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Small--tiny--villages in Northern Italy


In our 80s we are walking fine but my husband needs to moderate his walks. That said, we are hoping to spend
a week in tiny villages in the north but which are reachable by train.

While I've spent time in Varenna, I want to stay in another Lake Como village. (I loved Varenna but was there with my late husband and it would be difficult to return.) Is Bellagio too uppity? Suggestions, please.

I find the generosity of forum readers/responders amazing. Thank you in advance.

Posted by
543 posts

You might consider Stresa on Lake Maggiore or Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta. I’m researching a trip for next year, and these were suggested on this site. I’ve stayed in Varenna and visited Bellagio by ferry. It was very hilly, if that is a concern. The promenade along the lake is pretty, but very uppity.

Posted by
10078 posts

I agree. Try a different lake. I've been to Stresa once and Orta San Guilio twice. I would go again.

Como is beautiful but is also more crowded than Maggiore or Orta.

Posted by
12389 posts

How about Lago di Garda? You can reach either Desanzano or Peschiera del Garda by train. Neither is particularly hilly. Desanzano is close to Sirmione which is very popular (and maybe crowded), and both towns have Roman history and sites. We are planning on spending time in Desanzano ourselves next September. It has a nice old town area and several small hotels right on the water, by the lake or the little marina (not big resort-y hotels).

Not by a lake, but in the Venetian look at Cittadina, Castelfranco (walled towns) and Bassano del Grappa, all with train service.

Posted by
6763 posts

On Lake Como, mid lake towns that are flat include Menaggio and Cadenabbia. A little south of them is Lenno. All are reachable by ferry.
I would never call Bellagio “uppity” especially the area along the water. Touristy perhaps. But it is all hills.
Perhaps Orta San Giulio would work for you on Lake Orta.

We enjoyed Ranco on Lake Maggiore’s east side. Easily accessible from Milan MXP.
Lake Garda- look at Malcesine and Salò.

Posted by
6763 posts

Another vote for Bassano del Grappa.
Plus in Liguria, between Genoa and Nice on the coast, Noli, and the many small wine villages in the Piedmonte surrounding Alba.
Tuscany- Panzano, Castellina, Radda
Umbria- Spello (hilly), Bevagna (flat)

Posted by
48 posts

Thanks to all. I realize too late that when I said "uppity" no one understood the term. I meant. Upper Class or Rich Cousin as opposed to Poor Cousin. Guess I need to be more direct. Thanks for the great lesson!

Posted by
6082 posts

kathy, we thought Bellagio was indeed uppity compared to Varenna. Old money. After all, there is an uppity hotel in Las Vegas named after it. 🙂

Posted by
225 posts

We didn't find Bellagio even a little bit uppity, but it is very hilly. I'm sure you can find a charming, flatter village.

Obviously people's idea of uppity varies! ;-)

Posted by
417 posts

Bellagio is rather hilly, so I would opt out there. On the eastern shore also consider Mandello del Lario. It is a delightful little town. Further north would be Morbegno, a nice spot not near the lake but in the valley. Halfway between Varenna and Morbegno and on the lake, is Colico. Very nice town as well. Once you move away from the eastern shore of Lake Como you are relegated to ferry or bus transport.