Interesting small cities very near Milan

Jun 8th, 2003, 03:10 PM
  #1  
cmt
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Interesting small cities very near Milan

I'm looking for a town or small city that is VERY near Milan and very easily reached by frequent train service from Milan, and where I might like to stay for a night or two after a trans-Atlantic flight to Milan, before heading to the Italian lakes. I know that Bergamo fits that description, and is a possibility. However, I have been there (on a day trip only), so I might like to see someplace new--to me. I know I'd like to visit Pavia, which I'm sure must be very easy to reach by train from Milan, and I'm wondering whether that would be a pleasant overnight stop. Has anyone here stayed in Pavia? Did you enjoy it? Any comments about Cremona? Mantua?
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Jun 8th, 2003, 06:35 PM
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Does anyone know how easily the Certosa is reached by public transportation from Pavia?
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Jun 9th, 2003, 02:04 AM
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Carol - How about Parma? Only an hour from Milan, frequent trains ...
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Jun 9th, 2003, 02:51 AM
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Mantova is really a lovely place, but it is not that easy to get there by train. It is close, but there are few trains and the line meanders across the pianura Padana, making it a 2 and a half hours trip. Also you should consider when are you headed to see these places: in summer I would not actually suggest any place in the middle of Pianura Padana, which turns into a kind of frying pan with a lid on to to keep steam in. I would head to either the mountains or Liguria for a couple of days on the seaside (the same two and a half hours, on more comfortable trains with air conditioning and, once you are there, WAAAAAY less mosquitoes!!!). You may check out informations about Livigno (www.livigno.com) or Valtellina (www.valtellinaonline.com). If you chose to stay on the mountains, you may want to make your stay there one or two days longer for skiing.
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Jun 9th, 2003, 03:59 AM
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Steve: Yes, I do want to go to Parma. My intention was to go to the Emilia-Romagna region some day when there's a really good winter air fare sale and I decide to plan a trip on short notice (as I did in the winter of 2002 in Umbria). Then I thought I'd stay in Bologna and take day trips to Parma, Ravenna, Ferrara, etc.

For the trip I'm posting about here, I don't have any plane res. yet, but was hoping to go in Sept. and see the lakes (or at least A lake) while the weather's still warm. I don't really like staying in Milan, so I was thinking of avoiding Milan completely the first night by going straight to some smaller and more pleasant nearby city for two nights. That's why I was thinking of Bergamo (which I've seen) or Pavia (which I've never seen).

But I'm beginning to think that I really could see both a bit of the lakes for a few days AND Emilia-Romagna on the same trip, so maybe this IS the time for Parma. Probably JUST the lakes (without a car) plus a few towns in Lombardy is not enough to make a two-week trip worthwile, even for me (I don't like to cram in too many places). So I should probably consider two parts to the trip: 1. lakes (based in Stresa?) and 2. Emilia-Romagna (based in Bologna). Bologna is close enough that I'd probably head directly there upon arrival in Milan. I could take a day trip to Parma. Or do you recommend it for overnight a night or two?

Alice: I had the impression that the mountains or seaside of Liguria would be be difficult to visit without a car. All my planning has to be based on public transportation and I choose destinations accordingly. (P.S. I don't ski.)
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Jun 9th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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The mountains of Liguria are difficult without a car, the seaside is not at all because one of the two main railway lines connecting Italy to France goes through Liguria, so that each and every little town has a station. Anyhow, the destinations on the mountains were in Lobardy and not in Liguria, maybe I had not explained myself correctly. Check out the sites, there is more to do up here in Lombardy than just skiing (which I do not do either) and keeping off Milano (which I do not do) ^_^
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Jun 9th, 2003, 06:24 AM
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I think I didn't really want to go to the seaside. I'm interested in the lakes because I've never been there, so it would be a change (except for about an hour or two in Como about 30 years ago when trying to squeeze it into a day trip and the train to there from Milan was late and I had to get the next train to Verona).
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Jun 9th, 2003, 08:30 AM
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I suggest Varenna on Lake Come..less than 1 1/2 hr train ride from Centrale in Milan and easy ferry connections to either Bellagio or Menaggio..or just stay at the Du Lac in Varenna..fabulous scenery, no smog, no rush, no traffic, really laid back...just got back and cannot wait to go again.
 
