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Northern Italy! Finally decided on summer vacation! Need Help!

Northern Italy! Finally decided on summer vacation! Need Help!

Old Jan 17th, 2009, 10:45 AM
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Northern Italy! Finally decided on summer vacation! Need Help!

After all the help here from people who gave me advice on Greece, France, Croatia, and Italy, I have made the executive decision once and for all that we are going to the north of Italy for our summer vacation in June. I am thinking in to Milan and out of Venice (or the other way around.) Now I need advice from those who have done this! We have been to Venice but our son has not so we are thinking of about 3 or 4 days there. I am not really interested in Milan, but would like to see the lakes, Verona, possibly Bologna, and ? I think we would like to drive, although not in the cities. Can someone who has done this help with a 10 or 12 day itinerary? Where to stay and for how long? Thank you soooo much!!!! I am so thrilled to have finally decided and am looking forward to planning.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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Good for you !
I would fly into Venice and home from MXP. The reason is that the flights out of Venice often make you get up in the dark with tons of hassle to the airport. MXP flights are more sane--to the US. We are doing this same trip in Sep/Oct but are spending 3 weeks. I suggest 3 destinations with the last nite near MXP.
Venice---4 nites
Get car--drive to Val Gardena in Dolomites--2 nites
Drop car in city of Como and ferry to Varenna or Bellagio--4 nites
Last nite near MXP for AM departure
Hope this helps !
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 01:39 PM
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Bologna has excellent train and bus connections, and you might consider seeing Ravenna as part of your trip. You might also consider doing Verona as a day trip from Venice.

I would consider flying to Venice, spending enough time there to include a day trip to Verona, transfer to Bologna and use it as a base to see Ravenna by train. Take a train to Como. Follow bob's plan, although if you might less spend time on Lago di Como than he suggests. There is very little to do on the lakes so it is great for relaxing, if that's what you want to do instead of sightsee. If you'd rather sightsee, extend your time around Bologna, doing day trips by train to Parma, Ferrara, etc.

I don't think you need a car.


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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 01:45 PM
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I agree with Bob about starting in Venice, but if you want to keep Verona in the mix, then train from Venice to Verona and spend 2 nights. Pick up the car and drive to Varenna on Lake Como. (At Bergamo, continue straight toward Lecco; don't stay on the A4.) You can stay in Varenna or take the car ferry to Menaggio and stay there. Spend 4 nights on the lake, and then drive from Menaggio (not Varenna) to Malpensa.

The Verona to Varenna drive will take about 3 hours, but you may want to stop in Bergamo for lunch and a quick look. The drive from Menaggio to Malpensa will take about 90 minutes. You can also take an easy day trip to Lugano one day. It's about 30 kms. from Menaggio and a pretty drive.

The Lake Como ferry:
http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/eng/com/nlc.html

FYI, the Hotel du Lac in Varenna has parking. Bob can recommend a good hotel option in Menaggio.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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Thanks for the great ideas! Can we include Bologna instead of Val Gardena? Is that smart or is Val Gardena better? We have a single 25 year old son with us and I had heard Bologna is a college town with some nightlife. Then again he loves the mountains and I think that Val Gardena is mountains, right? Just asking, if we extend our stay by a few days would it be reasonable to go to Rome from Lake Como instead of Milan and leave from there? It makes me crazy to think of going to Italy without seeing my favorite city in the world, Rome. But we can pass on that if it is a crazy idea. Thanks!
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 02:54 PM
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Bologna definitely has night life.

I've never been to the val Gardena, but i've been to Bologna about 6 times, and can't wait to go back, so I can't answer.

I'm changing my mind about your trip.

Fly to Milan. Go to the lakes. Go to Venice and Verona (by train). Go to Bologna. Go to Roma.

I still don't think you need a car!


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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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We spent 8 days in Northern Italy with our two pre-teens last summer. We spent the first four days in Venice. We stayted at Hotel Una which had just opened. It was in a great location and we had a great duplex room. I'm sure it's a bit more expensive than it was last summer. The kids loved Venice. You could easily spend four days there. We then drove to Bellagio for the next four days. We had a great time exploring the towns and visiting the gardens/villas. If you are going to Lake Como, look into setting up a cooking lesson at Il Camineto in Varenna. It was probably the highlight of our trip. We have previously been to Bologna and really enjoyed the city and surrounding towns. It is certainly possible to do all three areas in twelve days.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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I like the enhancements that Jean proposes---I considered the Verona stop myself. There is nothing like the Dolomites--do not miss that---and a stop in Bergamo is good if you have time.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Well, there's nothing like Bologna either!


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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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I would also vote for the Dolomites...quite spectacular! I have been to Bologna and for me it was just ok. Nothing special. If you are bent on visiting Bologna, I would suggest a side trip to either Ravenna, Ferrara or even Modena or do all three.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 06:26 PM
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A less direct way from Verona to Varenna would take you through some of the best of the Dolomites. North to Trento from Verona and then west toward Sondrio and Lake Como, finally south to Varenna along the lakeshore. About 5-6 hours. I'd be tempted to do the drive over two days and overnight in a mountain town. A few years ago, we spent a night in Madonna di Campiglio which would be a detour off your route but is a charming mountain town popular for skiing in winter and trekking (and perhaps golf?) in summer.
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 06:57 PM
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Hi rbnwdln,

Another one here for including the Dolomites. I'm not saying it's better than somewhere else (as the only part of Italy we've seen so far is the Dolomites) but I will say the area is spectacular! Simply stunning scenery everywhere and I think it would be a very interesting contrast to the other parts of your trip. Not only are the mountains amazing, the villages and towns are extremely picturesque. It's like visiting Austria (which it was before WW1) without leaving Italy.

Val Gardena is an excellent area. It's comprised of 3 towns/villages (Ortisei, St. Christina and Selva) which are basically just a 5 minute drive from one another. The passes, such as the Gardena, are simply spectacular (do I use this word too much?) with up close Dolomite vistas. There's a cable car (Mont Seuc) from Ortisei up to the Seiser Alm (with an indoor/outdoor cafe at the top) where walikg trails start (some are very easy and paved) with a quintessential Dolomte backdrop.

www.val-gardena.com/en/summer/page28.html

www.alpedisiusi-seiseralm.com/index.html

Hope this helps.

Paul


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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 08:11 PM
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Yikes, all wonderful ideas! We will probably not go to Rome as my hubby says he has been there enough. So perhaps we will swing north in order to take advantage of seeing the Dolomites. I think my husband and son would like them although I am more a water than a mountain person. I am still confused about renting a car vs train. Could we get to these places, Val Gardena, without a car? I am going to start asking about lodging but I may start another thread for that. Thanks sooo much!
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 08:50 PM
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If you want to see the Dolomiti, you need a car.
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