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Northern Italy 10 days - suggestions for last 4 nights

Northern Italy 10 days - suggestions for last 4 nights

Old Aug 29th, 2021, 12:21 PM
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Northern Italy 10 days - suggestions for last 4 nights

Hello!

I've posted a couple of times already trying to figure out my trip to Italy next summer. My husband and I definitely want to do Venice and Lake Como for a total of 5 nights (2 in Venice and 3 in Varenna). We arrive in Venice at 9 am so I think 2 nights is plenty there.

We then have 4 nights to explore another area. Ideally I wanted Switzerland but decided it will be for another trip and we'll bring our kids (this is a solo 10 year anniversary trip).

That said...if you have 4 nights to tack onto this trip - coming from Varenna - where would you go?

Cinque Terre? (we love quaint seaside villages and lovely sea views, as well as moderate hiking)
Piedmont? (we love food and wine, like the idea of exploring with a car, and La Villa Hotel in Asti comes recommended)
Another part of Ligurian coast? (we did Camogli on our honeymoon so would maybe do Rapallo this time and take day trips from there. Open to other suggestions though!)

We can fly out of anywhere...Milan, Genova, Pisa.

We love Tuscany but did that on our honeymoon and want to do that with our kids one day. Amalfi coast would be amazing but no matter how i slice it, its a full day of travel.

Would love to hear your thoughts. I know you'll probably ask "what kinds of things are you into" and I can honestly say I'm open to anything, as long as it's in Italy - ha.

Thank you in advance!!

Holly


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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 01:40 PM
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I should add one more idea:

Train to Verona for 1 night

Train to Bologna for 3 nights with day trips to Parma, Modena, etc.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 02:58 PM
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Can you tolerate heat and humidity? Weather-wise, I think Bologna is best visited in spring and fall. Food-wise, I read somewhere that not all of the fresh markets are in full operation the entire summer and that many of the better restaurants are closed for a time, but I don't know if that's accurate. The big Italian summer holiday is August 15th, and I do know that many Italians close up shop and/or vacation for a week or two at that time.

The Cinque Terre in summer would be too crowded for me.

Depending on the distance from your last destination to your departure airport and the time of your flight, you may need to spend the last night near the airport. If Malpensa, it might make more sense to put Varenna at the end of the trip. OR, after Varenna you could go to Lugano (ferry from Varenna to Menaggio, then bus to Lugano). There are things to do/see on Lake Lugano, but you could also day trip by train to Luzern... maybe train to Fluelen, take the ferry across the lake to Luzern and then train back to Lugano from Luzern. There is a no-change, morning train from Lugano to Fluelen that takes 50 minutes. The return from Luzern to Lugano would take under 2 hours. Bellinzona is another nice and easy day-trip by train from Lugano (less than 30 minutes). Train from Lugano directly to Malpensa (no change, about 90 minutes).
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 03:14 PM
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You could use Bologna as a base visiting the city itself, enjoying its food, and also take side trips to Ferrara, Faenza and Ravenna, which is what we did,




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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 03:21 PM
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You are arriving in Venice at 9:00 am from where?
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 03:29 PM
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Thank you, Jean. This is helpful, as Luzern is on my bucket list, I just didn't think I could do it in a day. Will look into that!

Funny, I went to college for a year in Bologna so I've never experienced summer there. I can see it being hot and maybe a bit shut down since the college kids are gone. Interesting take I never thought of.

Will look into Lugano and Luzern now. Thank you!

Holly
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 03:30 PM
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From overnight flight from Newark.
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 03:32 PM
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That was my hope but now I'm wondering if summer isnt the best time to visit Bologna, per Jean;s advice. I did go to college there but was never there in summer. I'm worried it won't be as lively as I remember (and might be very hot).

Your pics are beautiful and really brought me back to my year there in (gulp) 1996!!!
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 03:38 PM
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What if I did 2 nights Lugano and then 2 nights Lucern, flying out of Zurich? So it would be:

2 nights Venice
3 nights Como
2 nights Lugano
2 nights Lucern

Too crazy of an itinerary??

Thanks!!!
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 04:24 PM
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It doesn't appeal to me. I wouldn't choose Como over Varenna. Other than train connections, I don't see the appeal of staying there rather than mid-lake. (Or did you type Como, meaning the lake and not the town?)

