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Please review my itinerary for Northern Italy in May 2025

Please review my itinerary for Northern Italy in May 2025

Old May 17th, 2024, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by aliced
I too would drop night in Milan and add to Venice, recommend staying in Dorsoduro there, not near train station or Rialto, but below. We've been three times to the Hotel Alboretti near the Peggy G museum and Academia Bridge; at other end of GC is the Giudecca Canal w lovely walk along the Zattere for water taxis and restaurants not jammed. We avoid San Marco Square, having seen it on our first trip. If you want to celebrate in style, ferry over Giudecca Canal and walk down to Harry's Bar w beautiful views of GC. Pricey, but an eyeful, with complimentary boat shuttle back to San Marco.

Siena is a highlight of Tuscany in our minds, we skipped Pisa to visit Lucca which was much quieter but an "everyone's neighborhood" which we enjoyed.

Lovely hotel right on Lake Como at reasonable price is Hotel du Lac. Walk onto boats nearby, get room facing lake, and enjoy great bar downstairs too. Took boat and bus over to Lugano, but too much a city -- left quickly to enjoy more at Bellagio.
aliced, thanks for your helpful suggestions. I was thinking of possibly staying near the train station in Venice because it would be easier to walk with our luggage. But we are willing to consider other districts. How did you get from the train station to the Hotel Alboretti? Is it easy to do with luggage?

Did you stay at the Hotel Du Lac in Varenna or Bellagio? We plan on staying in Varenna. Haven't decided on accommodations yet but Hotel Du Lac looks wonderful. I am making lists of hotel recommendations. We hope to make our airline and hotel reservations by September. We will be in Australia and New Zealand for 6 weeks in October/November so would like to get most of our Italy reservations done before we leave.

Last edited by KarenWoo; May 17th, 2024 at 01:04 PM.
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Old May 17th, 2024, 01:09 PM
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Here is our revised itinerary based on people's suggestions/recommendations. Please feel free to comment.

I deleted a night from Milan and added it to the Tuscan countryside. So I added overnights in Siena to our itinerary. We will stay in Lucca for 2 nights instead of 4 nights as originally planned. We will stay in Verona for 2 nights instead of 1 night.

Milan - 3 nights with a daytrip to Bergamo
Manarola in CT - 3 nights
Lucca - 2 nights
Siena - 3 nights
Florence - 4 nights
Bologna - 4 nights with a daytrip to Ravenna
Venice - 4 nights
Verona - 2 nights
Merano in the Dolomites - 4 nights
Varenna on Lake Como - 4 nights
Milan - last night here. Will have afternoon and evening for sightseeing and dinner.

Some thoughts. This is now a 34-night trip on the ground. We originally were thinking of no more than 30 nights but you know how it goes with travel planning. Never enough time. So many people recommend 5 nights in Venice instead of 4 nights. I would like to add an extra night but my husband isn't convinced but that's because he thinks he won't like Venice because of the crowds. He wanted to spend only 2 or 3 nights in Venice. I convinced him that we would enjoy it more with more nights. More opportunities to get away from the crowds. Will the 5th night make a big difference in what we see and how much we enjoy Venice? I could try to convince my husband to add an extra night to our trip. At this point, what's the difference between 34 nights or 35 nights??? Or I could take a night away from somewhere else to add to Venice but I don't think I want to do that. And not sure where. Perhaps just spend 1 night in Verona? But will we regret doing that?

Or I could delete another night from Milan (so we wouldn't visit Bergamo) and add that night to Venice? But I think my husband really wants to visit Bergamo. Decisions, decisions!

Also want to mention that I have planned our itinerary so that we arrive in Manarola on a day when there aren't any cruise ships in La Spezia. Cruise ships will dock on our last full day there. So we will have 1.5 days without the cruise crowd.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 08:05 AM
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So you go to Merano instead of the Dolomites.
The most scenic way fom there to Varenna goes via the Engadin Valley:
Merano dp by train 6.36 - Mals 7.54/8.03 - bus - UNESCO monastery Mustair - Swiss National Park - Zernez 9.36/10.05 - ENGADIN RAILWAY - Pontresina 10.57/11.04 - BERNINA RAILWAY - Tirano 13.00/13.08 - Varenna ar 14.34;
and then about every 2 hrs until Merano dp 13.45.
You will travel through the blooming VENOSTA Valley and through the snow of Ofen Pass and Bernina Pass in order to end in the summer of Lake Como.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 08:09 AM
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Mustair in May
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Old May 18th, 2024, 08:13 AM
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We've stayed at the Hotel du Lac in Varenna and would stay there again without hesitation. Just make sure you know the times of the last ferries back to Varenna for the days you're there.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 08:22 AM
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Brnina Pass in May
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Old May 18th, 2024, 08:29 AM
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Lake Poschiavo in May
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Old May 18th, 2024, 09:39 AM
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We stayed in Varenna several years ago after our daughter's wedding in Orvieto. We did the Bernina Pass train trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. St. Moritz was pretty dead in June but the scenery was spectacular.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean
We've stayed at the Hotel du Lac in Varenna and would stay there again without hesitation. Just make sure you know the times of the last ferries back to Varenna for the days you're there.
thanks for the tip about the ferries. So it sounds like they don't run real late. Would they be running until 7 or 8 pm? Will do more research on that.

