Thought I would let you see my process for planning my recent spring trip to Italy by reading entries in my journal:
Tuesday, March 15 – I started researching where we can spend the first day/night of our trip. Nice is further from Milan than I had thought, at least 4 hours from Milano Centrale and it will take us an hour to get from Malpensa (Milan’s airport) to Milano Centrale. That is way too long! My lack of geographical knowledge is kicking in – I don’t want to spend more than 1 ½ hours on the train our first day there.
Torino is a little over an hour from Milan which is doable but I am not sure what we would do in Torino other than eat and drink chocolate, yum. Torino is known for having some of the best chocolate and oldest chocolate shops in Italy but that is probably not a reason to spend our limited time and money in the city.
Genova is 1 ½ hours from Milan and we would have access to the beaches of the Ligurian Coast. The question is could we spend the night in one of the beach towns north of Genova and go into France the next day?
I need to research some of the smaller towns north and west of Genova. I am familiar with many of the towns south of the city, but I have never traveled to the northwest. If we stay north of Genova we could get to Niece in 3 or 4 hours. From Nice we would have access to a number of towns and places to visit and we could easily get back to Italy for the second half of our trip.
Looking at all the different train schedules is so confusing!
Friday, March 18 – On this dreary day I am dreaming of my trip and the sunny weather I hope to see in France and Italy. My initial thought is: Milan to Genova to Beach to Niece to Northern Italy
Saturday, March 19 – I don’t think France is going to work out. It is just takes too much time to get to Nice and back to Italy. We looked at the online forums and I spoke with my sister and they all say skip France, it will take too much time and we really don’t want to lose two days to traveling back and forth.
So now I am thinking Verona, Vicenza or Padua and Bologna, Parma or Modena. We may be able to start our trip in Varazze a beach town north of Genova. Maybe we could take a side trip to Pisa. I have not seen the tower since they took down the wires.
Tuesday, March 22 – Apparently we will be in Bologna during trade season which makes the price of all the hotels higher than other towns and cities. After a lot of searching we have been able to find a few hotels that may work. Not being familiar with the city makes it difficult to know if the locations are any good.