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BEERMAN
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Joined: 06/02/11
Posts: 2517
Loc: VIRGINIA
Swiss-Italia TAKE 2!
      #1741972 - 08/28/17 12:36 PM (108.45.108.124)

We are coming up on 2 years since we visited Switzerland and Italy. We thought we would have returned to this wander-land by now, but fortunately we are planning now for late October! Our daughter is returning to work for the non-profit organization and Virginia Tech in Lugano, Switzerland and somewhere in Africa to be determined. Proud of this Va Tech alum! There are currently only 2 things that are a must on this 2 week trip, hug our daughter under the palms in Lugano and then wander to where ever the winds guide us.





Our last trip we trekked all over the Swiss Alps in the Bernese Oberland region and hiked the olive and grape filled hills and valleys of Cinque Terre. It would be so easy to simply repeat what we have done because it was so beautiful in these areas, but we want to wander through new destinations.














On our wish list this time is a cooking class in Tuscany, somewhere on a quiet hillside with dirt roads lined by tall cedar trees surrounded by rolling vineyards, an image I've only seen in photos. Tuscany is such a large region we are having trouble deciding on a city or small town. A unique bed and breakfast that offers a cooking class would be ideal. Donna has always wanted to sleep in an old castle, so we are looking into this as well. If you have any info regarding these wants, we would greatly appreciate your recommendations! If there are other great off the beaten path type destinations that you like throughout Switzerland or Italy...do tell!! Grazie!





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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: BEERMAN]
      #1741974 - 08/28/17 12:46 PM (47.192.5.2)

I've never been to that area, but I am SO looking forward to hearing about your trip!

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TomB
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Joined: 04/02/02
Posts: 2440
Loc: Virginia wishing STJ
Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1741997 - 08/28/17 11:17 PM (74.214.39.192)

I can only say one thing... Piemonte!

We stayed in a BB outside of Alba that was wonderful and great place to venture out and explore the countryside. IMHO Tuscany or Piemonte if I had to pick one - I would choose Piemonte hands down. Piemonte wins for beauty, wine, and food - and has a quarter of the tourist of Tuscany. Of course you could add a week or two and do both.

Congrats to your daughter on her graduation and the exciting adventures that lay head. Sounds like it maybe time to charter in the Med.

--------------------
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” - Emerson


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BEERMAN
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Joined: 06/02/11
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Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: TomB]
      #1742024 - 08/29/17 10:56 AM (108.45.108.124)

Thanks Tom, you always have great info. I have looked at castles in the Piedmont region! Our logistical issues are a little complicated...our daughter can leave work in Lugano on a Thursday afternoon and then travel back on Sunday afternoon, so a 3 night getaway is our must do focus right now and we'll fill the gaps after that. She has been to Florence, 4 hour train ride from Lugano, but is interested as we are in staying in the countryside of maybe Chianti, outside of Siena, Val d' Orcia etc and we think a castle should be our hub! If, we travel to Florence we would stay in a hotel that first night, then rent a car for 2 days. Sounds rushed but whatcha gonna do when someone has a job?!

My wife wants a lake experience, so we could possibly stay in Gandria when we first arrive. It's actually walking distance right next to Lugano, great airbnb waterfront options there. That would be a good weekday option to still be able to have dinners with our daughter.

We are looking at 2 weeks, so we'll have a few days before and after our daughters long weekend....hmmm...where to spend 3-4 nights? It's so tempting to go back to the Cinque!

I'm going to research car rentals today, but have you rented a car there, I assume we'll need an International drivers license to cross borders? It's possible we'll rent a car in Lugano and drive into Italy, just not sure about that yet...lots of planning!


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TomB
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Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: BEERMAN]
      #1742051 - 08/29/17 04:24 PM (65.207.86.2)

Yes, I have rented a car in Italy. In fact, it was in La Spezia and we drove to Piemonte via Lucca and Florence. Ok, I know that makes no sense at all but that is what we did. Even better when I went to get the car they only thing they had left was a Mercedes Station Wagon. At first, I was freaked, but it was some kind of spacious and extremely comfortable. The major roads in Italy in the north are no problems, and even in the country roads of Piemonte were very good.

