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Italian lakes, Verona and Venice -- first crack at itinerary

Italian lakes, Verona and Venice -- first crack at itinerary

Aug 13th, 2013, 08:52 PM
  #1  
kit
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Italian lakes, Verona and Venice -- first crack at itinerary

Would like your reactions as I continue to shape this up. My flight is booked, and not very flexible as an award ticket. But every thing in between is up for grabs!

A few favts: traveling alone, mid-40s nonfoodie (vegetaraian) interested in art, architectecture and decompressing. I'm pretty chill about things, and can go with the flow. Here's what I've got:

Early Oct. 25: land Milan MXP. head directly to Lake Como, based midlake at Bellagio. No car. Take train. (Still need to look into this. Probably simple.)

Oct. 26 (Saturday): spend second night at same hotel in Bellagio, hotel and activities TBD

Oct. 27 and 28 (Sunday and Monday days and overnights): move to Lake Maggiore for different viewpoint. Get ther by a bus? Base at Stresa because there will be a lot of people ther and I am traveling alone. Activities TBD. (There are islands.)

Oct 29 (Tuesday): go back to Milan and see the Last Supper and wander around the duomo again. I have been to Milan a few times and don't think I need a night there. But I have never seen the LS, and I would like to. Get on train to Verona. Stay in Veron that night.

Oct. 30-nov. 2: Venice. My flight home is at 6 am Saturday the 2nd, so this is three nights but about 2.5 days. I have been before, but it rained torrentially the whole time.
kit is offline  
Aug 13th, 2013, 11:18 PM
  #2  
 
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Re the train to mid-Lake Como.

From Centrale the trains generally leave about every two hours; they are regionals so no seat reservation should be necessary. The trip takes about 1.5 hours (sit on the left side facing forward for the best lake views which will begin at Lecco).

You want to get off at Varenna-Esino. Usually taxi cabs meet every train but if you wish you can walk down the hill to the ferry dock (about ten minutes or so) and there is a ticket booth for tickets. There are two docks, make sure you are waiting at the correct one. You can see both Menaggio and Bellagio across the lake. Ferry may go to menaggio first and then over to Bellagio.

Verona, I've stayed several times (attending opera performances). Do you have a hotel booked yet?
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 05:13 AM
  #3  
kit
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Thank you, Dukey. No, I haven't booked hotels yet. I wanted to spend a few days feeling good about the split of the nights in these places first before carrying on with that. I do not need lush accommodations, but have not done the research yet to know what price range that puts me in. I would like to be centrally located since I will have no car and will be travelling solo. Recommendations are appreciated, of course!

Mainly I am wondering if 4 nights in Como/MAggiore is enough, and if 3 nights in Venice is too much. Here's the summary:

Lake Como/Bellagio -- 2 nights
Lake Maggiore/Stresa -- 2
Verona - 1
Venice 3

I could take a night from Venice and add it to the Lakes or Verona? I have been to Venice before. All thoughts are welcome. I wish I had more time and budget. I just don't.
kit is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 05:21 AM
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Reason I asked about hotels is there are a couple within fairly easy walking distance of the Verona Porto Nouva rail station and depending on your budget constraints they might fit.

The center of the city is easily reached on foot from the train station and without luggage it would be even easier. The prices might be lower for your timeframe since the main Arena opera performance season will have concluded by the time of your visit.

There are also bus services throughout the area.
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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Oh, and for Bellagio you will not need a car for the town itself.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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You may know this already, but I just want to point out that you need to reserve your Last Supper tickets ahead of time. I believe they go on sale two months in advance and sell out quickly.
msteacher is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 06:12 AM
  #7  
kit
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Yes, I will have only a roller/carryon, so walking from the train station with that should be no problem. Thanks, Dukey. And Last Supper reservations. Check. Will add that to my list. Thanks, msteacher.
kit is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 06:18 AM
  #8  
 
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I wouldn't take time away from Venice. By the end of October, it's off-season at the lakes. I found it a little dead at the end of September. And the weather starts to be iffy. If you can't enjoy the views and the villa gardens, not so much to do in the lakes. Whereas cities offer more options.

You could add more time to Verona, visit Vicenza and/or Padua. If you are interested in architecture, Vicenza is the base for lots of stuff by Palladio, both the town and nearby villas. There are some tours from Venice to Vicenza and the villas, but I'm not sure they run that time of year.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 06:51 AM
  #9  
kit
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Thank you, Mimar. I will look into that, definitely. Does iffy weather mean no sun, or rain or that the peaks are obscured? I can deal.

