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Northern Italy: Still needs lots of help!

Northern Italy: Still needs lots of help!

Old Jul 18th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 29
Northern Italy: Still needs lots of help!

I am so NOT getting excited about this trip... I feel like this is not going to work out.

This is for me, my husband and our 3 year old son. We like to explore, see art and find harmony between relaxation and enjoyment... however, my itinerary is still not coming together...

SO... this is what I have so far and I don't know if I like it... I am open to make changes to make it as much ideal as possible.
We arrive to Milan on Sept. 5 at 6 pm from Los Angeles. I figured that day we will check in to the hotel (booked 4 Points Sheraton Milan center with SPG miles, grab something quick or nice dinner (depending our flight, etc).

Friday, Sept. 6 - no way I could get tickets direct for Last Supper... I am thinking of going with Viator's 1/2 half day sightseeing tour that starts at 9:30 and will cost at least $75 per person vs. about $18.

We have the rest of the late afternoon to explore on our own.

Saturday, Sept. 7 - take the early afternoon train to Varenna.

I booked us at Villa Michela, which is above on the hills, 10 Euro cab ride... but I liked the reviews on tripadvisor on it. I thought we would check in and take the ferry to Bellagio.

Next day we could explore the Tremezzo - Villa carlotta and Balbianello, town of Como

Do I need to stay another day???

Planning to leave on Monday, Sept. 9 to Verona...

Still need to rent an apartment. Our friends from Rome will join us and we will have to rent a car to navigate. Looking for a place that can sleep in 5. We plan to cook every night for dinner.

Estimating 3 nights there to see Lake Garda, Bologna and surrounding areas...

Our return is from Venice on Sept. 16 and I have booked 2 nights there already.

That leaves me with 3 days in between - 9/12-9/14 WHERE TO GO that will not be out of our way and will give us places to see????
We have been in Tuscany, Cinque Terre... I have seen Pisa, my husband hasn't...

Lilit is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2013, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 53,498
hi lillit -

I'm not really understanding the problem.

you arrive on Sept 9 in Verona and you're going to Venice on Sept 14. you want to see Lake Garda, bologna, and the surrounding area.

where are your 3 spare days? you will find loads to do in the area of Verona, far more than you can do in 5 days let alone 3. as well as Verona itself, there are numerous places to visit on lake garda, and also Mantua, Padua, Vicenza, Modena, etc. etc.

and with a 10 year old, moving around every few days is really less of a good idea.

you still only have 4 full days to fill. I don't think you've got problem, apart from trying to work out how you are going to decide what to leave out!
annhig is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Posts: 29
Annhig, thanks for your quick reply.
our 3 year old is not a problem at all, I guess my concern was that I won't find enough to do in Verona. In that case, should I be looking to book 5 nights in Verona to see all that you mentioned as day trips? I'd rather have a base and not move a lot and I thought Verona is a good place to be for day trips to Lake garda, Mantua, Padua, Vicenza, Modena... Ravenna??
Lilit is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2013, 01:52 PM
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I agree with A - there is plenty to see in Verona and the surrounding area to warrant staying put from Sept 9 - 12th (when you depart for Venice). Your 3 yo will appreciate not moving around so much.

But also, I don't think 1.5 days in Venice is enough. You lose a half day when you change cities, with packing, leaving Verona, driving to Venice, dropping car, boat to hotel, check into hotel, lunch.

So I would suggest this:

Sept 5 - arrive
Sept 6 - Milan
Sept 7 - Varenna
Sept 8 - Varenna
Sept 9 - Verona
Sept 10 - Verona (and surrounds)
Sept 11 - Verona (and surrounds)
Sept 12 - Verona (and surrounds)
Sept 13 - Venice
Sept 14 - Venice
Sept 15 - Venice
Sept 16 - leave

Don't get discouraged - you will have a great time once you get there. You just have Planners Burnout, which strikes most of us at some point!
ekc is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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I love ITALY SO Much!!!
It's my cup of triple espresso that keeps me excited about LIFE in that is called La Dolce Vita. I love it so much, I want to get there every chance I get and when I plan, I plan it so we don't miss anything, because who knows what will happen tomorrow...
ekc, I will do what you said, except I will add a night in Verona or somewhere close to go to Ravenna. I don't want to stay in Venice too long, just because its super expensive...
AND WHY can't I book train tickets now on trainitalia??? It doesn't price it for me at for September.
Lilit is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 04:56 AM
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Lillit - i like ekc's suggested itinerary a lot, but if you want to restrict you time in venice, I'd add the day to Verona.

another alternative would be to stay on Garda itself, and take advantage of the boats for doing at least some of your sightseeing. we did this with our somewhat older children for a week a few years ago, and never ran out of things to do.

as for trenitalia, what tickets are you trying to book? you presumably know that you can't book regionale trains more than 7 days in advance. [I did a dummy run and that's what the screen was telling me].

as they are regionale services that you are likely to be using, i would just get them when you travel.
annhig is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 07:19 AM
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That's EXACTLY how I feel!! 5 years ago I went to Italy for the first time and fell in love. 7 trips later and I still feel the same!

I would just get the tickets when you arrive in Milan.
ekc is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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SUPER!!! Glad to know!!!!!
Overall, our trip is coming to life. I went ahead and booked Last Supper with Viator. I didn't want to miss out and later pay higher price.
Our friends from Rome found a great villa in Tregnago, Villa Vinco. Curious to know if anyone stayed there? Its about 20 km away from Verona, but it works because A. we will have a car, B. Its beautiful with lash gardens, BBQ, place to cook and eat and looks just gorgeous.
We booked it from Sept. 9 thru 14. Unfortunately we will miss the last opera performance in Verona in the Arena which takes place on Sept. 8 (Aida)... but I am sure something else will come up.
The forums HELP a lot when we don't really know how to begin our planning for a great adventures, good eats and other tips and tricks.
Lilit is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 10:47 AM
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Sounds like things are falling into place! Good call on the Viator tour - it would be a shame to miss it!
ekc is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Based on Verona you can go south. If you know your Shakespeare you can pop into Padua, Madua (Mandova), Ferrara, Ravenna (probably a bit far), and the Eugeanian hills with the surrounding walled cities.

Along the motorway you also have Soave (another walled city)

You can also go north into the hills.
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2013, 02:57 PM
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While in Verona, don't miss the Giardino Giusti on Via Giardino Giusti, just off of SP1a. Truly beautiful with very nice views over the town in certain sections.

You MUST go to Padova to see the Scrovegni Chapel - it was one of the highlights of our trip in 2010. But you must reserve in advance. The Palazzo della Ragione in Padova is worth a visit also. Stop at Caffe Pedrochi for one of their signature coffee also.

Between Padova and Verona, we stopped for a lovely lunch at Trattoria Tre Scalini on Via Castelo in Montegalda. Great food and charming atmosphere. Really good salad and pasta. Just down the road from the Fratelli Brunello grappa distillery too.
ekc is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2013, 01:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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lilit - Dukey, another fodorite, has recently spend some time in Italy and in particular in Verona. He does talk about the opera quite a lot, but about Verona too.

here's a link to his TR:


it's very well written so you might like to read it all anyway, but the part about Verona starts on July 5th.
annhig is offline  
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