Monday, January 31, 2022

 Update on September 2022 Trip Planning

Still   Checking Flight   Tickets - May Change Destination Airport

Since we have flown into Italy twice to Florence and twice to Milan, we are open to starting our trip in another city. Our itinerary does allow us the flexibility of flying into airports in Bologna, Verona, Venice, Milan, or Florence. We liked Milan because of the ease and the economical transportation from the Linate Airport to the Milano Centrale train station (in 2016 the cost was about 8 euros each on the bus while a taxi was about 32 euros including tip).  Florence was also a convenient starting point. The first time, our self-catering apartment owner picked us up at the airport and made a stop on the way to the apartment at Piazzale Michelangelo to give us our first stunning view of the beautifulcity of Florence (Firenze). What an introduction!  The next time, there were 4 of us and we took a cab for about 28 euros. Usually, helpful information can be found on Tripadvisor and other travel forums, telling us exactly which number bus to take; where to get a taxi; precisely where to find the bus and how much the fare will be, give or take a euro or two.

Milano Centrale train station
 Florence from Piazalle Michelangelo (Viator photo)

Milano Linate Airport (LIN)

     We spend the first night in a hotel near the train station if possible. You can read where we stayed in Milan both times at the economical and safe Hotel Mythos which is a less than 5-minute walk to Milano Centrale train station and a number of good restaurants and coffee shops (bars). In Florence, each time, our first night was at the apartment we rented for 2 weeks.

Verona Villefranca Airport (VRN)
Florence Peretola Airport (FLR)
Verona Villefranca Airport (VRN)

     Possibly, more out comfort for a familiar routine, we chose to start this upcoming trip in Milan with a one-night stay before heading to Verona on a Freccia train the next day. Since we are taking our time (hopefully, not too much time) booking our flights, I've begun to explore starting in a different city. Our 2nd through 7th days will be spent in Verona, so why not see if prices to fly into that airport are comparable to what we're seeing for Milan. We can as easily spend our first night in a Verona hotel (if we are unable to book our apartment for a day sooner). We would also save about 60 euros for train tickets from Milan to Verona. Plus, we would start out fresh in our new city on day two. So far, the effort of checking flying into other cities has yielded less expensive flights into Venice than into Milan, with Verona being much the same as Milan. I'll be checking other alternatives soon., but it seems to be a no-brainer to fly into Verona (or Venice). Remember, flexibility.
Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)

     If we do end up choosing another city, we might have a little longer train trip on our next to last day in order to fly home from where we started, but that might only add 1/2 hour or less to the train ride for about the same cost. Also, since all of our lodging reservations (made through have free cancelation up until about 10 days before arrival dates, we have the flexibility of tweaking those dates a bit.

Verona Porta Nuova Train Station

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Changes To Our September Itinerary


Now that we have postponed our trip until September and added a new destination to our itinerary, it's time to update our plans here. Here's our new itinerary, even though we are considering a change from flying to Milan to flying to Verona or Venice:

  • Milan - 1 night 
  • Verona - 5 nights
  • Feltre/Pedavena - 2 nights (Where my grandparents emigrated from in 1906.)
  • Venice - 2 nights
  • Bologna - 5 nights
  • Cortona - 4 nights
  • Florence - 3 nights
  • Milan - 1 night
A total of 23 nights.


     We still have to book our flights and our reserve train tickets for travel between cities. Since we are splurging for once on Business Class tickets (and due to COVID), we are having a more difficult time deciding on those tickets. We are considering flying on Aer Lingus which we like. They have a program that lets you bid on an upgrade on your tickets near your departure date. So, we would book Economy seats and then get an email from the airline offering a chance to make a bid on Business Class seats. Right now those Business Class tickets are about $5,900 for two. The best price we have seen so far is with TAP Portugal Airline at about $4,000 for two. These prices are long gone now that it's May 13, 2022. The price now at both airlines is closer to $6500 for 2.

Huge difference there. we are hesitant to act right now out of fear that we might decide it is still too iffy because of COVID. The tickets would be nonrefundable. We plan on booking the tickets in early June. We could pay several hundred dollars more on the tickets so we could get refunds, but, we just aren't there yet. I invite comments from anyone more experienced in booking Business Class tickets. We prefer not using Business Class ticket brokers, though, where we wouldn't know the airline until after we bought the tickets.

     As for the fast train tickets between major cities, we can't access those until Trenitalia updates their schedules/prices for September/October travel. These tickets, some at steep discounts, become available only a couple months ahead of time. For day trip trains, we just buy our tickets at the station for local/regional trains (usually, there are no reserved seats on these trains). Always remember to validate your tickets before boarding your train or your bus or you risk a hefty fine (which almost no explanation can get you out of).

Regional train ticket validation machine.
Milano Centrale train station.

Trenitalia ticket validation machine.

As for our lodging reservations, we have made a couple of changes since which postponed our trip from April '22 to September '22. If we do fly into Milan, we will try to reserve a room in the Charly Hotel as before but it's too far out to reserve there yet. This hotel is close and convenient to Milano Centrale train station. We plan on staying there for our first and last nights in Italy. We also changed our reservation in Cortona to a brighter, larger apartment than before. And, since we added Pedavena to our itinerary, we reserved a hotel room for two nights in the nearby town of Feltre which is a short bus ride to Pedavena. 

Stay tuned for the progress we are making as we get closer to our departure date of Sepember 16, 2022. Fingers crossed.