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Itinerary Help! 12 days in Northern Italy

Itinerary Help! 12 days in Northern Italy

Old Aug 9th, 2023, 12:02 AM
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Itinerary Help! 12 days in Northern Italy

Hi Squad,
I知 planning an 11-12 day trip to northern Italy in the first two weeks of October. The only definite plans thus far is that I値l be arriving in Milan and departing from Venice. Everything else is what I need help with.

Briefly: I値l be traveling with my wife. We like exploring cities on foot, learning a bit of history, taking public transportation, and eating lots of great food and drinking good wine and spritzes. We also enjoy discovering off-the-beaten path/less touristy areas. (We can handle museums, but in moderation.)

We will be arriving from the Middle East beforehand, so we値l hopefully have beat our jet lag by the time we arrive in Milan.

We prefer to travel by train if possible, but willing to rent a car if it値l greatly improve our travel plans.

Basically, I知 having trouble deciding between which of the following areas I can squeeze in, without overdoing it:

Cinque Terre

Emilia Romagna region

Lake Como or Garda (and which one?)



Here are a couple of rough outlines I致e sketched out:


Day 1 in Milan

Days 2-3 in Cinque Terre

Days 4-8 in Emilia Romagna region

Days 9-12: Venice


Day 1 in Milan

Days 2-6 in Emilia Romagna

Days 7-9 in Padua/Vincenza/Verona and Garda

Days 10-12 in Venice

OTHER OPTIONS (mix and match):

-Add Cinque Terre to option 2, take something out

-Sub out something for Piedmont

-Sub out Garda for Como (how to decide between them? And are they worth visiting in October?)

Thoughts? Is this too ambitious? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
jey221 is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 12:10 AM
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You are trying to avoid touristy areas and yet are going to the main touristy areas on Italy.

Basically you are asking if you should go to the north of the Po valley or go a bit further south.

I'd choose the southern region, fewer tourists and more fun things to see. More exploring and interesting conversations, more funny little towns and castles. But in coming back north to Venice I'd stop by Padua, just because it is so good.

I'd use trains for this trip. seat61.com explains the basics and trenitalia sells you the tickets

bilboburgler is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 06:36 AM
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Option 1 looks like too much travel for too little payoff to me--I would not travel to CT for less than three full days, but you could swap lakes for CT and it looks pretty good. Emilia Romagna is good by train; Piedmont is good by car.
yorkshire is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 08:33 AM
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I don't think the Cinque Terre works well with the time you have and the other places you want to visit. I'm not sure you've considered the time used up just moving from place to place. For example, in Option 1, the train ride from Milan to a CT town is 3.5-4 hours and from a CT town to Bologna is 3.5-4 hours. If your destination isn't Bologna, the train ride might take another hour, and wherever you go in the ER the ride will involve multiple connections. Not included in all those hours is the time used up checking in and out of hotels, getting to and from train stations....

In Option 2, I don't think you can really explore Padova/Vicenza/Verona/Garda in the time you've allotted... four towns in not quite 3 days. (Do you mean the town of Garda or generally the lake?) Yes, a couple of the train rides are really short, but IMO there's too much to see in each place... unless you're just checking towns off a list.

Just me, but for a first-time visit to Venice I'd want at least 4 uninterrupted days.

FWIW, early October is still very much high season everywhere.
Jean is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 09:07 AM
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We just got back from 3 weeks in N Italy. Week in Bologna with day trips to Ravenna and Ferrara and Italian Food Days tour. Four days Turin, 5 days Piedmonte based in La Morra and 5 days Lake Orta. We loved it all!
Car is needed in Peidmonte unless you hire Daniella Maracine. We had a car rental but hired Danielle, a sommalier, to make winery reservations and drive us to the various hill towns.
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Old Aug 9th, 2023, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by plambers
Car is needed in Peidmonte unless you hire Daniella Maracine. We had a car rental but hired Danielle, a sommalier, to make winery reservations and drive us to the various hill towns.
That sounds like a great idea! Thanks!
starrs is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 09:29 AM
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Have you purchased your flights yet? It is much better to fly into Venice than to fly out. Getting to the airport early in the morning often presents problems such as when the tide was too low for the boat to manage trips on one of our visits.
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Old Aug 9th, 2023, 08:08 PM
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I would go with Option 2. I think CT is not quite on your route and is very touristy. From Milan it's so easy to train to wonderful places like Parma, Modena, Bologna. Bologna is a great rail base. From there you can easily/quickly go to Ferrara, Ravenna, etc. If you spent a couple of days in Milan you can then train to Parma. From there to Bologna and take day trips to wonderful cities. Then fly out of Venice after a few days there. Or the reverse. But with your interests and time frame I think you'd be happy in that stretch of the Po Valley.
rosetravels is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 08:17 PM
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You don't seem to be taking the weather into account. City stops it doesn't matter but some of the smaller stops on your list won't be fun if it's raining. October if you're unlucky can be torrential rain. It might not be but what will you do in CT or even around the lake region if it rains?

Also if that's arrive day 1 and depart day 12 you really should think about pruning.
Traveler_Nick is online now  
Old Aug 11th, 2023, 04:52 PM
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Hi, since you are talking about 11/12 days, I am assuming it will be 11 nights. I agree with the general consensus about avoiding CT it will not allow time elsewhere and it is better to see it in the Spring or early Summer. I think the same applies to the lakes, unless you have a particular interest. Places will be less crowded in October. If you are flying into Milan I suggest the following itinerary:
Milan 3 nights
Verona 3 nights (day trip to Garda if the weather is good)
Vicenza 2 nights
Venice 3 nights

I suggest that you look at the train times and see what works best for you. For example , you can adjust the number of nights in one location and add to another by taking an evening train so not take time out from the day.
uktravelover is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2023, 08:45 AM
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What uktravelover said, except that even that would probably be too much moving around for me. I think with only 11 nights, I would spend the first 3 nights in Milan, [that gives you 2 full days] then get the train to Bologna and spend 4 nights there [3 full days] and then the train to Venice and spend 4 nights there, [3 full days again]. From Bologna you could do a day trip to Ravenna [or Modena, or Parma] and from Venice a day trip to Vicenza [or Padua].

If you would prefer a lake experience instead of another city, you could swap Bologna for Pescheria del Garda which is the only town with a railway station on Lake Garda, but unfortunately the boats stop on 8th October this year so if you wanted to use the boats to explore the lake that needs to be taken into account . https://www.navigazionelaghi.it/en/t...es-lake-garda/

Staying a little longer in each place will enable you to get to know them a little better, and not to spend all your time trying to cram all the highlights into such a short time.
annhig is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2023, 04:49 PM
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Agree with other that suggest Bologna with day trips. We loved Bologna. Palma and Ravenna are worthy day trips. We never made it to Modena.
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