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Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE #290302
11/01/2022 10:36 AM
11/01/2022 10:36 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Northern Italy 2022, (September 3-14)


Our final full day in Italy would start with yet another beautiful sunrise. The weather gods were really generous to us on this trip! We did pack rain gear, but if we hadn't it surely would have poured! I can't remember if I mentioned that every day at 8am and 8pm the church bells played Ave Maria di Lourdes, we loved that! If I can post a video here I will, just need to figure it out.


We love being on the water and what better way to end the trip with a Grand Finale!. During our planning we researched various boat options including the iconic classic wood boats and the hard to find sailboats. We were interested in a 4 hour experience and these would roughly cost around $1000, included a bottle of Prosecco and tour guide of course. At Albergo Aurora we found small powerboats with canopy for $75 per hour (Fuel included), YES! besides we had wine and prefer to follow our own itinerary. We are experienced sail boaters, but the rental guy told us "no experience needed". That sort of amazes me?


We arrived at Albergo Aurora an hour early and had a relaxing breakfast there. They offer a generous buffet inside, but we opted to sit on their little patio and order off the menu. We also grabbed some fresh croissants here for snacking later on the boat.


At the dock the paperwork was minimal, and the instructional part took only 5 minutes. We set the dock lines free and off we went to explore Lago di Como! It was 9:45am and we left the dock still in the shadows of the mountain, halfway across the lake we entered glorious warm sunshine. The boat had a Mercury 40hp and it was actually faster than I expected...and smooth.


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We didn't do a lot of research on what to see, but we'd know it when we saw it! Perhaps the tour operators knowledge is worth a few extra $$$? The lake was pretty flat this day, the only chop was when larger boats or ferries passed by. We first headed to the western shoreline and circumnavigated Isola Comacina, pretty cool. Navigating the waters is really straight forward and easy, especially since we would remain a safe distance from land. From there we would hug the shoreline motoring north slowing to check out Lenno, Tremezzo, Menaggio, Griante, Cadenabbia etc. The sights are truly amazing from the water with small colorful towns, beautiful villas and the incredible jaw dropping mountain vistas! Some villas are more famous than others and you movie buffs may recognize a couple? We have a photo of Sir Richard waving at us while kite boarding 20 feet from our charter catamaran at Necker Island BVI's, so I figured we'd slide over to his place to see if he remembered us, hmmm not home!


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We went pretty far north to the picturesque town of Santa Maria Rezzonico. Turned the motor off and just bobbed in the still waters. Time for wine, croissant and a swim! Wondering if there's local folklore of a "Nessie" in this 1300 foot deep body of water? answer is yes and they even have discovered a fossil, they call it "Larry". Wisely we didn't google that before diving in!


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After an enjoyable pit stop we motored across the lake at top speed, very few boats on this end of the lake. It felt less developed on the east coast until we motored into Varenna waters. What a beautiful town! Varenna was on our homebase list, but less available airbnb options when we searched. They have train service which is attractive. We would love to return to walk this postcard perfect town.


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Checked our watch and it was time to start back across the lake. First town we came to was familiar Bellagio, which is even more beautiful from the water. We went passed our villa to check out Orrido di Nesso from the water. We really got a good feel for how steep Nesso is from this vantage point, beautiful small town. There were a handful of boats waiting to get close to the bridge and waterfall for photo ops and since we actually walked it we sat back and just admired from a distance.


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We had a few minutes remaining to swing by Villa Lombardi. Looking at the villa from the water was pretty cool, couldn't have picked a better place. I'll circle a pic to show the enormous amount of space this villa offers. Our villa greeter said some boat rental companies will pick you up at this villa, interesting idea!



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With only 15 minutes remaining we hustled back to Lezzeno to turn the boat in. This half day was a serious highlight of our trip. If this is something that interests you and you feel like you can handle a small boat I would HIGHLY recommend renting from Albergo Aurora. A nice thing about renting here is that we could enjoy another outstanding lunch at the outdoor restaurant, we had lots of lasagna, ravioli and clams, living La Dolce Vita!