But I wouldn't call it crazy. It's your trip.
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Old Aug 29th, 2021, 04:56 PM
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Sorry, Jean, I mean Como as a lake - we already have our hotel picked out in Varenna
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 03:03 PM
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One more night to Venice would be much better.
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Old Aug 30th, 2021, 08:05 PM
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Depending on your interests, I would organize the trip as follows:

3 nights (instead of 2) in Venice
3 nights in Varenna
3 nights in one of the following places:
- Parma, with a daytrip to Modena or Castell'Arquato, or the underrated Piacenza (if you fancy a local town with notable Romanesque churches), for something different; fly home from Milan
- Liguria, with a base in a town in Western Liguria, since you've already been to parts of Eastern Liguria. I'm thinking of Noli, Finalborgo, Albenga, for something smaller and different. Fly home from Genoa.
-
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Old Aug 31st, 2021, 06:04 AM
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Thank you, MMM! You may have just decided my trip for me. Western Liguria looks PERFECT...I just researched the towns you mentioned and they all look so charming. And not crazy crowded like the eastern area. Looking into hotels now. If you have suggestions, pass along my way. Thank you thank you thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for.
Holly
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Old Sep 1st, 2021, 04:40 AM
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Another vote for Noli!
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Old Sep 1st, 2021, 06:26 AM
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I am totally sold on Noli! Looks like our kind of place and love that it's new to both my husband and me.

Any recommendations for hotels?

Thank you!
Holly
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Old Sep 1st, 2021, 05:04 PM
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Have you abandoned Bologna? I've not been there in the summer either but I gather it can be hellish.

Western Liguria sounds ideal.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2021, 11:52 AM
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Hodo 75-

Great to hear you think Western Liguria is a good fit. Unfortunately I've never stayed overnight in Noli. My base was the town of Albenga (in the small, and highly worthwhile, historic center of the town). I stayed at Palazzo Lengueglia, an absolutely delightful B&B on the main floor of a historic palazzo. The hostess and her family have resided in the palazzo for years.

I'd say the Noli, Albenga, Finale Ligure/Finalborgo trio makes for a more "chilled out," quieter, experience that will contrast nicely with the earlier parts of your trip (which are also fantastic places, just for different reasons). And in addition to Noli's and Finale/Finalborgo's scenic locations, there are some things to see of historic significance as well (e.g., the Lombard church of San Paragorio). That's certainly the case for Albenga too--especially its ancient baptistery, towers, and cathedral--though Albenga's setting is less "naturally beautiful" (but it's historic center is an almost-untouched gem of a place).

Just remember if you go that these towns are truly small--which in my view is part of the reason to visit. I might add -- the local cuisine is also flavorful, simple, and unique.

MMM
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Old Sep 4th, 2021, 06:42 AM
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Thank you for the tips, MMM. We are so excited to see that area and I love that it's hard to find any hotel reviews written in English - always a good sign that it's not going to be an area full of Americans.

I ended up booking the Palazzo Vescovado. Because Im so early, I had my pick of rooms. We have a corner room with a private balcony looking out over the sea. Since it's a 10th anniversary trip they are going to serve dinner from their Michelin starred restaurant for us on our private terrace. Already they have gone above and beyond!

We also ended up adding 2 nights to La Villa Hotel in Piedmont. I've heard great things and they too and making some really special plans for us.

I am so looking forward to this trip, thanks to my lovely Fodor-ites Now I just have to wait 10 months lol.

Have a terrific weekend!

Holly Durrett
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Old Sep 4th, 2021, 07:25 AM
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In Noli stay at the historic Bishop’s residence now Hotel Palazzo Vescovile. We found Noli when looking for a place to stay between Tuscany and Nice. Noli is wonderful but I would not concentrate my trip on this part of Italy.
Or go to the Piemonte, stay in Alba. Wonderful, uncrowded wine villages dot the area. Beautiful region
Venice deserves more than two nights! Three at a bare minimum, four would be better. We spent two weeks in Venice on one of our visits there. You could spend two nights in Noli , then go to the Piemonte. MXP is not far to the east.
Do not stay in the city of Como. Mid lake is much more scenic- Bellagio, Menaggio, Cadenabbia, Varenna.
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