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Recommendations for Lake Como and 4 days elsewhere in N. Italy

Recommendations for Lake Como and 4 days elsewhere in N. Italy

Jan 6th, 2012, 03:11 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 54
Recommendations for Lake Como and 4 days elsewhere in N. Italy

Hello all,
I am planning a 9 day trip with my family in mid-September 2012. We are flying into Milan, will spend 1 day there (we've been before) and then are planning to take the train to Lake Como. It's myself, my husband, my sister (all in our 30's) and my parents (in their 60s). We would like to rent an apartment with an equipped kitchen, in a cute town, to just relax and enjoy the scenery, hiking, little towns, etc. We'd like to be able to cook in the apartment as well as enjoy local restaurants / shops / etc and maybe enjoy a day trip to Lugano.

There are a few cute rentals in Domaso, Menaggio, and Cadenabbia that we've found and would love your opinions of the towns. We'd be there from Sept 20 - Sept 24, so would Domaso be too quiet for us? A friend who knows the Como area well suggested to maybe stay in a more populated area, since that time of the year may be too quiet in the smaller towns up north.

Also, we'd like to spend 4 days somewhere else in the region before my husband and I fly back to the US and my family goes south towards Naples. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! We'd like to go to 1 other city, preferably with great scenery, some hiking and great food. My family is all vegetarian (though my husband is not).

I was thinking about the Cinque Terre, but my friend said some of the hiking trails may still be out due to the rain / flood. Other thoughts were Turin or Genoa. We'd like to be able to get there easily by train from Lake Como and go from the other town back to Milan / onto Naples. Would San Remo be too much of a pain to get to?

Thanks so much for your help...truly appreciate it!
MYP is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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Oh, and we dont speak Italian, though we will try to learn some basic phrases / words!
MYP is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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I would stay in Menaggio for more flexibility to include a day trip to Lugano. I would consider two options for your other city. Torino is a good choice, but you need to train back to Milan to connect. Another great choice is Luzern---an easy connect via Lugano. Tons to see and enjoy in Luzern--the only negative is more expensive hotels and food.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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You might consider Verona, which has a great spirit, good food, lovely sights (art, architecture, Roman amphitheater) and quite a history. I imagine you could get good train service to there from Lake Como, and from Verona to Milan.

Genoa may be a bit too intense for you. It has wonderful sights but a scruffiness that not everyone likes. (It is a classic port town.) For some reason it reminds me of Naples in that sense.

About your lakeside villages, I don't know Domaso, but Menaggio is pretty nice, and Cadenabbia is OK, but smaller, and I think too quiet. The real prize, though it's a bit more difficult to get to (ferry ride) and perhaps more expensive, is Bellagio. You might also consider Varenna, on the other (east) side of the lake, accessible by train or ferry. I have been several times and like it a lot, and have heard other raves about it as well.
Geonev is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 06:21 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions! I think we're going to end up renting a car (probably some sort of station wagon) and stay in Domaso and then go to Verona for a few days.

It seems like parking is a pain in Verona, but it makes sense for us to have a car, since there are 5 of us. Are there areas of Verona that it's easier to park in, so that will make my hotel / apartment search easier?

Also, we would love to go to La Scala to see a performance. Are there usually shows in mid-September?

MYP is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 22,718
How about Bergamo? I believe someone has done a TR about it.

Also, if your parents are reasonably fit and no one carries too much luggage, train travel is very convenient and less expensive in Italy.

Here's the La Scala site:

TDudette is online now  
Jan 11th, 2012, 08:05 AM
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We spent 4 nights in Bellagio this past fall, from Oct 1. Lake Como was still hopping with tourists, certainly as far as Bellagio, Varenna and Mennagio were concerned. We had a car, but it was clear that traveling by train from Milan would be easier for someone who doesn't really enjoy the challenge of driving narrow, congested roads around the Lakes (most of the time our car was parked at our hotel and we took the ferries to explore the region, except for the day when we took the car on the ferry and drove up to Lake Lugano for lunch.)

However, on our way to Lake Como, (from Cinque Terre) we did a "flex" night in Cremona (after checking out Parma for lunch). If you check around NOW, and the dates work out, you may want to visit one or the other. (OK, or both, clearly it would be easy to daytrip from one to the other). There was a Verdi Festival in Parma, and music was even being broadcast across the main piazza. Parma is a really charming town/city, with fabulous restaurants and just a really good vibe. When we reached Cremona, we were pleased to find what seemed to be a smaller version of Parma...and we were fortunate to get one of the last hotel rooms in town that night, as the Opera season was opening and musicians as well as music lovers were everywhere. (We almost felt out of place as we weren't carrying around instrument cases!) So MY suggestion, is that you check to see what might be going on in either of those places and head there for a real contrast to both big city Milan and pretty Lake Como. You may even be able to use the train...

Of course, your DH would be the only one to enjoy the fabulous Parma ham, but it is an agricultural area and the produce is equally splendid.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jan 11th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Ditto Uhoh's suggestion - we stayed in Parma 3 nights (with a day trip to Cremona) and loved it. Beautiful area with amazing food.
ekc is offline  
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