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Looking for travel tips in Northwest of Italy

Looking for travel tips in Northwest of Italy

Aug 12th, 2005, 02:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4
Looking for travel tips in Northwest of Italy

We will be traveling to the Northwest part of Italy the first two weeks of September and would like some traveling tips to make the trip pleasurable. We are looking at spending 8 days seeing the following regions: Como Lake Area, Cinqueterre, Parma, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, Milan and Pisa.

Should we travel by car rental, train or both?

What clothing should we wear to fit in and not stand out as an American tourist? Are shorts acceptable for men or women?

What is the weather like?

What should we not miss?

What are some nice Romantic ventures?

We are not much into the museums and such some are OK but not a whole day of running from one building to the next. We want to experience the ambiance of Italy.

In advance, Thank you for your sugestions.
MarkLaurie is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 02:47 AM
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Additional Note: We are staying 7 days in an apartment in Berceto and 1st and last nights around Milan as this is were we are flying in and out of.
MarkLaurie is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 03:23 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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That is a lot of places for 8 days. I would say that perhaps you should narrow it down a bit. What are your must-sees?
faredolce is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Is this your first trip to Italy? I agree that you have too many destinations for your time frame. Traveling by train in Italy is easy and efficient, but some of these day trips are very ambitious. I suggest you take a look at www.trenitalia.com to get an idea of how much time it takes to get from Point A to Point B. Berceto to Venice, for example, takes a minimum of 4 hours 15 minutes. Even if you were to try it from Milan, it's a good 3 hours.

If you decide to go by car, mappy.com can give you driving distances and estimated times.

I haven't been to Berceto but it looks like a nice location from which to daytrip; I just think you have too much planned.

There are two threads that you may like to browse through called "Helpful Information: Italy" and "Helpful Information: Italy 2." I'll see if I can find them and bring them to the top for you.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 05:04 AM
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topping in case MarkLaurie can't find their post.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Aug 15th, 2005, 09:36 PM
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Thank you for your insight. We are trying to set an itinerary and picking a different place each day. Any suggestions on what we should not miss? We do not have any must sees except for the Ufizzi. I was going to set a 3:00 appt. on Friday 09/09/05. Thank you for the links I'm trying to review the information. I'm almost wishing we were traveling to different hotels to spend more time in each city. But since, we have this apt. to stay in we are limited to day trips. I'm afraid we are going to miss a lot, but we want to get flavor of Italy and return again hopefully. Any restaurant recommendations outside of the touristy places?
MarkLaurie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Again, I haven't been to Berceto so I don't know what's there, but I have found that the best way to get a flavor of Italy is to hang out where the locals are. It can't hurt to have a (prioritized) wish list of all the places you'd like to visit and see how you feel once you get there, but be aware that it will be nearly impossible to see all those places you have listed. And if you tried, you'd spend the majority of your time on trains (or in a car), completely exhausted by the end. I'd leave at least a couple of days free to wander around, explore the local markets, and talk to the shopkeepers and your neighbors. Of course everyone travels differently, but I've found those experiences to be way more enjoyable than rushing around from place to place, checking things off my to-do list.

Florence, according to trenitalia.com, takes 3-4 hours by train from Berceto, with at least one train change. Mappy.com estimates a little over two hours by car, but that doesn't include parking and getting to the city center (and potentially getting lost). Not impossible for a daytrip, but not something people on this board usually recommend, especially for a first-timer to Italy.

Here's what I would do with your parameters (keeping in mind I favor the trains because driving in Italy terrifies me):

Day 1: arrive Milan. Stay in the city center, perhaps see Duomo, Last Supper (which needs reservations), and/or Castle Sforzesco if I feel up to it.

Day 2: see what I missed in Milan, then train to Berceto, about 2.5 hours. Get settled in apartment (is it right in town? How far from the train station? That may answer your question about car vs. train), explore neighborhood, go grocery shopping at the local markets and shops.

Day 3: Day trip to Parma.

Day 4: Play it by ear: if I'm feeling up to it, take a day trip to Pisa, Lucca, or Cinque Terre. They're all a minimum of 2 hours away if you catch the right train. Again, it may be less by car, but parking can potentially be a hassle. Modena (where they make the balsamic vinegar), an hour away by train, is another good possibility.

Day 5: Stay in Berceto to sleep in, do laundry, recuperate.

Day 6: Explore a winery or two (I don't know of any in particular, but surely there are some nearby). A car would come in handy for this, or you may be able to hire a driver.

Day 7: another big day trip if up for it. If I had a car I may drive around to find some untouristed villages.

Day 8: Depending on what time your plane leaves on day 9, I might train to Lake Como (4-5 hours to Varenna from what I gather) and stay the night there. If you have an early flight though, I'd stay in Milan, and perhaps try to swing by the lake for a couple of hours just to "see" it. I don't know about luggage facilities, though.

Hopefully someone more familiar with this region will be able to give you specifics about Berceto and what's nearby. It's hard to be bored in Italy.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Me again. Check out slowtrav.com, go to the Italy section, then message board. Under "find," type in Berceto. There are several comments from travelers who've been there--Berceto sounds like a nice little village. It may be worth asking questions there as well. Good luck and have a great trip.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,473
Topping for more info about Berceto and surrounds.
Jocelyn_P is offline  

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