Where should we go in Italy?

Tips, stories, and questions about travel-related topics
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
alan weinberg
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 11744
Joined: April 25th, 2009, 1:23 pm

Where should we go in Italy?

#1 Post by alan weinberg » May 5th, 2019, 10:24 am

we want to go back to Italy and have done Venice, Rome, Florence, Pisa, and a brief drive through part of Tuscany. We’ve been to Naples and Capri. Where should we go? Why? Not wine-centric.

User avatar
Michael O'Brien
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 881
Joined: August 21st, 2009, 8:27 am
Location: Plano, TX

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#2 Post by Michael O'Brien » May 5th, 2019, 11:10 am

We really enjoyed Sicily including Messina, Taormina, Campania, and of course Mt. Etna. There are many small villages in the mountains that have some of the best small restaurants you will ever find. And of course, there is wine and spirits.
PlanoWino

User avatar
Josh Grossman
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1558
Joined: August 30th, 2017, 11:26 am

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#3 Post by Josh Grossman » May 5th, 2019, 11:46 am

We are doing Amalfi this summer and trying to figure out if I can get to Castelmezzano. If I could move anywhere, it would be Bolzano.

User avatar
Neal.Mollen
Posts: 33412
Joined: January 30th, 2009, 1:26 pm

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#4 Post by Neal.Mollen » May 5th, 2019, 1:33 pm

Alan, I started a very similar thread last year and there were a TON of great recommendations. If only there were a search function on this board . . . .

EDIT: here it is: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=148540&p=2443046&hi ... a#p2443014
I don't have to speak; she defends me

A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one

Dave Sankaran
Posts: 64
Joined: April 11th, 2019, 11:06 am

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#5 Post by Dave Sankaran » May 5th, 2019, 1:53 pm

Next up imo after that list of cities would be; Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino and Cinqua Terra. Also the lake district.

Barry L i p t o n
Posts: 2838
Joined: November 8th, 2009, 8:59 pm

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#6 Post by Barry L i p t o n » May 5th, 2019, 2:00 pm

The Veneto is lovely if you like Palladian villas.

Sardinia is unlike the rest of Italy - it still shows it's Carthage roots. While the Costa Smerelda is gorgeous (and super pricey), Cagliari is interesting, affordable and some of the best seafood ever.

User avatar
Jim Stewart
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 927
Joined: July 31st, 2018, 9:49 am
Location: MA / FL

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#7 Post by Jim Stewart » May 5th, 2019, 2:31 pm

Mmmm . . . not wine-centric? What other things have appealed to you in your previous travels to Italy and elsewhere? What makes for a good trip for you? What are some of your other interests? Might lead us to some suggestions for you.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing

dbailey
Posts: 3744
Joined: September 7th, 2009, 8:44 am

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#8 Post by dbailey » May 5th, 2019, 3:30 pm

Dolomites. Cortina, val gardena etc etc. There’s a reason it’s a world heritage site. Breathtaking scenery, incredible food (and wine!), great hiking/biking and lots more besides. Could easily combine with lake garda or como.
Dan

User avatar
Neal.Mollen
Posts: 33412
Joined: January 30th, 2009, 1:26 pm

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#9 Post by Neal.Mollen » May 6th, 2019, 11:54 am

I don't have to speak; she defends me

A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5275
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#10 Post by Ian Sutton » May 8th, 2019, 11:48 am

Hi Alan
Anything in particular that would make the trip perfect for you? e.g.
- Historic or vibrant city vs. attractive coastal / rural scenery?
- warmer or cooler?
- Any activities that appeal e.g. walking, cycling, train journeys, opera or other events etc?
- Any airports that make a convenient entry/exit point for you?
- Somewhere comfortable with tourists, or do you seek well off the tourist trail / opportunity to speak the language
- Anywhere you have in mind that could be paired with another location to give an intriguing balance?
- Anything else that might turn a good holiday into a great one?
- North or South (it's not at all a precise divide, but those that seek vibrant / exuberant locations might head south, whilst those seeking more well-to-do locations might head north. Don't get too hung up on the perceived divide, but people can often gravitate to one or the other)

I have a very odd choice of book to turn to for inspiration in Italy. Fred Plotkin's Italy for the gourmet traveler is ostensibly aimed at food highlights, but I think other books do that better / more comprehensively. However it's his engaging writing style and his ability to give a fine overview of what appeals about a place/region that I appreciate. Flicking through the pages of the book has helped shape many a trip to Italy. So in addition to any suggestions here, I'd recommend getting hold of a copy of that book from library or bookshop.

