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Venice booked...where next in northern Italy?

Venice booked...where next in northern Italy?

Old Oct 24th, 2017, 06:53 AM
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Venice booked...where next in northern Italy?

We have a flight booked into Venice for next September and are still determining whether to fly out of Milan or Nice. Our first thought was to head to Florence and Cinque Terre but if we want a more authentic trip, should we look at other locales like Santa Margherita for a stay, maybe Genoa or Bologna, and then time in Piemonte for wine tasting. Our trip is about 2-3 weeks (still to be determined) and is to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Also considering a Lake Como visit -- have visited French Rivieria so no visits needed in France but will have a car at the end of the trip. Your thoughts of great destinations that might include hiking, food, wine tasting, new experiences (i.e. truffle hunting) -- we are fast, active travelers but open to unknown towns/villages as well. Please don't say our trip is too short...we always travel in this style whether Asia, Africa or Europe.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 07:05 AM
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FIRST, can we get the "authentic" thing out of the way? I get the impression you think Florence isn't as "authentic" as other places, is that correct? Perhaps the term you could use would be "different sort of still totally authentic experience."

We included (new for us) Bologna in our itinerary earlier this year and wished we had done so sooner. We like Venice and Florence and even Milan (I know, we're somehow misdirected but still) but we loved Bologna for the food and the sights as well as (also new for us) Ravenna and its mosaics.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 07:13 AM
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If I was in the north of Italy, I'd visit Bologna for the food and the University (world's oldest), Parma for Correggio's cathedral dome fresco and Ravenna for the mosaics.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 07:43 AM
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I LOVED Bologna, and lots of day trip options by train (Parma, Ravenna). If you want a unique and personal winery experience, contact Giuseppe of http://www.tomasettifamilywinery.com/en/ (his contact info is on the website). We spent a wonderful afternoon with him, he's a very interesting guy (retired international lawyer who turned winemaker). He only does small and private tours. I emailed him directly to set up a private tour. My husband and I spent 2 hours with him, he showed us around, then we tasted some wines along with some wonderful small plates of food, some of which he cooked!

Here's my trip report of Bologna and other nearby areas http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...lognamilan.cfm
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 08:33 AM
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Santa Margherita Ligure in September is loaded with tourists, so if you are looking to experience the side of Italy that isn't reliant on tourists for its economic base, and where everyday life is making few concessions to tourist needs, that's not the place to look. If you want to visit the Italian Riviera and have a non-tourist oriented experience, then less well known towns like Sestri Levante or Moneglia or Bogliasco will get you closer to that, and you can easily visit the world-famous tourist photo ops from there.

It's a genuine nuisance to have a car in Florence or Bologna unless you park well away from the central areas where non-residents are forbidden to drive and park (at peril of very heavy monetary fines. If you are renting the car in Italy, dropping it off in France could mean an unattractive drop off fee.

If your trip is in the first parts of September, Piemonte can be rather hot (so can Emilia-Romagna). Lago di Como will be quite crowded in many areas, so if you want a different experience, you will need to do some research for alternatives.

You are kind of "all over the map" , and generally heading into popular tourist areas for older tourists in September. If you would like to explore an area near Venice with lovely sights, scenery, food & wine, using a car, consider Friuli-Venezia-Giulia (just a fabulous experience), or combine the Trentino with parts of Lombardy & the Veneto (or the Dolomiti if you are traveling in the first part of September)
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 08:38 AM
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https://duericceincucina.wordpress.c...enezia-giulia/
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 08:40 AM
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ps -- no authentic truffle hunting to be had in September. Earliest for the real deal is October.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 09:08 AM
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anyway about trains - most of your train trips are short and can be done by regional trains which are best not booked in advance but bought at station day of travel - dirt-cheap flat fare and no reserved seats possible.

But with high-speed trains booking way early can get deep discounted fares (train-specific non-changeable however) at www.trenitalia.com - check www.seat61.com for great insights on booking those - for general train info and where to go check www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com

for active fast travelers (like I'm aking to do) you could day trip into Cinque Terre from say Santa Margharita Ligure or other 'more authentic' base and hike the 7-miles between villages - I've done that and easily did in one day.

