I can’t believe I just found this site! Thanks for your beautiful photos and advice, though I just scratched the surface. I leave this tuesday for milan and will be spending 8 days in Italy with my gf. Besides the flights we have yet to book anything. We plan on renting a car all days. Skiing in the dolomites 3 days, probably val gardena? Before that we are open. I am really interested in going to Bergamo, and Parma, with only 4 days I don’t necessarily want to be running around each day, but would love advice on where to go, great places to stay (would love an agritourismo) and places to eat! I am based in NYC and am a chef. Really looking forward to exploring a party of Italy I have never been too.
Thanks for any info
Hi Joseph, happy to know you liked my site!
You’re landing in Italy at the end of the Italian Xmas period, so finding good places to sleep should’t be an issue. Unfortunately there is not much snow in the Dolomite yet, but we are not losing hope! You can get some info here: http://www.valgardena.it/en/ski-snowboard/slopes-lifts/snow-report/
For agriturismo, here is your site: www.agriturismo.it
For “Zimmer” in Val Gardena: http://www.valgardena.it/en/holidays/accommodation-search/?a=list&stay%5Bfrom%5D=16%2F01%2F2016&stay%5Buntil%5D=23%2F01%2F2016&stayD%5Brooms%5D%5B%5D=1&stayD%5Broomtype%5D%5B%5D=1&stayD%5Bpersons%5D%5B%5D=2&stayD%5Bapartmentrooms%5D%5B%5D=&stayD%5Bkids%5D%5B%5D=0&price%5Bto%5D=&Board%5B%5D=0&ResortType%5B%5D=0&Location%5B%5D=0&hotelname=
Concerning the itinerary: Bergamo is on your way to the Dolomites, and can be visited in 2-3 hours. Just limit your visit to Bergamo Alta, where you should taste the “Casoncei”, local ravioli. Then you may proceed to Verona, where I would spend one night and half a day. It’s a wonderful town.
From Verona drive North to the Dolomites, but before getting there stop in Bressanone, a gothic town, with a wonderful city center, great restaurants (you should stop at Oste Scuro and at the Kofererhof, 5 km out of town). This is also a reputed region for wines, both white such as the Gewurtztraminer and red, such as Lagrein.
From Bressanone you can get to Val Gardena in 45′ drive. Stop in posh Ortisei (and eat at the Tubladel restaurant – don’t forget to ask for a Hugo for your aperitif), but sleep in Selva di Val Gardena to be right on the slopes. Here the hottest thing to do is the “Sella Ronda”, ie, the tour of the Sella mountain without ever taking out your skys! Plan one day to make the itinerary (you can do it clockwise or the other way round).
Try not to go there during WE, so you will have the slopes (nearly) all for you!
From Val Gardena take your car and drive to super posh Cortina, for additional slopes and great views. From there you can drive back to the Venice -Milan highway.
Concerning Parma, it’s out of the way from this itinerary, but it’s just one hour away from Milan. You may try to get to Modena as well, and have an Acetaia tour, to see how the true Aceto Balsamico is made (there’s one of my a posts describing the tour). In Parma, you should go to Langhirano, home of the true “Prosciutto Crudo” and “Culatello”.
By the way, you’re not allowed to drive a private car (included a rented one) in Milan city center, so if you plan to spend time there get a hotel outside “area C”
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