Anyway, let us have whatever thoughts you have about what you're looking for and hopefully we can give some tailored suggestions.

Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

User avatar
Walt Hoehler
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3085
Joined: June 1st, 2009, 11:42 am
Location: NYC

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#11 Post by Walt Hoehler » May 9th, 2019, 8:24 am

Lake Como. Amazing place. You won't be disappointed.

Stephen Pepe
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 369
Joined: November 24th, 2010, 7:56 am
Location: Santa Rita Hills CA

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#12 Post by Stephen Pepe » May 9th, 2019, 10:38 am

Alba during the white truffle season Oct.- Dec. Stop in Turin on the way. Some excellent Egyptian artifacts.
Stephen Pepe
Clos Pepe Vineyards and Estate Wines
Santa Rita Hills, CA

User avatar
RyanC
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3299
Joined: June 2nd, 2009, 4:20 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#13 Post by RyanC » May 9th, 2019, 10:41 am

The answer to this is the same answer I'd give you if the question where "Where should I go in Europe?" or "Where should I go on earth?": the Amalfi Coast. Specifically Positano or Ravello. It's a magical corner of the world and I can't think of anywhere (save perhaps Japan) I'd rather return.

Beyond that, Como and Piedmont are strong options.
C@ughey

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5275
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#14 Post by Ian Sutton » May 14th, 2019, 3:18 pm

Hi Alan
Are you still reading this?
Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

User avatar
Jeremy Holmes
Posts: 6614
Joined: April 28th, 2010, 3:50 pm

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#15 Post by Jeremy Holmes » May 20th, 2019, 9:55 pm

ITB

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5275
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#16 Post by Ian Sutton » June 1st, 2019, 2:38 pm

Hi Alan
Have we all wasted our time on this thread?

I am very happy to post suggestions for people wanting to have a really great Italian holiday, but as you've not posted on this thread since the original post, I get the impression you've just wasted our time. I hope that is not true.

Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

F.Daner
Posts: 1929
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 4:48 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#17 Post by F.Daner » June 23rd, 2019, 6:24 am

I'm going to piggyback on this thread since some good folks are helping out. We are going for our first time Sept 6-16th. Right now this is the schedule. Interested in thoughts/comments and if we are biting off too much. I want some wine focus but it is not a wine centric trip. We want to see has much of the country as possible but still not be rushed and try and do too much. Thoughts on this itinerary:

We land in Florence the morning of the 6th(Saturday). We're staying in Florence only until Sunday around noon. Take the train to Turn then car to Serralunga. We're staying at Il Boscareto for 3 nights and 2 full days. I'm planning on 2 tastings the first day and 1 or 2 on the 2nd day. We have a good list of restaurants from the board and want to leave enough time to walk the area at each visit with lunch in between.

Wednesday morning we leave to meet friends on the coast in Santa Margherita. We'll explore the coast and head down to Bibbona where we are staying 2 nights to taste in Bolgheri and explore the coast and surrounding towns.

Friday- Visit Montalcino for tasting and exploring on the way to Pienza. We are staying the final 3 nights here.
Saturday and Sunday- Montepulciano- we will probably taste on Saturday and leave Sunday open.

Monday afternoon- fly home from Florence

I have thought as an alternative to not go to Piedmont and instead stay in Florence until Monday then explore our way up to Santa Margherita ?? I do love Barolo though and have always wanted to visit. This will be the best chance though as our next trip will be to the Almafi coast. Appreciate all thoughts/comments

Fred
Fred

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5275
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#18 Post by Ian Sutton » June 24th, 2019, 3:46 pm

Hi Fred
My view is that there is too much travel time and too little time to see what you'd want to see / take in the culture of where you are. That said I definitely lean towards Slow Travel mindset (and post on the Slow Europe travel forum).

Does Florence appeal? It does for huge numbers (though not everyone likes the tourist throng). It feels very light especially if you land with jet lag.

