Saturday 09 October: Fly from USA to Milano/Malpensa (MXP)
Sunday, 10 October: Milano/Malpensa
Arrive Milano/Malpensa. After picking up luggage and clearing customs, hit an ATM if you don’t have any euro and then find a courtesy phone. Call the First Hotel (From USA add 0039) 0331 717045 and they will send a shuttle for you.The shuttle ride takes about ten minutes. After checking in, use the rest of the day to recuperate and/or explore the area. Meet at 7:30 to walk to dinner at nearby Ristorante La Quercia (033) 123-0808. Overnight in the First Hotel, Milano/Malpensa. (Internet: free for 24 hours–longer than we will be there!!)
Monday, 11 October: Milano to Bellagio
Coach transfer to Bellagio. Bellagio is beautiful, relaxing, and probably one of the best places in Europe to get over jet lag. You have many options: take advantage of the hotel facilities–swimming pool, sauna, gym, massage and so on. Find a comfy place to sit and finish your page-turner. Walk into the town for shopping and picture taking. Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni have wonderful gardens. For transportation, I will provide ferry boat passes for two of your days. Dinner and overnight in the Hotel Belvedere, Bellagio. +39.031.950410 (Internet: €10.00 for 24 hours–does not have to be used all at once.)
Tuesday, 12 October: Bellagio
See Monday for suggestions. Dinner and overnight in the Hotel Belvedere, Bellagio.
Wednesday, 13 October: Bellagio
Today we will have to be organized enough to make it out to the island of Comacina for a blowout lunch. Be at the dock in plenty of time for an 11:30 departure, arriving at Isola Comacina at 12:07. Mid-afternoon return to Bellagio. Dinner is on your own. Overnight in the Hotel Belvedere, Bellagio.
Thursday, 14 October: Bellagio
By now, you will have picked up all kinds of suggestions for your last day in Bellagio. Enjoy! Dinner and overnight in the Hotel Belvedere, Bellagio.
Friday, 15 October: Bellagio to Bologna
Coach transfer from Bellagio to Bologna with a lunch (optional) stop along the way. After checking into the Hotel Commercianti, +39 051 745 75 11we will be met at 3:00 p.m. by our local guide, Anna Brini, for the Bologna Classic Tour: The Piazza Maggiore (main Square), Palazzo Accursio, Palazzo Del Podestà, Sala Borsa, Fountain of Neptune, Palazzo Re Enzo, Basilica of San Petronio, Archiginnasio, Medieval Market and Loggia dei Mercanti, Complex of Santo Stefano, The Two Towers. Dinner at Il Tarì Restaurant: (Antipasto, Three pasta dishes, mixed salad, dessert, mineral water, wine and coffee.) Overnight in the Hotel Commercianti, Bologna. (Internet: free WiFi for guests.)
Saturday 16 October: Bologna
Morning free to explore Bologna or to look for bargains at the open air market. At 2:30 p.m., we will meet again with our guide Anna Brini. She will lead us on her Secret Chapels Itinerary (great Renaissance art) plus a private home which is one of the finest music museums in Italy. 6:00 p.m. Cantina Bentivoglio for group pasta demo, followed by dinner with live jazz music. Overnight in the Hotel Commercianti, Bologna.
Sunday, 17 October: Bologna
Morning free. 3:30 p.m. performance of Verdi’s La Traviata at the Bologna Opera House. Dinner–pizza–after the opera. Overnight in the Hotel Commercianti, Bologna.
Monday, 18 October: Bologna
We leave quite early in the morning to visit a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese dairy to discover all steps of its production. In the large aging cellars we can taste different products. We continue with the visit of a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar private production site located in an amazing 1911 villa where we can taste 12, 25, 30, 50 year-old balsamic vinegars. Then we move to a Sixteenth Century monastery, now a wonderful agriturismo in the middle of nowhere. There we can taste local award-winning wines. We finish with an unforgettable lunch. Late afternoon return to Bologna. Dinner on your own. Overnight in the Hotel Commercianti, Bologna.
Tuesday, 19 October: Bologna
Essentially a free day to explore the Museums and Monuments of Bologna. I will provide you with a pass for the “Hop on, Hop off” bus, good for 24 hours. Evening “splurge” dinner at Caminetto d’Oro. Overnight in the Hotel Commercianti, Bologna.
Wednesday, 20 October: Bologna to Bolzano
Depart Bologna for Bolzano by coach. After checking into the hotel and finding lunch (optional) somewhere nearby (many opportunities), we will visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. Dinner at a local restaurant, La Torcia (0471 973236). Overnight in the Hotel Greif, +39 0471 318 000, Bolzano (Internet: free in lobby for 15 minutes a day; connect in room at reasonable rates.)
Thursday, 21 October: Bolzano
All of the plans for today are weather dependent. If it is a nice day, we will do the following. If not, we have some alternatives in mind. Morning walking tour to view the interesting architecture of the city. Our guide will end the tour at the funivia station where you have several choices. 1) Call it a day and head back to the hotel. 2) Take a cable car up almost 3000 feet to Soprabolzano. From there, walk about 50 meters, turn right and have lunch (optional) in a nearby restaurant. Take cable car back down to Bolzano; 3) Continue on and take a narrow gauge train to Collalbo. From here take a 40 minute walk to see some highly unusual rock formations that they call the Pyramids. At the half-way point, there is a nice place to stop either coming or going for lunch and perhaps a beer at the Sporthotel Spögler (optional). Note: I walked this in 40 minutes in spite of many stops along the way wondering if I was going in the right direction. The path is either asphalt or well maintained gravel. The grade changes are gradual. As for the attraction of walking all that distance just for a Kodak moment, let me put it this way: You will have a completely different perspective on the landscape when we take the train and cable car back. Dinner tonight will be in the Ristorante Lorin. Overnight in the Hotel Greif, Bolzano
Friday, 22 October: Bolzano to Milano or Option of independent travel.
Mid-morning departure by coach for Milano. After checking into the Starhotels Splendido +39 02 6789, afternoon free to explore Milano. Dinner tba, overnight in the Hotel Splendido. (Internet: Ridiculously expensive rates as the management hasn’t caught up with the times. €11.50 for 24hr, €2.50 or so for 15 minutes.) Florence Option: See below.
Saturday, 23 October: Return flight to USA. There is an airport shuttle which leaves from near the hotel every 15 minutes. The shuttle takes approximately one hour to get to the airport.
Esther Mae Lundy
|Jay & Evelyn Rogers|
|Greg & Judy Parks|
|Joe Di Dio
|Dale & Patsy Meyers|
|Ken & Joyce Kennamer|
|Paul & Thu Alessi|
Friday, 22 – 24 October: Bolzano to Milano to Firenze
Mid-morning departure by coach for Milano. After reaching Milano. take train to Florence for three nights in the Hotel Le Due Fontane. (Alternative travel plans: take train from Bolzano to Florence.)
Saturday, 25 October: Return to Milano.
Take train back to Milano and the Hotel Splendido. Florence Option package includes three nights B&B in Florence, train to Florence, 1st class train back to Milano. Your night in Milano is included in the tour package. The cost is $275 per person in double room.
Saturday, 26 October: Return flight to USA .