Jun 9th, 2003, 02:21 PM
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Alice: I would stay in Milan a bit if I'd never been there, but since I have, I'd rather go to some place smaller and quieter and new to me. (I realize you live there.)
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Jun 9th, 2003, 05:40 PM
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Obviously I'm not sure what you are looking for but we just returned from Italy and spent the last few days on Lake Maggiore which is N.W. of Milan. for ease of getting there I don't think you can beat it. There is a local bus from Malpensa terminal to Gallarate train station, about 15 minutes by posted schedule. Gallarate is on the line from Milan to Stresa, Baveno, Pallanza, Verbania. These are all on the water and all have very frequent ferry connections to each other and the Borroman Islands, which are closest to Stresa and Baveno. The only down side though is there are no "high class" trains on this line, only regional which in my opinion are 3rd or 4th class, but extremly cheap, frequent and fairly fast, takes about 45-60 min from Gallarate to Stresa or Pallanza. Check trenitalia.com for times and duration. The train station in Baveno is a bit closer to the ferry dock, and hotels then in Stresa, I'm not sure about the other towns.
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Jun 9th, 2003, 05:53 PM
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cmt
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Thanks. I am planning to go to one of the lakes, and I'm asking a lot of questions (some of which you've answered) about the lakes on another thread.

In this particular thread I'm looking for suggestions for a town to stay in BEFORE going to the lakes, assuming I want to avoid Milan.
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Jun 9th, 2003, 08:40 PM
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It's in the opposite direction of your ultimate destination, which is why I haven't chimed in here earlier, but it's less than an hour by train from Milan, and well worth a visit: Turin. The old town is right outside the train station and reminded me of Bologna with the arcaded streets, shops, etc. Loved the town!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 02:37 AM
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Come on, TOrino is not a town, it is a city!!! Another option might be Verona: approximately one hour and a half from Milano (train).
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Jun 11th, 2003, 09:46 AM
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I never really thought of going to Turin. Maybe I will some day, but probably not this time.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 10:24 AM
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I think you are overlooking one of the more obvious choices--Lugano. You may think of it as part of "the Lakes" but it is so much more. I find it to be very charming and cosmoploitan.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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I'm noty necessarily overlooking it, just didn't get that far yet. I'll consider it. But in this question I was looking for places to stay the first night or two after arriving in Milan, before heading north to any lakes, i.e. something very different in culture and atmosphere and history and appearnance from the lakes.
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Jun 15th, 2003, 04:16 AM
  #17  
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Bob: You put anotehr thought in my head. Pehaps I should skip the smaller Lombard cities near Milan on this trip and head straight to one of the Italian lakes, then spend a few days in Switzerland, then back to a different Italian lake. (I've never been to Switzerland and have only very superficial notions regarding what to see, but have heard that the train system in excellent.)
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Jun 16th, 2003, 04:34 AM
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Southern Switzerland is not much different from the lake Como area, if you decide to go there head straight for the german area with its very tall mountains. Yet, if you decide to do so, check out carefully about the visa, since Switzerland is not part of the Eu and thereofore the 90 dys visa for Europe does not apply to it, AFAIK. YOu stioll have the option of travelling to the italian mountais I suggest in the first reply, which scenary is (again) not that different from Switzerland, but this time referring to the German part of Switzerland. Never ben in the French Switzerland, so I can't tell you about it.
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Jun 16th, 2003, 04:51 AM
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Did I miss something? What's this about a visa?

I second Bob's suggestion re Lugano (as I did at your lake thread). It will appear very Italianate, but with many, many bus and rail connections and possibilities (also lakeboats). Or if you want to go 'deep', you could go to Lucerne for a look at postcard Switzerland. J.
 
Jun 16th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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Maybe I missed something, since you re alreddy in italy, Yet, check out: Switzerland is not EU.
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