Travel Northern Italy (pre-Alps and Alps) in August?

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Mark Temple, May 14, 2018.

  1. OK, so another request for the forum Knowledge... :)

    Going to have a week in northern Italy (starting from Bergamo) with a car in mid-August. Would like to find a couple of bases to rent a place for a few days, beautiful but not too crowded or posh. Any ideas? I'd like to do a bit of mountain walking (nothing superserious), eat well, and chill in nice locations. Swimming in a lake would be a bonus.

    Thinking of heading either towards Val d'Aosta or towards the Dolomites - maybe the latter offers more flexibility? Might organise a winery visit if it fits in...
     
  2. Just a bit too far to the west for my area of knowledge in Italy Mark, but at that time of year I would recommend the dolomites, temperatures will be a lot more bearable and the weather will afford you some spectacular walks and scenery
     
  3. Would rather avoid the famous places though - don't want to be going near the Tre Cime in August! But yes, any specific reccos for beautiful quieter corners very welcome :)
     
  4. Hi Mark
    Lago Molveno would tick those boxes brilliantly with a good *lake, wonderful walking (plus cable car / ski lift to take the hard uphill stuff out, and a good round the lake walk). The scenery is breath-taking - lake, tree-lined mountains and no 'filler'. It is 2.5 hours drive fromn Bergamo according to Google maps. Foradori (Mezzolombardo) a very good / interesting winery to visit, plus the fine local Trento sparkling wines made on the outskirts of the city - which I've preferred to Franciacorta. In addition, the local vino santo is exceptional, and the various members of the Poli clan that make it in Vezzano are visits I have in mind for a return trip, having not visited them before. Loads of apartment rentals, mostly chalet style affairs. If you decide to go there, tap me up for my cribsheet from previous trips.

    *I presume there is swimming in the lake in summer, our visits have been spring and autumn.

    If going that far I'd lean away from a second location, as a week in Molveno is a good length of time to spend there (more feasible if you want to relax and do some good walks), and Trento a good city to have a couple of day trips to. However if wanting a 2nd place, looking at the map Lago d'Idrio looks a nice position, but absolutely no idea what it's like. Ditto Lago d'Iseo. Lago di Toblino is stunningly beautiful, but rather near to Molveno, so perhaps better as a day trip from there. Lake Garda would be heaving so fails on the too crowded.

    Regards
    Ian
     
    Simon Woolf likes this.
  5. If you go to the Dolomites Lagazuoi is worth a visit for the remarkable history. It was the frontline during WW1 and the site of an epic effort to dislodge the Austrians - they tunnelled up through the mountain and then blew the top off. The passages are still open to visitors. There's a refuge across the valley (Faloria I think - I will check with a mate) which had a good wine list and excellent food when we visited though that was 2013. A good day's walk or a shortish drive and a cable car up!
     
  6. I know Ian’s knowledge is second to none here.

    I adore Aosta but you might find it quite compact. That said, the National Park (Gran Paradiso) is truly beautiful. As are the wines (production just too tiny to be as well known as they should be).

    Going east, I would consider the Isarco Valley. Once more, some lovely artisan wines. The Abbey of Novacella near Bressanone/Brixen is nice.

    Personally I would avoid Lake Garda at that time of year if you don’t want crowds.
     
  7. A good lake to swim in is the Montigglersee - it's small and not too deep so gets warm enough to be pleasant in high summer. There's a lido there and lots of people, so that may not be your thing, but it's very beautiful nevertheless being surrounded by mixed beech and pine forest. The lido has a large outdoor pool as well.
     
  8. I can’t offer any advise as I’ve not been, yet. We staying on Lake Maggiore (Stresa) for a few days in late May. It’s been highly recommended by a friend.

    If there’s any recommendations for that area. That would be great.

    Mark, happy to report back if that area is of interest.
     
  9. Or possibly Berceto in the Apennines - not too far from Bergamo, good walking, quiet with some interesting towns not far away but no lake. Love the Aosta valley but not sure where to suggest there in August.
     
