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2 nights in Verona and 1 in Milan.. or vice versa?

Hi everyone! We're flying into Venice on a Monday and spending 2 nights. Then on Saturday, we're meeting friends in Milan before heading to Lake Como for 2 nights. I want to break up the train ride from Venice to Milan by visiting another nice city, so I thought Verona would be a great in-between stop. My question is this... should I spend 2 nights (Weds and Thurs) in Verona and then 1 night (Friday) in Milan? OR, 1 night Verona and 2 in Milan? We have not been to either city before. I don't know if there is enough to do in either place to justify 2 nights. Everyone says "if you're not into shopping, you don't want to waste a lot of time in Milan". Others tell me "Verona is nice, but a day and a half is enough". Heck, maybe I should do one night in Verona and one in Brescia. I don't know. But... I know you guys do! So please help.

Btw, after Lake Como we go to the Cinque Terre for 2 nights, then Florence for 2 nights and then Rome for one night before flying out the following morning. NOTE: We have been to Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome before and seen all the sites and done all the museums/attractions. So that's why we're not spending more time in those cities. Just FYI. My quandary is what to do after Venice before meeting our friends who fly into Milan on Saturday. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
10325 posts

If you want to see Leonardo's "The Last Supper" in Milan (recommended, even if you're not an art fan-atic), you'll need advance reservations to see the painting. We've done 1 night in Milan, you can see The Last Supper in the morning, but if you don't have 2 nights then you'll have to arrange (with your hotel) to store your luggage until you get back from seeing The Last Supper.

The Milan Duomo is a 2nd thing to see in Milan, booking it in advance with the rooftop access ticket may be best.

The Milan Galleria (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II) is a 3rd thing to do in Milan. One of Europe's great gallerias.

Posted by
17089 posts

The train trip from Venice to Milan can take as little as 2-1/2 hours, so I wouldn't consider it necessary to break the journey anywhere. And two nights in Venice is only one full day and however many hours (jetlagged??) you may have on your arrival day. That's a painfully short stay in that city. However nice Verona may be (I haven't been there yet), it isn't Venice. Nor is Milan.

Not having been to Verona, I cannot help you with the Verona-vs.-Milan decision.

Posted by
6 posts

I've been to both Milan and Verona and they are both worth 2 nights. I totally disagree with your friends' analysis that the only thing to do in Milan is shop. You can see Leonardo's "The Last Supper," tour the magnificent Duomo (and climb to its roof), and visit other museums within 100 yards of the Duomo. You can visit the enormous and beautiful Castle Sforzo (sp. ?) which goes back to the 14th Century and has another 4 museums contained within. The Milan Museum of Modern Art is also a wonderful surprise with an enormous collection of Italian Impressionist paintings (something I had never known about). You can also take a worthwhile tour of La Scala Opera House. All of these sights are within 15 minute walk of one another. There are dozens of great restaurants, beautiful architectural sights, and wonderful old canals/bars/restaurants in the Naviglo district. It is a world class, cosmopolitan City that offers far more than simply shopping.

Verona is also wonderful: the Roman Arena there is 90 years older than the Colliseum in Rome, is located right downtown at Piazza Bra and still holds live theatre and concerts. There are random ancient roman cites scattered throughout the City. If you walk across the River Adige (10 minute walk from Piazza Bra), you can visit another Roman outdoor theatre, climb to the top, and enjoy spectacular views of the city and a nice museum filled with Roman antiques. I've skipped all the Romeo & Juliet tourist traps. Verona is far smaller and more quaint than Milan. It's more of a pedestrian friendly City with lots of back alleys, walkways and ancient medieval walls and gates. It also has a beautiful, ancient Castle called the Castleveccio. That is absolutely worth a visit. All of the bridges over the Adige offer beautiful views and if you're a Red Wine fan you can't miss Botega Vini, with one of the best and oldest wine bars/selections in the Valpolicella region (great Risotto with Amazon, too). IF I had to choose, I would do two nights in Milan and one full day/night in Verona, as Milan has more to offer.

Good luck. You really can't go wrong with what you choose.

Posted by
5904 posts

Milan needs more time than Verona. Can you increase the amount of time you are planning for this trip. It really needs more.
I have spent time in Milan twice and did not shop at all.

Posted by
3341 posts

Verona for two nights would be my choice. If you use that as a base you can also do a quick day trip by train to Vicenza if you are at all interested in architechture. Perhaps some reading up on all three places will help you decide which holds the most interest for you.