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When we pulled into our parking space we decided to walk directly to Tres Rose to order pizza to have on hand for later at the villa....CLOSED TUESDAYS!!! Disappointed, but no biggie, we had the porcini risotto we bought in Bellagio, cheese and a little soppressata to sustain us! We spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening simply enjoying the villa, swimming, jumping and of course finishing the remaining Piemonte wine!


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Long story short, packing was a drag. waking up o'dark early was a drag, I did enjoy coffee in the dark while taking recyclables to the parking lot....lots of empty wine bottles hahaha! I was disappointed that we would miss hearing Ave Maria di Lourdes one last time, but at 6am we were on the road to Malpensa. Only hiccup along the way was that our credit cards wouldn't work at the unmanned pumps, cash is king and we filled up! Airport and flights were uneventful and 9 hours later we were home in Virginia.

Thank you for reading this multi day report! Hope it wasn't too long and I hope it gets you excited to travel again now that the world is open. Now that they're all written what will I do with my free time?? PLAN ANOTHER TRIP! shouts the American tourist. Ciao!


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Last edited by BEERMAN; 11/01/2022 10:44 AM.
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Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290305
11/01/2022 11:10 AM
11/01/2022 11:10 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,579
originally Long Island, NY/now...
irish1223 Offline
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irish1223  Offline
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originally Long Island, NY/now...
I truly didn’t want this story to end. I have lived vicariously through your Italian journey until we do our own again in May! Every photo was beyond amazing. Varenna is where we ‘camped out’ during our 2019 visit. It’s a lovely little town with lots of hiking trails (which we didn’t do last time, but will attempt in May), a lovely little church, and very friendly people. Defintely worth a visit landside. We rented an Airbnb in 2019, and are doing so again in May (though a different one this time). Our 2019 visit (our first time in Italy) brought us to Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Lake Como - then we ventured up into Switzerland and Lake Lucerne. Our upcoming May 2023 trip will find us repeating a visit to Florence and Lake Como, and adding on Milano and Bologna - with several day trips outside of these areas. If I could choose a paradise, it would be Lake Como. I love your idea of renting a small motor boat. We live on a fairly large lake here in Tennessee and have a boat, so we are experienced enough with the water to attempt a rental.

Your postings were very much appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed. You have a lovely family. Until the next time.....


Robin & Ed

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: irish1223] #290313
11/01/2022 12:01 PM
11/01/2022 12:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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Irish, thank you for reading and especially for the kind comments. What month were you in Varenna and how were the crowds daytime and nighttime? If/when we go back Varenna looks like a great base, especially If one travels by train. I found driving the lake was ok with a private parking space of course. For info sake I just googled airbnbs for same time frame next year and found 52 available, compared to the 4 when we were looking last minute. We just aren't able to plan several months out, our moods and schedules change a lot.

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290314
11/01/2022 12:06 PM
11/01/2022 12:06 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,707
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Such spectacular pictures! Thanks for taking us along!


Carol Hill
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290331
11/01/2022 07:14 PM
11/01/2022 07:14 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,181
JAX
jphart Offline
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JAX
Fantastic report and photos. Tremendous amount of work, much appreciated.
JPH

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290345
11/01/2022 08:56 PM
11/01/2022 08:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,579
originally Long Island, NY/now...
irish1223 Offline
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Beerman, we were in Varenna the last week of May 2019. The day crowds were not bad at all during that time period - and the nights were even less so, once the day visitors cleared out. Enough people to keep it interesting, but nothing like the more touristy town of Bellagio (which has its own beauty, as you know). We liked it because we didn’t need reservations in the restaurants we went to. The weather during our visit was a bit cooler than expected (light sweaters at times), but I was told that was unusual for that late in May. Probably mid-to high 60’s, but it was also a bit cloudy, so that didn’t help. We were quite comfortable walking around though. Ironicallly, Switzerland (during the same trip) was warmer than we expected. jester

This coming May we will be going around the same time period (actually a week earlier), so I will let you know how the weather is this time around. It’s a bit of a conflict for us traveling in May - - not warm enough to swim in the lake, yet not too hot where we’d be uncomfortable hiking around. I hate hiking in the heat. We try to avoid the summer crowds and prices when we can. If I could plan the perfect trip, I’d prefer more toward mid-June or late September. We were hoping to make this upcoming trip for mid-June, but our daughter’s wedding took precedence. Decisions, decisions. grin grin

You are a wonderful writer. I almost can’t wait until you go away again, just so I can follow your meanderings. Thanks again for sharing.