  10. Thanks all! Knew you would come up with some good ideas.

    Lago di Molveno sounds a good option. And certainly well situated for Trento, the Dolomites and Alto Adige, it seems. Must find out where the Montigglersee is (I guess this is in Alto Adige?) And yep, Foradori was precisely the winery I was thinking of;)

    For the first night, maybe somewhere on Lake Como (flight from Bari arrives at 19.30 I think), and then the drive via Valtellina over to Molveno? Appeals at first sight (though may better to stay somewhere on the lago di Iseo?) Or else could go over the Stelvio and stay another night somewhere up there, before Molveno?

    Where is the Val d'Isarco?

    Must get round to writing up my Crete/Santorini trip...
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  11. Hi Mark
    Foradori charged (IIRC) ~ €10 a head for the tasting. I think that's fair for an interesting visit, though just 3 wines offered at the tasting was a shame - it's such an interesting range that I'd have happily tasted everything they make.

    The ski-lifts will be in daily operation and there are others in nearby small towns / large villages. We were saddened that they modernised the Molveno-Pradel into an enclosed cabin, as the original open air metal waist high 'cages' gave a much more invigorating experience. Still the old 2 seater ski lifts up from Pradel to Palon di Tovre are pleasingly old school.

    If you do go for Molveno I'll ping you my crib sheet & details of a fine food shop in nearby (actually a nice walk there, though buses are an option) Andalo. I do expect it to be popular and quite busy down in the town in August, but it will be very easy to escape to solitude on the walks, especially those up to Pradel. One day in May we walked up and saw two cars pass as we hit the road near the top, but not another soul for the whole of the walk up there.

    p.s. Trento is a lovely city, though I normally leave staying in a city for cooler weather.

    Regards
    Ian
     
  12. Mark, Isarco is the same as Eisaktal (hard with the two languages). Basically travelling north to Brixen/Bressanone from the south you then fork northwest to the Brenner Pass to Austria or east, up said valley.

    From Valtellina you’d be driving southeast-ish to Brixen. Should see it on a map.
     
  13. Sorry, I should have said where the Montigglersee is. It's in the Uberestch portion of the Sudtirol. A beautiful area with plenty of hiking potential. One option is to take the Medelbahn up from Kaltern to the Mendelpass and then to hike south towards Monte Roen. Lovely views on a good day.
     
  14. Thanks again. Would Isarco and the Montigglersee be doable as day trip from Molveno?
     
  15. Montigglersee definitely yes, the Eisacktal is a bit further...
     
  16. I guess I meant within about 1hr30 of driving. Thanks, Richard! Will hopefully report back on my swim ;)
     
  17. OK. 20 places to stay in Molveno on the main sites. All 20 booked up all the time we're there :(

    No luck with agriturismi either. Looks like I shall have to get a little more lateral, give up the idea of having a kitchenette, or probably both...
     
  18. Thanks, Ian! Will look into those two. I did find a B&B in Pietramurata, which isn't too far away. Needs to be under about €80 a night.
     
  19. Hi Mark
    < 80 Euro should be doable, but I guess this is high season compared to when we go, hence the availability not so good.

    We would have passed near but not through Pietramurata, but it looks a good location, near the very picturesque Lago Toblino and what's effectively an adjoining lake. I'd want to work out how close it is to the concrete site, but on the upside, very handy for the local wine producers Cantina Toblino, the various Poli and others. The local vino santo that they produce in very small amounts is made from a handy grape (Nosiola) which I've enjoyed in that form, as a dry white, and also a lovely grappa (which a favourite enoteca in Dublin had). On the basis that such wines are almost impossible to find over here (I Masi Arele seems the only one that's imported), and IMO great dessert wines, that would be what I'd be burying in my luggage for the trip back. That said, do try some of the local grappa & grappa liquers - a very good location to find a taste for grappa.

    Other highlights of the area include the Malga cheese, made by some hardy souls moving up with the cattle up into the mountains for the good grazing (once the snow has melted), we tried a couple of wonderful such cheeses.

