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5 days in northern Italy first week of Aug. ideas?

I am making an unexpected quick trip to Northern Italy from Aug 1 - 9. We are flying in and out of milan (MXP). I have never spent much time to the west of Milan (Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta). I will be with my wife and teenage daughters. My daughters have never been to Italy. Ideas on what to do and see? if we didn't go west, other ideas besides the tourist trail around the lakes.

Also, anyone have thoughts/experience on how crowded the north will be this year? I know Aug is not the ideal time, but oh well....
thanks for thoughts and wisdom.

Posted by
2006 posts

How about Turin? Lots to do. The lakes could be nice, but I would choose something aside from Como for fewer crowds.
I loved my brief stay in Piedmont, but I wonder how the daughters would enjoy it. Alba does have the smell of chocolate going for it...
Cuneo sounded interesting to me, but I ultimately chose Asti and Alba.
If you are an outdoorsy family, Aosta also sounded good to me.

Posted by
6520 posts

We have traveled through most of Italy and really enjoyed the Piedmont region compared to other regions. There were far fewer tourists than in Tuscany. The wine villages are charming.
We stayed in Alba and did day trips to the wine villages, none very far away. We combined the Piedmont with coastal Liguria.

Posted by
2006 posts

Suki, I think we have been crossing paths all over Europe for many years!
Bill, perhaps you could share your daughters' ages and anything you might find pertinent. I wondered if wine country touring would be a good fit, but of course there is much more to Piedmont than wine. We hoped to hike, but we ended up with constant rain.

Posted by
18755 posts

Everyone I know who has been to Turin has really liked it; they often compared it positively to Milan. However, if you are already planning to spend some time in Milan , you might prefer your other destination(s) to be smaller than Turin. I've barely been to the Piedmont but did enjoy a couple of short stays in Stresa on Lake Maggiore, which is the jumping-off point for the Borromean Isles. I don't know that they'd appeal all that much to teenagers, however.

A possibility in Lombardy would be the very atmospheric, medieval upper town (Citta Alta) in Bergamo, which is about an hour east of Milan by train.

If you're an athletic family, you might head for the Gran Paradiso National Park or the Dolomites, assuming lodgings are available.

Posted by
206 posts

We are supposed to go to northern Italy in August, provided that it all works out. Our plan is to spend time in Cinque Terre (which we have visited before) and then then 4 nights in the Valle d’Aosta (have not visited). I’ve been using their tourism website for research:

We like outdoor activities and hiking so I’m hoping we enjoy exploring a new (to us) part of

Posted by
2135 posts

Turin in August? It will be humid and many non-brand stores will start closing from August 2. Most restaurants will be open, but not all.

Have a plan B ready: either The Langhe wine country or the Alps.

Posted by
3 posts

It seems the weather is going to be wet in the northwest next week, not great for hiking or scenic mountain views. Might be changing our plans and heading further east where it is supposed to be drier.

Does anyone have updates on how busy Venice, Verona and Pedova will be next week with Covid? Is Covid keeping tourists away or is it likely to be a typical August with lots of crowds.

Thanks for any thoughts?

Posted by
3 posts

valadelphia, My daughters are 18 and 16 so wine tasting is not a top choice. They are willing to do some hiking, but are excited to just explore.

Posted by
760 posts

I've been to Turin and enjoyed it but it was the least "Italian" feeling city I've been to in Italy. Makes sense as it was part of France for a a long time. Since your daughters have not been to Italy I would take them somewhere that feels more "Italian".

I have no idea how crowded anyplace is this year, and I usually travel in July, not August, but in July I've been all over northern Italy and not found it too crowded (exception being Venice). But since no cruise ships in Venice that might be fine and it's certainly someplace everyone should see. Verona, Padua, Manuta, Cremona and Pavia are other towns I love that are easy to get to from Milan.

Posted by
39 posts

We'll be going again soon ... YouTube cities/towns to see if you'll like them ... Lake Garda is 31 miles × 10 ... mountains get higher as you travel north and has many towns dotting the coastline ... ferries/Hydrofoils + buses/trains ... Milan to the biggest town on the bottom of Lake Garda is where we'll be staying this time ... Bolzano which has the highest standard of living in Italy would be a great choice (speak german & Italain + language & food) lodgings will furnish you with the Bolzano Card which entitles you for all public transportation (in the region ... last time we left the area to Bologna we used the card to leave that region) ...buses,trains,museums (see the Iceman) .. narrow gauge train up the mountain and lifts up etc. ... saves like $60 each person ? .. Almatrieb (cattle festivals ... coming down for the winter ... youtube -----> "Almatrieb") seems to be canceled in some northern towns ... Austria,Germany so much to see .. to much to say here ... we're planning next year already ... looking for events and festivals and then fine tune lodging and towns etc. ... 😎

Posted by
490 posts

I agree with Isabel about Verona.

The girls are probably reading Shakespeare in English class and Verona might bring to life the setting of Romeo and Juliet. Simple Minds is playing at the Verona Coliseum on August 9 and there is lots of Italian shopping. :)

Or perhaps split between Milan and Venice -- there are plenty of trains from Milano Centrale to Venice and it's a 2 1/2 hour ride.