I'm assuming flights are set in stone, so I won't suggest an open-jaw ticket combining Turin arrival and Florence exit. That would have made the Turin/Langhe option more natural, though I still would have suggested ignoring Turin (my favourite city) and driving straight to Serralunga to get over jet lag in a rural setting. Anyway let's assume that can't be changed, but whatever Turin does not work for you on this trip (and deserves much longer - you might unfairly hate it if it's treated as little more than transit)

Is the meeting friends in Santa Margherita a definite? If it is it gives you better justification for Serralunga. Much as it's a long drive on arrival (and an overnight recovery at a nice agriturismo might be needed), I'd consider driving straight to Serralunga, giving it an extra day to allow for jet lag, from there to Santa M. di L to meet the friends, then choose a single Tuscan base, being either a nice agriturismo in easy reach of Florence, or Montepulciano (it is good and most prefer it as an experience to Montalcino).

As an alternative 10 full days is a good time to get a feel for Tuscany and just Tuscany (we did similar with 14 a few years ago, taking in Montepulciano, Siena and Pisa). If there isn't enough to appeal, then you're not looking hard enough [wink.gif]. I'd be looking for 2 locations that allow me to explore different aspects, but maybe tacking Florence as a finishing location for 2-3 days to make the final trip to the airport easier. However Montepulciano + Florence would be perfectly enjoyable.

I hope this helps. My over-arching suggestion is 'less is more'.

Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

Dave Sankaran
Posts: 64
Joined: April 11th, 2019, 11:06 am

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#19 Post by Dave Sankaran » June 24th, 2019, 9:30 pm

Fred - I thought I was a "fast traveler/visitor" until I read your itinerary. Other than peering out car windows, I don't see how you "see" Italy in that itinerary. And, while you say its not "wine focused", it sure reads like you are hurrying past an amazing country and history to get to some tastings. I truly hope this doesn't come off as harsh...but my take is your itinerary is "your itinerary" that meets what you are looking for (as it should)...so I find it hard to make suggestions from that "base". But, its the internet, so I'll try anyways :-)

To begin, I was startled (and confused) to hear of anyone planning to arrive in Florence and depart the next morning. Its one of the most significant historical cities in the western world after-all. And I love Santa Margherita, but the "joy" of it is spending a few days in a hotel in the town and taking Ferries to Portofino and Cinqua Terra for the day and doing nothing but relaxing in the town another other day.

Italy is just so dense with, well, everything; history, art of all types, architecture, religious sites, food, wine, culture, landscapes...for 10 days (which usually means 8 nights given travel to/from Italy), I usually say something like "pick one of these combos":

- Rome/Florence combo
- Venice, Lake District combo
- Rome/Amalfi
- Florence/Santa Margherita (with a day in Cinqua Terra and a quick look at the tower in Pisa if that interests you as you go past on the way from Florence to SML)
- Piedmonte and the Lake District
- Florence and Tuscany

But, that's not going to thrill everyone. Perhaps the wine tasting seeker foremost...

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5275
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#20 Post by Ian Sutton » June 25th, 2019, 11:51 am

Loved your post Dave, and I particularly want to reinforce the idea of combos, be that two locations that allow for a compare and contrast, or just two very different experiences (Venice + Lakes). I must admit that if the flights are set in stone, then Florence & Tuscan countryside is a very sensible pairing.

Some combos we've done in the past:
Ravello & Lipari (Sicilia)
Ravello & Pogerola (a simple bus to Amalfi and back out again, but it was a good combo)
Ferrara & Puglia (an odd combo, but allowed us to try out the night train)
Ferrara & Forlì (the latter one of the few disappointments of lesser seen Italy, yet still we found a great restaurant and enjoyed an evening devoted to street music)
Various combos of Torino, Ghemme, Langhe & nearby countryside - quite a few times.
Bologna, Ferrara & Reggio nell'Emilia (3 different perspectives on Emilia Romagna)
Montepulciano, Siena & Pisa (as above but for Toscana)
Bologna, Mezzane di Sotto (Verona) & Lago Molveno (city, countryside and Mountains - a super combo)
Bologna, Trento and Lago Molveno (revisiting places we enjoyed, but adding Trento in as we'd enjoyed a day trip there)

I do spend a lot of time considering the travel time, trying to keep transfers to a minimum, or rather between 2-4 hours, as this tends to work well as chucking out time at the previous place + 3 hours tends to be about when we can check into the new place (though many will allow you to drop bags off if the room/apartment isn't ready / leave bags for a couple of hours before heading off.

Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

F.Daner
Posts: 1929
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 4:48 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#21 Post by F.Daner » June 29th, 2019, 3:36 am

Ian/Dave- thanks very much for the feedback and you've confirmed what I've been concerned about. I don't think I can change the back half of the trip when we meet up with our friends but I can change the front half. As much as I want to go to Piedmont I think I will have to save for another time and spend more time in Florence then up the coast to meet our friends. I'm thinking of spending the weekend in Florence. We will have jet lag but it will give us 2 full days. We would then head up the coast to spend Mon-Wed afternoon. Any thoughts on location to stay ? Portofino vs Santa Margherita ?

Thanks for the guidance.
Fred

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5275
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#22 Post by Ian Sutton » June 29th, 2019, 9:51 am

Hi Fred
I've not been to either, but know Camogli is also appreciated by many, so that's another consideration. Logistically nothing between the three, so I'd be now looking at what accomodation jumps out as exciting & if so, that will make the difference.
Regards
Ian
Normal for Norfolk

Dave Sankaran
Posts: 64
Joined: April 11th, 2019, 11:06 am

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#23 Post by Dave Sankaran » June 29th, 2019, 9:57 pm

Hi Fred,

I've always stayed in SML and only gone to Portofino for the day/lunch on the ferry. I've stayed at a few places in SML, but this one is nicely located and the rooms (while small) are nicely equipped and (for the area) reasonably priced:

https://www.santamargheritapalace.com/

That said, I haven't found a "great and reasonable value" hotel there yet. I may well try a different place next time.

Oh...its gotta be said, the most egregious pick-pocket experience I had was at the train station in SML. It happens pretty much everywhere in Italy, but my most memorable "catching the hand literally in my pocket" moment was on that train platform. Mother and cute daughter routine. Ugh. Love Italy!

Dave Sankaran
Posts: 64
Joined: April 11th, 2019, 11:06 am

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#24 Post by Dave Sankaran » June 29th, 2019, 10:00 pm

oh, gotta also add, from SML the day trip ferry ride to Cinqua Terra is unforgettable. The itinerary allows for a long enough stop for a nice lunch in one of the towns (with some damn fine whites with your fresh seafood). A ferry ride to lunch and a walk to the castle/gardens in Portofino is a darn fine way to spend a day also.

Wrt Florence, I'd recommend figuring out what you want to see in advance and getting tickets where possible. Like the Borghese in Rome, the Uffizi and David are too crowded. Santa Croce is a must to see the famous graves. Medici palaces and the gardens (forgetting their name) are amazing. The absurd crush of tourists aside, Florence is simply unbelievable. And, as I did here, its easy to create a list of important sites and not even mention the Duomo.

User avatar
M.Kaplan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4900
Joined: April 18th, 2009, 9:10 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#25 Post by M.Kaplan » June 30th, 2019, 6:41 am

Camogli is lovely but small. We’ve stayed at the Excelsior Palace between Rapallo and Santa Margherita. An easy walk to either town. A municipal bus line runs between Rapallo and Portofino and is often easier than parking. And an hour by train or car to Cincque Terre.

Florence was once our favorite and most visited city in Italy, but we likely won’t return. Its infrastructure and size are too small and old to handle the hordes of visitors. On our last trip, we left early. When we return to the area, we’ll likely stay in Greve or Panzano. 45 minutes by bus or car to Florence (park at the train station) and an hour to Siena. I actually prefer to stay in Siena than Florence; Siena at night is a vastly superior experience. YMMV.
---Mark

F.Daner
Posts: 1929
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 4:48 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#26 Post by F.Daner » July 1st, 2019, 3:54 am

Thanks for the info and heads up Dave !
Dave Sankaran wrote:
June 29th, 2019, 10:00 pm
oh, gotta also add, from SML the day trip ferry ride to Cinqua Terra is unforgettable. The itinerary allows for a long enough stop for a nice lunch in one of the towns (with some damn fine whites with your fresh seafood). A ferry ride to lunch and a walk to the castle/gardens in Portofino is a darn fine way to spend a day also.

