Italy's Lake District or Tuscany ?

Old Nov 7th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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Italy's Lake District or Tuscany ?

Next year would like to go to Italy - we are thinking of Tuscany or Lake District, and are leaning towards the LD. We love the thought of getting all in one package, so to speak : lakes, mountains, beautiful gardens etc. I want to ask you, Fodor travelers, about your feelings on that. Also what time of the year is a good time, with comfortable temps ? We are flexible.
Many thanks .
jenny is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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If you've never been to either, I'd strongly recommend Tuscany over the lakes. Assuming that you have an interest in medieval and renaissance Italian history and learning and thought, sculpture, painting, architecture, Tuscany will contain so much of what is probably the Italy of your imagination and the Italy that you studied about in school. If you haven't seen Florence and Siena yet, I recommend spending several days in Florence and at least a day, preferably more in Siena. So many of the hill towns are worth at least a visit, if not a few days each, e.g., Cortona, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, just to name a few. I never had a burning desire to go to the lakes, but became curious just recently, and finally decided to spend a few days there on my 8th trip to Italy last month (2 nights Varenna, 3 nights Stresa). I found Varenna very beautiful, with exquisite, almost mystical views, and enjoyed taking the bozt to other nearby towns on Lake Como. But, to me, this area was a lovely area for a short break, so i could just enjoy the scenery without having to think too hard. I would not choose the lakes as a primary destination for a trip. (I almost did, and I'm so glad i changed my mind!) I did not especially like Stresa on Lake Maggiore, and some of the people in the tourist industry in that town (specifically, the woman in tourist office and some people in the boat ticket office) to be absolutely the rudest and unfriendliest I've ever seen in a tourist-related position anywhere, in any country, in my life.
cmt is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2003, 01:28 PM
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First of all, you are in a "can't lose" situation, no matter which one you select. If I had to make a choice, however, I think I, too, would pick Tuscany. We loved Lake Como, but Tuscany is something very, very special. When to go? I'd pick mid-to-late September/early October.
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Old Nov 7th, 2003, 01:40 PM
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As Howard said, you can't lose. But the answer from cmt holds the key to your plans. If you want lovely scenery filled with lakes, mountains, and just beautiful vistas, go to the lakes. And if you want some history, art, and village charm, Tuscany will offer more. Boiled down to a nutshell, that just about sets you up for your decision.

As for the time of the year, certainly the warmer months are more pleasant. But I think you can also enjoy Italy, especially Tuscany, in the spring and fall. And at those times, the tourists are not so plentiful and you might enjoy your explorations a bit more. The perfect months to visit Tuscany, IMO, would be April-May and September-October. For the lakes area, better drop the April and October suggestions, but only because the weather becomes a bit cooler. Otherwise it's still great then, too. Good luck.
Wayne is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2003, 01:41 PM
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How long do you have? The Lakes is great for 4-5 days max I would think. We did 2 nights in Varenna and it was lovely (took the ferry over to Bellagio one afternoon). But not really a lot to do. We started our honeymoon there to catch our breath after the wedding and long plane ride. Then We spent 7 nights in Tuscany and could have stayed longer. 2 nights in FLorence then rent a car and stay in small hill towns and explore and see and taste and feel. Heaven!
e_roz is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2003, 02:29 PM
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Which one of your kids do you love most? You have hit my 2 favorite destinations in Italy, and we have been to both multiple trips. Why can't you do both? The Lakes is really 3 destinations--you can spend 10 days there to see all of the region.But, if you chosse one location then 4 days is adequate. So, how much time will you have--that is the key.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2003, 03:33 PM
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I like Bob's suggestion. But I also want to say that it is certainly possible to spend even a couple of weeks in the Lake country. We did one year, seeing Orta, Maggiore, Como, Iseo and Garda. It was one of the most beautiful, relaxing vacations we've ever taken. Went in September. But if you don't have to pick and can do a bit of each I think that's the best approach. Then you can decide for yourself and do a vacation another year entirely in your favorite destination.
jmv is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2003, 11:13 PM
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I have been to both region several times and both are beautiful, but there there really is no place like Tuscany! It is unique. We have been to both in the spring and fall. We just came back and found it was easy to get reservations or winging it about the middle of Oct or just before. If you go in spring I would wait til after Easter as the Italians have a long holiday around that time and it is considered High Season and it will be crowded and more expensive.
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