Nees Help with Itinerary PLEASE

This will be my 2nd trip to Italy (been to Venice, Rome, Florence and south) Can you check this itinerary: Fly to and from Milan 1 night Milan 2 nights Dolmites (Bolzano, Verona or Castelrotto?) 3 nights Bologna ( day trips to Parma, Ravenna, Ferrara.?) 1 night Siena 1 night Assisi 3 nights in Cinque Terra 2 nights Torino 4 nights Lakes- Como, Maggiore Leave Milan I will like to use trains as much as possible; I also like wines, any suggestions for any of these areas?
Should I change days spent and/or sequence of towns?

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3503 posts

I'd go straight to the first destination on arrival (unless you are landing too late in the day for that to be viable) and spend the last night before your flight in Milan, if for nothing else but the peace of mind and ease of getting to the airport.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2393 posts

You have 8 different hotel changes in 17 days with 12 different cities listed to visit. That's too much for me. One night in a location means you have less than a whole day to explore that location. At the minimum I always recommend 3 nights per location. Personally, I would cut out at least 3, if not 4 cities and divide the time between the others. Donna

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

One night in Milan is worth it when you are flying into the city. We did it and had a nice first day in Europe, going to the duomo, Brera art museum, the last supper, walking thru the galleria and fashion district. I am also most likely to make the most of my 1st day in Europe and fight the need to go take a nap or take it easy. It is a day in Europe and I don't waste any time. We left the next day for florence.
I would try to do what you can to have an extra day in both Assisi and Siena. Maybe even drop Assisi and add the day to Siena. I really am against 1 night stays (unless it is your fly into Europe day) because half of the day is spent in transit, looking for hotel, unpacking, when it is all said and done you have only 1/2 day to quickly experience a town. Siena offered way more than a 1/2 day of site seeing, in my opinion. An alternative is to immediately get to your 2nd destination and save your milan day for the end. would that be a total of 2 nights in Milan or were you trying to go from Lake Como to the airport?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7967 posts

It looks like each place is getting about the amount of time it deserves including time to get there.

Posted by Gordon
Gresham, Oregon, United States
138 posts

I absolutely agree with the 2 nights in one place to get a full day to enjoy the location. It is about 70 miles from Assisi to Siena, you could rent a car and do day trips to Siena, Assisi, and many other towns around Tuscany. 3 nights in 5 Terre may be one night to many, that's two full days. I would take Sienna, Assisi and 1 5 Terre night and stay three nights somewhere around Siena. Day trips can get you to Assisi (Cortona is on the way to Assisi) and you can find many hilltop wine towns (Montepluciano, San Gimingano, Pienza, etc)

Posted by Robert
Tampa, FL, USA
271 posts

I would drop the 1st night in Milan and go straight to your destination also. I would drop the lakes to 3 nights. And add 1 night to each Siena and Assisi. Personally I don't mind only 2 nights in a location. I have no problem wiht changing hotels that often. It's your preference.

Posted by lorie
east haven, ct
60 posts

Eli, I agree with others. Too many cities for the time. Cut out at least two stops. Have fun. Lorie

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2198 posts

Neither Verona nor Balzano are in the Dolomites. Castelrotto is just barely. For a off-the-Rick-Steves-track experience, take a one hour bus ride from Bolzano to Ortisei. Steal a night from Como and have two full days to take in the Alps di Siusi and Puez-Odle. Do Siena OR Assisi, and why Torino? Add those nights to one of your other destinations. No one night stands!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5737 posts

If this were your first trip to Italy, I'd say you're crazy to pack so many destinations in. But you say it's your second. Do you enjoy breezing from one location to another? If so, then stick with this itinerary. However, the fact that you've got the CT for three nights and the Lakes for four makes me think you would enjoy a slower pace overall. You list Bologna for three nights, but then list three daytrips you would do while there. When are you planning on seeing Bologna itself? How do you plan to see Assisi and Siena when you're only spending one night in each? Can you tell us why you have so many nights in those locations and why you have Torino on your list?

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3314 posts

Can anybody in this forum please go somewhere else in the Dolomites other than Castelrotto? Do the RS' maps of Europe have only Castelrotto in it? I challenge the proselytes of the RS' cult to try Ortisei. Just once. You won't regret it. It's much better than Castelrotto if you really want to explore the Dolomites. Nothing is more beautiful and logistically convenient than the Val Gardena. Regarding your itinerary. As Laurel mentioned, Verona is not in the Dolomites. Bolzano is not too far, Castelrotto barely. Ortisei is (go there). If you arrive early into Milan you could try to head to your first destination that same day. You will need to spend the last night before the flight back in Milan. Flights to the US will require an early departure. If you want two nights in the Dolomites, Ortisei is great. Rent a car if you can. I would prefer Verona to Bologna. From VR you can visit lake Garda (Sirmione, Limone, Riva, Malcesine), Vicenza, Padua, Mantua, and even Bologna, Ravenna and Parma. But that is your choice. Verona is really pretty. Give yourself 3 nights in Siena and use as a base for Tuscany. Borrow days from the lakes and/or Cinque terre. I don't like one nighters. Too much time wasted in checking in and out and packing/unpacking procedures. You don't have time to do both Lake Como and Maggiore. Choose one. Cannobio is my favorite town on Lake Maggiore. However Stresa is convenient for visiting the Isola Bella and the Isola dei Pescatori plus Rick Steves says to stay in Stresa, therefore you must obey Big Brother RS. Actually if you stay a few days at Lake Garda, you might skip the other lakes altogether. Yeah right! Good luck talking the RS people out of Varenna on Lake Como. No chance!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5737 posts

Eli, if you can set aside his RS-bashing, Roberto's advice is generally very good. Verona is indeed very lovely and has lots of easy daytrips. (Roberto, I think you might prefer "acolytes" over "proselytes" for your intended targets. And FWIW I kind of doubt that Eli is a big RS follower since he lists Bologna and Torino among his destinations. As you should know, Bologna doesn't exist in the RS guidebooks and I'm thinking Torino doesn't either.)

