Hi fellow travel forum participants! Wow, it feels so good to write a trip report because it means I was actually traveling this year! This trip was my second solo trip to Italy and sixth time in Italy. Since it was a solo trip, the travel itinerary & style are my own. Although my method of moving hotels a lot doesn’t appeal to many people, the only change I would make if starting all over again would be to spend one less day in Parma.
The total cost for my 24 days (22 nights in Italy) was $3700 plus airline ticket & trip insurance. Cost includes nice Italian-style hotels or B&B’s in the center of the historic districts, all transportation costs, a variety of activities, and all meals including $60 for lots of excellent gelato!
I stayed in 11 cities in 22 nights, at 14 hotels or B&B’s, and during that time I rode mostly Regionale trains with an average travel time on those 12 days of two hours.
After losing both 2020 & 2021, I (along with many of you) wanted to make up for lost travel time, so I stayed a little longer than past trips. Usually I travel in September. Going in June gave me a chance to look for different local festivals in Italy to attend. The dates of the Infiorata in Spello & Luminara of San Ranieri in Pisa set the basis for my travel dates.
Things I did differently because of Covid: I like to eat outdoors, but for this trip I specifically ate all meals other than hotel breakfasts outdoors. I didn’t schedule any indoor cooking classes and went through less museums. I decided to not attend a reserved Doges group tour in Venice because there were too many people coughing in general in Venice! I brought extra items with me - proctored tests, home tests and also extra supplies/meds, favorite herbal tea, etc. in case I tested positive and had to stay longer. I rode a lot of Regionale trains, and I was very happy to be able to choose where & who I sat near….coughing? nope, not there. : )
The cities in this itinerary were: Milan (mainly as a buffer day in case my plane connections lost a day), Stresa, Cremona, Parma, Bergamo, Mantova, Venice, Pisa, Rome (added due to mitigation for a train strike), Spello, Perugia, and finished with one night at the Hilton Rome airport hotel.
Milan: the last time I flew to Europe, we still lived in Seattle. Now with three flights to arrive at Milan, I was really exhausted by the time I took the train from Malpensa to Milano Centrale to stay at Hotel Berna. I had just enough energy to sit in the sun to acclimate and then walk to the gelato shop. I’m a little quirky and don’t use map tracking – just look at a map and start out. Instead of going down the street and making a 60 degree left for two blocks, I made a sharp left. Walked two blocks and no Gelato Giusto! But, I saw Terra Gelato and from the outside it looked good. Oh, yes! Their Salted Sicilian Pistachio was definitely the way to begin the trip!
Stresa: Stresa on Lake Maggiore is one of my favorites - my definition of a relaxing setting, and I like to begin a trip at a familiar location to just enjoy without needing to make any logistic decisions. After returning to Hotel Milan Speranza Au Lac, I took the morning ferry from Stresa across the lake to visit the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso. A gorgeous setting clinging above the lake & perfect overcast weather for photos! It gave me a chance to climb & exercise and have a little snack at the cafe above near the parking lot. The rest of the day I just enjoyed being in Stresa again, having dinner on the waterfront. It was Italy’s Republic Day which provided a nice ambiance of being among Italians who came to Stresa to celebrate. My hotel room was old, but they gave me a nice side balcony with views of the lake! And a direct view of the chiming bell tower which I enjoyed.