Keeping teens happy in Northern Italy

Feb 23rd, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Keeping teens happy in Northern Italy

My family will be traveling to Northern Italy in between stays in Rome and Venice in early August. I'd like to spend a couple of days in a hotel on Lake Como that has a good bit of action (pool, watersports, other teens around) that would make our teenagers happy. I was considering the Hotel du Lac and would love to have advise on this. Thanks! --Kathleen
brewlew is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 08:19 AM
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Is Hotel du Lac in Varenna? It's a good choice if you are doing all your traveling by train, but if you have a car, I believe that the towns of Lecco and Menaggio are more noted for their access to watersports like skiing and windsurfing. Menaggio is a livelier place than Varenna and more scenic than Lecco.

Another lake to consider is Lago di Garda, which is famous for its windsurfing, watersports and biking. It also has a famous themepark (which may be too juvenile for your kids however. I've never been).

Most resort towns in Italy are safe places where teens will be happy hanging out. If a pool is a must, grab whatever looks best to you, because hotels with pools are hard to find.
nessundorma is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 08:20 AM
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PS: Come to think of it, I believe Lecco is also on the train line.
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Feb 23rd, 2006, 08:29 AM
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If this hotel is in your budget, it might just what you are looking for:

http://www.centrohotelslagocomo.it/v.../homepage.html

Even if you don't have a car, you can reach Menaggio by train. Just take the train to Varenna (or Como) and take a boat to Menaggio.

It may also be possible to take a bus from the Milan train station (centrale) to Menaggio, but a boat would be more fun.
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Feb 23rd, 2006, 09:30 AM
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Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions. Hotel Du Lac is in Bellagio. From my research, it looked like there were several fun places to stay on Lake Garda, but I hear that Lake Como is more beautiful. We are still wrestling with the train v. car issue. Things tend to get tense when we drive around lost in foreign countries and we often cannot fit all of our luggage into Rent-A-Car trunks. It's good to know that there is a train to Varenna. I'd thought that Como was our only option for a train station. Keep any other thoughts coming!
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Feb 24th, 2006, 01:04 AM
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Though I live in Lecco, I'd have to recommend Menaggio for this. Lecco does have a boat club with pool, but it's expensive for a non-member even to use the pool, and I don't know if they rent boats to non-members. Menaggio definitely has a reasonably-priced public pool and I'm pretty sure you can rent boats/windsurfs etc. as well.

I do agree that Lake Como is more scenic than Garda. You can spend a lovely day just going around on the ferry boats.
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Feb 24th, 2006, 04:51 AM
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Lago di Como is definitely more beautiful than Lago di Garda simply because Lago di Como is one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Bellagio is the premiere tourist destination, but I don't believe it is reachable by train and being the biggest tourist destination, it also has the most touristy feel and the highest prices.

You can use train service to Como or Varenna and then switch to a boat to take you to Menaggio or Bellagio. (I'm glad another poster was able to clear up my bum steer towards Lecco.) I've never taken the boat from Como, but from Varenna, Bellagio is 15 minutes away and Menaggio is perhaps another 10.

I think with a couple of athletic teenagers to help tote the luggage, skipping the car rental will be fine. And the train gives everybody a chance to relax. You don't need a car on Lago di Como (whereas Lago di Garda is best with a car).

nessundorma is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 05:31 AM
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Thanks! We are coming to that region from Florence and I am trying to decide if we should take the train to Como, then boat to Bellagio for a couple of days ( I just can't resist going to a place with the beautiful name of "Bellagio"!), then boat to Varenna for a night ( I found a small hotel right on the lake with a great restaurant), then take the train from Varenna to Venice. Have been trying to figure out if we could stop a night in Verona on the train. Any thoughts on this angle?
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Feb 24th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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Varenna is so close to Bellagio, you might feel a little silly (or irritated) packing up for just one night and moving 15 minutes away. While you are staying in Bellagio, you can easily have lunch in Varenna (or dinner). However, the view from Bellagio is the very best one on the lake, so you may not want to move at all.

