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Input on Sept. 2021 Italy or Italy/France Itinerary

Please - no Covid comments!

Since I have vouchers from this year’s trip, the northern locations of this trip are a given for 2021. But, we could now go from Venice west and finish in Paris or Nice, or tweak the locations in Italy. Our flights were refunded, so we don’t need to begin at Malpensa or end in Rome. I’m taking my 40-year old daughter for her first trip to Europe. What places would you recommend?

I would like to have at least some of the locations be new to me, so we’re exploring together. Bergamo, Salerno and Amalfi on the current itinerary are new to me. In France, I’ve been to Annecy, Lyon, Paris, Nancy, Colmar, several towns in western France, Avignon & area and Nice. (I would be fine with going back to either Nice or Paris.). In Italy, I’ve stayed in Venice, Lake Como, Stresa, Cinque Terre, Lucca, Torino, Parma, Verona, Vicenza, Padova, the Dolomites, Bologna, Ravenna, Siena, Montepulciano, Florence, Arezzo, Grosseto and Rome. I’m fine repeating a few Italian locations.

ORIGINAL itinerary:
Fly into Malpensa.

3 nights - Stresa (Hotel Voucher)
1 night - Milan (Hotel Voucher)
1 night - Bergamo, definitely want to stay overnight in this town at the tiny hotel that gave me a refund.
3 nights - Venice ( Hotel Voucher)
3 nights - Lucca. We had considered Ferrara which is new to me, but the timing worked to catch the Luminaire Festival in Lucca.
2 nights - Salerno (to see Paestum)
3 nights - Amalfi
3 nights - Rome
Fly home from Rome

Posted by
17098 posts

I've been to all the places you mention, though not always recently.

Two nights in Rome seems short. I like Lucca, but I wonder whether you might get by with just 2 nights there.

Are your Milan/Rome gateways fixed? Do you need to keep the trip to the orginally-planned 19 nights? If so, I wouldn't try to include France. There's plenty to see in Italy.

I think to add much in northern Italy you'd need to cut time from the south, and I don't think you have any excess there. But I can recommend Padua, Vicenza and Ravenna. Padua makes a good base for Vicenza and Ferrara. It's just barely workable for Ravenna if you get an early start, but Ravenna's easier from Bologna (and is worth an overnight). I haven't been to Verona (or Ferrara), but many people like it; it, too is accessible from Padua. I like Padua for its nice historic center and multiple worthwhile sights, including the Scrovegni Chapel. Lodging in Padua is much less expensive than in Venice. To be clear: I would not suggest that you stay in Padua instead of in Venice even if you didn't have Venetian hotel voucher.

Posted by
2901 posts

Since you are flying into MXP, why not spend that first night in Milan, recovering from the flight, then go on to Stresa?

I like Lucca a lot. Plenty to see, and several possibilities for a day trip.I would be inclined to skip Amalfi and Salerno. Have you investigated the transport between Lucca and Salerno? I think it would eat up most of a day. If you are already in Tuscany, you could devote most of that time to that province; Florence, Pienza, Siena, Montepulciano, etc., etc. If you end that portion of your trip in Orvieto, you would be very close to Rome.
I agree with the poster who noted that your time in Roma is very short. If you eliminate Amalfi and Salerno, you can also add time to Rome.

Posted by
3487 posts

Hi Acraven,

Our flight was refunded, so we will have a new airline ticket next year - no restrictions on starting/ending locations. I updated the post above to make it clearer. We are fixed at 19 nights, so that my daughter can get back to work after a day or two to recover from jetlag.

Posted by
3487 posts

Hi Rosalyn,

The train we were planning to take leaves Lucca at 8:30am and arrives in Salerno at 2pm with one transfer at Florence for 25 minutes.

Posted by
5910 posts

Malpensa MXP is very near Lake Maggiore, a short drive after a long flight. One time after landing from a flight at MXP that had originated on the US west coast, we stayed in Ranco on the east of the lake and enjoyed this small town with wonderful dining options. There was ferry service to cross the lake to Stresa too. We stayed at Il Sole di Ranco which had a Michelin starred restaurant on site.
We spent four nights in Lucca during the Luminaria Festa di Santa Croce one September. The city was filled with lighted votive candles set on ledges, in windows, over doors, and in crevices, a beautiful sight to behold. Magical. There was a parade of residents in medieval dress carrying the Volvo Santo, the wooden crucifix through this old city. You will be in Lucca at a very special time. We spent four nights there and could have stayed longer.
Today I began planning a return trip to Italy, our 11th, for fall 2021.

Posted by
9452 posts

I would skip Salerno and Paestum in favor of more time in Rome. Paestum is the one place we traveled during 5 years living in Rome that we would not return. Although the ruins are spectacular, it is a LOT of time to give up for a three hour site that is out of the way. FWIW, I’d also drop Amalfi and stay Rome and north. 2 nights in Bergamo and add more time in Venice and Lucca. The longer you stay in Venice the more you’ll like it. These changes will slow your trip a bit and make time for more in+depth exploration and some relaxation as well.

Posted by
3487 posts

Suki, sounds wonderful! Do you remember if there were several days of events/program leading up to the finale in Lucca? And is there more activity the day after the evening procession? We were planning to participate in a cooking class that I enjoyed on a previous trip to Lucca, but we don’t want to miss the event program.

Posted by
5910 posts

I do not remember the details as this was several years ago. It was a total surprise to us as we had no idea about the festival. The owner of our hotel kept complaining as he didn’t like the crowds. We had no problems though. Loved the whole experience. I found this article by using Google.https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiOvu-rjcPrAhVnmeAKHQhJDLUQFjACegQIBRAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fm.visittuscany.com%2Fen%2Ftopevents%2Fthe-festa-di-santa-croce-in-lucca%2F&usg=AOvVaw0SZyoPVMj-MqWwh5amy3i_

Posted by
3487 posts

Thank you so much for your replies! I will show them to my daughter as we now have the chance to consider any modifications to our original itinerary.