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Northern Italy - where to go (June)

Traveling June 18 to 26 - two adults and one 10 year old boy. Like to visit a few places but not spend too much time on a train. Likes: charming cities with streets to wander, not too crowded, not too expensive, historically significant sites. Train travel. Outdoor cafes. Sights which may interest a child. Dislikes: crowds, expensive places, tourist traps. We'd fly into Milan (and possibly out of Zurich or Geneva - an idea). Anyway - I really want ideas! Thanks!

Posted by
586 posts

I say make reservations for The Last Supper in Milan, see the Duomo, and maybe lunch at or near Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and then head to Stresa or Lago di Como, and after a few nights relaxing on the lakes, head over to Venice for at least three nights, before heading north and west from there. You can make Milan a day trip (easy to check bags at Milano Centrale) or stay a few nights. If you've just got about 7 nights, Milano, one of the lake towns, and Venice would do it, really, especially traveling with a child. If you really have your heart set on Switzerland, too, maybe just two nights Milano, two nights in the lakes north of Milano, and then head north via train to Switzerland? Would be a shame not to see Venice.

Posted by
23411 posts

Go to the library or buy a good guide book.

Posted by
1449 posts

people here may supply a few suggestions, but why not get a guidebook like Rick's Italy guide or some of the others to get a real overview of the region? Spend a few days reading thru a book or two. Any guidebook will have a much bigger list of things to do and places to visit than people have the time or inclination to supply here. You "really want ideas"? Guidebooks are filled with them! Then you can make up your own mind about where you'd like to go, and use forums like this to ask questions about specifics not covered in the guides.

Maybe it's me, but there seem to be so many posts lately that say "plan my 10/15/30 day trip for me so I don't have to do the work".

Posted by
23411 posts

Mike, you are so right. Then some get offended because someone suggestions that they should do the home work FIRST. I mean -- how do you response to "not too expensive, not to crowded, etc. First, if you want not too crowded, travel in May or Sept and October. Define expensive, I have no idea what expensive is.

Posted by
582 posts

I got back from Milan last month. Please do see the Duomo! It's breathtaking! It's made all of marble. Was starting to build in the 1300's, and the finishing touches in 1965! It took 600 years to build!
It's hard to get booked for the Last Supper, because they sell out very quickly, but if you book a city tour that includes the Last Supper, then you will get in! I took that tour, and was wonderful!
Some people don't think that Milan is charming, but I do! There are pedestrian only streets between the Duomo and the Sfozesco castle,(La Danza st.) and there are shops and outdoor cafes. So please do have an open mind about Milan. You are flying in there anyway,and you can see a lot in one or two days. All the good things to see are near the Duomo, but not the Last Supper. Rick's Italy guide book is the very best. Much detail. I hope you pick it up. But, if you are looking for cheap, that wont be easy. But looking at the outside and inside of the Duomo is free! Walking around the Sfozesco castle is free too, so you can see some great sights without paying a thing.
Have Fun!!!

Posted by
8992 posts

The Da Vinci museum in Milan was fantastic and I think for a 10 year old boy, you could not go wrong there. It has models of all of Da Vinci's inventions and in another 2 buildings, transportation is the highlight - with famous planes, trains, ships. We spent a very enjoyable half day there. We liked Milan, friendly people, great shopping, interesting neighborhoods, and the Duomo is beautiful especially if you go up to the top and walk on the roof.

Posted by
12172 posts

I would definitely include Verona as one of your stops. It's just the kind of place you like.

I would also includ Venice. Although it can be a lot of the things you dislike, it's so unique everyone should visit at least once.

Posted by
157 posts

The lakes region is close to Milan are nice; Cinque Terra is also easy from Milan as well. Venice is a great city but it is a long way from Milan. I have not looked at the train travel times but if there are within your time/$ budget then go for it. As far as crowds - Italy has them.

Posted by
796 posts

A related topic. Those who have recently stayed in Milan: any hotel suggestions? I plan to spend 2 nights in Milan in mid-May after a RS tour. I prefer to stay near the Duomo. After looking in the RS Italy book, the prices seem outrageous. Hotel Grand Duca di York's website says there are no rooms available. I am searching in other guidebooks but any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by
582 posts

Look into the Hotel Ritter. It's a very simple hotel. It's a 30 minute walk to the Duomo, but such a nice walk! If you stay at the Ritter, please ask for a room in the back, and away from the street. It is very noisy near the street. I had to change my room on the second night. The hotel is under 100 euros, but I was there low season in November. But please look into it. I booked my room through Expedia.
Have fun!!

Posted by
8992 posts

Instead of looking in guidebooks for hotels, look on www.HRS.com or check Trip Advisor. HRS will let you check availability, pick your neighborhood, and set a max price. We stayed in Milan in a nice little place for 85 € a night. If you look online, you will find something that you like.

Posted by
4 posts

Bronwen, while I agree that getting a book is ideal I will share with you a few jems I know of in Northern Italy. My family lives an hour north of Venice and I have travelled many times in this area, which is largely untouched by tourists. I would recommend seeing the tomb of the unknown solider on Monte Grappa (look up the Bassano del Grappa) also Asalo has a really interesting castle ruins that you can see. The castle has an interesting story about an evil king. There are so many things to see in this area that I have been there over 5 times and have never travelled further south then Venice. Also if you enjoy cars the Ferrari factory is in that area as well (near Verona)which is a really cool place that your son may like.
If you are stuck on what to do just rent a car and drive, Italy is dripping with history in every town around every corner! (Do an internet search on Treviso and see what this area has to offer)
Enjoy your vacation!

Posted by
3255 posts

I second the suggestion for visiting Verona--it has more to offer than the Romeo and Juliet balcony!

Posted by
891 posts

I think your 10 year old and the adults would remember that Venice is like no other place! The castle and Ferrari factory sound good, too. When my boys were growing up we learned from the first overseas trip to plan some down time. Not that we sat in the hotel room, but that we planned fewer towns to visit. They noticed things that my husband & I didn't and pointed out differences and some things that were the same. At times they were more observant than we were, and didn't like to be rushed!
Have fun!