North Italy

Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:02 AM
  #1  
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North Italy

In September 2012 I will be visiting Italy with my wife for the first time. We will be going from the 7th to the 23rd. The first 7 nights I want to spend then in Northern Italy around some lakes and mountains in a good city, that i can make easy day trips by train or bus from the base. We will then after go to Firenze and Rome. Now at first I was thinking about Lake Garda but I'm worried that it will be packed with tourist. Any other ideas please of where I can spend..I saw Lake Maggiore, Valle D'Aosta and Bolzano, but I'm not finding good information/itinerary about them. Note that I will be flying into Milan on the 7th arriving there at around 10.30am.

Your help is much appreciated.
rbezzina is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:18 AM
  #3  
LJ
 
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There should be plenty of info on all three areas that you referenced above. As your plans are still so fluid, you might want to check out your local library, or Amazon or a local retail bookshop for the Fodors (or even other!) book guides to these areas to help you narrow it down and then come back on here for more specific info.

Personally, we loved the area in Umbria accessible with Perugia as a base, but that may be more central than 'north' for your purposes.

For a totally different (from Firenze/Rome)Italian experience, check out references to Trieste.
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Jan 5th, 2012, 06:23 AM
  #4  
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If I had to base myself in Brenzone is it doable to do day trips by train/public transport to other areas and some mountains with cable cars?
rbezzina is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 07:47 AM
  #5  
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I wanted to mean Bolzano not Brenzone.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 12:16 AM
  #6  
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Had some look on trains and buses and came up with a provisional plan...so lets say I will do 7 nights in Bolzano, that will make 6 full days..I will spend them like this:

2 days around Bolzano
1 day Trip to Merano (Train)
1 day Trip to Trento (Train)
1 day Trip to Bressanone (Train)
1 day Trip to Siusi (Bus)

What do you think? Any suggestions feel free to make.
rbezzina is offline  
Jan 8th, 2012, 02:38 AM
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rbezzina - my last italian lesson was all about Bolzano which turns out to be a very interesting place so yes, it seems like a great idea to me.

don't sell Bolzano itself short though - they have a very active tourist office that will supply you with details of a number of self-guided walks which could keep you quite busy.
annhig is offline  
Jan 8th, 2012, 03:18 AM
  #8  
ira
 
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Hi rb,

>I was thinking about Lake Garda but I'm worried that it will be packed with tourist. <

There is a reason why some places are "packed with tourists". Usually because there is a lot worth seeing and doing.

Florence and Rome aren't going to be empty.

Have you considered Naples and the Amalfi Coast?

Is there a reason for skipping Venice?

You are a first time visitor, yet you are picking a sort of out-of-the way place to visit for a week.

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Jan 8th, 2012, 03:21 AM
  #9  
ira
 
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PS,

Have you considered Lake Garda?
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Jan 8th, 2012, 04:04 AM
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Ira - the one time we get a "newbie' who is being adventurous, you try to put him off!

Bolzano is a great idea and shouldn't be over-run with tourists that time of year, though i suspect that it will have its fair share of Germans and austrians as it is bi-lungual.

yes Garda is lovely, but no better than Bolzano IMHO.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 04:06 AM
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Congrats on your trip go a lot my top 4 places
Grand Hotel Dino Baveno - Verified Reviews™ rated 4.3 of 5. Compare deals on Grand Hotel Dino. Ranked 2 of 19 hotels in Baveno, Italy
http://www.hotelscombined.com/Hotel/...ino_Baveno.htm
#2
www.bellagio.info Residence L'Ulivo
or hotelflorencebellagio.it
#3
www.sirmione.com Garda Hotel Eden
#4
www.venice-tourism.com www.bauervenezia.com
All beautiful usually train cheaply around seat61.com/italy
tigercrrentals.com is nice but more money hassle especially
in Big cities.

eurocheapo.com for budget ricksteves.com virtualtourist.com

All good newbie links happy planning!
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 8th, 2012, 05:21 AM
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Personally I think the second half of September is a bit risky for Bolzano and its environs. You could get cloudy and rainy weather that would cut into the enjoyment of being in the mountains. If you are heded to Bolzano mainly so you can get on trains to go to other cities, consider staying in Verona and only going to the mountains or lakes if the weather is very nice. You can go to Trento in an hour by train from Verona, but you can also go to Mantova or Bologna if it is pouring rain.

