Lake Como Down to Liguria

Old May 18th, 2022, 09:32 AM
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Lake Como Down to Liguria

We are traveling in August. Starting in Portugal for 2 weeks than flying to Milan and going to Lake Como. We are suppose to go down to Santa Margherita by car for 4 N
Florence 2 N ( worry about the car and the heat in August!)
Varignana 4N
Bologna 3N
Milan 2N

I am beginning to think I should stay up North by Lake Como. Maybe add Bellagio? Bergamo? Verona? We have been to Venice and Florence and even Santa Margherita ( as well as Lake Como but love it there!) I am obviously concerned traveling all over with Covid but this is our new world it seems.

I would love any thoughts on how to possibly change the last part of our trip after Lake Como and ending up in Milan to fly home. It would be for anywhere from 10-15 nights which should include the 2 nights in Milan. Any thoughts? Suggestions? I know August is a very busy time and this is the last two weeks and into Sept 5th. Thanks so much in advance for any suggestions.
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Old May 18th, 2022, 10:22 AM
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When we visited Bologna the temperatures during the day were above 100 degrees F. I would stay north or in Liguria by the water.We also love Lake Como and have stayed there four times. Have you also considered the Dolomites? They are stunning! We based in Ortisei and stayed at lovely Hotel Grones.
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Old May 18th, 2022, 07:08 PM
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Were you planning to travel only by car?? Are you familiar with ZTLs (limited traffic zones)? Having a car in Florence, Bologna and Milan is a huge hassle.

It's unclear exactly when you arrive in Italy, but it sounds like you'll be getting there around the time of the Ferragosto holiday (Aug. 15th). Italians plan their entire summer around their Ferragosto vacations both before and after Aug. 15th. It would be a crazy time to drive to Santa Margherita as the seaside towns and the roads to reach them will be packed. Of course, the lakes will also be very busy.

I admit I'm a wimp when it comes to heat and humidity, so I'd also stay north as much as possible. From Milan... Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, perhaps Lugano, the Valle d'Aosta, maybe Torino. I love the Dolomites, but if Santa Margherita is set in stone and you have to return to Milan, I'd go to the Valle d'Aosta instead. If possible, I'd try to put Santa Margherita at the end, as far from Ferragosto as possible.

https://www.italymagazine.com/featur...-daosta-summer
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Old May 19th, 2022, 11:26 AM
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Thank you both! Yes, I am aware of the Ferragosto! I was planning on getting a car when I arrive in Milan to drive to Lake Come on August 16and staying in Cernobbio near Como till the 21. I have until at least the end of August all the way till Sept. 5th to travel. I am rethinking the last part of that trip as you have both suggested weather wise, traffic etc. Possibly from lake como to Verona, than Lake Garda and maybe Bergamo? I really have no idea. I would love the Dolomites but my husband is not a hiker and actually has an iffy knee. Valle D'Aosta sounds lovely for shopping and wellness spas! Thank you for sharing that. I would love to go into Lugano just worry with Covid the requirements going into another country and the car etc. We are wimps with the humidity and heat as well. Anymore thoughts?
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Old May 19th, 2022, 12:20 PM
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Just FYI, you don't have to be a hiker to enjoy the Dolomites. On one of our visits, we didn't hike at all because of a temporary health issue. We had a great time driving all the scenic roads, loving the fresh air and slower pace and eating wonderful meals surrounded by the most spectacular scenery. (Tip: Look for motorcycles parked outside, a sign of a great place to eat!) The drive from the northern end of Lake Como, over the Stelvio Pass, to Merano is one of the most famous in Europe. There are WWI sights and museums scattered throughout the area.

If you make it to the Dolomites, stop in Bolzano and visit the Iceman Museum. Fascinating!

If you go to Lake Garda, I would head to the northern end where it may (emphasize may) be less crowded.
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Old May 24th, 2022, 06:14 AM
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I'm thinking of going to Cernobbio first since I fly into Milan than on to Bellagio and Verona. Would you do Laglio or Stressa or anything else along the way?
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Old May 24th, 2022, 07:34 AM
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Neither Stresa nor Laglio are "along the way" to Cernobbio from Malpensa, so I'm not understanding your plan.

If your flight to Malpensa is overnight, driving directly to Cernobbio is probably best. The driver need to be alert, and there will be loads of traffic on Aug. 16th.

Were you planning to divide your time at Lake Como between Cernobbio and Bellagio? How many nights in each? Have you secured lodging reservations yet?
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Old May 24th, 2022, 08:14 AM
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I just remembered you're coming from Portugal...

