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10-12 days in Northern Italy

I will be arriving into Nice in the middle of September. I have a month and will spend 10-12 days in Northern Italy and the rest in France.

My plans are to go to Verona first and then the Dolomites as I think the weather should be better at the end of Sept. Thinking 1/2 nights in Verona, then 4 nights in the Dolomite area-suggestions welcome. Maybe an airbnb and do day hikes? We will have a car.

Then make our way back to Nice stopping in the Piedmont area-again suggestions of a location not in a busy town to make day trips? Maybe also a couple of days in Turin?

Our interests are hiking, history, food and wine.

Any tips would be appreciated.

Posted by
2285 posts

You're right to start with the Dolomites: the sooner the better, weather-wise.
Coming from the west, good bases IMO would be the Val di Fassa (between Moena & Canazei), the Val Gardena (e.g., Ortisei), or the Siusi / Castelrotto area. I have not stayed in all of the above so cannot say which would be better. 4 nights seem appropriate.

For the whole route, I would do:
1. Nice-Ligurian coast (e.g., Portofino area, or Levanto area for 5 Terre), 2 nights
2. Ligurian coast - Dolomites, 4 nights
3. Verona, 1 night
4. Verona - Turin, 2 or 3 nights
5. Turin - somewhere around Alba (e.g., Barolo, Monforte...), 2 or 3 nights
6. Back to Nice

I add the Ligurian coast because you mention you like hiking, and it is great in late Sep. If you've already been, then you could add Lake Garda or Milan instead.

Posted by
75 posts

Thanks for the great reply.

I should have added that we have been to the lakes and Milan and Cinque Terra in past trips so if you have nay modifications to those places, that would be great :)

Much appreciated.

Posted by
18892 posts

I haven't been to the Piedmont yet but have done considerable reading recently in hopes of patching together a trip for this fall (not looking good). Aside from Torino, where I will (eventually) be planning about a week due to my love of Art Nouveau architecture and art museums, the places at the top of my list are:

  • Alba: Charming town in truffle country. In normal times it has two big events in October. I do not know their status for this year. The first is the Palio degli Asini, a donkey race on the 1st Sunday in October ( Palio tickets go on sale in early July and are reportedly hard to get; I have no idea of whether you can somehow see the race without tickets. The second event is the long-running white-truffle festival, Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco, from the 2nd Saturday in October to the 2nd Sunday in November at Cortile della Madalena (

  • Asti: Attractive but described as "more workaday" than Alba.

  • Cuneo: Historic town with Alpine views, located between two rivers.

You might do some Googling and see what you think. There are a lot of smaller places that sound attractive and should be reasonably accessible with a car. I'm always limited to towns with rail or bus service.

It doesn't sound like you're particularly interested in staying on a lake this time. If you're up for a lake you haven't seen yet, Orta San Giulio (Lake Orta) sounds nice and has boats out to the little island in the lake. I've been to Stresa on Lake Maggiore, which is a great base for visiting the Borromean Isles.

If you're willing to risk crossing the Swiss border on a day-trip, I can recommend the Centovalli train ride from Domodossola (Italy) to Locarno (Switzerland). It gets you way off the beaten path. I've never taken the time to wander around Domodossola, but my current round of research revealed that it has a pretty market square and a nice nearby waterfall. However, the latter only flows for part of the year and I'm guessing it will be dry in the fall.

The DK Eyewitness series of guidebooks includes a Back Roads guide to northern and central Italy. It's targeted at drivers. If you can find a copy I think it would be very helpful to you. It wouldn't have to be the latest edition.

Posted by
75 posts

I should be grading papers BUT this is much more fun! You should come with us and be our guide :) Why don't you think you can go? Seems so far that if you are vaccinated that you should be good?

I just ordered the book you suggested from the library, great tip.

So, I think now we will go straight to Verona for 2 days, 4 days in Dolomites in two bases and then head back to Alba for 3 days, Cueno for 1/2 and Turin for 1/2 before heading back to Nice. Does that sound like a trip you would like to take :) I will look at Orta and maybe we could drive for a day or something?

This trip I would like to focus on this part of Italy and then we will have 2 weeks in Southern France as well.

Thanks SO much.

Posted by
2285 posts

Minor comment: it will be more logical to head to Turin before Cuneo (which is a good suggestion, given that you've been to Milan & the lakes), since Cuneo is closer to Nice.

Posted by
18892 posts

Be sure you have some specific plans in Turin (and know you can find convenient parking and avoid the ZTLs) to justify the hassle of driving into a city of that size for such a short visit I have a long list of things to do in Turin, but I wouldn't go there for half a day.

I think your plans sound nice, given that you'll have a car. I assume you're either looping back to Italy to drop off the car or have already checked out the international drop charge and are good with it.

I'm vaccinated, but Delta has changed the environment. I could catch it and spread it to someone else--actually, they're now saying I could spread it to 5 or 8 other people. I go to a lot of museums and spend time on a lot of trains and buses, so who knows how much damage I could do.

Posted by
75 posts

What it should read is 1 to 2 days in Turin. I will be able to park the car at my Airbnb so that is all good :)

Also, picking up and dropping off the car in Nice. I do have IDL and paid 20 euros to cross the border.

Posted by
2700 posts

I think having one base for the Dolomites would work. We loved our stays in La Villa, Alta Badia, between Cortina and the Val Gardena. We’ve been a few times in early and mid October and had spectacular weather. So many stunning passes to drive plus Bolzano and or Brixen are easy day trips.