in every direction...
who has lived in Milan for any length of time will confirm
what I say. Where else in the world would you have such
a mind-boggingly difficult time deciding where to get away
for a break? North, south, east and west, there is fun in
every direction from this city.
If you want sea, then
you have the Liguria coast about two hours away. Just jump
on a train and it's all laid out for you. Following the
train line, you have all the resorts you could care to visit,
all of which are written up in the guidebooks. One example:
take the train to Santa Margherita, then a boat to Portofino,
another boat to Camogli where you can pick up the train
to return to Milan.
Lake Como is just twenty
minutes on the train, with departures every hour. Como itself
is a pretty little town. Check out the "fun" street
market on Saturdays. From there, take the cable-car to Brunate
which affords a fabulous view of the area. Boat-rides galore
too. Even the commuter-boat offers some lovely options.
Check out Moltrasio, for example. Como is not the only lake,
though. Other include Maggiore, Iseo, and Lecco which is
in fact the second-leg of Lake Como the other side of Bellagio.
Now that is a truly lovely little town!
Lecco you get to mountains. This area is known as the Valtellina
which has more mountain scenery than you can shake a stick
at. Plus, of course just over these Alps you are in Switzerland.
Indeed, the "little red" train that leaves from Tirano takes
you to Saint Moritz over the Bernina Pass which is 2400
metres high and pretty impressive I can tell you.
Skiing of course is
an important winter option. Just one hour by car and you
can be on the piste. Piano di Bobbio at Lecco is one option
but there are plenty more.
For when one wants countryside,
Piacenza and Pavia is the direction to head for. Visiting
vineyards, picking mushrooms, or just savoring the sights
are there for the offering in this area. Watch out, though.
You might just decide that a country-house in this area
is just what is needed.
Then again, if a weekend
in the country is not what you fancy but a bit of culture
is, then think Vigevano, Cremona, Crema, Piacenza, Novara,
to name but a few. All an easy day-trip. Slightly further
afield, you have Verona, Vicenza, and even Venice which
is about a four-hour drive.
However you decide to
spend the weekend, great food and wine are always to be
had. Don't be in too much of a hurry to see things that
you neglect to try the local specialties. In our part of
the country, this is an extremely pleasant way to spend
time and get to know the country.
Happy exploring, everybody!