43 days in Northwest Italy Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Italy vacation planner
Make it your trip
Fly to Malpensa International Airport, Drive to Varenna
1
Varenna
— 5 nights
Train
2
Parma
— 5 nights
Drive
3
Mantua
— 4 nights
Drive
4
Padua
— 5 nights
Drive
5
Ravenna
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Bologna
— 5 nights
Drive
7
Cinque Terre
— 5 nights
Train
8
Genoa
— 4 nights
Drive
9
Milan
— 6 nights
Fly

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Varenna — 5 nights

Varenna is a comune (municipality) on Lake Como in the Province of Lecco in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 60km north of Milan and about 20km northwest of Lecco.Varenna was founded by local fishermen in 769, and was later allied of the commune of Milan. Explore Varenna's surroundings by going to La Mia Birra di Valsassina (in Premana), Bellagio (Basilica di San Giacomo & La Punta Spartivento) and Colico (Forte Montecchio Nord & Abbazia Cluniacense di Santa Maria di Piona). The adventure continues: admire the striking features of Villa del Balbianello, shop like a local with Paul DEMARIA - The Open Lake & Landscape Studio d’Arte, go for a walk through La Passeggiata Degli Innamorati, and view the masterpieces at Il Tornio.

Plan a Varenna trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Melbourne, Australia to Varenna is an approximately 26-hour combination of flight and car. Traveling from Melbourne to Varenna, you'll gain 9 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Melbourne in November, expect nights in Varenna to be slightly colder, around 40°F, while days are cooler, around 53°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sat) so you can take a train to Parma.
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Parks · Historic Sites · Museums · Nature
Side Trips
Find places to stay Nov 28 — Dec 3:

Parma — 5 nights

Capital of Italian Food Valley

Parma is famous for its prosciutto, cheese, and architecture.
Get out of town with these interesting Parma side-trips: Collezione Velocipedi E Biciclette Antiche (in Soresina), Cathedral of Cremona (in Cremona) and Museo Paleoantropologico del Po (in San Daniele Po). There's still lots to do: let your taste buds guide you at a local gastronomic tour, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Cattedrale di Parma, relax in the rural setting at Consorzio Vacche Rosse, and see the interesting displays at Museo Della Civilta' Contadina.

For reviews, photos, maps, and other tourist information, use the Parma day trip planner.

You can take a train from Varenna to Parma in 2.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of train and bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 45°F, and evening lows to 33°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Thu) so you can drive to Mantua.
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Historic Sites · Museums · Tours · Neighborhoods
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 3 — 8:

Mantua — 4 nights

Sleeping Beauty

Often overlooked in favor of nearby Lake Garda, Mantua is one of northern Italy's Renaissance gems.
Change things up with these side-trips from Mantua: Biblioteca comunale Angelo Anelli (in Rivoltella), Sirmione (Castello Scaligero, Spa Termale Aquaria, &more) and MAST - Castel Goffredo (in Castel Goffredo). There's lots more to do: explore the world behind art at Palazzo Ducale di Mantova, don't miss a visit to La Casa Contadina Padana, take an in-depth tour of Museo Archeologico Della Valle Sabbia, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Basilica di Sant'Andrea di Mantova.

To find where to stay, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Mantua online visit planner.

Traveling by car from Parma to Mantua takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 46°F, and evening lows to 32°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Padua.
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Museums · Historic Sites · Baths · Spas
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 12:

Padua — 5 nights

Holy City

Padua is a picturesque city with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazze (squares).
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Padua: Presepio Animato (in Villaverla), Sacrario di Cima Grappa (in Borso del Grappa) and Centro Massaggi Olistici e Metodo Dorn-Breuss (in Lavarone). There's still lots to do: pause for some serene contemplation at Scrovegni Chapel, don't miss a visit to Prato della Valle, do a tasting at Cantina San Gregorio, and see the interesting displays at Museo del Precinema.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Padua trip planner.

Traveling by car from Mantua to Padua takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Expect a daytime high around 43°F in December, and nighttime lows around 36°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sat) early enough to drive to Ravenna.
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Historic Sites · Wineries · Museums · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 17:

Ravenna — 2 nights

City of Mosaics

Famous for its wealth of original mosaics, Ravenna is a hub of artistic and cultural heritage.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Sun): relax and rejuvenate at Piscina Riscaldata Buratti, ponder the world of politics at Palazzo del Podesta, then make a trip to Dante's tomb and Quadrarco of Braccioforte, then make a trip to Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Basilica di San Vitale. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the world behind art at Musei San Domenico, don't miss a visit to Torre Nera Forli, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Basilica Di Sant'Apollinare In Classe, examine the collection at Archiepiscopal Museum, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Battistero Neoniano (Battistero degli Ortodossi).

