Northern Italy

Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 8
Northern Italy

Would like to spend 2 weeks in Northern Italy and would like recommendations as to where to go and where to stay. We don't want to live out of a suitcase so 4-5 days in each area would be ok. All suggestions are appreciated. Thanks
nuannce is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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You really need to start with a guide book or two to narrow down your question. What do you define as northern Italy? Does it include anything north of Rome?
Mimar is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Here are some sample itineraires. It takes several trips to see Italy and you are wise to limit your geography:
After 23 trips to southern Europe, and having developed more than 180 customized TRIP PLANS for others, I am now older and hopefully wiser. Here is an updated version of my favorite itineraries & my “Bella Italia” photo gallery. I hope you enjoy.

1. BELLA ITALIA: Five destinations in 15 days—car & train travel
* Arrive in Milan[MXP] & depart from Venice[VCE]or vice versa.
* Itinerary to include the Italian Lakes, Ligurian coast, rural
Tuscany, Florence, & Venice. Suggested timing is 3-2-4-2-4.
* Option: Drop the coast & rent a villa in Tuscany[ 3-7-2-3].
* Best time to go: May & June or Sept. & Oct.

2. LA DOLCE VITA: Three destinations in 12 to 14 days-car & train
* Arrival & departure from Rome[ FCO] or arrival in Naples
* Itinerary to include Rome, the Amalfi coast, and Tuscany
* Best time to go: Easter to end of October
* Option: Fly into Naples & stay at 2 locations on the coast

3. CLASSIC ITALIA: Three destinations in 12 to 14 days-car & train
* Arrival & departure from Rome—may start trip in Florence
* Destinations to include Florence, Rome & Tuscany/Umbria
* Best time to go: Anytime, but May & Oct. are my favorites
* Option: Consider a weekly rental in Tuscany/Umbria

4. SICILIAN CHARMS: Five destinations in 15 days—car travel
* Connections to Catania & Palermo via Rome or gateway city.
* Itinerary to include Taormina, Siracusa, Palermo & more.
* Best time to go: March to November—May is best for flowers
* See:

5. THE VILLAGE SAMPLER: My favorite venues for those who enjoy natural beauty and quaint, small villages. Arranged north to south.
* Arrive Milan & depart Rome—car travel-- 3 nites per location
* Itinerary to include Lago Orta, Castelrotto/ Ortisei[Dolomites],
Portovenere[Liguria], Montalcino[Tuscany], & Spello[Umbria].
* Best time to go: May to October for the lakes and Dolomites
* Option: Pick 3 out of 5 and stay longer in Tuscany/Umbria.

bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 04:18 AM
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Posts: 8
Thank you so much. Would like to start by flying to Milan and staying in Como for 3 days, then heading towards Venice and back towards Venice, perhaps seeing Florence. Would like to see the real Italy and not just the touristy areas.
nuannce is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 04:32 AM
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As you are thinking of arriving in Milan and going to Venice, I would suggest that you spend at least one night in Verona, preferably in the historic part of the city. The train from Milan to Venice goes right by Verona so it's easy to incorporate into your itinerary.

One of the many wonderful things about Italy is that while there are many tourists in many places, all of Italy is "real," so to speak, unlike some destinations in the United States that may be great fun to visit but are completely unreal such as Disney World and Disney Land.
canyonjane is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:29 AM
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I'm not quite sure about your proposed itinerary: towards Venice, then "back towards Venice?"

However, consider flying into Venice and out of Milan. Doing an open jaws will save you time and money backtracking. You could fly into Milan and out of Venice, but in order to make connections, flights leave Venice very early, so you lose time in Venice.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:35 AM
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Verona to Venice is linked by an arc of motorways. To the South of this arc are the large fields of the Norhtern Po valley and some hills which hold ancient walled cities. North of the motorways are many of Italys greatest vinyards.

So Verona, Cruise north for wine, cruise south for city then Venice
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:55 AM
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Flying to Milan--great. Staying in Como--not so great. Kind of dirty, full of grafiti.

Try driving up the lake to Tremezzo. Great location to take the boats during the day to Bellagio,Mennagio, Varenna, etc. The "Grand Hotel Tremezzo" is a wonderful place to stay. Get a not so pricey room overlooking the gardens, besides, the pricey rooms overlooking the lake are noisy because of the road. It includes breakfast on the balcony overlooking the lake.

If you are in that area, try "Al Velue" for dinner. It's in the hills about a 5-10 min. drive from the Tremezzo. Gorgeous views of the lake from outside dining, and wonderful food and service.

On the way to Venice, Bergamo was a very nice stop. Great pedestrian only shopping.
Driving east from here is very easy to continue your trip.
TPAYT is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 11:00 AM
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I'm always an advocate for Bologna. Great food, interesting sites, a wonderful city to shop or simply walk around and just get lost in. Not over-run with tourists, good nightlife thanks to the university. Definitely worth 2-3 days.
Thomarob is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 07:19 AM
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My apologies. Flying in and out of Milan. Would prefer not to rent a car unless absolutely necessary. Want to take the train towards Venice, so stopping on the way and checking out the vineyards is a definite plus. Any suggestions as to where to stay??
nuannce is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 07:36 AM
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When you say "Northern Italy", if you mean really north....The Dolomites, Bolzano is a great base to see all of the Tyrol. The foods and wines are excellent and nothing like other parts of Italy. A really nice family run hotel in Bolzano, located just outside of town is Hotel Hanny. They have an excellent restaurant, and very nice rooms with views of the mountains. Walking to middle of town takes 10-15 minutes.
longboatkey is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Bergamo is on the train line from Milan (i've taken it) and after gazing in awe at the statzione centrale in Milan you will see what a long walk it is to Bergamo old town

Train to Verona ok and more in the city (go to the opera).

I don't know if the train goes to soave (probably) or Valpolicella (ever had an amarone?)
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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I'll admit the suggestion I am about to give is probably influenced by the fact that I am currently researching a trip that includes part of this - but I still think it's a good suggestion given what you've said.

Take the train to Padua and base yourself there for a week. Padua has excellent train connections to Verona, Vicenza and Venice - all less than an hour trip. Most people, myself included, generally advise staying IN Venice, at least for a first trip - but while Venice is one of my favorite places on earth, it will feel rather touristy. You might enjoy it more as a day trip (or two) from Padua, which is supposed to be "a town just getting on with it's own business" as opposed to a tourist mecca. If you did that I would suggest you stay in Venice till evening as it's really beautiful at night, but trains seems to run till about midnight.

From Padua you can also get to Bologna in just over an hour and that's another town that is supposed to be wonderful and less tourist oriented than some. (I have not yet been to Padua or Bologna, that's what I'm currently researching.)

For the rest of your time you could split it between Florence (with a day trip to Siena) and Lake Como, which is very close to Milan airport so a good place to stay the last few days. On Lake Como I prefer Varenna to Belagio which is definitely more touristy. All of Lake Como is beautiful though.

Every place I've mentioned can be done very easily by train.
isabel is offline  

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