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Norther Italy Itinerary

Having never been to Italy, I'd like the opinion of those who are exerienced in this area- N. Italy. Below is the itinerary that we are considering. First, about us 2 active 64 yrs olds. We appreciate good food and good wine but don't base trips around that and prefer small, local eateries. We like exploring new cultures, art, architecture, time in cities, villages & the countryside. We'll be traveling mostly by car (we are familiar with narrow winding roads, manual transmission....)

Venice: 2 nights. Arriving the afternoon of 9/9 and leaving 9/11. Train to Bologna.

Bologna (area) for 3-4 nights as a base for exploring- Bologna, Ravenna, Parma....(14th /15th)

Pickup rental car in AM, drive to Verona & explore for a few hours, then onto Orisei.
Orisei (and surrounding area)3 nights (leave on the 18th?)

Bolazano to see the ice man, continuing on to Lake Como

Lake Como (and as a base for Lake Maggiore) 18th-21st or 22nd. Returning the car in Milan. I figure we'll explore Milan for most of a day then we will take a 7:50pm flight to Vienna to see our son!!

Thoughts, suggestions? Thanks!

Posted by
2129 posts

Give Venice 3 nights, especially since you don't arrive til afternoon. 2 nights only gives you 1 full day- still a bit jet lagged.
Most who don't give Venice the time it deserves end up not liking it much.

Posted by
134 posts

Sounds exciting! I haven't been to several of those areas, but I initially feel like you need another night in Venice. Especially if you're arriving from a long flight. It's such an unusual city, and it's a shame to leave without getting a look at some non-touristy areas as well as at least one island. Same thing for Milan. It's an underrated city in my opinion. The Duomo is incredible, and the Last Supper is my fav work of art I've ever seen. And fav viewing experience! It deserves a full day. Would you consider staying 1 night in Milan?

Posted by
25738 posts

I see that in a previous post you have been warned about ZTLs so I won't reiterate.

I will mention the requirement for each driver to have an IDP, and suggest you research TUTOR and the road signs and markings for bus lanes and understand the national speed limits.

The general advice is to never leave anything of value in the car in Italy. Where are you planning to park in Verona?

Posted by
18876 posts

Great destinations, but I feel like you're going to be rushed at every stop, Venice being the place that most needs at least one extra night. I suppose 3 nights in Ortisei will be OK if you don't want to do much hiking. Do keep in mind that you'll probably be moving around partially by lift, so it transportation of one sort or another will chew up a good bit of the time you have threre.

Ravenna's a full-day trip from Bologna, so unless you think you can somehow do Parma and Bologna in one day, you're going to need 4 nights in Bologna.

Much as I like the Borromean Isles, I think you need to drop the idea of visiting Lake Maggiore. Spend all the time you have at Lake Como.

Posted by
2150 posts

If you are going to Vienna in the end, your destinations are in very strange order. Bozen/Bolzano is very close to the Austrian border, so backtracking to Milan to fly to Vienna just seems strange. It would i my opinion make more sense to rearrange the trip so that you end in Bozen/Bolzano, return the car there and take the train to Vienna via Innsbruck.

Posted by
14 posts

My 2 cents: I think you will find once you get to Verona that you'll wish you had a night there. I think it is much more pleasant than Parma. Especially if you are there during opera season and can catch a show at the Arena. It is simply amazing.

Ortisei is great. Someone mentioned that you'll spend a lot time in transport to the lifts. Wherever you stay in town you'll never be more than a few minutes walk from a lift so I wouldn't worry about that. Highly recommend the Seceda lift.

Agree with others that you'll need another night in Venice to really experience it's charm.

Posted by
6594 posts

Venice needs one or two more nights, four at a minimum.
We only combined Lakes Maggiore and Como one time, slow local roads between them. Lake Maggiore is very near Milan MXP. Visit it at end of your trip.
We always rent cars in Europe outside of major cities with a few exceptions. One of Lake Como. Hopedully you can find a hotel with parking and leave car there( check Hotel Belvedere) while visiting Lake Como. We used ferries exclusively; one time we stayed there two weeks and it worked well.
In Ortisei, we left our car in the hotel garage the whole time. But it mad getting there much easier.
Bologna- you can book a food tour that goes to those food towns( Parma, Modica, etc) surrounding Bologna.