Northern Italy 2 week vacation

Jan 20th, 2011, 10:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 15
Northern Italy 2 week vacation

We are planning 2 weeks in Italy in late May or early June. Thinking of flying in and out of Milan. Some places of interest: Cinque Terre, Pisa, Verona, Venice, Florence, Lake District. We like rural scenery and outdoors activities but want to see the historical sites, art, and architecture of Italy as well. Any suggestions for an itinerary? Please offer suggestions for cities we should add or delete (we want to see Rome but will save that for another trip to Southern Italy).
lurn is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 05:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,239
If you're flying from the US, then consider flying into Milan then out of Venice. Stay in Milan on arrival to get some sleep for a couple of nights and see what the city has to offer. I assume that you'll hire a car to get to all the places that you want to see and therefore a route would be:

Milan - 2 nights
Cinque terre (if you must, I think it's overrated)
Pisa - 1 night is enough
Florence - you could spend the rest of your time here, but a minimum of 2 nights
Lake Garda -- 3 nights
Verona as a day trip from the lakes
Venice (return car) for the rest of the time and then fly home.

This gives you a taste of the region but will still leave you wanting to see more of most of the area.
Lifeman is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 05:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
I would do reverse:
Lakes Maggiore or Como]
Fly home from Milan

You really only have time for 4 destinations.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 21st, 2011, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,645
I agree with BTN. Venice is a wonderful way to ease into your vacation and all of the walking help jetlag recovery. In Verona, I suggest a stop at the Giardino Giusti - fantastic manicured gardens with a gorgeous view over the town. If it were me I would skip CT and spend more time in the Veneto or E-R or Piemonte, but then I am really into food and wine!
ekc is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 27
If you start from Venice it makes sense to see Verona after Venice, it's 1 hour train away. I would then rent a car in Verona and visit the north shore of the Garda lake and maybe lake Como, return the car in Milan, go to Florence/Pisa by train (less than 2 hours from Milan) and then back to Milan. Pisa is a 50 minutes train ride from Florence and can be seen in one day, no need to stay overnight and drag your luggage with you. I would also skip CT.
travelino is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 02:13 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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There are airports in Pisa and Florence that could either be an entry point or a departure point, eliminating the need to use Milan.

I would fly into Venice, do Verona as a day trip from there, and after seeing Venice, take a train to Florence, doing a day trip to Pisa from there. After that I'd pick up a car and spend all the rest of my time touring the Lakes, ultimately driving the car to Malpensa to fly home. You mention you like "outdoor activities", so you should read up on the differences between the Lakes and the different activities they offer. No one has mentioned Lago d'Orta, but you should consider it, too, if you are flying out of Malpensa.

If you really wanted to see le Cinque Terre, do the above, but when you leave Florence, head to Pisa, stow luggage at train station to see monuments in Pisa, retrieve luggage and head to the Italian Riviera. Pick up car after seeing le Cinque Terre (in Rapallo would be my pick) and drive to lakes.

But if you end up wanting to go Lago di Garda, I would fly into Pisa, head directly to le Cinque Terre or skip it. Next take a train to Florence. on to Venice, see Verona, finish up trip on Lago di Garda before heading for Malpensa to leave.

There are plenty of ways to skin this cat.
zeppole is offline  
Jan 26th, 2011, 06:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 15
Thanks to ALL of you for taking time to reply. We have had one big change. We will be starting with a week in Luzern then will move on to the two weeks in Italy on June 3rd. With this in mind we will fly into Zurich, train to Luzern then
1. What is the best way to go to Italy for one of the possible itineraries you have suggested?
2. Is it possible/advisable to rent a car in Switzerland and drop it off in Italy?
3. What is the best train choice if not renting a car; which of my cities first?
4. We thought it would be nice to stay on the coast in a CT village and hike between towns for 2 days...but what are the reasons you all seem to think otherwise.
Thanks for any info you can think to offer!
lurn is offline  
Jan 26th, 2011, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 27
It's probably quite expensive to rent a car in Switzerland and return it in Italy. From Luzern it's easy to get to lake Como by train, or continue on to Milan. See my earlier post for the rest. Check out and for rail maps and schedules.
travelino is offline  

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