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Traveler_2012 Sep 19th, 2012 07:06 PM

Lake Como or Siena in Italy

I'm trying to decide between visiting either Lake Como or Siena in early October. I'm flying into Milan and then planning on heading to Venice, Florence and Rome where I'm flying out of. The trip to Lake Como from Milan or Siena from Florence would be for a day. Would appreciate any feedback on which one would be the nicer spot to visit.


Dukey1 Sep 19th, 2012 07:25 PM

Depends on what you call "nicer" and I have been to and stayed in both places. Mid-lake Como (Varenna/Bellagio/Menaggio) is very pretty, scenic, as you would expect. By October I would think things might be a bit quieter and perhaps some of the hotels will have already closed or will be about to. Bellagio is very popular and has been called by some the prettiest Italian town.

Siena OTOH has a great deal more to see and do; it is a city in every respect. The large floor mosaics in the duomo are worth a visit in and of themselves IMO.

These two locations are a definite contrast; the rail trip from Milan to Varenna takes about 1 hr 20 minutes or so; you can take a bus from Florence to Siena or the train (the station is somewhat removed from the main part of the city).

I am certain others will comment.

HappyTrvlr Sep 19th, 2012 08:03 PM

Siena from Florence is an easier trip. I love Lake Como but I can't imagine only spending one day there; it's a large lake with many towns along it's shore. You really can't make a mistake as both are wonderful places to visit.

violetduck Sep 19th, 2012 08:05 PM

I agree with Dukey that they are a total contrast. My preference would be Siena. It makes more sense also as a daytrip I believe. It seemed everywhere I looked in Siena I wanted to take a photo.

Jean Sep 19th, 2012 08:05 PM

Apples and oranges. Lake Como is all about the beautiful scenery, gardens, and a laid-back atmosphere. Siena is a town with a rich history, some beautiful architecture, art, and a definite city vibe. If the weather at Lake Como is clear and sunny (likely, IMO), the weekends will be more crowded than mid-week. Siena will crowded.

Milan to Varenna Esino takes just an hour by train (or 2 hours if you went from Malpensa to Varenna). Varenna to Venice would take about 4 hours.

FWIW, I like Milan more than most, but I could skip it in favor of a day and night on Lake Como. Florence is my favorite and giving up a day there, even to go to Siena, would be a very difficult choice. How much time do you have in Florence?

sundriedpachino Sep 20th, 2012 01:57 AM

Having just been in Lake Como, I would agree with posters above, lake Como is laid back, the towns are small, the attractions are the scenery, the gardens, and the villas.
We spent 2 nights and felt that it didn't give us time to see much, other than boat ride around the lake to a couple of towns.
We liked Varenna a lot, but it is small.

My personal choice would be Siena, one thing for the Duomo, another for the Campo. Much more to see.
But I see you will be visiting some busy places, so you might enjoy relaxing in Varenna or Bellagio for a day.

Traveler_2012 Sep 25th, 2012 08:03 PM

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for all the helpful feedback. We have decided to spend a day in Varenna and will try to see the nearby town of Bellagio. It was tough to chose but in the end we decided that our trip is full of big cities such as Milan, Florence, Rome and Venice and Varenna would be a different experience for us. We are planning on catching the train from Milan to Varenna and our next stop will be Venice. Leaving Siena and the Amalfi Coast for our next trip to Italy :)

Thank you!

Mimar Sep 26th, 2012 06:57 AM

Unlike Dukey1, I don't see Siena as a city, maybe a larger town. I still remember the beautiful view of the Tuscan countryside we could see from our hotel room inside the walls of Siena. For when you do go to Siena, try to stay overnight. It's a different place in the center at night, all dark and medieval, like being transported back in time.

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