Posted by
5166 posts

I've never been to Verona, but I agree with acraven that Venice is worth more time.

Posted by
1567 posts

If you're likely to fly back into Milan on some future trip, I'd give more time to Verona and Venice on this one. This assumes it's less likely you'd make it back to Verona.

If you don't expect to go back to Milan, I'd give 1 night to Verona to see the town and amazing arena (see a performance if the timing is right) then 2 nights to Milan for the duomo and Last Supper - those are the 3 that still stand out among my memories of my travels to Verona and Milan.

Posted by
58 posts

Two nights in either Milan or Verona is worth it as mentioned by other travelers. As far as the remaining part of your trip, why not go to Lucca instead of Cinque. It’s a lovely walled town - you can either walk or rent a bike and go around on the ramparts. There are towers to climb and if you’re lucky, maybe there will be a small concert in a piazza. The Tuscan food can’t be beat!

Posted by
783 posts

For me, each region in Italy has something different to offer in culture, sites, food, wine, experiences and so much more. So my question would be: what do you want? Milan is a big city with a few important sites (duomo, opera house) and shopping. Venice is a trip back in time (but it can be very crowded). Verona is a beautiful old city that has completely different charms from Milan or Venice and it can be a nice, relaxing place to stroll around. I really think you are looking at 3 completely different experiences.

Also, what time do your friends arrive in Milan? If it's late enough maybe you don't need to spend a night there at all. Been to Florence and Cinque Terre? How about Lucca and Siena? Again, two very different, interesting and easy cities to manage. Don't get me started on the food!!!!

You got choices. Make the planning part of the fun! Remember, you deserve this!

Posted by
5904 posts

Venice to Milan is not long enough to need to take a break. All you list are worthy of visits, but you are rushing, shortchanging them all.

Posted by
3483 posts

To directly answer your question, I would stay two nights in Verona and 1 night in Milan.

But, I would definitely recommend adding a night in Venice, so that you’re staying in Verona on Thursday & Friday and skip Milan. There’s so much to do in Venice, and it’s such a unique experience! Saturday morning you could take an early train from Verona to Milan (1 hr, 15 min train) to meet your friends. My preference for your itinerary would be to just meet them at Lake Como (staying in Varenna?). They will be taking the train from Malpensa into Milan and transfer to go straight up to Varenna - no need to have you standing around Milano Centrale station waiting for them.

You didn’t mention the month you’re planning, but check what’s happening at the Roman arena in Verona. I was able to attend an opera there two years ago - wonderful experience!

Even a quick look at TripAdvisor under “Things to do” will probably give you a good indication of which city would appeal to you the most.

Posted by
308 posts

I live in Milan but out of the 2 choices bt Verona and Milan, Verona wins hands down. It's a beautiful, medieval and elegant city with a lot of history - with or without Romeo and Juliet. Milan is short on the Italian charm that Italy is famous for so I'd honestly bypass it and go on another trip. If after 1 day in Verona you find you're bored, you can always do a day trip to Brescia or Sirmione/Peschiera del Garda and see the other famous lake, Lake Garda. IMHO, I adore Venice and could spend a month there. I agree with other posts to spend more nights there.

Posted by
252 posts

Agree with Jackie. If you are going to spend two nights, do it in Verona. Lovely smaller city with lots of charm. That being said, we did the one and a half days in Verona and felt we had seen it all. But we also would not spend two nights in Milan. Perhaps something else along the way? That's my two cents, but if you are looking to spend two nights along the way, then either add a night in Venice or stay in Verona. You could always go to Milan and do a day trip to Lugano or Bergamo for that extra day. Really lots of options, and you can always play it by ear as you go for that extra night - especially weather-wise - what to do with the extra time. Like the idea of Brescia too.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions and tips. Let me address some of your questions... We will be in Italy from Monday, August 30th to Saturday, September 11th 2021. Our friends (the other couple) are flying in to Milan on Saturday morning at 9am. I originally chose to take the train from Venice to Milan early Saturday morning but changed it to Friday night so we could be certain to be there so our friends wouldn't be waiting on us if our train was delayed or something else happened. The 4 of us want to take the hydrofoil/ferry from Como to Bellagio, Tremezzo, or Varenna (haven't yet decided). Our friends have been to Italy before but not to the Cinque Terre. That is a "must do" for them... also, my wife and I love it, so that's why we'll visit it again. Florence and Rome: we all have spent a good bit of time in both of those cities on past trips (I have 2 art degrees and am a mediocre sculptor so I've devoured both cities).

