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Best Italy day trip from Monaco

Best Italy day trip from Monaco

Old Jul 14, 19, 2:16 pm
  #1  
hts
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Best Italy day trip from Monaco

Heading to Monaco next month and while I originally wanted to take a day trip to CT, was talked out of it due to distance.

We only have 1 day for this trip and we'd like to get a taste of Italian history, culture, and of course, some great/authentic pasta/pizza.

I've been looking at the train to Final Ligure/Finalborgo, but even that's 2 hours each way.

Any recommendations for cute Italian towns closer to Monaco that we could be at within an hour with great culture/food/scenery?

Thanks!
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Old Jul 14, 19, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by hts View Post
Heading to Monaco next month and while I originally wanted to take a day trip to CT, was talked out of it due to distance.

We only have 1 day for this trip and we'd like to get a taste of Italian history, culture, and of course, some great/authentic pasta/pizza.

I've been looking at the train to Final Ligure/Finalborgo, but even that's 2 hours each way.

Any recommendations for cute Italian towns closer to Monaco that we could be at within an hour with great culture/food/scenery?

Thanks!
Not trying to be rude or unkind, but it is not possible to get a taste of Italian history, culture, great authentic pasta and pizza on a day trip from another country. It's just not possible to even get a taste of it in that time. All you'll be able to do in the future is say that you crossed the border into Italy, but you didn't get to see any of Italy.

Italy is a new country, founded after the American Civil War. The Italian Peninsula had a bunch of independent city states that spoke different languages, ate different foods, and were constantly at war with one another. There is no Italy, per se. Some call Italy more of a concept than a nation, although I don't believe that. Please do not think that the people in Alto Adige have much at all in common with the people of Naples. It was just in the mid 1990's that surveys revealed that 50% of Italians had finally learned Italian, and that was mostly because of the wide dissemination of TV. People in Venice couldn't speak to someone from Padua, an hour away. Romans couldn't speak to someone in Naples, an hour away. They certainly didn't recognize each other's food.

Stepping into Italy will not give you a taste of it. Each region has its own delights. And CT is one of the last place to go if you want to experience anything Italian. It's all for tourists. Few Italians live there anymore. Even the signs are in English.

Italy is where western civilization started, although the Greeks could challenge that, but their supremacy was short lived. Can you imagine painting without Leonardo Da Vinci who painted the most famous picture in the world, and all the incredible painters before him? Sculpture without Michelangelo? Literature without Dante? Operas without Verdi, arias by Puccini? No Fellini films? Fashion without Gucci? No hot rod car industry without Ferrari? The heavens charted, the first accurate calendar, the invention of the telescope, the compass? Architecture without the invention of the arch, which is why Roman buildings still stand today?

Italy transformed food, architecture, fashion, and history by inventing the first University, banks, libraries, law school, medical school. It mapped the moon in 1651, Italians were the first to split the atom, first to produce modern histories, satires and sonnets. Invented the first battery, barometer, microscope, radio, and thermometer. Not to leave out the gift of music and food.

Italy is about the size between New Mexico or Arizona, but has spewed out geniuses that formed Western Civilization despite having 1% of the world's population. you can get a taste of New Mexico or Arizona, barely, with a day trip, but Italy, not at all. I'd just stay in Monaco, and not just cross the border just to say you crossed the border.

Like the famous British essayist Samuel Johnson said, ""A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see." A day trip to Italy does not mean you've been to Italy.

Or as Orson Wells said, "In Italy they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace - and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." No slight to Switzerland, it's just to highlight that Italy is a complicated place.

Or as George Clooney said, "I think people in Italy live their lives better than we do. They've learned to celebrate dinner and lunch, whereas we sort of eat as quickly as we can to get through it."

Or as Mark Twain said, "The Creator made Italy using designs by Michelangelo."

Or as Russian writer Alexander Gerzen wrote about Venice, "To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius."

No, you are not going to taste Italy in a day trip.
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Last edited by Perche; Jul 14, 19 at 9:43 pm
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Old Jul 14, 19, 4:11 pm
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You're not going to see a lot in a day trip. I think Ventimiglia is ~30 mins driving from Monaco, but it's going to be really crowded in August, and it's a pretty touristy place to begin with, in the summer. Avoid the pizza, Liguria isn't known for that - however, the focaccie from the region are pretty good. The pasta won't be what you're generally used to - heavier emphasis on seafood and filled pasta, some of which are served cold. These are features, not bugs, though, as the Italian food we commonly see in the US is generally an Italian-American representation of foods from the south of Italy. I still wouldn't go in August, though.

