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bplovestotravel Sep 18th, 2009 12:22 PM

Looking for itineary help for Italy
We want to visit the Lakes area of Como either Bellagio or Varenna. Can't decide!

We have 9 nights for this trip (we have been to some of the major cities like Rome, Venice, Florence, Bologna, Lucca, Pisa, Cinque Terre) this trip is for next October.

I was thinking of 3 nights in Lakes area and 3 nights again in the Cinque Terre and then today I have been researching looking for a quaint town that has some nice piazzas and a few sites that wasn't too far from where we are looking to go so I am considering Parma after all that I have read about it. Is 3 nights too long in Parma?

Here is my dilema - If we fly into Milan (I hate that we have to take a bus 30 more minutes to get to the train station!!! )and then head to Parma and from Parma to Cinque Terre and then train on to the Como lakes area and fly out of Milan. Again we would have to train into Milan central train station and then bus to the airport. Is there an easier way perhaps a different airport - we are limited to where Delta flys.

Any comments on this or changes you would suggest or make this logistically easier?

We are both in our late 30's and traveling with our son who will be 9 at the time and is a great traveler. We like to see a few sites during the day or play catch in piazza and then have a moderate dinner and some drinks and just absorb the culture. We are going to rely on the train system and not have a car.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or comments.

ellenem Sep 18th, 2009 12:55 PM

To skip the return to MIlan, you must take one of the trains from Como (city) to Saronno and switch to the train to Malpensa. You'd have to get to Como (bus or boat), so this may be no simpler.

Since there will be three of you, you might splurge for a car service to take you from your Como location to Malpensa.

I think Parma would be good for three days. If you feel like you need to see something else, it's easy to daytrip to Modena.

zoecat Sep 18th, 2009 06:03 PM

How about flying into Pisa (Delta flies there), visiting the Cinque Terre, train to Parma, train to Lake Como, then a train/car service to Milan? You may need to spend your last night in Milan, depending on your departure flight time.

The First Hotel at the Milan airport is nice (not beautiful) and has good food next door-

bplovestotravel Sep 19th, 2009 09:01 AM

Any thoughts on if 3 nights is too long in parma? I am considering just spending 2 nights there and 2 in Venice (again).

annhig Sep 19th, 2009 09:29 AM

friends of ours went to the val d'aosta this summer and just loved it. I know that Turin is actually clsoer than Milan but it's still quite close.

i would make a good alternaive to the CT I think.

In your shoes I would do the lake/s first, as they tend to wind down at the end of the season. so you could pick up your car from Milan airport [gets you out of that bus journey], drive to the lakes, then go onto either the CT or Val d'aosta, finishing in Parma/Pisa.

regards, ann

zeppole Sep 19th, 2009 01:50 PM

Parma is extremely well connected by train to other lovely and unique towns (Modena, Cremona, Bologna), with great cuisines, and if you have a car, you can also visit the castles of the region (Torrechiara is a favoriate of mine). And of course Parma is a wonderful town with layers and layers of fascinating history, and I would give my left arm to eat in Parma three nights in a row.

While in Parma, even without a car, see if you can get a bus or driver for a visit to some the castles of the region (Torrechiara is a favorite).

By the way, if you hate that 50 minute bus ride into Milano, how about getting off the plane and taking a 90 minute bus ride to Torino -- where your 9 year old son would have a WEALTH of great attractions -- the fantastic cinema museum, the auto museum, an Egyptian museum -- really a lot of amazing things. Then head to le Cinque Terre, and then to the lakes, and home.

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