I still would head directly to Cernobbio because of the traffic at both lakes. Stresa is in the opposite direction and would just double the overall drive time. Parking will be hard to find, so I would park the car in Cernobbio and start exploring by ferry.
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Old May 24th, 2022, 11:34 AM
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Yes Jean, I am coming from Portugal. It will be the morning and I will pick up a car and drive to Cernobbio. Thank you for your suggestions. I think I am going to keep my trip as originally planned ( which I did months ago and secured lodgings etc. ) and just change Florence which I have been to. It will be:
Cernobbio 5 nights so I can explore by Ferry Bellagio etc and maybe drive to Lugano for the day? We have been to Cernobbio before and love going into Como as well but the timing might be VERY busy!
Then we drive down to Santa Margherita 4 n
Florence was 2 N ( I have been to both before) but I want to change this to maybe Lucca, or viarregio or Forte de Marmi or even the hill top looking down on Florence. I do not want to drive a car into Florence or walk around in the heat. It looks like a mountainous drive!
We then go to Varignana 4N
Bologna 3N
Milan 2No and hopefully home free of Covid And anything else going around UGH!
sounds like ALOT to me! Any thoughts?
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Old May 29th, 2022, 02:49 AM
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I have decided to go from Santa Margherita to Fiesole. Does anybody know about this drive? We will probably stop in Forte de Marmi, not sure about Viareggio or Lucca. I am concerned about luggage in the car and hope to park in a parking lot if there is anything like that? Any thoughts on where to stop along the way?
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Old May 29th, 2022, 10:00 AM
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Just me, but I'd avoid the coast as much as possible. Just too crowded at that time of year for my tastes. But if you stay on the coast, I find Pietrasanta more interesting than Forte dei Marmi. It's sometimes described as an open-air museum because of the large number of public art pieces. Nicknamed "Little Athens" because so many sculptors have studios and galleries in the town. Also known for contemporary mosaics.

If you want to avoid the coast, when you reach Carrera/Massa, there's a beautiful drive heading east through a park to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana which would be a nice stop for lunch and to see the fortress. (Check to see if the opera house is open to view.) Lots of local dishes are centered around chestnuts, chestnut flour, etc., and spelt. Because I prefer secondary roads over main roads, after CdG, I'd stay north (avoid Lucca, Montecatini) and rejoin the main road at Pistoia.
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Old Jun 5th, 2022, 02:30 PM
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Jean thank you for your suggestion of Pietrasanta it sounds wonderful. Where would you stay there if I wanted to? Do you know anything about Punta Ala? I was considering that but then I do have to get back up to Milan and I need to stop along the way I think. Any thoughts? Would you go through outside of Florence or another way?
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Old Jun 5th, 2022, 06:59 PM
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We've visited Pietrasanta twice but not stayed there overnight. Friends we met there on one visit were staying at the Hotel Palagi and as I recall had no complaints. But you need to see what's available for your dates, and you need to investigate the ZTL boundaries, potential hotel parking (preferably reserved) and public parking. We parked at the train station.

Are you skipping Florence? Varignana?

I haven't been to Punta Ala, but I wouldn't go that far south on the coast if you have to get back to Milan (or Varignana which would involve backtracking). I'd rather drive away from the coast into the mountains east of Pietrasanta [mentioned in my post #11 upthread].
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Old Jun 6th, 2022, 11:37 AM
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You might be right about going so far south. Maybe stop along the way for a couple of nights ( any ideas? Forte De Marmi to busy but would be nice to be on the beach) to Fiesole from Santa Margherita? Than up to Varignana and skip Bologna?
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Old Jun 6th, 2022, 04:35 PM
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I'm not sure how you envision "on the beach" in Italy in August. The entire coast in that area will be packed, and traffic will be heavy. Nearly every beach has a concession that charges for entry. I don't know if the chairs/umbrellas "sell out" early in the day... Perhaps someone can comment on that.

Santa Margherita on Aug. 16th, 2020:

https://c8.alamy.com/comp/2D6GXJ9/sa...ro-2D6GXJ9.jpg

Monterosso al Mare on Aug. 17, 2019:

https://c8.alamy.com/comp/WKJHJJ/mon...e-t-WKJHJJ.jpg

Near FdM and the beach of Pietrasanta:

https://c8.alamy.com/comp/BY5H97/cro...rte-BY5H97.jpg

Where you could stop would depend a lot on where you could get hotel reservations.
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 01:22 PM
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Jean, Thank you for those photos! It looks awful! Especially during Covid. Okay, so we are kind of keeping our trip as is except we are debating between a few nights in Bologna or maybe a beautiful hotel right near lake iseo right before we go to Milan for 1 night. I always thought going to Bologna would be fun but I have received various opinions otherwise. Lake Iseo sounds lovely. We will be back up by the lakes! Would love your expert opinion! We just get ourselves confused.
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 05:09 PM
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Bologna would be too hot and sticky for me in August... I'm a wimp when it comes to heat and humidity.

I haven't stayed at Lake Iseo, so no comment...
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