N. Italy trip help (PLEASE)

Hi, we are going to be renting a car and spending time in the following areas IN 3 WEEKS!...ANY advice or tips will be helpful and greatly appreciated, favorite places to eat etc. We have all hotels booked and a car as well but with a young child (not joining us for the trip) I have not had the time I had anticipated to determine WHAT to do with our limited time in each location. 2 nights Lucerne 2 nights Lake Maggiore 2 nights Loverno 2 nights Greve in Chianti 1 night Modena 3 nights in Verona (do we take a day trip to Venice?) 4 nights in Munich We prefer to stay away from major tourist traps, although I know there are several must sees that are. We are looking to enjoy good wine, some great food but not expensive (I know, everything is expensive there) see some sights, a few hikes in Cinque Terre although it appears the main hike along the water is still closed?
Thank you in advance

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
869 posts

Greve in Chianti; wine taste in Panzano with the Profesor at his Academia wine shop. Eat lunch and dinner?! at Dario's, the Mad butcher of Panzano; an experience you will not forget. Eat dinner at the lo-cost, awesome, romatic country restarant Osteria Alla Piazza just outside Castallina in Chianti Frazione La Piazza, 7, 53011 Castellina In Chianti, Italy

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5763 posts

Get a good comprehensive guidebook, perhaps Blue Guide to Northern Italy.

Posted by Jen
Nashville, TN, USA
5 posts

Thank you so much for the tips I really appreciate it!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

The suggetion to get a guidebook or two is a good one. However, the Blue Guide may not be the best choice. They are my favorite guidebooks, but are heavily oriented to art, architecture, history, etc; very few photos and maps. So if you don't know what you want to see, they may not be too helpful in sorting it out. You might check some of the photo-intensive guidebooks, like DK Eyewitness Guide, National Geographic Guide. They weigh a ton, and aren't terrific for traveling, but they are really good for figuring out what highlights you might want to visit. And I'd definitely suggest a day trip to Venice, or better yet, overnight if possible. And check Padua in the guidebook; it's a lovely university town.

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
869 posts

First I'd mine Rick's books. DK Eyewitnes is awesome for pics, but I'd also pick up a Lonely Planet guidebook for both Italy and Germany (If you don't have time to sit in the bookstore/library and go thru others for ideas) LP is great for transport, and decent restaurants, and lodging etc. A good bet: Trip Advisor for each area. I would post this same question, for each of the above areas, in their forums, and check each area on their web site.

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, WA, USA
84 posts

Jen, Definitely take the day trip to Venice from Verona. Venice is so magical that you don't want to miss it. It's the most romantic in the evening, so you may want to plan to head back to Verona late. Dance in St. Mark's square in the evening to the orchestras, too. : ) Take Venice's version of the bus (a boat) down the Grand Canal and get off at San Marco. Then literally "get lost" in the maze of paths. Try to stay away from the main Rialto bridge-to-St. Mark's path of day-time tourists, and you will enjoy it! They have wonderful gelato - look for the mounds of fresh fruit or chocolate piled on top of the bins for the best ones. : ) Jean

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5763 posts

One thing I can tell you that I've learned over three visits to Italy, is that we have almost always regretted it when we've done only two nights in any particular location. Doing two nights gives you only one uninterrupted day - not a good way to appreciate Italy and the "dolce far niente" ("sweetness of doing nothing"). If there's any way to drop the number of locations you're staying in so that you can increase the number of nights to at least three each, I urge you to do so. And I bet you'll thank me later.

Posted by rachele
napa
83 posts

Just got back from a trip that included northern Italy as well as Munich, and I think four nights in Munich are too many unless you will be doing day trips such as to Salzburg and Neuschwanstein castle. And yes, you should definitely take a day trip to Venice from Verona. Verona is lovely, but the sights can be seen in a day or less.