of the way.

maybe they are taking trains in Switzerland and renting a car in Italy to avoid steep drop off charges and trains in some places in Switzerland are better by train than car.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Apparently the Marostica chess games are performed every other year, in even-numbered years. So not in 2013.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 12:19 PM
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To clarify we have cars, will probably leave them in Tirano to make the train journey.( we would love to do the whole thing by train but can't figure out the connections.) We are doing thisjust for the fun of the journey . Spending one night and returning the following day. We have another day to kill before we are to end our stay in Venice. Just thought there might be a fun town a little off the beaten path that you experts could recommend. Thanks again for your help.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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Why not Varenna on Lago di Como?
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Apr 9th, 2013, 02:28 PM
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I was looking at that. Do you know if you can do train/ bus combo efficiently to Tirano from there? I am having a dickens of a time with trentalia website If there was a way I could return the cars and be done with them, That would certainly be my preference.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 03:28 PM
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I'm confused. How does the Bernina Express fit in your otherwise all-Italy itinerary? Can you post your general route for this trip? Unless I've got it wrong, I think you're contemplating driving to Tirano, doing a round-trip on the Bernina Express (to Chur or perhaps only St. Moritz and back to Tirano), and then proceeding (by car or train) to Venice with a stop somewhere along the way. But you will have already been to Lake Garda and Verona.... either of which are logical stops between Tirano and Venice.... ???

Anyhoo. The train between Tirano and Varenna takes about 90 minutes. There are departures every 2 hours throughout most of the day. 7 euros per person. Varenna to Venice takes about 4 hours with frequent departures during the day. 44 euros per person not counting any possible discounts.

There are a couple of reasons that might explain why you're having trouble with the Trenitalia website. You're probably searching for a date beyond the current (spring) timetable limit. Trenitalia will load the summer timetables in early June. Until then, just search the day of the week you plan to travel, as in Tuesday next week instead of Tuesday, June 18th. Also, you need to search using the Varenna station's full name of "Varenna-Esino."

I use this version of Trenitalia which doesn't require Italian spellings of city names:

http://www.fsitaliane.com/homepage_en.html
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Apr 9th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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Thank you Jean, I appreciate that link and information. I know my route seems somewhat convoluted. Here is my current itinerary. Keep in mind there are 10 of us and 4 children. They are all crazy excited about a train trip over the alps so I am really trying to figure out the most logical way.
June 27th depart California
June 28th arrive either FCO or Naples ( still haven't booked flight
June 28th Naples
June 29-July 6 Villa rental Amalfi coast ( this is paid for no change )
July 6-July 10 Rome ( apartment paid for no change ) will pick up cars at end of time here
July 10-July 14 Lucca ( hotel reservation could be changed )
July 14th-July 18 I have not officially booked these dates. We were hoping to go to the opera in Verona unfortunately I only see performance on Sunday July 14th, that is why we will be there. Lake Garda was thought not firm plan. So really I have 4 floating days to 1. See opera and 2. Get the darn kids to that train. I thought after all the churches,frescoes etc they will have seen maybe a lake would be fun before we hit Venice.
July 18-July 22 Venice...Home

Any help with my dilemma oh so appreciated I am pulling my hair out! Oh and I was planning only to go St.Moritz on train even considering spending one night there.
Thank thank you if you have thoughts.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 06:59 AM
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Arena di Verona
Aida: July 7, 9, 14, 18, 21st
Nabucco: July 11, 25th
Traviata: July 5, 12, 19, 23, 26th
Il Trovatore: July 6, 10, 20, 24, 27th
Gala Verdi: July 17th
or 21 representations (all Verdi operas) during the month of July.
http://www.arena.it/en-US/arena/program-2013.html

Recommended Alpine itineraries by car:
Bergamo/Brescia - Val Camonica - Tonale Pass - Gavia Pass - Foscagno Pass - Forcola di Livigno - Bernina Pass - Zernez - Pass dal Fuorn - Pass d'Umbrail - Stelvio Pass - Meran - Timmelsjoch - Oetztal - Innsbruck - Brenner Pass - Brixen - Val Gherdeina - Sella Pass - Pordoi Pass - Falzarego Pass - Cortina d'Ampezzo - Tre Croci Pass - Misurina/3 Cime del Lavaredo - Auronzo - Belluno - Venice.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 11:32 AM
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What did you want/hope to see from Lucca? While it's not necessarily the "wrong" geographic location, depending on your plans, it may not be the "best" choice.