I don't think in the second half of September that Lago di Garda is too crowded, but the best spots take a long time to reach by train from Milan. You would need to take a train to Peschiera del Garda (2 hours, with a change in Milan, then a taxi to the boat dock, and then a boat to Limone sul Garda or a town nearby). It might be best if you spent the first night in Milan, and headed out the next day.

It is much easier to reach Lago di Como or Lago Maggiore by train from Milan.

Seven days is a long time to spend on the lakes unless you really enjoy outdoor activities. The towns are mostly set up for modern holidaying by the lake shore, although you can find some antique towns and corners.
zeppole is offline  
Jan 8th, 2012, 05:51 AM
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I agree that you shouldn't worry too much about crowds of tourists in September.

We very much enjoyed Bolzano when visiting in March several years back. There is a very nice town center with a pretty Dom, arcaded shops, great mountain scenery all around, and a good location for day trips by train or car. Do not miss: The Museum of Archaeology, home of Uetzi, the bronze-age man found in the alpa. Day tripas to Castelrotto to see the frescos. And to Trento which has an interesting old town center and some top-notch restaurants.

What about splitting your week: half the time in Bolzano and half the time on the waters edge somewhere? (And `waters edge' could certainly include Venice, btw.)

(For me, the possiblility of rainy weather wouldn't much affect choice of destination -- we visited Castlerotto castle in the rain and enjoyed it very much anyway. Venice too.)

As for choice of airport, Italian friends have pointed out that getting from Milan to Trento/Bolzano/etc by train is easier from Venice than from Milan.
capxxx is offline  
Jan 8th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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To clarify: Venice to mountains is easier than Milan to mountains.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 06:00 AM
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The weather in Bolzano in Sep will be very good. We have spent time in that area twice in Sep. and loved it. The historic weather data says an average of 8 days of precip in Sep---not bad.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 8th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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I really must disagree that weather shouldn't be a consideration when planning a trip to the Dolomiti. Sure there is always a castle or local museum you can visit, but the low cloud cover or rain can totally elminate the views in the Dolomiti, which is why most people want to go to that area.

The latter half of September can have dry weather, and it would be unusual for the area to receive 6 days of rain. I would prefer to stay someplace like Verona where it is easy to visit Trento or Bolzano when I am certain it is nice day there, and have more options for other destinations more interesting to me if weather in Northern Italy is rainy. But someone else might prefer the opposite (stay in Bolzano, go to Verona if it rains). But I would factor the weather into my considerations when deciding where to stay for 7 days in Northern Italy at any time of year.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 05:02 AM
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My two guidebooks to the Dolomiti say that September is the best time to visit -- crisp clear days are likely, and winter not yet arrived. They also suggest, in their hiking guide sections, that what rain there is,is short-lived: i.e., if you have a hike planned in the morning, and it rains, simply wait until the afternoon and go.

I admit the charms of Verona are lost on me -- I have never understood why people find it attractive, compared to nearby alternatives -- but it seems downright odd to suggest it as a base for visiting the lakes and mountain towns.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 07:20 AM
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Hi all,

Thanks for all the suggestions. reading the above posts made me think twice and I think I will choose Lake Garda (may be Sirmione) over the South Tyrol. What I'm finding it a bit hard is going around without a car.
rbezzina is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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What I'm finding it a bit hard is going around without a car.>>

that won't be a problem on Lake Garda - there is a terrific boat service between the different towns on the lake, plus buses.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 10:27 PM
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What I'm finding it a bit hard is going around without a car. - This sentence I was referring it to The Dolomites / South Tyrol. As such I was thinking about 2 possibilities..either Lake Garda or South Tyrol, but from what I ready I think it would be better to go to Lake Garda.
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