so confused! northern italy itinerary

Old Feb 14th, 2020, 11:59 AM
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so confused! northern italy itinerary

we have 2 weeks to visit and want to see so much: bergamo, verona, the conigliano area, venice, bologna and day trips to parma and modena. How many days should we stay in these places, should we do day trips from one of the cities instead? we are traveling in early september and will have a car. we love to drive around and don't mind changing hotels. thank you for any advice on the itinerary and feel free to suggest hotels. thank you so much.
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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 01:44 PM
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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 03:05 PM
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I wouldn't want to cover that list of destinations in 2 weeks.

What exactly would you do/see in the "Conegliano area"? It's a somewhat unusual destination in an otherwise typical tourist itinerary, but perhaps there is a particular interest that draws you.

As for how much time to spend everywhere, that's really up to you to decide. I think it's obvious that Venice and Bologna would have the most things to see/do, and you could easily spend a week in each without running out of interesting attractions. Perhaps your interest in Conegliano would require multiple days.... If it was my trip, I would find a full day (2 nights) in Bergamo to suffice, and I'd want a minimum of 2 full days (3 nights) in Verona. I would rather explore the Dolomites or perhaps Lake Garda than the Conegliano area.

Every city you mentioned has a ZTL (zona traffico limitato) which is an area of the city/town you can't drive into except perhaps to check into/out of a hotel. And all of the places you mentioned have train service. You may love to drive around (as do we), but in many places in Italy having to deal with ZTLs and parking can take the fun out of it. If you travel light-ish, trains are an excellent and easy way to get around. If you were thinking the car would allow for wandering and detours, you need to first figure out how much time you'd actually have for that after exploring 7 towns in 14 days.
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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 03:12 PM
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Driving sounds like a terrible idea, given the places you want to visit. And I have to echo the question of why the Conegliano area? Relatives from there?

And no time in Milano? No lakes? Even if I removed the wild card of the Conegliano area - having no idea what you'd want to see there or how much time you'd want to devote to it - I couldn't visit all the rest of the places you mention in 2 weeks.
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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 03:31 PM
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i was under the impression that the conegliano area is quite beautiful and is called the prosecco trail. we live near the napa wine area and love to explore the wine country. we actually will be in the lake area before the rest of this trip (with family).
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Old Feb 14th, 2020, 06:22 PM
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Well, there are beautiful places all over Italy and no shortage of wine areas. I guess if Prosecco is your thing, Conegliano would be the place to go. I'm much more into bold reds than any whites, so I'd be going to Tuscany and Piemonte for Brunello, Barolo, Chianti, Barbaresco...
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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 03:08 AM
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From Bergamo to Venice to Bologna is a triangle with a shed load of great wine regions (Prosecco is not really a great wine region, but it has great marketing).

I would struggle to recommend which area is really worth visiting, but Modena is pretty famous for its food and is relatively close to Parma (where the ham comes from as the old joke has it).

I'd not recommend having a car (see for info) The train system is the right way to go and either use local taxis, bicycles, buses or shanks pony to get around. You'll enjoy it more and get to meet more Italians (who are the real attraction). I would consider doing a local wine or foody tour. Just about every town has a website which advertises local producers and how to visit them. Physical local Tourist Information places in Italy are in no way as good as their websites. They tend to be very parochial and often cannot advise about the next-door town if that town is in a different province.

Length of time?

Bologna needs 3 days, Modena 2 days, Ferrara 1 day, Ravenna can be done in 24 hours (there is a 24-hour pass and I've done it) but only if you are interested in mosaics, Fiano less than one day at the ceramic museum, and so it goes on. BTW it is easy to get fixated on the large citta', some of the small walled citta' are equally interesting such as say Soave (where the wine comes from), which looks a bit naff from the outside but inside the walls is a gem.

Verona, the Centro Storico is magnificent but depending on your wish to gaze lovingly at the fake Juliette balcony can take 24 hours or a lifetime.