Wrt Florence, I'd recommend figuring out what you want to see in advance and getting tickets where possible. Like the Borghese in Rome, the Uffizi and David are too crowded. Santa Croce is a must to see the famous graves. Medici palaces and the gardens (forgetting their name) are amazing. The absurd crush of tourists aside, Florence is simply unbelievable. And, as I did here, its easy to create a list of important sites and not even mention the Duomo.
Fred

User avatar
brigcampbell
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 12794
Joined: April 7th, 2010, 12:17 pm
Location: Mission Viejo, CA

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#27 Post by brigcampbell » July 1st, 2019, 4:08 pm

Walt Hoehler wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 8:24 am
Lake Como. Amazing place. You won't be disappointed.
Or go to the lake no Americans visit and I think is better than Como, Lake Garda.

Better towns, more activities, and more sights to see.

F.Daner
Posts: 1929
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 4:48 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#28 Post by F.Daner » August 10th, 2019, 5:18 am

Thanks Dave. We ended up booking a room there for our 2 nights in SML.
Dave Sankaran wrote:
June 29th, 2019, 9:57 pm
Hi Fred,

I've always stayed in SML and only gone to Portofino for the day/lunch on the ferry. I've stayed at a few places in SML, but this one is nicely located and the rooms (while small) are nicely equipped and (for the area) reasonably priced:

https://www.santamargheritapalace.com/

That said, I haven't found a "great and reasonable value" hotel there yet. I may well try a different place next time.

Oh...its gotta be said, the most egregious pick-pocket experience I had was at the train station in SML. It happens pretty much everywhere in Italy, but my most memorable "catching the hand literally in my pocket" moment was on that train platform. Mother and cute daughter routine. Ugh. Love Italy!
Fred

F.Daner
Posts: 1929
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 4:48 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#29 Post by F.Daner » August 11th, 2019, 9:00 am

Mark- any restaurants that stood out between Rapallo, SML and Camogli ? I've read about Sa, Da Paolo and La Rotunda in Camolgi and little local spot Da Mario in Rapallo. We'll be doing 2 dinners and a few lunches during our stay.

thanks !
M.Kaplan wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 6:41 am
Camogli is lovely but small. We’ve stayed at the Excelsior Palace between Rapallo and Santa Margherita. An easy walk to either town. A municipal bus line runs between Rapallo and Portofino and is often easier than parking. And an hour by train or car to Cincque Terre.

Florence was once our favorite and most visited city in Italy, but we likely won’t return. Its infrastructure and size are too small and old to handle the hordes of visitors. On our last trip, we left early. When we return to the area, we’ll likely stay in Greve or Panzano. 45 minutes by bus or car to Florence (park at the train station) and an hour to Siena. I actually prefer to stay in Siena than Florence; Siena at night is a vastly superior experience. YMMV.
Fred

User avatar
M.Kaplan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4900
Joined: April 18th, 2009, 9:10 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#30 Post by M.Kaplan » August 11th, 2019, 10:01 am

Fred,
Check out U Giancu
(https://www.ugiancu.it/?lang=en) up in the hills above Rapallo/SML. Very fun place. Food is good. Setting is great.
---Mark

F.Daner
Posts: 1929
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 4:48 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#31 Post by F.Daner » September 1st, 2019, 3:51 am

Thanks Mark. This looks like a cool spot. So many options to choose from. Definitely looking forward to exploring the different cuisine styles that we'll experience.
M.Kaplan wrote:
August 11th, 2019, 10:01 am
Fred,
Check out U Giancu
(https://www.ugiancu.it/?lang=en) up in the hills above Rapallo/SML. Very fun place. Food is good. Setting is great.
Fred

User avatar
N. Justl
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 460
Joined: February 3rd, 2009, 5:28 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#32 Post by N. Justl » September 7th, 2019, 10:02 am

I, too, am looking for some advice.

My wife and I went to Italy in March of 2017, and dis the typical major route - Rome, Florence, and Venice. We loved it so much, we decided to book another trip to Italy next March; however, this time we are flying in/out of Milan.