Robin & Ed

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290361
11/02/2022 02:04 AM
11/02/2022 02:04 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,951
U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Great reports and images as always. I know where I'll be spending one of my vacations next year. Back to Como.

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: Jeannius] #290381
11/02/2022 09:51 AM
11/02/2022 09:51 AM
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Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Thanks JP, the "work" was enjoyable!

Irish, being able to swim in the lake was awesome. The water is so clean! From what we saw, we would consider staying in just about any town on Lake Como, with a car of course, Bellagio might have too many visitors? but it is beautiful. We like the shoulder months as well.

Mike, thanks and we expected Lago di Como to be great, but it exceeded our expectations!

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290435
11/02/2022 10:00 PM
11/02/2022 10:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,171
Middle Tennessee
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TravelHat Offline
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Middle Tennessee
Great final segment. Everything always look better from the water. Was one of the villas in a recent 007 movie?

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: TravelHat] #290452
11/03/2022 07:15 AM
11/03/2022 07:15 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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TravelHat, the first close villa pic is Villa Balbiano of "House of Gucci" fame, my wife and daughter knew it, I haven't seen the series.

The second villa is Richard Branson's, I assume he still owns it?

Similar name Villa Balbianello on the point was in Casino Royale and Star Wars. The brownish castle was also in Casino Royale.

Oceans 12 filmed on the lake, I believe the pic of Grand Hotel in Tremezza was used? Other Oceans locations a little further south than we motored, including Clooney's villa.

I should have looked for a cruising guide before we went out! My favorite property was Villa Melzi in Belaggio, (pic with villa lower right hand corner) they have botanical gardens, deserves a visit I think.

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290503
11/04/2022 05:12 AM
11/04/2022 05:12 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,393
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
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toast  Offline
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I have savored every page and picture and quite well remember your blog about the BVI on your daughters graduation trip. You have a way with words and explaining how to stop and "just be" along the way. I just finished booking a 6 week air bnb tour around northern Italy mostly and you have given me many tips and ideas to keep on hand.
Announced my retirement yesterday at work and now the countdown to the end of June and endless trips in front of that. Thanks for the every word and it looks like an amazing adventure.
where to next for you?


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: toast] #290507
11/04/2022 06:10 AM
11/04/2022 06:10 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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Good morning and congrats on retirement! I retired in March right at the start of the pandemic, joke was on me I guess?! Our neighbor retired same time with National’s season tickets….ugh. Your timing is better!

6 weeks, we are jealous! Curious how you’ll break that down…

For us, we have 2 “major” trips to plan, one during each of our birthdays, spring and fall. Part of me wants a BVI charter in April? But Italy?? Ireland?? Greece?? Having to decide hurts my brain this early in the morning!

Cheers to retirement!

Edit to say, that Grad trip was a really good time !


Last edited by BEERMAN; 11/04/2022 06:19 AM.
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290531
11/04/2022 11:09 AM
11/04/2022 11:09 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,393
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
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I remember your closing statement from the grad trip about " in the blink of any eye" still choke up from that!
I actually booked it around a star clipper cruise out of Venice through Croatia and around the tip of Italy ending in Rome.

So we are starting with a weekish in Corniglia ( Cinque Terra)
and then a weekish in Bellagio , leading up to 4 days in Venice prior to boarding the sailing vessel for an 11 day cruise.
In Rome for 4 days then off to Tuscany for 2 weeks, not too far from Lucca, ending with 4 days in Florence.

