Italy - First trip to Italy. Train accross the Alps?
Mar 5, 12, 5:47 am
I am in the planning stage for a trip to Italy in 2013.It will be my first time there. I am hoping to do 5 nights in each of three different areas but have not decided which areas/cities to visit. Rome is a must, With Naples as a strong possibility for the second. The third should be up north for a change of scene.
One thing I would love very much is to take a train accross the Alps into Switzerland to catch a Swiss Air flight back to Los Angeles. Is this doable? Which city pair should I be looking at?
Thanks in advance for the advice.
Mar 10, 12, 11:20 am
Just my HO, but you want to do WAY too much for such a short time.
Mar 10, 12, 3:49 pm
have you looked at the size if italy? you have lots of posts. italy is bigger than la. rome to naples(a wastein the first place)becomes 3 lost days. someplace in italy to someplace in swizz. ii another lost day. you got 5 dys on a train here.
I agree with the previous posters that 5 nights and three locations are far too ambitious. For a first visit five nights would be fine for just Rome alone!
It is possible to split the stay between two cities, though. If you are flying into Rome and flying out of Zürich, I would choose a second city on the main railway line between these two cities.
This would be Rome-Florence-Bologna-Milan-Chiasso-(Gotthard line)-Lucerne-Zurich. I would not choose Florence: you simply wouldn't have enough time to do the city any justice. I would go for a smaller lakeside resort city in the area north of Milan, such as Como which is an interesting town in itself and has direct trains to Zürich on the Milan-Zürich line.
I would stay three nights in Rome, take a mid-morning train to Como (probably changing in Milan, the Stazione Centrale in Milan is well worth a look in all its grandiosity!), then staying two nights in Como, taking a boat trip on the lake before heading to Zürich in the morning of my last day. There appears to be a train from Como SG at 07.45 in the morning, which (changing at Zürich HB) gets you to Zürich airport at 11.13, in time for the 1.10 PM (13.10) LX flight to LAX
Mar 12, 12, 8:38 pm
Sorry folks I was unclear in my OP. It will be Fifteen nights. Five nights in each of three different cities.
OK, fifteen nights is more sensible.
Five nights in Rome is fine. The other two "big'uns" are Florence and Venice of course, but I would think that 15 days in large Italian cities could be rather stressful!
Campania would be a good choice for a second destination, but I would not go to Naples itself. It is an interesting city, with a world-class museum, but the sights could be seen in a day trip. I would base myself either in Sorrento (frequent local train from Naples). Pompeii as one of the major sights around Naples is halfway between Naples or Sorrento, and just as accessible from the latter. Sorrento is a nice upscale resort, well worth a visit and OK as a base to visit the sights around Naples, including the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia. The latter two islands are good alternatives, even though it is slightly more difficult to use them as bases for day trips. The Amalfi Coast is also beautiful as an alternative, but for a first time visitor I would imagine that Sorrento is more convenient.
Personally, I'd go for Venice as the third choice, but anywhere in northern Italy coud be chosen. Either of the major lakes is well worth a visit (Garda, Como).
As for trains, see my comment in the other thread. With your available time, I would look into the Bernina option from Tirano to Chur
Mar 16, 12, 9:56 am
I'd STRONGLY recommend the Gotthard routing from Milano Centrale to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, on a day train! If you can get a seat on Swiss rolling stock it's also very comfy even in second class. Zurich Hauptbahnhof has a regular service to Zurich airport.
I second Como as a destination en route for Zurich. Note that the station you want is COMO SAN GIOVANNI - there are 4 stations in Como!! A trip up the lake to Bellagio is a must do, but I can also recommend a visit to the Villa Balbianello (get off at the Lenno landing stage plus a 10 minutes shady walk) or if you have only a short time available, get the ferry from Como to Torno - a delightful unspoiled little lakeside village at the end of the regular 'Como town loop' and have lunch at the Albergo Belvedere just next to the landing stage (not Tuesdays when it's closed!).
Mar 18, 12, 7:48 am
Well since I am going to have to catch the train in Milan I might as well stay there(and burn some Hyatt points) a few nights
I thank each of you for your comments and suggestions. I am getting excited for a trip that is still a year away!