Also, regarding LAst Supper tickets (for the uninitiated who may find this thread later): There are many sites selling tix, some with expensive "skip the line" tours. If you just want the admission from the official site, it's only 8 euro and you can do it here: http://www.vivaticket.it/index.php?nvpg[evento]&id_evento=1150481&idt=744

On this day, they were allowing bookings thru the end of November. I got the last ticket for October 29, though there were plenty left for October 30.
kit is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 06:59 AM
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Have just re-read the entire thread. What is the purpose of stopping off in Verona? The reason I ask is I am now wondering if you really need an overnight there or you could go on to Venice later the same day.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 07:19 AM
  #11  
kit
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It's a lovely town with great, ancient architecture. I want to wander around it.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 07:32 AM
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We've been to the lakes at that time of year. There's no way to predict weather. Some visits we've had perfect weather for several days; other visits we've had clouds, a bit of rain, chillier temps. You need to be prepared for the full range. Reduced ferry service will impact how much you're able to see/do in a day, so pick your hotel/town with dinner in mind. It would be difficult to dine elsewhere and get back to your hotel.

http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/index.asp

I wouldn't stay in 4 hotels in 8 days. I'd pick one lake or the other and perhaps not stay overnight in Verona.
Jean is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 07:33 AM
  #13  
kit
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That answer doesn't make sense entirely. It will be too choppy a day, I think, to not stay the night in Verona -- starting in Bellagio, going to to Milan for the Last Supper admission, then to Verona. To just stop, explore, and then move on to Venice without spending the night in Verona will leave me regretful, I think.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 07:35 AM
  #14  
kit
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To clarify, I meant my own answer didn't make sense.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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There is luggage storage at the Verona Porta Nuova station if you wanted to just wander around for a few hours before continuing on to Venice.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 07:40 AM
  #16  
kit
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Thanks, Jean. How easy is it to stay in Bellagio but see the sights at Maggiore? I understand it's fairly easy to ferry around one lake (with reduced ferry service in off season), but how does one generally get from Bellagio to to see Stresa and the Borromean Islands on Maggiore? Bus or taxi, I presume. If one is preferred and easier, please advise. Thank you for your input; it is appreciated!
kit is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 06:02 PM
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One thing you could consider since you say you want two different lake perspectives is to do two days at Lake Como, then move to Verona for a few days from where you can easily do a day trip to Lake Garda. But Verona itself is wonderful and you can also do day trips to other places if the weather is not great for being on a lake - for example Padua, Vicenza, and Mantua are all easily done day trips from Verona. Then end in Venice.

Here is the link to my trip report from last year which included these - and also links to photos of all the areas you are considering.
isabel is offline  
Aug 14th, 2013, 07:34 PM
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Other than a taxi or hired driver, I don't know of a one-step way to get from Bellagio to Stresa. I believe it would be a combination of ferry/trains or ferry/buses, probably take 2.5-3 hours each direction and, unless you hire a driver, can't start earlier than the first ferry to Varenna or Menaggio. You'd also have to return early enough to catch the last ferry to Bellagio from Menaggio or Varenna (depending on which way you go). Risky. If anything goes wrong, you'd have to buy another hotel room for that night. (You could reduce the risk if you stayed in Varenna rather than Bellagio.)

You need to think about the pace you want to travel. In your OP, you said you were interested in decompressing. To me, that means not moving around every day or every other day, not making long day trips, etc.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 04:01 AM
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Just noticed I did not include the link in my post above -
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-the-lakes.cfm

I also agree with Jean's thinking that you can't do Stressa as a day trip from Lake Como and going there for a couple nights adds more travel and more different hotels. I think three hotels in an 8 day trip is plenty. Personally I would spend the nights in Verona and do Lake Garda as a day trip but it would work the other way around as well - stay somewhere on Lake Garda and do Verona as a day trip. But at least Lake Garda is in the right direction since you are going to Venice.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 05:14 AM
  #20  
kit
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I like this idea of Lake Garda. Good thought. The more I look at Verona, the more excited I am about it, too. I am not worried about having enough time to decompress since I will be be by myself all these days. I will be having lengthy conversations with stray dogs by Day Three.

So now, loosely, I am at splitting time between Lake Como and Lake Garda/Verona area en route to Venice.

Great ideas. Thank you!
kit is offline  

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