Subject: Re: Honeymoon Trip in Northern Italy
We did that trip and a bit more in the spring of 1998 and loved it! I am a big fan of Bellagio--it's a great spot when flying in/out of Milan to relax and recover from jet lag or, at the end of a trip, to recover from sightseeing and fly home rested. Like the other poster, we stayed at the Hotel Belvedere and heartily recommend it. You can see photos from our room with a view at

If I were doing your trip within the stated time frame, I would add a day each to Venice and Florence and cut out the return to Bellagio. Or, if you want to see something else, I'd take one of the extra days and plan a one-day/one-night stop in a town that interests you either between the lakes-Venice or between Venice-Florence. (This is easy to do whether you're traveling via train or car.) We did Verona on the first leg and Bologna on the second; my personal favorite was Bologna. Check out some travel books from the library and study them- -figure out what piques your interest in Venice, Florence, and then see if anything else on the way looks interesting to you. Also, don't rule out Milan--I didn't expect to like it, but enjoyed it very much...that could be your last day with overnight near the airport.

The primary reason I would cut out Bellagio as a two-time stop is personal to me, but might strike home with you, so just think about it: while it's so lovely--truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and so charming--there is not a lot to do. That is not a bad thing per se, especially for honeymooners! And if I were going on a purely R&R vacation, I would be sorely tempted to choose a week in Bellagio over a week at a beach resort. Nonetheless, because at this point in my life I don't have the opportunity to travel as much as I'd like, I go with the intent to experience as much as I can. Thus, I'd put Bellagio either at the beginning or end, but not both, leaving the rest of my trip open to more traditional sightseeing, discovering the many varied riches of art, history, architecture, culture, etc. your other destinations offer.

A second, practical reason for reconsidering your second Bellagio stop is that the time involved to get up there from Milan is greater than what it seems by measuring the miles on a map. Don't get me wrong--whether by car or train, you can be there in under two hours, but the logistics are just enough to make you wonder if you are using your precious travel time as wisely as possible, esp. if coming up from Florence, making your way north, and then having to get back to the airport. **Note that international departures from Italy do require your arrival at the airport at least 2 hours in advance for comfort's sake. There are lines, paperwork, inefficiencies, etc. I don't exaggerate--and I am not one to arrive at the airport a minute earlier than absolutely necessary (I've been spoiled by our local commuter, Southwest--15 minutes before flight time does it!).

Of course, these are just my opinions. I'd encourage you to take advantage of the many Italian contributors to the zine, who are always so gracious to provide information and opinions about their wonderful country.

Congrats on your upcoming marriage! Enjoy your honeymoon planning. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

Diana Ball Houston, TX