We only have 7 nights, so we are trying to figure out how to best spend our time. The one thing that is a must for us is Lake Como, other than that, how would you choose to spend your time?
  • Is Barolo/Barbaresco area worth a visit?
  • Portofino/Cirque Terra?
  • We LOVED Florence and Tuscany - worth a quick return to the area or should we stay in the northern region?
  • How much time would you recommend in Milan?
Also, would appreciate recommendations for hotels and restaurants in the various towns/areas. Would love to hear some thoughts as to people who have seen more of Italy. Thanks!
Nick

User avatar
David K o l i n
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 15948
Joined: June 2nd, 2009, 5:29 pm
Location: ChiIl

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#33 Post by David K o l i n » September 7th, 2019, 11:19 am

F.Daner wrote:
August 11th, 2019, 9:00 am
Mark- any restaurants that stood out between Rapallo, SML and Camogli ? I've read about Sa, Da Paolo and La Rotunda in Camolgi and little local spot Da Mario in Rapallo. We'll be doing 2 dinners and a few lunches during our stay.

thanks !
M.Kaplan wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 6:41 am
Camogli is lovely but small. We’ve stayed at the Excelsior Palace between Rapallo and Santa Margherita. An easy walk to either town. A municipal bus line runs between Rapallo and Portofino and is often easier than parking. And an hour by train or car to Cincque Terre.

Florence was once our favorite and most visited city in Italy, but we likely won’t return. Its infrastructure and size are too small and old to handle the hordes of visitors. On our last trip, we left early. When we return to the area, we’ll likely stay in Greve or Panzano. 45 minutes by bus or car to Florence (park at the train station) and an hour to Siena. I actually prefer to stay in Siena than Florence; Siena at night is a vastly superior experience. YMMV.
Best food in the neighborhood is the focaccia in Camogli. We spent the first nights of our honeymoon and the Doge’s Palace there and used Camogli as a jumping off spot for touring Laguria. Very happy with our decision

F.Daner
Posts: 1929
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 4:48 am
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#34 Post by F.Daner » September 8th, 2019, 12:21 am

Thank you David ! We are staying in SML on the 2nd leg of our trip. We will definitely have Focaccia in Camolgi as well as this little pasta shop we have read about. Posting all notes and thoughts on a new thread.
David K o l i n wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 11:19 am
F.Daner wrote:
August 11th, 2019, 9:00 am
Mark- any restaurants that stood out between Rapallo, SML and Camogli ? I've read about Sa, Da Paolo and La Rotunda in Camolgi and little local spot Da Mario in Rapallo. We'll be doing 2 dinners and a few lunches during our stay.

thanks !
M.Kaplan wrote:
June 30th, 2019, 6:41 am
Camogli is lovely but small. We’ve stayed at the Excelsior Palace between Rapallo and Santa Margherita. An easy walk to either town. A municipal bus line runs between Rapallo and Portofino and is often easier than parking. And an hour by train or car to Cincque Terre.

Florence was once our favorite and most visited city in Italy, but we likely won’t return. Its infrastructure and size are too small and old to handle the hordes of visitors. On our last trip, we left early. When we return to the area, we’ll likely stay in Greve or Panzano. 45 minutes by bus or car to Florence (park at the train station) and an hour to Siena. I actually prefer to stay in Siena than Florence; Siena at night is a vastly superior experience. YMMV.
Best food in the neighborhood is the focaccia in Camogli. We spent the first nights of our honeymoon and the Doge’s Palace there and used Camogli as a jumping off spot for touring Laguria. Very happy with our decision
Fred

User avatar
Ian Sutton
Posts: 5275
Joined: March 6th, 2014, 2:19 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#35 Post by Ian Sutton » September 8th, 2019, 2:12 pm

N. Justl wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 10:02 am
I, too, am looking for some advice.

My wife and I went to Italy in March of 2017, and dis the typical major route - Rome, Florence, and Venice. We loved it so much, we decided to book another trip to Italy next March; however, this time we are flying in/out of Milan.

We only have 7 nights, so we are trying to figure out how to best spend our time. The one thing that is a must for us is Lake Como, other than that, how would you choose to spend your time?
  • Is Barolo/Barbaresco area worth a visit?
  • Portofino/Cirque Terra?
  • We LOVED Florence and Tuscany - worth a quick return to the area or should we stay in the northern region?
  • How much time would you recommend in Milan?
Also, would appreciate recommendations for hotels and restaurants in the various towns/areas. Would love to hear some thoughts as to people who have seen more of Italy. Thanks!
7 nights restricts you more than those glossy brochures would make out. For me that length of time = 2 bases max. Any more and your memories of the holiday will be packing / unpacking, checking in/out and a lot of transfers with luggage.

So it's Lake Como + ?