Also neat hikes SML to Portofino and San Fruttoso.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 11:41 AM
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Bologna to me one of the most overlooked major cities in Italy - by many here who go Venice-Florence and do not even consider stopping there.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 11:47 AM
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We are leaving next Thursday for 2 weeks in northern Italy - 5 days in Stresa on Lago Maggiore and the rest in Milano with a probably daytrip to Torino,possibly Padua. It's not an ideal time of year to travel there for many people, but for us it's perfect.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 11:58 AM
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Have you considered Verona? It's one of Italy's most beautiful cities.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 01:42 PM
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Bologna: Excellent dining (far beyond the sauce), medieval architecture, side trips including luxury car manufacture, 40+ kilometres of arched sidewalk coverings, useful airport, more students than tourists.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 02:48 PM
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and Baloney?
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 03:09 PM
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Baloney? HAHAHAHA
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 06:29 PM
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We went hiking in the Dolomites last September and loved it. Great scenery and great food.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 09:14 PM
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Go in the other direction and visit Trieste.
Don't miss the beautiful Miramare castle just north of Trieste.
And the roman ruins and basilica at Aquileia.

Authentic and non-touristy, even in July when we visited.
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Old Oct 24th, 2017, 11:26 PM
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All the places mentioned above are in the region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, to which I posted a link above. In addition to these places mentioned, Udine and the wine growing area around Cormons are very rewarding destinations, and the food and wine are outstanding

https://www.fodors.com/news/fodors-give-us-2870
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 05:20 AM
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Thanks for all the help...and by authentic, I meant trying to avoid touristy locales but seeing the best of northern Italy. Right now, we are starting in Venice and hoping to fly out of Turin -- great flights to and from Chicago. Since we have only done southern Italy, we feel that Florence and Cinque Terre are must sees. But could we pass on Florence and do Bologna instead which would route better? My husband feels that Florence is a must see, although he always likes to be off the beaten path. Unfortunately, we are all over the board and he is thinking adding in Tuscany as well as Piedmont. Piedmont makes sense but where to base ourselves in Piedmont -- any thoughts? Again, your help is invaluable and any tours or lodging you loved would also aid our planning.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 06:39 AM
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You could do anything, but until you aren't "all over the board" it's really hard to make suggestions.
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Old Oct 25th, 2017, 08:04 AM
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It is a very common loop for people to go to Venice.Bologna>Florence (which is in Tuscany) + rural Tuscan>le Cinque Terre>Piemonte wine country>fly out of Torino. For the first part of that trip (Venice through Florence) having a car is mainly a nusiance that runs the risk of running afoul of Italy's urban driving + parking restrictions for non-residents, so taking the train would be better. Pick up the car leaving Florence.

If you want to mix it up between the tourist magnet "must-sees" and the Italy tourists mistakenly pass by, then you have to deliberately choose to go to some areas of Tuscany and Piemonte that are not the typical/most famous tourist draws. If you go to the most "picturesque" part of calendar art Tuscany in September, you will experience a culture that is set up for tourists and be surrounded by tourists. If you go truffle hunting in Piemonte in September, you will he having the experience tourists have in Piemonte.

Tens of thousands of visitors have a great time every September in the towns most often named the "10 best towns in Tuscany" (typically in the Chianti hills or the val d'Orcia). Likewise people who take organized food tours out of Bologna or go truffle hunting in Piemonte and visit the most famous wineries & restaurants to eat wine-soaked meals.

But it can be quite special to have an experience of Italy that is immersing yourself in some very beautiful & well preserved towns that have stayed close to their traditional economies, social habits, foods without many foreigners visiting or expecting that bridges will be made to get them over the hump of the familiar.

If you set on going to Venice, Florence and le Cinque Terre, tha only leaves Bologna, the rest of Tuscany and Piemonte to look for an alternative to the well-known "must sees" and "reasons to go". They are not hard to find if you use a bit of imagination in doing google searches like "chocolate Tuscany" or "bike Piemonte" or "hidden Bologna" -- or supply your interests ("science trail" "auto museums" "romantic Bologna". "secret wine Tuscany farms"

Hope that helps. It's worth the effort if you would like a little adventure in your road trip.
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