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Train / road trip Northern Italy.. first draft itinerary

Train / road trip Northern Italy.. first draft itinerary

Feb 15th, 2018, 02:51 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,711
Train / road trip Northern Italy.. first draft itinerary

Hello,

I'm planning a trip with a friend through Northern Italy in early to mid May.
We have appr. 10 days/ 9 nights to play with.

One "must" item on our list is to visit friends in Milan - so 1-2 nights in Milan are more or less set.
Interests are somewhat more leaning towards architecture and spending time outdoors, than to spend most of the day in museums.

So far, we think to start in Venice (just a 90 minute flight, arrive around 11am, no jet lag etc issues) - and plan 2 nights in Venice (Sun-Tue)
Train to Florence - 2 nights (Tue-Thu)

Rent car for x days to explore parts of Tuscany
Here it gets a bit shady.

One option would be to keep the car for, say, 3-4 days for Tuscany and to go up the Ligurian coast to drop off the car in Genua, with possible stops along the coast (probably not in any CT villages, though, because of the car).

The second option would be to drop off the car in La Spezia or Pisa, and take the train to Milan from there, with possible stops in one of the CT villages. Since our timing would have taken us into the weekend already, I'm a bit sceptical about the CT villages as I've read that they get so busy on weekends that it's hardly any fun to visit.

A third option could be to skip CT and Riviera altogether, and just focus on Florence + Tuscany and take the train by whatever route straight to Milan afterwards.

Any ideas? Thank you.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 05:57 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,155
If you have only 9 nights, I'd prefer just one more location between Florence and Milan, since as written the plan requires changing locations every other day. (You probably have more energy than I do.)

SUN - arr Venice
MON - Venice
TUE - Venice to Florence
WED - Florence
THU - Florence to ?
FRI - ?
SAT - ?
SUN - ? to Milan
MON - Milan
TUE - travel home
ellenem is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 06:10 AM
  #3  
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Thanks.. yes, I also get the feeling that I try to squeeze in too much after we "did" Florence.
Maybe add more nights to Florence and do daytrips from there to Siena and Pisa.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 06:31 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you're driving, you don't want a car in Firenze unless you've worked out with your accommodations how to get the paperwork/sticker for parking in a ZTL. Might be better to stay in Siena and use the bus for daytrips to Firenze.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 07:39 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for that input. Good reminder not have the car while still in the city or to drive back and forth to the countryside from the city.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 08:50 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Trains - book really early at www.trenialia.com or www.italotreno.com - two companies running trains over same tracks and same stations- limited numer of discounted tickets can go fast. www.seat61.com has great info on doing that- general train info BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 09:41 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,825
some people stay a whole week in Milan and do day trips from there to places like
Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Como, Bergamo, Alpi Bergamasche, Lake Iseo, CApo di Ponte Rock Carvings, Lake Garda, Verona, glaciers of Ortler Cevedale National Park, Verona, Mantova, Cremona, Parma, Pavia and Certosa di Pavia, Glaciers of Valsesia, Turin.........
neckervd is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 10:27 AM
  #8  
 
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I am a huge fan of Milan, and yes, there are countless places to visit easily from there. I don't think you'd regret adding a couple of nights to your stay there.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 12:35 PM
  #9  
 
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Yes Milan is often overlooked and I have stayed there some days too. The city centre around Duomo sweet.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 01:03 PM
  #10  
 
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The city center around the Duomo is swarming with tourists, overflowing with terrible food choices, and full of brand stores you can find in any mall anywhere in the world. Sweet is not the word I would use to describe it.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 15th, 2018, 05:35 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Maybe Milan, then train or flight to Venice. We did Venice then picked up a car just outside Venice and drove to Tuscany. We spent time seeing the countryside with the car then returned it and spent a few days in Florence. From Florence it is easy to take the train many places, we took the high speed from Florence to Rome but your options are broad. Side note, the best food in Italy is in Tuscany!
Brenkjtravel is offline  
Feb 16th, 2018, 12:51 AM
  #12  
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Thanks again for all the input!
We'll be seeing friends in Milan, so I assume our local guides will also know many places beyond the beaten path.

When having to decide between daytrips from Milan (lakes and mountains, especially) and Florence (Tuscany) we're still leaning towards the more Southern destination.
I've lived in Munich for many years, have to travel to Switzerland regularly, and my friend is from Austria. So Alpine scenery is not exactly totally foreign to us.
Just to explain why we'll probably focus a bit more on Florence and the surrounding countryside.
Cowboy1968 is offline  

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