- The Langhe region with Barolo / Barbaresco and their satellite villages is definitely worthy of consideration if you are a wine enthusiast. Public transport options are poor, but 2 hour drive from Malpensa makes this a very manageable transfer, even on a short holiday
- Cinque Terre/Portofino would be a good counterpoint to Lake Como giving you two different views of water, but that's 4 hours minimum travelling, either train via Genova, or driving (but a car is useless in Cinque Terre). I would say that is too far a transfer
- Similarly Tuscany is too far to be practical (aka If you want to get to Tuscany, I wouldn't start at Lake Como)
- Milan? Personally I didn't take to it, but it's certainly an option for either that 2nd base, or if you HAVE to have a 3rd location, then use it as a 1st night or last night depending on when your plane lands / takes off
- Others to consider. Plenty of love for the northern piemonte wine here, also with nebbiolo at the fore e.g. Gattinara/Boca/Lessona etc. Logistically it's shorter transfer time (Gattinara is 45 mins drive from Malpensa, 90 mins from Como) and the driving likely to be easier as well. Boca even closer. What's more these regions see much less tourism, so you'll get a much greater insight into Italian/Piemontese culture. We've stayed in Ghemme a couple of times at a brilliant agriturismo and though I really like Ghemme, it's as far from a tourist attraction as I could think of. It's a humdrum small town / large village, with a criss-cross of streets (and virtually no traffic). Greenery around, but little in the town. We love it, but I'm not sure I should expect people to love such humdrum as much as we do. Gattinara definitely a more obvious destination, but even then not over-touristed at all.
- Make it a lakes driving trip, taking in Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta (with a night in Gattinara to indulge the wine interest). That gives you lots of things to see, with the convenience of the car allowing you to change base more frequently (e.g. 1-2 night stops). If I had to highlight one to really give serious consideration to, it would be this idea of a lakes explorer trip.
- Head up to the mountains, with apparently some exceptionally scenic roads. I have no experience there, so you'll have to dig on your own to find out more (unless anyone else here can help)

Hope this helps
Normal for Norfolk

Barry L i p t o n
Posts: 2838
Joined: November 8th, 2009, 8:59 pm

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#36 Post by Barry L i p t o n » September 8th, 2019, 2:57 pm

I agree on two bases, but Florence is super easy by train from Milan (under two hours). And not that hard from the lakes (Varenna, a smaller town on Lake Como is very accessible by train, under 4 hours to Florence). If you are talking touring the countryside, that's a bit more. Do you want countryside (and driving) or town (and no driving).


You are going in March? And Lake Como is a must? I love lake como, but I'd expect the weather to be chilly then, 40's to low 50's. On rainy days, you may not even see the Lake. Cinque Terre is likely a somewhat warmer,
https://www.holiday-weather.com/lake_co ... ges/march/

I don't have experience in Piemonte in March, but I'd guess it's a great time for winery visits, but not outdoor activities. In general would be considering a more city trip rather than being out of the elements. I love Milan, but most find it a lesser destination. However, the Last Supper alone makes it a worthwhile stop. Florence is worth a repeat visit ( many in fact), you could do Bologna and Florence, or Bologna and Ferrara (with a night in Milan as needed for catching the plane). Depending on when you get in, you could just head out straight from Malpensa and get a connecting train to Bologna and Milano Centrale train station (and avoid an overnight in Milan). Train travel in Italy is very nice on the Frecciarossa trains that connect the big cities.

Or you could go east from Milan and do Verona, and Venice.

But if you are keen on driving into the lakes and wine country, then that does make it easier to avoid time in Milan. For an early morning flight out of MXP, I drove from Bellagio the night before).

If you had a do-over, I'd say go into Milan and out of another city to save doubling back at the end.

Travis Fantz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 640
Joined: June 26th, 2009, 3:13 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Where should we go in Italy?

#37 Post by Travis Fantz » September 9th, 2019, 6:00 pm

Alan,
I didn't spend the time reading everyone's comments, but we spent some time this summer in Italy. I will say that I really liked Livorno on the coast. We feel like a 2-3 day trip does it justice. Saying that, we spent a week in Rome doing the major tourist things and just feel like we need to go back for another week during a music or art festival. There was an beer festival happening on the river that was crazy. If you are traveling without kids, it would be so much fun.
HS Math Teacher (old ITB)

Post Reply

Return to “Travel Forum”