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Northern Italy recommendations

Going to Nice next week then crossing into Italy to end up in Venice a few days later and wondering if anyone on here had any suggestions about places to go or avoid in the five days we have to get from A to B.

We are looking at Genoa, Milan, Bologna and Verona (not thinking of Turin but open to advice about it) and will probably stay in two places on the way to Venice so any ideas would be much appreciated. Picked up some great tips on here for other holidays and it's always great to hear suggestions from other Charlton fans!

Comments

  • Never been but the small town of Portofino just east of Genoa on the Italian Riviera is supposed to be special.
  • Verona and Bardolino/Lazise on Lake Garda.
  • Rapallo is nice...and just east of Genoa.
  • Nipping into Slovenia and the soca valley is highly recommended
  • Visit Sirmione near Verona. Absolutely beautiful , right on lake Garda.
  • My son lives in Padova a most beautiful city I have been there many times, stay in Hotel Giotto just outside the city and walk for ten minutes to the city centre
  • Thanks for the fantastic response and suggestion - this has been really useful.
  • The Italian train system is pretty good - so it could be worth parking the car and taking a trip to Florence. It is a beautiful city and you don't really want a car there. San Marino is a good visit - good to combine a half day there and a half day in Rimini. If you see roadside stalls with the word Piadina on it - give it a go. It is the Northern Itallian equivalent of Pizza but nicer in my opinion. You can have it just as a flat bread with parma ham or mortadella or as a crescione, which is a filled version, with cheese and tomato - some even do these with Italian sausage inside if you want to spoil yourself. Another place worth a visit is Urbino, birthplace of the artist Raphael. Very historical.
  • Doing it all by train/bus after coming up through Barcelona then Provence. Was originally planning to do the trans-siberian to China but that didn't happen so fancied an alternative train holiday!
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  • Doing it all by train/bus after coming up through Barcelona then Provence. Was originally planning to do the trans-siberian to China but that didn't happen so fancied an alternative train holiday!

    You can take the boy out of Charlton, but never Charlton out of the boy
  • edited July 23
    Bologna is a good hub to get to a lot of great places. The Italian train system is after you buy the ticket, you have to validate it in a machine - usually before the platform. Straightforward enough, but confusing if you don't know. You can get a high speed train that does Florence from Bologna in 35 minutes.

    https://loco2.com/destinations/florence-bologna-train?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Loco2+-+UK+-+EN+-+Domestic+-+Trenitalia+-+BMM&utm_content=Florence+-+Bologna+-+BMM&utm_keyword=+florence +to +bologna +train&gclid=CjwKCAjw-dXaBRAEEiwAbwCi5tWkme_j0J3p0Y4P5cZoz7uY_qS2FIRbKtSuYMO31Vn0haktvQ3q5BoCuJYQAvD_BwE

    You can also get to Rimini from Bologna- in the Rimini centre there will be bus trips that go to San Marino. If you want a swim in the Adriatic, there will be lots of Bagnos where you can hire deck chairs and umbrella's and each one will have changing facilities, showers/toilets/washrooms and a bar. It is worth visiting the coast for the great fish restaurants they have there - there are no shortage of shops/bars/ice cream parlours in the evening.

    Obviously the tourist places are more expensive. The Italians say about Venice that they have two prices - one for Venetians and one for tourists. Italians don't do bad food and it is rewarding to find the cheaper family owned smaller restaurants on the outskirts of the touristy areas - home cooked italian food is hard to beat! look out for the term Osteria - this is teh name given to restaurants that won't have long menus, they do simple Italian local food cheaply. These are generally where the locals go. Google some Osterias close to you!
  • Doing it all by train/bus after coming up through Barcelona then Provence. Was originally planning to do the trans-siberian to China but that didn't happen so fancied an alternative train holiday!

    How long is the bus / train going to take?

    Glutton for punishment arent you after that coach trip up to London a few weeks ago!!
  • Bologna is a good hub to get to a lot of great places. The Italian train system is after you buy the ticket, you have to validate it in a machine - usually before the platform. Straightforward enough, but confusing if you don't know. You can get a high speed train that does Florence from Bologna in 35 minutes.

    https://loco2.com/destinations/florence-bologna-train?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Loco2+-+UK+-+EN+-+Domestic+-+Trenitalia+-+BMM&utm_content=Florence+-+Bologna+-+BMM&utm_keyword=+florence +to +bologna +train&gclid=CjwKCAjw-dXaBRAEEiwAbwCi5tWkme_j0J3p0Y4P5cZoz7uY_qS2FIRbKtSuYMO31Vn0haktvQ3q5BoCuJYQAvD_BwE

    You can also get to Rimini from Bologna- in the Rimini centre there will be bus trips that go to San Marino.