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

After much reading and looking at the map and forums, the Itinerary has changed to: Day 1: Arrive Milan @ 9am- Take train to Verona and rent car to drive to Ortisei Day 2-4: Ortisei (Day trips Castlerotto, Bolzano) Day 5: Drive to Trento (spend 1/2 day) and drive to Verona to return car rental; Sleep there Day 6-8: Verona (day trips to Mantova, Lake Garda?) Day 9: Leave Verona- Train to Milan and connect with train to La Spezia Centrale to Vernazza to sleep in. Day 10 + 11: CT (day trips to sta Margarita Lugure and Sestri) Day 12: Train from La Spezia to Genoa to Turin; Rent car in Turin and drive to Asti or Alba for hotel/B&B Day 13-15: Piedmont Area Daytrips: Barolo, Alba, Asti (depending where lodging is) Day 16: Drive to Torino, Shroud of Turin; return car rental and take train to Milan to Como Lake (Varenna) Day 17- 19-Varenna, Bellagio (any other suggestions?) Day 20: Take train to Milan Day 21: Milan Day 22: Depart to California I still have 1 day extra- where should I spend it?
thanks for your feedback!

Posted by Karen
Fairview Park, Ohio, USA
28 posts

What happened to the cinque terre 3 nights? That is worth Italy for me. Im a hiker and it was fun, exciting, and challenging. Then, when we finished, we ate and drank wine for 3 hrs. Fun! If I went back, i would spend more time there...worth it! And so inexpensive!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5737 posts

Karen, Vernazza is in the CT. Eli is planning to spend three nights there - 9, 10 and 11. Eli, you're going to enjoy this itinerary soooo much more. But be careful about all those daytrips. Be sure to leave enough time to explore and enjoy the places that you're staying in.

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

Thank you for the feedback- I'm starting to feel excited about this trip! Two Questions:
1. Im starting to rethink renting car in Verona to drive to Ortesei. Is a car necessary in the Dolomites? We are not avid hikers, but will venture to do one. 2. What should I do with extra day????? Thanks.

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

I have a total of 23 days and Im only using 22. What about the rental car- any insights?
Thanks.

Posted by George
Canada
817 posts

Sorry Eli, whenever I read itineraries like yours, I really wonder what's the point, what's the end goal - is this some kind of personal Amazing Race. You're flitting around: 2 nights here, with 3 day trips planned, next stop etc - Do you really think you're going to get a feel for the places you visit - or is this about notches in the belt?

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

Michael, the day trips are just ideas! I like to keep all my options open. I don't think you looked at my revised trip itinerary where I took out some towns and increased the trip to total of 23 days. The purpose of this 2nd trip to Italy is to discover and enjoy. I don't like to show trip medals to anyone, but I do like to maximize my experience. I hope you understand.

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

sorry michael, the message was not intended to be addressed to you but to George.
Forgive me.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2457 posts

Your extra day could go to Ravenna, either as a daytrip or as an overnight.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
678 posts

I was going to endorse your original plan of taking a day trip from Bologna to Ravenna, which is very interesting place, and well worth the time to get there. However, I see that portion of the trip has now been dropped! You write "Lake Garda?" - it is easy to get there from Verona by train (to Desenzano, from where you can catch ferries aound the lake), and it is a pleasant enough day-trip. But as you are already going to Lake Como, instead I'd suggest taking a trip to Vicenza (which we preferred, in fact, to Verona, although Verona's "Giusti" garden was a highlight there). Also, you can't actually see the shroud of Turin itself can you? It's just an exhibition about the shroud I thought (but I've never been, so might be completely wrong).

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

Thanks Keith, I think you're right about Lake Garda. I will replace it. Do I need a car to be around Dolomites? Any feedback?

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2198 posts

We do the Val Gardena without a car. We train to Bolzano and take a bus to Ortisei. You can buy a Val Gardena pass to experience all the lifts to the mountains from Ortisei, Silva and Santa Cristina whether you hike or not. Just got back last night from a week up there. You can read about the first part of our latest trip at www.gooddayrome.com. I'll be posting the rest of the trip which included Ortisei, in the next day or two. Feel free to PM me for any clarification you need. Cars cost a LOT to rent in Italy. Avoid them if you are budget conscious or nervous driver. It can be done!

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

What a relief to know I don't have to rent a car! Although I had my husband convinced... I rather not drive first thing in Italy.

Posted by Eli
San Diego, Ca, Usa
10 posts

Can you recommend nice hotel in Ortesei? I tried the Kleines Hotel Uhrerhof but it was 91E per person!

Posted by Angela
Chicago/Rural WI
809 posts

Hi Eli, Keith is correct that the Shroud of Turin isn't currently on display. It goes on display rarely and somewhat sporadically, and as far as I know, there haven't been any announcements made as to when it might be available for public viewing in the future.