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Help with last 2 nights in Northern Italy

Our spring trip to Italy (my first!) is becoming a reality. The first part of the trip came together easily but I'm hoping to get advice for our last 2 nights. The first part of our trip will be visiting the "trifecta" of Rome, Florence (with a day trip to Siena) and Venice
Parameters: Leaving Venice midday Saturday May 8th and have a flight back to the US (via Lisbon) booked for 11:45am from Milan Malpensa on Monday, May 10th.
Option 1: Saturday: Train to Milan, late afternoon sightseeing, priority would be The Last Supper
Sunday: Day Trip to Lake Como by train and boat. Visit Varenna and Bellagio (Husband's birthday!). if it is raining, can cancel the Varenna day trip and tour Milan.
Monday: Easy fast Train to Malpensa for our flight
Option 2: Saturday: Train to Milan and on to Varenna, sleep in Varenna
Sunday: Tour Lake Como, slower pace with time for rest
Monday: Either train to Milan and on to Malpensa or private driver transfer directly to Malpensa
We love art, history, nature, walking for hours anywhere and food (of course). Not so much interested in churches unless they have world class art/architecture/history. We certainly might be tired and museum-ed out by this time. Is this one of those "6 of one/half dozen of the other" situations? I'd love advice from the experts on this board.

Posted by
1645 posts

We had a similarly timed departure from Malpensa for our 2020 cancelled trip and I found it impossible to get to the airport in time for our scheduled flight starting from Varenna. I never looked into private driver transfer but would expect would be quite expensive for that distance. For that reason, I would opt to stay in Milan near the train station (your option 1).

Sundays, at least two years ago, could not be reserved online for the Last Supper. I did it by calling directly at some ungodly hour. I also booked a tour. It was all only a few Euros as admission itself was free on Sunday.

We ended up going to Italy this past August and reversed our trip to start with Lake Como. We only spent a few hours in Milan but did visit the Duomo. It was amazing to see, even in our jet lagged state. It is different than other churches you would have seen.

A third option would be to continue on to Lake Como and spend one night in Varenna as in option 2, but returning late the next day to stay near the Milan train station for your departure to the airport. I just checked and the last train leaves about 9:30 pm from Varenna.

Posted by
1052 posts

Please check your dates and days. May 8th, 2022 is a Sunday. This tour shows a Last Supper tour on Sunday the 8th. Seeing the Last Supper, at least pre-covid, was nearly impossible without a tour. If you are in Milan and have time I recommend the experience.

https://www.viator.com/tours/Milan/Milan-Renaissance-Treasures-and-The-Last-Supper/d512-33060P3

Some people will bash Viator because they are a third party and tell you to book direct with a tour company, but I have used them more than 6 times and I have yet to have a problem. Plus I like dealing with them if any issues arise instead of trying to communicate with a local tour company because language can sometimes be an issue.

Lake Como is very nice, especially Bellagio. However, as mentioned, weather is a factor. Varenna is also nice, but if I had one choice to make it would be Bellagio over Varenna for a day trip. However, you'll need a train and a boat ride to Bellagio, whereas Varenna can be a train ride only making it an easier day.

Being "stuck" in Milan is not a problem. It is a great city to see with excellent restaurants.

Posted by
7495 posts

We also prefer Bellagio on Lake Como and have spent four vacations there. We have used a private driver to take us to a MXP area hotel the night before our morning flight home. Get your “The Last Supper” tickets ASAP! We have seen it twice, a travel highlight.

Posted by
1199 posts

I like Option 1. One trip we spent two nights in Varenna and took the ferry to both Bellagio and Menaggio. Then we took the train back to Milan and spent the night before flying back to the U.S. We booked a walking tour of Milan that afternoon which included both the Duomo and The Last Supper. It was was great - definitely try to see The Last Supper!

Posted by
16 posts

Wow, thanks for you lightening fast responses. I will take your comments into consideration and will let you know the outcome!

Posted by
3162 posts

Parameters: Leaving Venice midday Saturday May 8th and have a flight
back to the US (via Lisbon) booked for 11:45am from Milan Malpensa on
Monday, May 10th.

Please check your days/dates as mentioned above.

I would not want to be at Lake Como the night before an 11:45 flight out of Malpensa. Simply too far/too risky.
Last Supper is closed on Monday so depending on your actual dates that might make your decision easier.

Posted by
633 posts

A key variable in planning is the time of your departing flight.

Fort an afternoon one you would stay in Milan last; be at the closest train station four hours before the flight the next day.

AM flight Milan first, overnight at a MXP hotel, not needing to arrive until dinner time. The Villa Malpensa is nine minutes away; has a good restaurant.

Posted by
8429 posts

Parameters: Leaving Venice midday Saturday May 8th and have a flight back to the US (via Lisbon) booked for 11:45am from Milan Malpensa on Monday, May 10th

In 2022:
Sunday is the 8th
Tuesday is the 10th

Please clarify, is it Saturday and Monday that you mean or the 8th and 10th?

I would not attempt to get from Bellagio/Varenna to MXP for an 11:45 flight. Not saying it is impossible but likely pricey for a 'private driver' and I know I would sleep very little the night before. Would not take much of a rut to upset the apple cart.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks to all of those who suggested I recheck my dates. You are right. The correct dates of travel are Sunday May 8-Tuesday May 10.