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Italy - Trip #2 Solo

Almost exactly one year ago, I took my second trip to Italy. I started off flying to Zurich, Switzerland and ended my trip in Milan. First off, I would like to thank all those on this forum who offered their suggestions. I had such a wonderful time. As a solo traveler, I tend to ask a million questions (or perhaps, because I have so many questions). This report is for those who would love to travel solo, but feel nervous to do so. It has its ups and downs, but overall, I would say "just go". Once you travel solo, you realize how much fun it can be.
So on with this report, as I mentioned, I flew into Milan. I got on a bus right away to get to Stresa. (HTTP://TICKETONLINE.MALPENSASHUTTLE.IT/_EN/PAGINE/STEP_2.CFM).

I highly recommend Stresa if one is looking for a laid back atmosphere to get into the travelling grove. First off, it couldn’t be easier to reach it. I hopped onto the bus ( tip: buy your ticket online as you can’t buy it at the stop). I got off and stepped across the street to Hotel Milan Speranza au Lac. I had a tiny room. Let me say this, no worries. You will not stay in your room. There are so many cafes and restaurants to sit and watch the world go by. I took the ferries right across the street to 2 out of the 3 islands. I was sorry that I didn’t have enough time to explore this little island.
Were there crowds in Italy in August? Yes. Was it hot and humid? Yes. Many other travelers warned me about this, but as a teacher, I only have August to travel. Don’t let this scare you off though. I found plenty of beautiful spaces to be alone and enjoy the quiet, even in Venice.
I also took the ferry to Baveno. I found the market there. I loved the market. I bought a few light shirts and some fruit. I also took a day trip to Lake Orta. I found the bus and went for the day. I ended up spending about half hour on the island and more time walking around the town. It is worth the day trip.

After Stresa, I made my way by train to Verona. So this is where the best laid plans…..I had a ticket to see Carmen at the XXX. I had bought the ticket months and months in advance. Of course, the one night it rained, was the night the arena was cleared out due to a slippery stage. It starts late to begin with and by the time the performers resumed (and the rain let up), it was close to midnight. I stuck it out till I realized I had to walk back to the hotel and it was close to 1:30. I stayed at XXX. It was clean, but it was tucked into a bit of an alley. Honestly, I felt safe as there were still lots of people wandering around and leaving the opera. I would do it all over again.

The next day I had a tour planned with Manuela Uber. I booked a Romeo and Juliet tour through XXX. This was one of my favorite experiences. I highly recommend Manuela as a tour guide. She is a very good guide and a lovely person. As part of this tour, you get to write back as Juilet. I found it to be a very emotional experience. I so wanted to go back to volunteer write again the next day, but I had another plan and couldn’t manage to get everything in. Manuela gave me the name of a small deli type restaurant where I bought a picnic basket of some suggestions of cheese and meat. I had a lovely picnic on their back patio with view of the river. Wouldn’t you agree that those seemingly little moments are what travelling is all about? I will put some of the links at the end of this report.
From there I took the train to Venice. I ended up staying at Hotel Flora. I toyed with a few suggestions for hotels, but I was so happy with my choice. I had the sweetest room with a view onto their inner courtyard garden. Breakfast was served each morning there and their little bar. I have to say, I loved their breakfast too. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I have more to add in a follow up....

Posted by
3344 posts

Victoria, thanks for sharing your wonderful journey. The lakes are on our radar for a future trip. (Sorry you missed Carmen!)

I liked the idea to hop on a bus for transportation. I had to smile when you said you stayed at Hotel Flora! This was our choice in late August 2018. Isn't it a wonderful hotel? Friends had recommended the hotel. It was everything and more! Great report!

Posted by
307 posts

Victoria, we did part of your trip just a few weeks ago! We took the train from Milan to Stresa and enjoyed a three day stay there. We also visited two of the three islands (Bella and Pescatore), and had a magnificent day trip to Lago d’Orta one day. We were among the first to arrive at Isola San Giulio, and that was so wonderful to walk around in such a serene place. It was one of the highlights of the lakes part of our trip. That, and the thunderstorm and hail we experienced there that finally brought some cooler weather! We took the Alibus back to Malpensa Airport for our flight home- super convenient.

Did you go up to the top of Mottarone? We did not, because it was stormy that weekend and visibility was poor. However, I did get a view of the lakes from our flight home, when the weather cleared.

I chose Stresa and Lago Maggiore over Lago Como because I was hoping for less crowds, was interested in the Borromean Islands, and hoped to go to Lago d’Orta...plus wanted to return directly to the airport, not visit the Milano Centrale station for a fourth time!😄 (We went between Milan/Torino/Milan/Stresa, and quickly found that the coolest place in the station was the Venchi gelato and chocolate store. We visited it three times in the heat wave!)

Thanks for sharing your trip report!
Laurie