Regarding the opera in Verona... Will all of you be going to this? Even the kids? Performances don't start until 9:00 p.m. or later, so at a minimum you'd have to spend the night after the opera in Verona. Have you bought tickets for July 14th already?? If so, you're locked into going from Lucca to Verona on the 14th and spending the night there (and 2 nights would be better IMO). It seems obvious to me that opera tickets for July 17th would make more sense... if they're available.

If you have bought the July 14th opera tickets, I don't think it makes much sense to criss-cross northern Italy going from Lucca to Verona to Tirano to Venice. But that's your call. If it were my trip, after Verona, I'd skip the Bernina Express idea and drive to Malcesine on Lake Garda. Take the cable car and hike a bit one day. Drive up into the Dolomites the other day.

http://www.funiviedelbaldo.it/index.php?lang=en
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Apr 10th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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If you have bought the July 14th opera tickets, I don't think it makes much sense to criss-cross northern Italy going from Lucca to Verona to Tirano to Venice.>

From Tirano you can drive thru the gap that makes the town a very busy transit place with trucks and cars going thru and wind your way down to Lake Garda via the Dolomites - no need to back track towards Milan.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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So many great thoughts, thank you. No we have not bought opera tickets yet. The website I was looking at only showed Aida dates. Certainly the one on the 17th makes more sense.thank you neckervd for the link. And the road trip routes, I have the atlas out now.
The group is more excited about the train ride so it really is more logical to head to lake/dolomite region.
Jean, where would you base for quick Tuscany time other than Lucca? I have just enjoyed it there and thought smaller town a different experience for the crew. Still open to other thoughts. Would Siena be better? Thanks again experts.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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What do you want to see and do in Tuscany? You have to figure that out first. Or you figure out what there is to see/do within a reasonable drive of Lucca and skip the rest.

Lucca to southern Tuscany (where most of the iconic Tuscan scenery is) is at least 2 hours each way. Lucca to the heart of Chianti, south to Volterra or NW to Vernazza would each be 90 minutes or more one way. For me, that's too far for a day trip, and we're only 2 people in one car and not 10 people in probably 3 cars. I'm not sure you're appreciating how time-consuming it will be to move this group around.

If you want a small Tuscan town, that isn't Siena which has lots of traffic, esp. at the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Beyond the atlas, you need to search driving times on a website like maps.google.com. Whatever Google estimates the driving time, add 10-15% percent, because it's almost always too optimistic and certainly isn't calculating for multiple cars trying to stay together.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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What do you want to see and do in Tuscany? You have to figure that out first. Or you figure out what there is to see/do within a reasonable drive of Lucca and skip the rest.

Lucca to southern Tuscany (where most of the iconic Tuscan scenery is) is at least 2 hours each way. Lucca to the heart of Chianti, south to Volterra or NW to Vernazza would each be 90 minutes or more one way. For me, that's too far for a day trip, and we're only 2 people in one car and not 10 people in probably 3 cars. I'm not sure you're appreciating how time-consuming it will be to move this group around.

If you want a small Tuscan town, that isn't Siena which has lots of traffic, esp. at the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Beyond the atlas, you need to search driving times on a website like maps.google.com. Whatever Google estimates the driving time, add 10-15% percent, because it's almost always too optimistic and certainly isn't calculating for multiple cars trying to stay together.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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Siena is not a small town but to me it is a perfect base for Tuscany's iconic hill towns - even without a car - buses go everywhere and Siena also has train service. Smaller is nicer to some but too quiet for others. Siena is a big town with lots of nice things to see and do. It would be my preferred base.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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Jean, you are absolutely correct. I have stayed in Panzano and outside Siena and was really trying to give myself a different experience . What do we want to see. Well with only 4 days we won't cover much ground. Florence one day( I know this isn't enough) there is a festival in Lucca one day we are there. We will take our time from Rome to Lucca ( thinking Orvieto and Montepulciano.) only really leaves one day to cruise the countryside. I would skip Tuscany altogether as I have been there but family never has and they think they need to. We have 2 cars, van and car but your right it will require my best mgmt skills to keep them all moving. ( I suspect there will be some splitting up.)
Where do you like to base yourself?
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Apr 10th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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In Siena could we do without cars? I would really prefer that!
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