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Traveling to northern Italy & south France, what to see. . .(10 posts)

Traveling to northern Italy & south France, what to see. . .js5280
May 21, 2002 2:37 PM
as far as cycling sites (e.g. Madonna del Ghisallo, L'Alpe-d'Huez, Colnago come to mind) and other recommendations others might have. I'm not planning on cycling although it's not out of the question. Maybe a day here and there if I can rent a bike and helmet. Is that possible? I'd love to ride up d'Huez. I fly into Milan and plan to bounce around the Piedmont region and the Italian and French Riverias for about 2-3 weeks then head up to Stockholm for a week and half :-) I'm traveling inexpensively (hostels, trains, foot) so keep that in mind. Any advice on the visiting the above places? All recommendations (cycling related or otherwise) are greatly appreachiated!
Unfortunately going to miss the finish of the Giro. . .js5280
May 21, 2002 2:43 PM
by just two days :-(
Portofino ItalyScot_Gore
May 21, 2002 4:31 PM
My wife and I just returned from a Mediterranean cruise. One of our stops was Portofino Italy. This little town is enchanting. It was hard to believe that it developed into such a picturesque place on it's own and wasn't planned. It's truly a postcard local. In fact, I learned recently that Universal Studios theme park in Florida built a hotel as a copy of the town.

Worth the stop, it's a beautiful place.

May 21, 2002 4:31 PM
if you've got some time in northern italy, make sure to see lake garda or lake como. garda is huge and gorgeous-- the northern end of it is tucked into the dolomites and is breathtakingly beautiful (i was there three years ago). it's about 3 hours from milan by train, but don't miss the lake district. also, go to padua to see the giotto frescoes: they are absolutely incredible frescoes in a little church-- giotto's work heralds the introduction of perspective into visual art. pretty neat. if you want more info, let me know and i'll give you my email address. --namir
bella: Lake Como & small towns in the areaAllisonHayes
May 21, 2002 4:57 PM
How truly wonderful. Enjoy the scenery, the climate, the people, the food, the wine, the pace of life. You will not want to come back; if you do, you will never forget it.

Check this site out:
re: Traveling to northern Italy & south France, what to see. . .pina
May 21, 2002 5:23 PM
Visit Vernazza, not that far from Portofino, which is very beautiful. You can stay in Santa Margarita (sp)just a small bus ride from Portofino. When in Portofino, be sure to take the trail up above the town, it starts down near were the boats dock. The view at the top, were there is a beautiful little church is awesome. Portofino on one side and the ocean on the other. Prettiest place in northern italy.
Southern France = Provenceslow-ron
May 21, 2002 6:29 PM
St Riemy is a great town to visit. Any where in this area is amazing. Many Roman ruins and beautiful villages.

Don't go to Cannes or Nice. Too touristic.
Here's a few suggestions (long)boneman
May 22, 2002 1:23 AM
Hope you're flying into Linate airport as it's much closer to Milano. If you're coming directly from the States, you're probably going into Malpensa. You can get into the city by train. Cab from Malpensa to Milano is going to set you back some money so plan ahead.

The al Duomo cathedral is obviously worth the visit in the City. La Scala, the opera house, is unfortunately closed for rennovation. Lunch, drinks and nightlife along the Navigli canal are worth checking out. Mosquito's, depending on the time of year, can be a problem and they're not the ones you may be used to in the States. Bring some bug repellent if you're a bug magnet. If you have a couple hours to burn, a trip up to the Vigorelli Velodrome is worth the trip and you can visit the Masi shop, run by Faliero's son Alberto, which is in the SW corner of the track. The subway, tram and bus systems are pretty good in Milano and are worth using. If you want to view the painting of the Last Supper, go online and do a search. You need tickets in advance, and I do mean in advance. You can order them and then pick them up at the church. The food's out of this world in Milano and it's my favorite city, along with Budapest, for girl watching. The best place is in the Galleria by the Piazza al Duomo or in the high end shopping district. Although they serve Tuscan cuisine, Bice's worth a visit and it's not like the one in NYC which is highway robbery when it comes to pricing. Don't forget the gelatti. Out of this world.

