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We are getting excited for another ED - this time we'll be in Europe for a month, leaving me much to plan! To make things even better, we will be traveling with another couple for most of the trip.
I have gotten some great ideas from historical posts, but was interested in feedback on the North Italian portion of our trip.

June 9-19th Provence - Gordes
June 19/20 Vence FR stopover
June 20/21 Monterosso - Cinque Terra
June 22-27 ???? North Italy

I have the following on my N Italy interest/idea list:

  • From Cinque Terra, head NE to Parma, Modena, Maranello etc
  • Lake Garda & Verona Area
  • Dolemites - Merano's Pergola Residence (per b-y's recommendation) or Perhaps Hotel La Perla in Alta Badia
  • Lake Como - Tremezzo or Varenna

June 27 Drop off Friends at Milan MXP airport ~9:30am. (perhaps lends itself to stay in Lake Como night before ~90min drive)

I think we will likely have to sacrifice one or more of the destinations on the list in the interest of avoiding excessive drive times.
Any recommendations for these destinations - routes, sequence, or accommodations?

I have found lots of good info on Lake Como, but not as much about the other areas. Any other ideas?

TIA!
 

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Freude am Fahren
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No visit to Northern Italy is complete without a visit to Bozen (I was just there a week ago). The town is very engaging, the food is superb.

Take the cable car to Oberbozen (Soprabolzano) - it's a great ride and the village of Oberbozen is beautiful and the views are incredible.

Also, it's worth visiting Ötzi even if he´s looking a bit cold these days.

I stayed at the Parkhotel Laurin, highly recommended see my review below.

Parkhotel Laurin, Bozen (Bolzano), Italy Review
[16 May 2010

Bozen (Bolzano in Italian) is the capital of the South Tyrol (Südtirol in German, Alto Adige in Italian), a region that was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918. Today, the region is both German and Italian speaking, and maintains close cultural, social, and economic ties with the Austrian province of Tyrol to its north.
A 286-kilometer drive from Munich across the Dolomites and the Brennerpaß brought us to the Parkhotel Laurin, a hotel I had last visited almost 20 years ago.
 

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We are getting excited for another ED - this time we'll be in Europe for a month, leaving me much to plan! To make things even better, we will be traveling with another couple for most of the trip.
I have gotten some great ideas from historical posts, but was interested in feedback on the North Italian portion of our trip. ...
...
Any advice has certain biases and preferences built in, so here are mine...

From Cinque Terra, head NE to Parma, Modena, Maranello etc
Parma has its charms and great food-related destinations, but it is not a resort or major tourist destination, which can be good or bad. The car-related towns also are not set up for tourism unless you score invitations to the factories.

Lake Garda & Verona Area
Very pleasant. Sirmione on the S end and the towns on the SW shore are quite nice. Il Vittoriale is fascinating, if you are into Italian history of the 20s and 30s.

Dolomites - Merano's Pergola Residence (per b-y's recommendation) or Perhaps Hotel La Perla in Alta Badia
Listen to b-y...he has great advice! :rofl: Seriously, I suspect the Sudtirol isn't for everyone, but to me it is one of the great regions of the world. Italian food and hospitality, German efficiency, fascinating local history, great air, ...

Lake Como - Tremezzo or Varenna

This is probably the most touristy of the options, but also quite nice. The lake is large enough that there is lots to do and a variety of sub-regions.

***
If you have never been to any of these, I'd probably suggest the following:
  • Drop one of the two lakes. Go for variety.
  • Drop Parma, etc. unless you have an in with one of the factories in or around Modena.
But, these are weak preferences, easily adjusted based on your particular interests.
 

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+1 on Dolomites, not to mention some of Europe's best driving roads and some beautiful mountains. Besides, summer is the "off season" and that always makes things a bit easier and relaxed.

- Dolomites - Merano's Pergola Residence (per b-y's recommendation) or Perhaps Hotel La Perla in Alta Badia [/I]
Listen to b-y...he has great advice! :rofl: Seriously, I suspect the Sudtirol isn't for everyone, but to me it is one of the great regions of the world. Italian food and hospitality, German efficiency, fascinating local history, great air, ...
 

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Piacere di guidare
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I'd vote to keep central Emilia-Romagna on the itinerary, car factory connection or not. While it's true that you need to have arrangements made by a Ferrari dealer for a factory tour there, the nearby Galleria Ferrari is a great car museum (Ferraris only, of course) and you can have a meal at the famous Ristorante Cavallino right across the street from the Ferrari factory gate. The place is awash in racing memorabilia and you never know who's going to walk past your table. In my case, it was Luca de Montezemolo, who was president of Ferrari SpA at the time.

Lamborghini and Ducati are also nearby and tours there may be easier to come by.