If I was coming to this area only once in a lifetime, I would try and visit Amarone and pop by Chioggia just to see how Venice can look without the international tourists and to get some fresh fish.

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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 08:07 AM
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So many places... only two weeks.
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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 08:12 AM
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I have made a day trip, by train from Venice, to Conegliano. The town is small and sweet but what you likely want is to see the country side, The Proseco trail, and that requires a car.
By using the trains you can easily visit Verona and some towns in Emilia Romagna--Parma, Modena etc.

Bergamo is off the main train line so requires a transfer usually. Also the historic, more charming part of Bergamo, is not near the train station so you would need a cab from there.

So much Italy, so little time. But don't spend it all in transport. With 2 weeks, I would choose 3 or 4, at the most, locations.

Modena is my personal favorite but I also like pistacchio gelato.
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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 08:30 AM
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BTW Bergamo Alto is a ten-minute walk (800 metres?) uphill plus a short funicular railway trip into the old town.
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Old Feb 18th, 2020, 08:42 PM
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dear bilboburgler, thank you for your nonjudgemental reply. so much more valuable than one that is judgmental.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 09:22 AM
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You're coming from the lakes area (so if you mean Como or Maggiore) then Bergamo would be your first stop. The scenic, historic town is up on a hill but it is walkable from the train station in less than a half hour. There is also a funicular which cuts it down to maybe 15 minutes. I have been twice, once on a day trip from Milano, once overnight. I love the place but you can really "see" it in a day.

Then you would move to Bologna. Worth at least a couple days itself plus well positioned for day trips to Parma and Modena. Both Parma and Modena are pretty small and can be enjoyed on a day trip. Of course if you don't mind moving every day or two you could spend one or two nights in each of them.

The first time I visited Verona I did it as a day trip (from Padua) and was OK with just one day. But I went back for a couple days staying in Verona itself on a subsequent trip.

Everyone has a different opinion on amount of time for Venice. I think for a first visit 3 days is good. I've bee back 5 times for varrying lengths of time so obviously you could spend much more, September will still be very crowded.

So I think a minimum you'd need 10 days for those places. Could easily spend twice that but you have what you have. And doing those place in 10 days is not crazy or insane or whatever, it's just rather fast paced.

I would do all that by train for sure, car not necessary for those places and would be a major expense/pain,

I'm sorry I know nothing about the Procesco wine region.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 09:25 AM
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dear isabel, thank you so much for your reply. do you have a hotel suggestion for verona?
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 09:29 AM
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It's almost impossilbe to define the amount of time you need for the visit of these cities. IMO, the highlights of Parma for example can easily be visited in 1 day, incl. the pictures of Signorelli and Mantegna in the museum. Idem for Mantova and the places of the Gonzaga Family.
But if you want to study everything really in detail, may be with art or History guidebooks, you may need much more time.

All cities you mention are rather close to each other (may be except the Valdobbiabene area) and linked by good roads and railway lines.
If you take Verona as a hub, you get the following OW train jouney times:
Bergamo: 1 hr 50 min
Parma: 2 hrs 20 min
Modena: 1 hr 45 min
Bologna: 50 min
If you choose Brescia, Bologna and Venice as hubs, all other places can be reached by train in less than 1 hr from 1 of these 3 hubs.
But there exist of course other criterias. Why not sleep in the scenic cittta alta of Bergamo, for example?
Mantova: 45 min
Padova: 45 min
Venezia: 1 hr 10 min
Conegliano: 2 hrs
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 10:03 AM
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dear nekervd, thank you for your response. i think we can do parma in one day and modena in one day without a problem. we are going to spend one night in bergamo, skip the valdobbiadene area. we are trying to decide if we should go to verona, unfortunately we will miss any performances at the arena bc of the later sept date. what are your thoughts about verona, should we go or skip it? would 2 days there be enough or too much? do you have a hotel recommendation there? we will then go to venice and then bologna and do some day trips from bologna to parma and modena. then back home. again thanks for your suggestions
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