Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

We're upgrading!

We are upgrading the Forums. Avatars and user personas will be added at a later phase.

advertisement

Forums » Italy & Malta » Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

Avatar
billiv

Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by billiv »

We got back from our trip to Italy a couple of days ago. I'm still a bit jet-lagged, and I have a cough and runny nose from some bug I must picked up on the flights to Italy.  I'm a bit too out of it to go into detail right now, but some observations.

Avoid Air Canada Rouge if you can.  Old aircraft, lots of broken stuff and dirty.  No entertainment center (you can pay to use an iPad or some such device).  Not even an air valve.  Fed us something not totally unlike food.  But it was cheap flying Philadelphia to Venice via Monteral--and then back to Venice from Milan via Lufthansa.

Flight home on Lufthansa from Milan via Frankfurt was much better. Clean aircraft, excellent entertainment system, attentive flight crew very generous with the adult beverages and snacks.

The slim line seats all the airlines are installing are terrible if you are not a lightweight person.  We took a home made cushion with us--helped a lot.

We have finally and totally determined that we are hotel people as opposed to apartment people. We have absolutely no desire to cook while on vacation, and we like the hotel amenities.  We stay in local hotels and midrange European style chains.  Our apartments were OK, just inconvenient in some ways.

For location, comfort, and amenities, we were very happy with the Hotel Lisboa in Venice and the Gran Duca di York in Venice.  In both cases, location and service were top notch.  Very close to the center of things in each city, but off the main streets just enough that it wasn't busy and crowded.

Varennahouse on Lake Como was the best of the apartments we stayed in.  They have several apartments in Varenna. Ours had a nice balcony with an excellent lake view. The kitchen was sparkling clean and modern--and we used it to get glasses of water.

The Dolomites and the rest of the Italian Alps make an excellent road trip.  The mix of Austrian and Italian cultures is interesting.  And the mountains are amazing.

Milan was more interesting than I anticipated.  Originally we were only going to spend 1 day there, but I'm glad we had 2 days.

We enjoyed each town we stayed in--Venice, Wolkenstein in Groden (Selva di Val Gardena), Pellizzano, Varenna, and Milan.  Location, restaurants, people, sights--all good.

Otzi the Iceman in Bozen (Bolzano) is well worth a visit.

Squid cooked in its own ink is very tasty.

A GPS is very helpful. Not perfect, but a definite plus.

More when I have recovered and recuperated.

Avatar
mushroom

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by mushroom »

Guessing you mean Gran Duca di York in Milano, not Venezia.  It is a nice location for visiting the city.  Glad you enjoyed Milan.

I think very few people who rent apartments cook in them, maybe the exception being people who travel with children.  Most of us just want the extra space and the lower price.  However, if you like hotel amenities, like a 24 hour desk or daily room service, then that is definiately a reason to pick hotels over apartment rentals. 

Sounds like you had nice weather for the Dolomiti.  Did you find Venice crowded or was it a non-issue?

Avatar
billiv

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by billiv »

Oops, yes Milano.  I'm still jet-lagged.

Avatar
billiv

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by billiv »

Venice was fine.  Yes there were a lot of people, but it was not shoulder-to-shoulder anywhere.  Only 5 minutes in line to go up the Campanile--something we did not do on our prior summer visits to Venice due to the long lines.  No trouble getting into restaurants, sights, public transport, etc.

Avatar
mushroom

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by mushroom »

Nice to hear.  I have some friends who have been in Venice this past week & hope they had your good luck.  I sometimes hear that whether it is "shoulder-to-shoulder" depends on how many, if any, crusie shops happend to dock on any given day in September.  Looking forward to hearing the details of your entire trip.

Avatar
billiv

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by billiv »

Trip details: Flight over and Venice.  We paid $459 each to fly open jaw Philadelphia to Vencie via Monteral on Air Canada Rouge and then Milan to Philadelphia via Frankfurt on Lufthansa. As I mentioned in my first posting above, we will avoid Air Canada Rouge from now on. But the Lufthansa flight was excellent, in spit of those hard, slimline seats.