We are doing Air BNB all along the way and I did look at the Lake Como spot you stayed in, actually, before settling on Bellagio. I think it is so much more immersive to stay in a local home than a hotel.

I am planning on training everywhere with the exception of renting a car out of Rome so we can meander anywhere we want while in Tuscany! I am going to use your hiking app as well. MY big dilemna will be cellular I would like to find an option beside the $10 per day option I use currently. The time frame will put my bill pretty high at $10 per day . Also looking into surf shark which will allow us to use an IP as if we are in the USA and have better access to things my husband needs ( streaming TV, I know, dreadful)


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: toast] #290549
11/04/2022 03:26 PM
11/04/2022 03:26 PM
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Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Your trip sounds awesome! We haven’t been to Rome or Venice, but the others I can say great choices! Cheers!!

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290569
11/04/2022 11:14 PM
11/04/2022 11:14 PM
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MWatson Offline
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I love that stuff that is built right on the water and these are some great photos!

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #290575
11/05/2022 06:41 AM
11/05/2022 06:41 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,804
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
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These reports are fantastic!
I will have to reread it again, when we are home, but
I would love to hear the video with the church's Ave Maria.
Is it on Facebook?

Right now we are at BSV

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: toast] #290576
11/05/2022 06:49 AM
11/05/2022 06:49 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,804
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
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Originally Posted by toast


I am planning on training everywhere with the exception of renting a car out of Rome so we can meander anywhere we want while in Tuscany! I am going to use your hiking app as well. MY big dilemna will be cellular I would like to find an option beside the $10 per day option I use currently. The time frame will put my bill pretty high at $10 per day . Also looking into surf shark which will allow us to use an IP as if we are in the USA and have better access to things my husband needs ( streaming TV, I know, dreadful)


It's been a while, but we always used an Italian SIM for our phone. You can stop in at one of their shops and set it up. The service was always great.

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: toast] #290578
11/05/2022 07:45 AM
11/05/2022 07:45 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,951
U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Posts: 3,951
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Originally Posted by toast
I remember your closing statement from the grad trip about " in the blink of any eye" still choke up from that!
I actually booked it around a star clipper cruise out of Venice through Croatia and around the tip of Italy ending in Rome.

So we are starting with a weekish in Corniglia ( Cinque Terra)
and then a weekish in Bellagio , leading up to 4 days in Venice prior to boarding the sailing vessel for an 11 day cruise.
In Rome for 4 days then off to Tuscany for 2 weeks, not too far from Lucca, ending with 4 days in Florence.

We are doing Air BNB all along the way and I did look at the Lake Como spot you stayed in, actually, before settling on Bellagio. I think it is so much more immersive to stay in a local home than a hotel.

I am planning on training everywhere with the exception of renting a car out of Rome so we can meander anywhere we want while in Tuscany! I am going to use your hiking app as well. MY big dilemna will be cellular I would like to find an option beside the $10 per day option I use currently. The time frame will put my bill pretty high at $10 per day . Also looking into surf shark which will allow us to use an IP as if we are in the USA and have better access to things my husband needs ( streaming TV, I know, dreadful)

Hi Diane... Get a local sim, works out far better and cheaper. Alternatively, check out if your phone supports an eSim. If it does then you can get that loaded in advance of your trip and know that it'll work. Lots of the more expensive phones (Apple, Samsung, Sony) support them. Unfortunately my cheap Chinese phone doesn't sad

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: The_Lurker] #290638
11/06/2022 07:44 AM
11/06/2022 07:44 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,461
VIRGINIA
My Ave Maria video is not on Youtube. Enjoy BSV!

Can’t remember the cost but used a local SIM card in Iceland and it worked great. We should have done that this trip!

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: BEERMAN] #292527
12/15/2022 04:21 PM
12/15/2022 04:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 260
Albany, NY
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JimandBeth Offline
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Albany, NY
Thank you for this wonderful report.

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, FINALE [Re: JimandBeth] #292642
12/17/2022 11:40 AM
12/17/2022 11:40 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
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VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Thanks for reading!


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