The minor downside of Bellagio is that is a bit precious and pricey. It's been a tourist destination for decades. The other towns on the lake are also resort towns with a holiday feel, with Menaggio being a little more plebian and Varenna having a particular air of quiet about it. But as I said, the view from Bellagio has a special magic.

If I'm not mistaken, every train that leaves from the area of Lago di Como goes back to Milan. So from there you can certainly make a connection for Verona, and Verona is a wonderful place.

I think you should skip your night in Varenna and spend it in pink Verona. It's a small town with a handful of wonderfully preserved sites, and it's castle and Roman arena are marvelous. Your teens will enjoy the evening passegiata and hanging out in Piazza Bra.

Just make sure your hotel has air conditioning.
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Feb 24th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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Nessundorma,
I think you are right. I had tacked Varenna on because the Albergo Milano looked like a romantic place for dinner and it was a reasonable place to stay - but my kids would probably be bored. I think we will just book Bellagio and try to go to Varenna for dinner. Bellagio is definitely more expensive, but my husband and I are both 50 and, who knows, we may never pass that way again! It's been 28 years since the last time I went to Italy, so I want to make sure to go somewhere beautiful. Thanks for the thumbs up on Verona, too! You've been very kind to take the time to help me out!
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Feb 24th, 2006, 11:18 AM
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See your other post.
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Feb 24th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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My pleasure brewlew! You really can't wrong staying in Bellagio. And your kids will find they have a lot of freedom to hang out at night, which will be enjoyable. If they start saying they are bored, hop on the boat for a new town.

I hope you can persuade your teens to take 45 minutes to enter the art museum in Verona, which is part of the historic old castle. All the best artwork is in the first half of the small museum, so after 45 minutes, if you've had enough, leave and grab a gelato. But the inside of the castle is well preserved and worth seeing. Be sure to take the castle bridge over the Adige. It's very evocative of the middle ages.

If you're teens have yet to read Romeo and Juliet, renting a DVD might whet their interest in visiting the town (even though Shakespeare never did).

buon viaggio!
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Feb 25th, 2006, 05:56 AM
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We have a 5'8", blonde, 15-year-old daughter that will be "under heavy guard" from her dad and brother and middle-aged brunette mother throughout our trip. So no freedom to hang out a night for this kid!
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Feb 25th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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Doble_Vergasser
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I imagine that there is a 'Hotel du lac' in every lake town in Italy.

Train to Como and boat to Bellagio would be a nice (scenic) introduction to Lake Como. From memory the boat trip takes one to two hours, so don't arrive too late in Como.

If you want to rent a boat for yourself, I have heard of a company in Dongo (northern part of the lake) http://www.rentland.it/index.html
(looks like 150E plus gas for 4 hours).
I am not advocating this, as town hopping from the scheduled boat service works fine.

The only sporting items I can find for Bellagio are: water ski school,
horses, mountain bikes, kayaking, and a sail boat. If any of these interest you, then I can provide contact info (no personal knowledge). There also some golf available in the area.
 
Feb 25th, 2006, 07:55 PM
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Thank you, Doble!
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Feb 25th, 2006, 08:09 PM
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Hi brewlew, your comment about your daughter got me chuckling. We were in Italy for 2 months when our 5ft6inch,blonde, green eyed 17 year old daughter was with us. Good grief, I think my husband was exhausted not from driving all around Italy but from trying to keep the Italian fellows "away" so to speak. The ten days on Capri was really fun..he sort of lost the battle.

And guess what? Years later she married a grand gentleman from Rome. So best wishes to all of you
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Feb 26th, 2006, 05:05 AM
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LoveItaly, that's great! I'm sure my husband will be a vigilant bodyguard, too. Since he is an ex-football player, he looks the part!
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