Way back in 2005, I finished my MBA, and a month later, married my wife. Being without a job at the time, we postponed our honeymoon until 2007, when we took our first trip together to Europe under the (minimal) tutelage of Rick Steves. I had the Italy book, but none of the city guides, and I skimmed the book due to attention issues. We fell in love with Italy hard, but in our quest to see as much that interests us, and as our interests evolved, we had not returned to Italy until 2017, the tenth anniversary of our honeymoon. Older, much wiser in travel, with a taste for more relaxed travel, we decided to return to Italy, at long last, but do different things. Instrumental in picking where to go, rather than Rick, we turned to his now co-author, Fred Plotkin.
Based on Fred's copy, I presented two options to my wife, both starting in Venice. We had hit Venice on our previous trip, after Rome, Florence, 5Terre, and Milan, and were rolly bag checked luggage travelers then, and did not really see anything in three days there, aside from a big square with long lines, a kooky bridge with a ton of tourists, and the very quiet Jewish ghetto, a complete accident. So, Venice was going to be the open.
Option 1 was going south from Venice to Bologna, and then out into the Emilian countryside. Option 2 was hitting the barolo region of Piemonte. Wife saw mountains in Piemonte, and the choice was made. E-R for a later trip. My original planning thread can be found here, though I simplified, avoided backtracking, and spent a lot more time around Alba.
Researching a part of Italy that is off the Rick routes is a bit more difficult than sticking to the Rick recommendations, or extending the Rick Recommendations (I recommend adding a day to everywhere he suggests staying 2 nights or more). I found more useful stuff in German, translated through google, and some things in Food and Wine, or Conde Nast Traveler.
The final Itinerary was:
- Aug 26: Depart Chicago, sleep plane and
- Aug 27- Arrive Venice, stay until:
- Aug 31 - Depart Venice early, hit Padua, same day depart for:
- Aug 31 - Turin, sleep two nights, get rental car, and make way to:
- Sep 2 - Ada Nada Agriturismo in Treiso (just outside Alba), then drive to:
- Sep 7 - Cogne in Val D'Aosta until:
- Sep 9 - Turn in rental car in Milan, spend a few hours and catch flight to:
- Sep 9 - Dublin, spend night and catch flight to
- Sep 10 - Sweet Home, Chicago.
I wrote up our hotels here, and had promised a larger trip report, and then life moved pretty fast, but with the miracle of technology (and my wife's 2000+ pictures, which she then curated down to a mere 1,066 photos, and my own meager efforts which have metadata attached on my phone, I can jog the old noggin, and turn in the assignment, only 5.5 years late. ;-)
So, sit right back and I'll tell the tale, as I don't think many Rickniks go where we went (hell, not too many Americans go there, and as Cameron Hewitt says, and this trip supports, Italy's best destination is anywhere (though some might be better than others).