This is also where delecacies like prosciutto di Parma, Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese and aceto balsamico di Modena come from. Tours and tastings can be had at various producers as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dolomites - Merano's Pergola Residence (per b-y's recommendation) or Perhaps Hotel La Perla in Alta Badia
Listen to b-y...he has great advice! :rofl: Seriously, I suspect the Sudtirol isn't for everyone, but to me it is one of the great regions of the world. Italian food and hospitality, German efficiency, fascinating local history, great air, ...
I have learned that if you search the ED board, you can pickup more valuable info than any of the conventional travel sites/books:)

We are very interested in visiting the Sudtirol, a preference enhanced after JSpira's original post of his hotel review. We like the looks of the Pergola Residence as well as La Perla, further east. (anyone have any experience with the later?)

I'm concerned about the logistics of driving N/NE into the mountains, while leaving enough time to return to the Lake Region and eventually the West side of Milan and the airport.

Unfortunately, the obvious topographic induced limitations on our route planning make it tough to get up there from Cinque Terra without a major time commitment. If we head directly from Cinque Terra to Mareno, we are looking at a minimum of 5+ hours of windshield time, albeit incredibly scenic. We had hoped to make plenty of stops on the way (such as Parma, Maranello) so it looks like we will have to choose to forgo one of the options and/or perhaps stay overnight en route.
 

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This is also where delecacies like prosciutto di Parma, Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese and aceto balsamico di Modena come from. Tours and tastings can be had at various producers as well.
Besides my affection for Ferrari, this was our primary motivation for visiting the area. Any recommendations for specific destinations? We have seen several travel shows in recent years centered around the Cheeses, Prosciutto and Modenese vinegar of the region that have piqued our interest.
 

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+1 on Bozen (Bolzano). I agree with Jonathan. I stayed at the Stadt Hotel Citta (yes the name is redundant like everything in Bozen-Bolzano) and it was nice and right next to the parking structure on Walterplatz. I recommend the Eisenhut (Ferro di Capello) The food was excellent.

If you are in Emiglia Romana, don't bother with Modena. Verona is worth the stop too. If you go to the Cinque Terra, consider staying in Santa Margherita Ligure. I love that town. Its like Newport Beach Italian style. Liguria is my favorite part of Italy. There is a nice Best Western right on the waterfront with nice terraced balconies.

Also consider seeing the Mille Miglia museum in Brescia. You could spend a whole month in Norther Italy alone, there is so much to see.
 

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I'd vote to keep central Emilia-Romagna on the itinerary, car factory connection or not. While it's true that you need to have arrangements made by a Ferrari dealer for a factory tour there, the nearby Galleria Ferrari is a great car museum (Feraris only, of course) and you can have a meal at the famous Ristorante Cavallino right across the street from the Ferrari factory gate. The place is awash in racing memorabilia and you never know who's going to walk past your table. In my case, it was Luca de Montezemolo, who was president of Ferrari SpA at the time.

Lamborghini and Ducati are also nearby and tours there may be easier to come by.

This is also where delecacies like prosciutto di Parma, Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese and aceto balsamico di Modena come from. Tours and tastings can be had at various producers as well.
Ducati and Lamborghini Museum and Factory tours are open to the public. The Ferrari museum is open to the public too, but you are correct, the Ferrari factory tour requires connections for that.

At the Ferrari museum, there are these Ferrari test drive places on both sides of it where you can pay 50 Euro and drive a Ferrari for 10 minutes. Not really much opportunity to open it up on the streets of Maranello, but you can say you drove a Ferrari in Italy!
 

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one month! lucky you... enjoy. i would suggest cutting down on the distances though. take some time to relax 7 soak in the good life. btw the hotel bories in gordes is super if you heven't decided on lodging yet
 

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....

Unfortunately, the obvious topographic induced limitations on our route planning make it tough to get up there from Cinque Terra without a major time commitment. If we head directly from Cinque Terra to Mareno, we are looking at a minimum of 5+ hours of windshield time, albeit incredibly scenic. We had hoped to make plenty of stops on the way (such as Parma, Maranello) so it looks like we will have to choose to forgo one of the options and/or perhaps stay overnight en route.
This is an example of the classic trade-off between shorter travel times and more scenic routes. Using googlemaps, the estimated driving time from Santa Margherita Ligure to Merano is 4.5 hours via Autostradas A21 & A22. This is easily doable in one day, even with a nice lunch stop en route.

But there are alternatives, even comng into Merano from the W via the Stelvio Pass. But that adds hours and turns the trip into two days (by my standards).

Think about where you want to stay (for a couple of days or more) and where you want to drive. I'm certain I'm older than you are, and even sometimes I have to say..."I'll save that for the next trip".

...La Perla, further east. (anyone have any experience with the later?)
I have not stayed in or around Covara. Others have written about Castelrotto and Cortina d'Ampezzo, as well as the local roads in that area E of the A22, (Any place that has devotes part of their web site to the Ladins should be interesting.) I imagine both that region and the Meran/Merano area to the W are interesting, but Merano was high on my "visit someday" list.
 