The current itinerary breaks down as follows:

Leave Atlanta on Sat or Sun (Aug 29 or 30) If we can leave on Saturday, that would give us a third night in Venice.

Mon & Tues nights in Venice

Weds & Thurs nights in Verona

Friday night in Milan

Sat & Sun nights in Lake Como

Mon & Tues nights in Cinque Terre

Weds & Thurs nights in Florence

Friday night in Rome

Sat morning fly home

We are going to Florence this trip primarily to have a Tuscan 'base' as we want to spend two days driving through the countryside visiting wineries, eating with Dario Cecchini, and just soaking up everything from the region. We made Rome our departure city because my friend's favorite restaurant is there - hence the 1 night. Our flight leaves early Saturday morning. Back to the subject of Verona; I was not considering a visit to Verona specifically to break up the train ride (timewise). What I meant was.. instead of adding a third night to Venice and then riding straight to Milan early Saturday morning, we could see another charming town along the way. I have read several people on the forum say that Venice is so small that one can see/do most everything in 2.5 days. I see here that some of you think that may not be exactly right. So, please let me know how much time you think my wife and I would need to really appreciate Venice.

Finally, a tad about us... we love unique cities/towns (Florence has been my favorite forever) and old-world charm. We like good wine and good food. We considered going to the Parma/Reggio area to experience (what we're told) is the best cheese and olive oil anywhere. But, they are pretty far out of our way. We also thought visiting the Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini factories would be fun. But they too are out of the way. I, personally, would love to see really great craftsmen creating (be it leather, marble, wood, metal, etc.). Put me in front of a talented leathersmith's bench and I'm happy for hours. Okay, now my 'cons': We are not interested in touring more churches. I do love architecture but I've seen so many churches in Europe that to get me to spend time visiting another one, well, it would have to be more spectacular than any other I've seen in anywhere.. barring Vatican City.

To sum up, I think I'm probably like most of you. I like unique and interesting things. I realize that some really young people might think a mime or juggler is interesting and unique. While some older generations might find spending a full day in a lace shop stimulating. I am obviously somewhere in the middle because both of those ideas would drop me into a coma. A scooter ride through Tuscany on a sunny autumn day and a picnic in a rolling meadow sound like a perfect time to me. Throw in 12 more fun-filled days and you have the dream vacation for which I am hoping. Thanks guys. I really do appreciate the input from each and every one of you. Please keep sharing.

Posted by
3483 posts

“ I have read several people on the forum say that Venice is so small that one can see/do most everything in 2.5 days. I see here that some of you think that may not be exactly right. So, please let me know how much time you think my wife and I would need to really appreciate Venice.”

My husband and I have been to Venice three times - two days with the RS Best of Italy tour, three days a few years later (I planned our first independent European trip around the Veneto & Dolomite region, so we could visit Venice again), and our last time we stayed four days. I took a 3-week solo trip to Italy in 2018 to celebrate my retirement, and my husband said I could go anywhere except Venice without him! My daughter & I were supposed to be there last week....sigh! Yes, we love it! We love it because it’s unique - no other city comes close. Besides the normal touristy stuff - After breakfast, just head out in any direction (preferably away from the Rialto-to-San Marco path) and start walking in the zig-zag directions until you’re ready for a beverage or gelato break. It’s the ultimate maze with interesting discoveries around each corner! Don’t worry about getting lost, and put away the phone & map - just enjoy the adventure. Finally, when you’re ready to come back for dinner, look at the top corners of the buildings for the arrow pointing to the 5 major places in Venice to guide you back. After dinner, walk over to San Marco piazza to hear the orchestras. Don’t sit at the tables (well you could if you’re still hungry); dance in the piazza under the stars with the lights shimmering around you.

If you’re artistic, you will probably enjoy taking a boat to Murano to see the glass artists.

We also enjoyed the 10am (I think) small group tour of the clock tower in San Marco, walking up each level to find out more about the history of the piazza, the clock and the people who lived there,

I attended an opera at La Fenice - a beautiful interior and memorable evening.

Enjoy a gondola ride - pick out the person & boat you want.

For Verona, it sounds like you might like one of the bike or wine tours. I participated in a couple of events through and liked both of them.

Posted by
3483 posts

If you do decide to go to Parma, make an exception and go inside the Parma cathedral. It’s my favorite church interior in Italy. Instead of glittery & gold, it’s lined with warm-toned beautiful frescoes.

The city isn’t as exciting as some, but yes, the food is wonderful!

Posted by
431 posts

I've been to both and I think John Adams is right.