Last edited by KarenWoo; May 18th, 2024 at 10:54 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 10:55 AM
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neckervd, thanks for the gorgeous photos! I feel a little bit ignorant. I thought Merano was in the Dolomites. I was considering Ortisei but it sounds like there is more to do in Merano if we have inclement weather. Would you suggest a different place where there will be some lifts/cable cars running? We will be there around the last week of May.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 01:09 PM
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KarenWoo, we found Ortisei perfect with many options for hiking as well as lifts.
Is there a reason you are choosing to stay in Varenna instead of Bellagio? We have stayed in Bellagio four times, once for two weeks. More dining options in Bellagio is a plus. No highway or train noise either as you are out on a peninsula in the lake.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo
thanks for the tip about the ferries. So it sounds like they don't run real late. Would they be running until 7 or 8 pm? Will do more research on that.
The currently posted ferry timetables are effective to May 26, 2024, so you should look at them now to get an idea of which routes have later returns to Varenna in May. If you won't be at Lake Como until after May 25, 2025, you should wait until the summer schedules are posted.

Here's the ferry website... FWIW, I prefer not to use the search function and just study the timetables that include service to Varenna.

https://www.navigazionelaghi.it/en/t...les-lake-como/
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Old May 18th, 2024, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean
The currently posted ferry timetables are effective to May 26, 2024, so you should look at them now to get an idea of which routes have later returns to Varenna in May. If you won't be at Lake Como until after May 25, 2025, you should wait until the summer schedules are posted.

Here's the ferry website... FWIW, I prefer not to use the search function and just study the timetables that include service to Varenna.

https://www.navigazionelaghi.it/en/t...les-lake-como/
Jean, unless our dates change for some reason, our current plan is to be in Varenna from June 3 through June 6.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr
KarenWoo, we found Ortisei perfect with many options for hiking as well as lifts.
Is there a reason you are choosing to stay in Varenna instead of Bellagio? We have stayed in Bellagio four times, once for two weeks. More dining options in Bellagio is a plus. No highway or train noise either as you are out on a peninsula in the lake.
HappyTrvlr, what time of year were you in Ortisei? We will be in the mountains during the last week of May so I know the weather can be iffy then, and not all lifts will be open. So based on my research, I thought Merano would be better if we have inclement weather. I was actually initially thinking of spending 2 nights in Ortisei and 2 nights in Merano, (to experience both places) but my concern is that we will waste time moving around. What are your thoughts on this?

Regarding Varenna vs Bellagio, it seems to me that Varenna is quieter, a bit less expensive, and might not be as crowded as Bellagio.
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Old May 18th, 2024, 11:16 PM
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KW: sounds like a wonderful trip, although quite crammed I may suggest. You are definitely hitting all the solid Italian hot spots. Last December for the Christmas markets we flew Boston to Milan Linante via British Airways as Linante is smaller and closer to Milan Central. Enjoyable train connection to Verona for 3 nights (beautiful city) and then again an enjoyable train ride to Bolzano. Wasn’t “crazy” about Bolzano but as you say The Otzi museum was a 10. Back to Milan for 4 nights which was great, lots to do, we stayed in neighborhood away from the main sites and loved the local cafes and restaurants. May 2020 was Lucca and Volterra for 2 weeks. I prefer Lucca over Sienna but both are beautiful. The promenade along the Lucca walls is a delight for walking and cycling. It’s also an easy 30 min train into Pisa for an easy day trip. For an off the beat no tourist village check out Borgo a Mozzano, a beautiful , quick 25 min drive from Lucca. It’s famous for the Ponte Della Maddalena Bridge (Google image). Aka “ Devils Bridge”.
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Old May 19th, 2024, 07:18 AM
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"You are definitely hitting all the solid Italian hot spots"
????????
Should that be a ironic joke?
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Old May 19th, 2024, 07:29 AM
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Check the following websie in about 2 weeks again
https://www.val-gardena.net/en/lifts...SAAEgIzm_D_BwE
Then you will se which cableways will run in early June aind wich not.
Tjhere will not be a big difference next year.
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Old May 19th, 2024, 07:33 AM
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The same for Merano area:
https://www.meranerland.org/en/servi...port/ropeways/
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Old May 19th, 2024, 07:41 AM
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The same for Cortina d'Ampezzo, the heart of the Dolomites:
https://www.dolomitisuperski.com/it/...pezzo/Impianti
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Old May 19th, 2024, 07:52 AM
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There are both advantages/disadvantages to staying in Bellagio and Varenna. I don't think dining options in Varenna are so slim that you can't eat well and happily for 4 nights, although the town is definitely much more low key in the evening (a bad thing?). We found the Hotel du Lac very quiet. Its location is not near the main road and nowhere near the train line. In Bellagio, we've stayed at the Hotel Florence a couple of times. Love it. Much more action throughout the town in the evening and LOTS of shopping (if that's a priority).
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