Arrived in Venice at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, September 3--the day of the historic regatta. Some sources had told us that neither the water taxis nor the Alilaguna ferries would stop in the basin or anywhere along the Grand Canal because of the various boat races and the historic regatta procession. We were prepared for a walk from Fte. Nova Alilaguna stop to Hotel Lisboa near P. San Marco. But once we got to the airport, we found that traffic was normal until 1:00 p.m.

On our prior Venice trips, we used a water taxi, and it was great fun zipping across the lagoon at speed and then slowly gliding into one of the city's canals on the way to our destination. But this time we decided to use the Alilaguna ferry and were happy with the decision.  It took quite a bit longer to get to the area of our hotel, but we got to see parts of Venice that we would not have seen otherwise.  We got off at the San Marco stop and walked 5 minut4s through P. San Marco to our hotel.

Hotel Lisboa was great. No elevator, so it's rated 3 stars. But location is superb--2 minute walk from P. San Marco, but just enough off the main drag that we were not bothered by noises from the street. Our room had a stand up balcony that overlooked a nice canal (Rio de S. Moise) about 1/2 block from the Grand Canal. There was a gondola stop in the other direction (across the canal from Hotel Bauer). For anyone considering Hotel Lisboa, Google maps directions from P. San Marco were not the best way to get to the hotel. Goodle took us the long way around, instead as you cross the bridge that takes you right next to the gondola stop (called Gondola Bauer), immediately turn left towards Hotel Violino d'Oro and walk right next to the S. Moises canal through the portico for less than a half block, and you end up right in front of the Hotel Lisboa entrance.

Hotel Lisboa is decorated in more-or-less traditional Venetian style--reds and golds, brocades, etc. Room clean and roomy enough for 2.  Modern bathroom, everything worked. Staff members were over the top helpful. Typical European hotel breakfast included. The perfectly round toilet seat and bidet didn't mesh perfectly with my body type, but all was, as I said, clean and modern. I would definitely stay there again.

OK, next posting I'll start on our sightseeing experiences.

Avatar
mushroom

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by mushroom »

Were you bothered at all by mosquitoes?

Avatar
billiv

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by billiv »

I saw 1 mosquito in our 48 hours in Venice. She did not attack me.

Avatar
billiv

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by billiv »

As I said, we arrived on Sunday the 3rd of September, the day of the annual historic regatta.  So after checking into our hotel, we decided to visit the Peggy Guggenheim collection for the first time as it is right on the Grand Canal and would make it easy to see the action on the canal.

It was our first time to Venice's Guggenheim, and we enjoyed the collection--it isn't very big, so you don't get weary and bleary-eyed trying to take in too much art at one go. We went onto the museum's terrace to watch the procession of boats lead by the Doges' barge. It was all very colorful and extremely eclectic in terms of types of vessels, how the various boats were decorated, and dress of the participants (everything from 14th century finery to t-shirts and cutoffs). The atmosphere was festive and relaxed--from the quite formal historic barges and other watercraft to more modern boats of all types.  Winners of some of the various boat races that went on earlier in the day also participated--many in spandex.  It was fun and interesting.  Glad we saw it.

From there we went to lunch not far from the Rialto Market, on a side street with very little foot traffic and few of us tourists.  I'll list restaurants and recommendations in a separate post.    We then went across the Rialto Bridge to visit La Fenice Opera House--it was open for tours. The self guided tour thingy with earbuds was pretty good--informative and interesting. We had tried to get tickets for the performance while we were there, but they were sold out.

We then wandered about in the general vicinity of and in P. San Marco just enjoying the quiet streets, great photo opportunities, and the music in the piazza.  Had dinner around 8 p.m. and then back to Hotel Lisboa.

Avatar
mushroom

RE: Excellent 13-Day Trip to Northern Italy

by mushroom »

I was wondering where she'd gone off to.  I'm convinced every mosquito in Italy hangs out on my terrace & bites me, so I guess I'm not surprised others aren't needed for the blood supply.

advertisement