If you're going to leave Monaco for a day, I'd suggest you're better off heading to Nice, where at least the city is large enough to deal with the crowds.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by PWMTrav View Post
You're not going to see a lot in a day trip. I think Ventimiglia is ~30 mins driving from Monaco, but it's going to be really crowded in August, and it's a pretty touristy place to begin with, in the summer. Avoid the pizza, Liguria isn't known for that - however, the focaccie from the region are pretty good. The pasta won't be what you're generally used to - heavier emphasis on seafood and filled pasta, some of which are served cold. These are features, not bugs, though, as the Italian food we commonly see in the US is generally an Italian-American representation of foods from the south of Italy. I still wouldn't go in August, though.

If you're going to leave Monaco for a day, I'd suggest you're better off heading to Nice, where at least the city is large enough to deal with the crowds.
I completely agree with PWMTrav
Nice and some of the small towns surrounding it definitely have the Italian influence in their Provencal cuisine. There is a heavy emphasis on seafood and fresh vegetables. Indeed, the food is quite reminiscent of some of the dishes we enjoy so much in Venice. I remember a brilliant meal in Cagnes sur Mer, not far from Nice.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 6:19 pm
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We're already planning to spend 1 day in Nice and probably 1/2 day in Eze. I'm still trying to get us reservations for Mirazur, although I'm not holding my breath. If they serve cold noodles with seafood in Liguria, then that would be cool to try (we had cold noodles when we visited China last year and they were also very interesting). We don't expect to be able to experience all Italy has to offer on a day trip from Monaco, lol. But it would be nice to say we've visited and experienced a small part of the culture/history nonetheless.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 7:08 pm
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Ventimiglia, on the French border, is about a 20 minute train ride from Monaco. If you wish to go further into Italy, you will have to change trains in Ventimiglia from SNCF to Trenitalia. The popular towns of Sanremo and Bordighera are a short train ride from Ventemiglia, as are some of the other coastal towns of the Western Italian Riviera. Genoa is about a two hour train ride from Ventemiglia and the popular Eastern Riviera towns of Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino (the latter being reachable by bus from Santa Margherita Ligure) are not very far from Genoa, but taking into consideration travel time and train and bus schedules, it may take you up to four hours or more to reach the Eastern Riviera from Ventimiglia, leaving you little time to explore any of towns in the region in one day, let alone, other cities or towns along the way, before heading back to Monaco.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 7:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Perche View Post
{...snip}...a taste of Italian history, culture, great authentic pasta and pizza...{snip}...
...{snip}...Italy is where western civilization started, although the Greeks could challenge that, but their supremacy was short lived....{snip}...
They do challenge that; both pasta and pizza have a Greek etymology!
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Old Jul 14, 19, 9:56 pm
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Originally Posted by hts View Post
We're already planning to spend 1 day in Nice and probably 1/2 day in Eze. I'm still trying to get us reservations for Mirazur, although I'm not holding my breath. If they serve cold noodles with seafood in Liguria, then that would be cool to try (we had cold noodles when we visited China last year and they were also very interesting). We don't expect to be able to experience all Italy has to offer on a day trip from Monaco, lol. But it would be nice to say we've visited and experienced a small part of the culture/history nonetheless.
They are not called noodles in italy. They are called pasta, in a variety of forms. Noodles would be Asian. Calling pasta noodles is like calling it Ramen. North Americans use that in reference to Asian noodles. Many Americans are of German descent and in German one refers to pasta as “Die Nudeln." And the older English word for pasta was that because English is a Germanic language. But Americans and Italians don't call Italian pasta “noodles." Pasta is the original word from Latin, not German, and I agree with KLouis, from Greece before that. Noodles, never.
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Old Jul 15, 19, 3:47 am
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What a splendid idea to go to Italy for the day.

The Italian Riviera will be packed with tourists in August, but well worth a day trip. There are dozens of charming resorts along the Ligurian coast from which to choose. Pick one–any one!

