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Norther Italy Itininery Suggestions (Sep 06)

Norther Italy Itininery Suggestions (Sep 06)

Old Jul 29th, 2006, 07:20 AM
  #21  
 
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dc120: I suggest you read some of the recent trip reports re Lake Como. Type in Varenna and Bellagio in the search box.

I've spent a fair amount of time in the mid-Lake Como area. I live in a beach town in the U.S., and I find the lake and mountain scenery a nice change. My visits are usual in October, and I admit I probably wouldn't choose Como before September because of the crowds. I also wouldn't choose almost anywhere on the Italian coasts in the same ime frame for the same reasons. But by mid-September, though Bellagio may be crowded during the day, the town is very nice in the evenings.

The royalty and wealth in the lake's past provides beautiful villas and gardens for today's tourists to visit. Riding the ferries around the lake is a leisurely way of seeing villas, gardens and the smaller towns. It's also possible, using public transportation, to visit Lugano for a day to see beautiful views and charming villages. With a car, the possibilities really open up.

Bellagio can be expensive, but reasonable lodging options exist in Varenna, Menaggio, smaller towns and even in the middle of Bellagio itself. We have often stayed in an apartment in Bellagio for about 100 euros a night. (See www.residencelalimonera.com.)

I'm sorry if my earlier comments gave the impression that I thought all the pretty parts of Italy are full of tourists. I wasn't intending to sound snide. I did mention the Sudtirol/Trentino/Alto Adige as one beautiful, uncrowded area, and I think it would pair up well geographically with visits to the Dolomites, Lake Como and Venice (all mentioned in your OP). In the end, I think you need to decide how much driving you want to do to stay at a relaxing pace and, obviously, where best to arrive and depart Italy.

Don't be dissuaded from visiting Lake Como by descriptions of just one town in high season.

Most important, though, is that you book hotels ASAP if you want to visit mid-Lake Como just a few weeks from now.
Jean is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2006, 09:36 AM
  #22  
 
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The better bed and breakfasts or small hotels should have mountain bikes available to use without having to pay for them.
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Old Jul 29th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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I echo Jean's advice that you not be dissuaded from visiting Lago di Como because not evreybody likes the town of Bellagio -- which you should definitely pay a visit if you are on the lake because it has an incomparably beautiful view.

I recommend booking, too, although tourist traffic on the Italian coast outside of the Cinque Terre destinations drop off dramatically after mid-September, and I think the weather is fantastic there -- although no one can guarantee non-stop sunny days.

Judging how much driving you want to do is partly a factor of miles and partly a factor of how much time one spends on highways as opposed to rural roads. To me, the difficulty in choosing would be that there is a world of cultural (and cuisine) difference between a vacation that includes Venice, Lago di Como and the Dolomiti, and one that includes Piemonte (with a possible side trip to the sea), L. di Como and the Dolomiti.

I wouldn't let geography determine the choice unless you have a particular dislike of driving on Italian highways. I think the factors to weigh are the places themselves and your interest in experiencing them.
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