You can take the train from Milano to Lake Como and it goes all the way into town by the edge of the Lake. It's about an hour's trip but make sure you go to the correct train station. They're two main stations in the city. It's definitely worth the trip.

Despite the tourists, I would definitely go to Nice. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons there are scores of cyclist, young and old, riding along the road next to the coast. The local papers actually post the times and locations of meeting places for rides. There are also some very good museums in Nice that are well worth seeing.

Further west and a bit inland is St. Paul de Vence. This is an absolute must see. Not just the village, but the Maeght Foundation museum which is about a 10 minute walk from the village. You can reach St. Paul de Vence by bus from the central station in Nice. Plan on having lunch al fresco in the square.

Further west is Cap Antibes. The Picasso museum is worth the trip. Also reachable by bus, or if going from Nice, by train. Summer traffic can be bad so you may want to go from Nice to St. Paul de Vence by bus. Bus to Cap Antibes and then train back to Nice.

Monaco, well it's worth the trip just to see the principality and have a drink at the Cafe Paris. I would pass on the aquarium visit and the Prince's car museum. Reachable by train from Nice. The GP is this weekend so you'll miss the hoopla and unless you're on a boat or with your corporate sponsor, better to watch on TV.

Basic French and Italian words, and sayings will take you a long way. Hello, good morning, good evening, and thank you are easy. I've managed living and traveling in Europe for 3+ years and gotten along by being able to order two beers, ask for the menu, ask for a table, ask for the bill, and ask for the bathroom in most European languages except Czech and Romanian. The further you can go with the languages, the more enjoyable your trip.

Stockholm. I assume you're flying into Arlanda. Take the express train into the City. It's cheaper and quicker than any other method. Remember, they don't use the Euro despite being in the EU. They voted against it a couple of years ago so it's the Kroner. Drinking is not cheap but that never stopped me from going to the cash point to keep my thirst quenched.

The Vasa museum is definitely worth the visit. Also, a trip to the summer palace, Drottningholm, is worth seeing. Look into getting a S
Here's a few suggestions- continued (long)boneman
May 22, 2002 1:27 AM
The Vasa museum is definitely worth the visit. Also, a trip to the summer palace, Drottningholm, is worth seeing. Look into getting a Stockholm card. It can be used on public transport, for museums and some of the water boats which you'll need to get to Drottingholm. Public transport in Sweden is world class as the citizens expect and get excellent service. Another can't miss is the Millesgarden, an outdoor sculpture garden which is quite large. A bit outside of town but easily reachable by train and then a short walk. It it's a nice day, worth the trip. It's the works of Carl Mills as well as his personal art collection.

Many people speak English in the City except perhaps for Malmostan but getting around is easy.

If you have a cash card using Cirrus or any globally accepted standard, you don't need to bother with traveler's checks. You might want to get about €100 at the airport in the US before you leave just so you can get from the airport to your first night's destination. Also, once you get out of the cities, cash rules and credit cards are not as widely accepted as you might think.

As for guidebooks, I've used the DK series exclusively. You can get them for Milano, Provence and Stockholm. They're a bit heavy due to the coated stock they're printed on but I've never been disappointed in what they offer including sights, maps, good how to get around information, etc. For specific maps of Milano and Stockholm, the Streetwise series are unsurpassed for carrying size and completeness. They're also waterproof which can be handy.

Enjoy your trip. I have loads more stuff at home if you need more info. but there's lots of stuff on the web and in books.
Awesome! Thanks for all the suggestions. . .js5280
May 22, 2002 6:56 AM
from everyone and particularly Boneman who offered up a ton both on and off the beaten path. Definately will get those on my list. Thanks for taking the time to respond! I agree the DK Eyewitness books are awesome and have been using them for research.

Still haven't heard much on cycling sites, is it possible to take a tour of the Colnago facility? Anyone tackle the Alpe d'Huez while there were in the area? What's the best way to get to Ghisallo?