Northern Italy Advice... Please

Feb 4th, 2008, 06:41 PM
  #1  
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Northern Italy Advice... Please

We (2 adults 2 pre-teen kids)are flying into Geneva (only destination available w/ ff miles)for 8 days in August. We would like to spend the time in Northern Italy. Any suggestions on an easily reachable destination from Geneva by car ?
spinesrgn is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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I can only offer suggestions based on our last trip in September 07. you're a bit of a ways from italy if arriving in Geneva. However,check train schedules or even local flights. You could go into turin or milan - then to the lakes region or piedmont for a few days. assume a travel day on each end and you have at most 5-6 days. Milan is crazy but seeing the Last Supper is worth the trip. Lake Como or Garda are both beautiful as well. The mountains are spectacular - nothing like them in north america. I"d start with mapquest.com and check the driving distances/times from Geneva to various points, then add an hour to what they calculate...then decide.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 07:09 PM
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Sorry - I just looked at mapquest and its 4 hours from geneva to milan. you could spend a day driving to milan..stopping along the way, etc. Stay in milan - outskirts if you have a car since the parking will be easier...see the cathedral, shopping, la scala and last supper (2-3 days) then drive to Lake Como and spend 2-3 days there...take a boat ride, relax at the beach, wander,etc before driving back to Geneva. August will be a bit slower in Milan but Como will be busy with italians on holiday. Look for family rooms to accommodate all four of you or you'll need two rooms as I'm sure you already know. You could also detour into Turin to see the shroud and tour the olympic venues.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 09:22 PM
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Having made several trips to northern Italy with my boys when they were pre teens, I will take the liberty of responding to your question by asking you a couple of questions: Do you want to go to the mountains? Do you want to go to the lakes? Do you want to visit cities?

I found it was much more challenging with pre teens to keep them happy in cities than in the country as I had to select carefully where we would go in cities so that our destinations were of interest to them. Even then, they would get very frustrated and drained from being cooped up and on their best behavior for too many hours in cities.

Our most successful trips in northern Italy with pre teens were to the Alps, specifically the Gran Paradiso National Park (with its many glaciers). To get there, you travel to Aosta, a big town surrounded by Roman walls (of interest if one or both of the pre teens has studied anything about Rome as yet). Then you take the bus or drive the car to Cogne, an extremely picturesque village with good hotels, and then to Valnontey, a tiny village at the end of the road where the trails begin. There is a fabulous walk along the river Valnontey from the village to Cogne which makes a wonderful day's hike with children. When we arrived in the village, a band was playing in the public square.

In Valnontey there is a hotel at the end of the road that we loved called the Petit Dahu. You look out your window at the glaciers and the waterfalls high in the mountains. The mountain air is out of this world. There is a view from the alpine garden that my husband said was his idea of Nirvana.

There are other areas in the Italian Alps where you can plan a trip to include cable car rides up into the mountains and lunch at a rifugio.

This may or may not be an idea that appeals to you, but frankly, I had a lot of trouble keeping both my pre teen sons happy in Milan and even in Turin. They loved the car museum in Turin, but otherwise, they (as pre teens) were mainly focused on one question in Milan and Turin: "when are we getting out of here?"

Now that they are older, their view of traveling in Italy is completely different, and they appreciate the cities.

You may prefer going to the lakes, depending on where you are from. We live near the water so the mountains are a more unusual destination for us.

Wherever you go in Europe with your kids, the secret, I found, is to build into the itinerary several hours of physical activity every day so that the kids will better tolerate hours of confinement in the car.

Hope I haven't been overly forward.
Have a great time!
Jane
canyonjane is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 06:36 PM
  #5  
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Thanks for the advice. I think we have decided on three days in Milan and three days in Bellagio.
spinesrgn is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 09:32 PM
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Have a great time and let us know how the trip went. I would especially love to know what your kids enjoyed.

Buon Viaggio!
canyonjane is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 06:53 AM
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make sure to reserve tickets in advance for the Last Supper in Milano - it is breathtaking! also - try to be flexible on dates; the museum staff went on strike and it was closed on our first day there (a Sunday) - all museums are closed on Mondays so anyone who had Sunday tickets was trying to get in on Tuesday (ours were for Tuesday); needless to say, they were unable to see the work and were most unhappy. you should book at least two to three months in advance if possible. I was having a lot of trouble getting slots in August for late September but our hotel was able to help us out.
cmeyer54 is offline  
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