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17 Nights October in Northern Italy, Help!

Ciao! So it's been 3 years since we've been able to plan a trip and I feel like I lost my knack for putting together an itinerary. It feels completely overwhelming and I'd love the community's guidance! I have missed frequenting this forum!

We're most likely arriving and departing from Milano on September 30th through October 17th. There's a piece of the puzzle that's up in the air that might place us in Umbria and if that's the case, we'll either arrive or depart from Rome, spend 3 nights there and then head north. A little bit about us--my husband works for Eataly in the wine department so we're basing some of our stays around wine (hence Umbria being up in the air). We prefer to stay in small, walkable towns or the countryside versus a city and love food and just meandering. Checking off a list of items to see is not our preferred travel style and we do not need every minute planned, the joy of travel is learning about the area by taking it slow and being present! We live in a city and are fairly active, so a hike in the Dolomites would be really fun. We will have a car and are very comfortable driving in Europe.

Here are the regions we want to tackle, but I have been totally overwhelmed with finding the right town for a base. For the most part, we want at least 3 nights in each location, preferably one with 4 or 5.

-Flight lands in Milan
-Drive to somewhere in Piedmont (4 nights)
-Alto Aldige (4 nights); we have 2 nights booked at Alois Lageder in Magrè, Alto Adige, so maybe we need more time in the Dolomites and cut out the lakes since we've been to Lake Como?
- Lake region (Garda or Como?) (3 nights)
-Veneto (2 nights)
-Emilia Romagna (4 nights); I've been to Parma and loved it, but open to trying something new!

-Flight lands in Milan
-Drive to somewhere in Piedmont (5 nights)
-Alto Aldige (5 nights)
- Lake region (Garda or Como?) (3 nights)
-Emilia Romagna (4 nights)

Posted by
677 posts

We spent 6 nights in Alba in November 2018 and enjoyed the town very much. We had a car, parked in the courtyard of our airbnb, and easily drove to lots of other towns, but could also easily go into Torino by train for opera and museums. I tried to sample all of the native white wines and my husband did the same with the native reds.

I like your 2nd itinerary better because more nights in fewer places, however for wines I'd choose the Veneto instead of the Lakes any day --- you could stay in charming Treviso like we did and drive into Prosecco country to drink Cartizze where it's from.

Posted by
234 posts

For Emilia-Romagna, having you been in Parma in the past, you can stay more east and visit the Romagna side. Could be Bologna, buy even a smaller city like Cesena or Forlì or even Ravenna or Ferrara. There are even a lot of very nice towns along the Emilia road where to make your base.

Posted by
1634 posts

hey hey marissa
are you dates for this year 2021? cutting it close, but are you willing to rearrange couple things and places? festival in bardolino (festa dell uva) on lake garda (september 30 to oct 4) we attended this few years back and it was fabulous. food, drink, tasting, arts, crafts, music, dance, roam thru the small village on the lake, firework show sunday night. bring small denominations in cash euros.
we stayed at hotel nettuno, checked in walked around the hotel to festival entrance, paid about 15 to 20 euros got necklace wine glass holder and away we went. so much fun
rented car for 2 days from venice and drove back to return car.
you can spend time driving parts of the lake to see the towns/villages or take the ferry across the lake. garda: 2 hour guided trike tour he does a cichetti bar tour in venice (email him for questions)
we did this tour with oriana, she's one of a kind. born and raised in area and the "queen of prosecco hills" speaks great english and fabulous personality.
we took a train from venice to susegana, about 30 minutes, she met us four friends in her van. learned alot about these lush, green, floral/fauna, small villages and private wineries for lots of tasting plus a small family restaurant for lunch. so happy with a driver/guide. once in a lifetime activity to do. charms-history tiramisu prosecco ways to enjoy great outdoors in piedmont check the tours or milan residents cook in their homes or take you on a tour. fun day to visit the car museum
if you do go to rome: a train ride 30 minutes outside rome to the countryside of frascati, known for wine and at "the best porchetta" and home to the pope's summer residence buxom cookie from frascati
so much to see and do. you need more time!!! have fun and enjoy

Posted by
75 posts

This sounds like my trip in a few days! I have 7 days in Dolomites and then two in Garda about 28-30 sept, 2 days in Turin and 3 or 4 in Alba. Any suggestions for Garda towns or Alba places ;)