    Well worth visiting San Marino....Rimini is the Benidorm of Italy...or at least it was, spent 3 weeks there getting pissed every night with Scandinavians, we knew an English lad who worked in a bar there and made sure we got plenty of vodka with our orange juice.
  • edited July 23
    Rimini is definitely that, but the town (short walk from the beachfront) is quite historic - it has a big Roman arch and some interesting buildings. Plus it is a good way to get to San Marino via bus. You get a great view of Rimini from San Marino, which is a big castle, with lots of medievel museums and shops. I think half a day in San Marino is enough, and Rimini fills the rest of the day and evening.
  • Sounds like you like city breaks...But if you want something different take the train along the Ligurian coastline. Alassio is a good break, Genoa is fine and Rapello is great particularly as a base to get boats or trains to Portafina or the wonderful Cinque Terre. Then you have a choice to go on down the coast to Tuscany, up to Como on the lake, or to Bologna. Went to Bologna earlier this year and loved it.
  • Have just come back from 2 weeks staying by Lake Iseo, which is a lovely spot (Sarnico specifically but lots of nice little towns).

    Bergamo is a real beaut, the old town set high up on a hill, but all very accessible. Easy to get the train into Milan from there but with limited time you may want to give it a miss.

    Would also second the shout out for Padova, which has tons of character. I'm not especially religious, but the Capella della Scrovegni (book in advance online) is simply stunning, I have to confess that I'd never heard of it until going there this year. Are you staying in Venice? If not you could consider staying in Padova and going in to Venice for the day by train - it's actually a great way to arrive in Venice and would give you better value for accommodation I suspect. Verona also accessible this way.
  • Doing it all by train/bus after coming up through Barcelona then Provence. Was originally planning to do the trans-siberian to China but that didn't happen so fancied an alternative train holiday!

    How long is the bus / train going to take?

    Glutton for punishment arent you after that coach trip up to London a few weeks ago!!
    This won't be as bad as that as we'll stop off at places on way to Nice. Do quite like travelling by land but that recent Madrid to London one was ridiculous!
  • Have just come back from 2 weeks staying by Lake Iseo, which is a lovely spot (Sarnico specifically but lots of nice little towns).

    Bergamo is a real beaut, the old town set high up on a hill, but all very accessible. Easy to get the train into Milan from there but with limited time you may want to give it a miss.

    Would also second the shout out for Padova, which has tons of character. I'm not especially religious, but the Capella della Scrovegni (book in advance online) is simply stunning, I have to confess that I'd never heard of it until going there this year. Are you staying in Venice? If not you could consider staying in Padova and going in to Venice for the day by train - it's actually a great way to arrive in Venice and would give you better value for accommodation I suspect. Verona also accessible this way.

    Sorry for hijacking!! Red, was looking at Lake Iseo this coming Oct for a break. Have you been to Lake Garda? (Sirmione, Lazise, Bardolino). Just wondered how Iseo and specifically Sarnico compared to these?
    Cheers.
  • I once took the train home from Rome via Turin Milan and on to Zurich etc. A beautiful scenic journey (bloody volcanos). Turin was quite nice. Happened to be there during the Festival of the Holy Shroud. Something religious me thinks. Anyway was very busy. Not much to report but seemed quite a pleasant up market centre.
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  • I’ve been to Venice a couple of times, if you get time , prebook for the Doge’s Palace, it’s quite close to St Marks square.
  • Have just come back from 2 weeks staying by Lake Iseo, which is a lovely spot (Sarnico specifically but lots of nice little towns).

    Bergamo is a real beaut, the old town set high up on a hill, but all very accessible. Easy to get the train into Milan from there but with limited time you may want to give it a miss.

    Would also second the shout out for Padova, which has tons of character. I'm not especially religious, but the Capella della Scrovegni (book in advance online) is simply stunning, I have to confess that I'd never heard of it until going there this year. Are you staying in Venice? If not you could consider staying in Padova and going in to Venice for the day by train - it's actually a great way to arrive in Venice and would give you better value for accommodation I suspect. Verona also accessible this way.

    Sorry for hijacking!! Red, was looking at Lake Iseo this coming Oct for a break. Have you been to Lake Garda? (Sirmione, Lazise, Bardolino). Just wondered how Iseo and specifically Sarnico compared to these?
    Cheers.
    Sorry only just seen this. We have been to L Garda, but quite a few years ago. Sirmione is wonderful but IMO better as a day-trip destination, other places better as a base. Bardolino and Sarnico both nice, probably would come down to hotel/apartment choices as much as anything. Key is to find a town where there is a nice traffic-free 'promenade', but quite a few towns have this (& the main road is diverted away from the lake_
  • I was in Venice last october (for the 'puente de Pilar' here in Spain). I hop you like crowds. We were lucky to have a hotel on the back streets on the Venice Island near the lagoon. It was quiet and the bars at night were populated with local italians. The centre and anything near the Grand Canal was swamped with tourists to the extent it took a lot of the pleasure away from a fantastic city. Venice really needs to ration their tourists a little (and ban Air bnb).
  • edited July 24
    Livigno......great ski resort of course, the ski lifts operate during the summer months for hikers to walk up in The Dolomites.
    Breathtaking scenery and air like nectar......up near the Swiss border, an added bonus is that it’s a duty free zone......rather like Andora.
  • Just to say thanks to all for your suggestions. On way back at the moment and got to quite a few of the places people suggested. Verona, Lake Garda and Bologna were highlights and, as @kenshabby said, Venice was unbelievably full of tourists, though still really impressive. Thanks everyone!
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