I think used Hertz on that trip. Picked up in La Spezia and dropped off at Milan Airport.

Traveling country to country within the EU is no big deal. The car rental place just needs to know. There is a sticker on the windshield that identifies where you can go. Or you can catch the train to Milan and rent there, thus avoiding your concern.

In Piemonte, the BB we stayed outside of Alba was called Villa Favorita - Just a great location! I was sadden to see when I got the link for you that they had posted Roberta, the owner, had passed last year. She also gave cooking lessons, and was an amazing lady and gracious host. It looks like the Villa is being well cared for by the pictures on their page. The villa is part of a farm that overlooks the city of Alba. You know the HOME OF NUTELLA.

I have never been, but everyone I know who has been has always raved about Torino (Turin). It may be a little larger city than what you were looking for, but a lot to see and do.

I will add that in Piemonte you do want a car. All the small villages are separated by miles of vineyards and no real public transportation. But oh so beautiful!



Edited by TomB (08/29/17 04:27 PM)


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BEERMAN
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Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: TomB]
      #1742077 - 08/29/17 07:50 PM (108.45.108.124)

Yes, I think Turin is too large for what we're looking for. Neive looks very cool and it's close to Alba. The b&b you stayed in looks very nice. If we go there and we're lucky to have clear skies the mountain range covered in snow would be incredible from Peimonte. As far as cars go, we are a big vehicle family so the midsize car will be something to get used to, I need leg room! We'll have to decide if we want to rent a car in Zurich for the whole 2 weeks or break it up, but the cost of the swiss pass or euro pass we got last time is the same cost as a vehicle basically and we enjoy road trips, my daughter says it would be cool to drive for a change. Think of all the great little villages you speed passed on the train. Heck Peimont region is only 2-1/2 hours from Lugano. If the ladies want to go to Tuscany that's cool, Donna and I can easily hop back in the car a day or 2 later and head back across the border. We really did enjoy riding the trains, but we stuck to destinations not requiring a car. Anyhoo, surely somebody else in TTOL land has a small town or 2 to recommend to us, either in Italy or Switzerland??? Cheers!

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TomB
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Joined: 04/02/02
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Loc: Virginia wishing STJ
Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: BEERMAN]
      #1742084 - 08/29/17 09:41 PM (74.214.39.192)

If you are looking for small towns check out (in no particular order):

Barolo
Serralunga d’Alba
Monforte d’Alba

Or on the other side of Alba

Neive
Barbaresco

Make sure you plan on a lunch at Cascina Schiavenza in Serralunga d’Alba – Amazing – very slow lunch (remember Bra in Piemonte is the home of Slow food) – great views unbelievable meals.

Bottom line you will not go wrong wherever you guys decide.

--------------------
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” - Emerson


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EllenS
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Joined: 10/10/05
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Loc: Lake Norman, NC
Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: TomB]
      #1742331 - 09/01/17 06:10 PM (174.108.54.67)

Thought it was 15 years ago I did a cooking school in Chianti and then the Cinque.

It was fabulous. 4 Italian ladies and you stayed at one of their houses or properties. It was called Tutti a Tavola.


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BEERMAN
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Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: EllenS]
      #1742341 - 09/01/17 08:39 PM (108.45.108.124)

Ellen we are interested in a cooking class while in Italy. I googled them and see there are now 5 ladies teaching those classes now! We hope to find a castle or B&B that offer a class while we stay there. I love to cook, but have never made my own fresh pasta...why not learn from the best!

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EllenS
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Re: Swiss-Italia TAKE 2! [Re: BEERMAN]
      #1742358 - 09/02/17 09:22 AM (174.108.54.67)

There are a lot of schools if you google it. These women all had beautiful estates and wonderful scenery as well. We were two couple and stayed in a house of Marisa's I believe. I still use some of their recipes and techniques today.

Enjoy planning and the trip! Cinque is on our return short list. Next trip is Vietnam for us I think. At least the planning has started!
Ellen


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