Why not go to Bordighera? Only an hour from Monaco by train (changing at Ventimiglia). Charming, and only 12 miles from the border. Here's the Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bordighera

Liguria has brought the world pesto sauce: It would be remiss not to eat 'pasta al pesto' (made with local basil, local pine kernels and local olive oil) when in the area. Locals would usually serve pesto with 'trofie' pasta, and add a little potato (to add starch for sauce adhesion) and green beans. (They also serve a less known, but equally delicious walnut sauce on their pasta.) I cannot think of a more delicious Ligurian lunch than pasta al pesto as a first course; fish (caught that morning) plain grilled and drizzled with Ligurian olive oil, accompanied by fresh vegetables–all washed down with some local Pigato wine.

If you're there in the morning and fancy a snack, try 'focaccia al formaggio'–another Ligurian speciality: Freshly baked focaccia topped with delicious melted stracchino cheese.

Don't think too much about it: Take the train to Bordighera and you'll have a wonderful day in Italy.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 4:36 am
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It is really not worth going to Italy for a day from Monaco, instead, spend more time in Nice and area around it. I’m sure you know that that area was part of the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (an Italian state), which can still be seen in architecture, food and local dialects. Why go somewhere just to cross a border that’s very recent? If you want to have a good Italian meal, try Chez Acchiardo in Nice.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 4:52 am
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obscure2k, Nice and the surrounding areas are not part of Provence. They are now part of the modern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur but historically, linguistically and culinary they are closer to Italy and even parts of Switzerland than France or Provence. Heck, Provence itself did not become part of France until late 15th century

Last edited by VitaliU; Jul 16, 19 at 4:54 am Reason: Spelling
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:27 am
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@VitaliU: This may be the most simplistic history of southern France, combined with a rather strange statement of the local cuisine. Well, Italy did not exist when it's stated that Provence was (historically) part of it and I wonder which Swiss specialty is close to provençal specialties, say (I list a "full dinner" with choices for soup/ first course/ legume dish/ second course-meat/ second course-fish/ and dessert): bourride or bouillabaisse / tapenade or tourton / oreilles d' nes or ratatouille / daube provençale or pieds et packets / catigots d'anguilles or sardinade / pompe à l'huile or tourte de blettes. To keep this post valid for children , I won't mention any alcoholic beverages.

Let's let the OP have his day in Italy, instead of giving him/her our own preferences: both Liguria and Provence are great, food-wise, nature-wise and otherwise!
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
@VitaliU: This may be the most simplistic history of southern France, combined with a rather strange statement of the local cuisine. Well, Italy did not exist when it's stated that Provence was (historically) part of it and I wonder which Swiss specialty is close to provençal specialties, say (I list a "full dinner" with choices for soup/ first course/ legume dish/ second course-meat/ second course-fish/ and dessert): bourride or bouillabaisse / tapenade or tourton / oreilles d' nes or ratatouille / daube provençale or pieds et packets / catigots d'anguilles or sardinade / pompe à l'huile or tourte de blettes. To keep this post valid for children , I won't mention any alcoholic beverages.

Let's let the OP have his day in Italy, instead of giving him/her our own preferences: both Liguria and Provence are great, food-wise, nature-wise and otherwise!
Ha! I am not sure how it cannot be simplistic when described in 3 sentences. The whole purpose of these forums is to share our preferences and it is up to the OP to decide what to do with it.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 7:55 am
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Nowadays the people of Menton have more in common culturally with Parisians than they do with the people of Ventimiglia (who live less than 7 miles away), who themselves have more in common culturally with Sicilians. Yes, the landscape and architecture are similar, and they have a share history–but then there's: Language; non-verbal communication; popular culture; education system; legal system; the press; humour; food and drink; daily habits; shops and shopping; smoking; levels of formality; the nuclear vs. extended family; young person autonomy; diversity; the legal system and many laws; local, regional and provincial government; bureaucracy ... (I could go on ad nauseam.)

I think that it's an excellent idea for the OP to consider a day trip to Italy–even if its just to get the slightest taste which could inspire a future, lengthier and more rewarding visit.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 4:45 pm
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Go to Nice. Lots of Italian influence there along with some great restaurants serving Italian food. Quick easy train ride and historical center is close to the station and all the other attractions.
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