    There are a few good food shops and restaurants in Trento. Happy to send details through when you're settled on a location.

    Regards
    Ian
     
  20. The Bellavista looks gorgeous. Sadly no availability (surprise, surprise). The Dama does seem to have availability, but it's rather more expensive than the Pietramurata B&B. What's the location like?

    I know the malga/alpeggio cheese, yes! Certainly hope to get some of that. Did try to book a malga very high up in the Val di Peio, but again they want five nights minimum, and I don't fancy five freezing nights :(

    Thinking of spending the first night either in Bergamo or just up into the mountains from there (around Clusone?) - though of course that depends on an agroturismo consenting to rent us a room for 1 or 2 nights, no mean task! - and then 2 nights in a B&B near Edolo, which seems well placed for the Adamello area. Anyone done any walking or visits around there?
     
  21. Hi Mark
    Dam di Lago : Great views, spacious, nothing fancy but clean, well fitted etc. 4 similar apartments, and on balance I'd lean towards the 1st, rather than ground floor for just a little more natural light, though maybe in summer the ground floor will be a little cooler. You are slightly subject to any noise from the neighbouring apartments, as we were when a friendly but talkative Portuguese cycling team took one of them. Our neighbours downstairs however were utterly charming (though we had hand picked them ;)). Having the extra bedroom helps make it feel more spacious, even if that ends up as a storeroom for luggage. Two terraces are great for taking in the views. For me the flexibility and space of an apartment will always win out over a B&B / Hotel, but that's my preference. Parking is off road in front of the house & very easy.

    Location is very handy for the ski lift, as it's about 5 mins out the back down some steps and then a lovely meadow. Allow 10 mins on the way back up as it is steep and the altitude can stretch the lungs. About 15 mins down to the centre of town and about 25mins on the way back up, with little respite from steep slopes. I enjoyed this, but easy to run out of puff. Also handy if walking up/down to Pradel (highly recommended, as are the walks to/from Andalo. There will be a shuttle bus in summer, so worth using it on occasions to cut some of the climbing out.

    Not too many shops (and restaurants tend to good but not special), however a special shout out the the workaholic butcher who does outdoor bbqs, whilst selling meats, cheeses, bread, strudel, eggs, drinks, etc. etc. He's a real character and the shop a great resource. There's a good bread shop, functional supermarket, one very good pasticceria and a couple of other good ones, about 6-8 restaurants, 3-4 bars, plus a smattering of other shops including a wine/grappa shop. Some different facilities down by the lake with swimming pool, crazy golf and there must have been other things. The other standout shop in the area is Bottega della Bonta in Andalo, a real treasure trove of good, mostly local food. One to detour to even if you stay in Pietramurata. Some decent sports gear shops in the area as well (Andalo and between Andalo and Fai del Paganella IIRC).

    Regards
    Ian
     
  22. Many years ago Mark, my wife and I stayed in the village of Selva in the Val Gardena in the Dolomites. A great spot if you like mountain walking as you could catch one of the chairlifts up the mountains from Selva or one of the neighbouring villages, walk across the mountains, lunch at a refugio if desired, and then later in the day either walk downhill or take another chairlift down. The cost of the buses and chairlifts were all covered by a Valgardena card which you could purchase for multiples of days. The village itself had a few nice dining options.

    We did one day trip out to Tramin/Termeno to visit Hofstatter and you could easily fit in two or three wineries on a comfortable day trip.
     
  23. Hofstatter...nice one.
     
  24. Thanks again. Dama fully booked... of course :(

    About the only place seemingly available in Molveno is the Piccola Baita, which looks nice but might be a drag driving up there at night about dinner (and wine). It's at 1250m too, which will probably be a bit chilly for us, esp at night :eek: I'm tempted to stick with the Pietramurata B&B, as availability is so drastically limited.

    Thought of visiting Foradori, but Hofstatter might be interesting too.

    Anyone been to any of the local terme?
     

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