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Somehow I just knew someone like my friend b-y would back me up with solid, specific info for the OP, which of course is always lacking from my posts.

Last time I heard it discussed on, ahem, another marque-specific forum, you did NOT have to be a Ferrari owner in order to have a dealer set up a factory tour for you. Wouldn't take much more than a phone call to your nearest dealer to find out for sure, in the event you're interested. As a vintage Ferrari owner (in both senses of the phrase) I've stood at the front gate of the factory twice and never wanted to go inside, because "my" cars aren't in there. But for fans of the current production, it's apparently a pretty cool experience.

The other thing I didn't mention, of course, is that Ferrari's Fiorano test track is literally a couple of blocks away from the front gate, and if you're there at the right time, you can lean against the fence for free and watch Alonso, Massa et al tearing up a few sets of Bridgestones.

The food items mentioned previously, I won't even try to get into. If you've never experienced the real thing, I can't describe it to you. Interestingly, the aceto balsamico tradizionale (not the stuff you can buy at your local supermarket) is a fantastic compliment to the other two.

Having now written this post, I'm regretful that I can't start planning a return visit right now.
 

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Think about where you want to stay (for a couple of days or more) and where you want to drive. I'm certain I'm older than you are, and even sometimes I have to say..."I'll save that for the next trip".
Sage advice, but tough to heed when one is caught up in the excitement of ED planning! (Besides the fact that I am young and eager to see more of the world before entering into parental purgatory :yikes:)

After weighing feedback, we have decided to expand our options and remove a constraint.

Instead of driving to the far side of Milan to transfer our friends to the airport, we will instead permit them to catch a westward bound train from Verona (or similar).

This permits us to consider the following for our N Italy phase:

Cinque Terra - 2 nights
Venice - 2 nights
Lake Gorda 2 nights
Merano/Dolemites/Sudtirol - 2 nights

We might have to make the last option more of an en route tour, but this structure might permit a wider sampling from which to build on during future trips.
 

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I just realized I should add an article about Northern Italy written by b-y in Executive Road Warrior.

Visiting Northern Italy
[15 Jul 2009 | http://www.executiveroadwarrior.com/2009/07/journeys-northern-italy/#respond
Many business travelers head south for the weather, Italian food and wine, and the "Northern Italy" experience. This section describes some of the cities and towns just off of the A22 (the Autostrada del Brennero), which is the main toll road running north-to-south through the region. It starts at the Brennerpaß, south of Innsbruck and the Europa Bridge. Signposted as "Passo del Brennero" in Italy, it is the lowest pass (1370 m) through the Alps. The northern parts of this area were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire up to World …
 

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Last time I heard it discussed on, ahem, another marque-specific forum, you did NOT have to be a Ferrari owner in order to have a dealer set up a factory tour for you.
Great, now I need to rearrange our itinerary, again :D

I would like to at least see the gallery, but will likely have to save the factory tour for another visit. Despite lots of searching and consideration, I have yet to pull the trigger on ownership (but this might be the Summer?). I need something that will hold my long-term interest and put an stop to my revolving garage door. Unfortunately, anything older than me would be out of my reach, and anything newer would send the wrong message to my employees.

BTW, I remember reading your well documented ED "experience" at the time it was posted, and enjoyed it again this week.

Thanks all for the feedback!
 

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I see you had Vence France on your itinerary. I stayed there last week on my ED, and found the city very nice. It's close to Saint Paul de Vence, which is a must see, and close to some fine roads for driving.

If you're in Vence, you HAVE to drive the Col de Turini pass, which is probably 25 miles from Vence. We drove Col de Turini on Friday morning before we dropped off in Nice and it was one of the highlights of the trip. Simply stunning roads and views!

Steve
 

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Regarding Merano, there are some great driving roads that you can take coming South towards Merano, as well as to the South towards Bolzano. You could even come through Stelvio first during the warmer months. Our route through Garmisch, then taking country roads towards Innsbruck, over Jaufenpass through St. Leonard to Merano was done with a 9am departure from Munich arriving at 1pm for lunch at Cafe Schlossgarten.

A highlight of our entire trip was a visit to Giadini di Castel Trauttmansdorf for the over 80 garden areas surrounding the property http://www.trauttmansdorff.it/ but mostly for the splendid lunch that we had at the Cafe Schlossgarten. The breezes, views and of course the food which we had on the roof terrace was very memorable. I had a personal reccomendation to eat there, but the day I was there the President of Austria was dining there as well! Their menu varies with the season, every dish we had was great, and don't miss the apple strudel which we found to be the best of any we had! http://www.schlossgarten.it/en/0-Home.html
 
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