For where to stay, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Ravenna vacation planner.

You can drive from Padua to Ravenna in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of train and bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 48°F, and evening lows to 35°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Bologna.
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Historic Sites · Museums · Spas
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:

Bologna — 5 nights

Heart of Italian Cuisine

A city famous for its cuisine, Bologna is the seat of the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Bologna: Modena (Acetaia Villa San Donnino, Casa Museo Luciano Pavarotti, &more), Maranello (I Love Maranello & Adrenaline & Extreme Tours) and Ferrara (Ferrara Cathedral, Palazzo Schifanoia (Palazzo della Gioia) - World Heritage Site, &more). There's lots more to do: take in panoramic vistas at Le Due Torri Torre degli Asinell, admire the masterpieces at Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, see the interesting displays at Museo per la Memoria di Ustica, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Basilica - Santuario di Santo Stefano.

For where to stay, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Bologna holiday planner.

Drive from Ravenna to Bologna in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect a daytime high around 47°F in December, and nighttime lows around 34°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Sat) so you can drive to Cinque Terre.
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Museums · Historic Sites · Breweries & Distilleries · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 24:

Cinque Terre — 5 nights

Italian Riviera

Made up of five picturesque towns on the Ligurian coast, Cinque Terre is Italy's answer to the French Riviera.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Cinque Terre: Porto Venere (Portovenere & Palazzata a Mare). And it doesn't end there: indulge in some personalized pampering at Cinque Terre Wellness, identify plant and animal life at Enjoy Cinqueterre Boat Tours, appreciate the extensive heritage of Borgo Storico di Manarola, and pause for some serene contemplation at Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church.

To find reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Cinque Terre online travel route planner.

Getting from Bologna to Cinque Terre by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Bologna in December: highs in Cinque Terre hover around 55°F, while lows dip to 39°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Thu) to allow time to take a train to Genoa.
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Parks · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Trails
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 29:

Genoa — 4 nights

Once the most important harbor in the Mediterranean Sea, Genoa has a long history as a rich and powerful trade center in northern Italy.
Explore Genoa's surroundings by going to Shivago Thai Massage School Italia (in Savona), Baia del Silenzio (in Sestri Levante) and Lungomare Europa - pista ciclabile fra Varazze e Cogoleto (in Varazze). And it doesn't end there: admire nature's wide array of creatures at Aquarium of Genoa, take an in-depth tour of Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello, explore the landscape on two wheels at Pista Ciclabile Area 24 - Sanremo, and explore the galleries of Museo di Palazzo Reale.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Genoa trip maker app.

Take a train from Cinque Terre to Genoa in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Cinque Terre in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be somewhat warmer in Genoa, with lows of 48°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Mon) early enough to go by car to Milan.
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Parks · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Museums
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 2:

Milan — 6 nights

Fashion Capital of World

In many ways the most modern of Italian cities, Milan is a busy, elegant metropolis with an impressive list of grand palaces, fine churches, and important museums.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Milan: Lodi (Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie & Tempio Civico della Beata Vergine Incoronata) and Bergamo (Piazza Vecchia & La Citta Alta). The adventure continues: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Duomo di Milano, admire the masterpieces at Museo Poldi Pezzoli, admire the striking features of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and get lost in a book at Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.

To see more things to do, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Milan trip planner.

Drive from Genoa to Milan in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train. Traveling from Genoa in January, things will get a bit cooler in Milan: highs are around 46°F and lows about 32°F. On the 8th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can fly back home.
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Historic Sites · Museums · Tours · Wineries
Side Trips
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 8:

Lombardy travel guide

4.4
Sacred & Religious Sites · Architectural Buildings · Nightlife
In the northern part of the country and sharing a border with Switzerland, Lombardy is one Italy's largest regions. It stretches from the Alps all the way to the fertile lowlands of the Po Valley. An ideal holiday destination for winter sports enthusiasts, the region is home to some of the continent's most popular resorts. If you get tired of the mountain views, skiing, and winter clothes, explore the attractions of the southern part of the Lombardy, which is famous for its sprawling vineyards and booming wine production. A region of outstanding cuisine, fashion, history, and culture, Lombardy is dotted with lakes that are surrounded by places to visit, including villas, villages, and nature preserves.
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Emilia-Romagna travel guide

4
Specialty Museums · Beaches · Sacred & Religious Sites
Emilia-Romagna is one of Europe's wealthiest and most developed areas, stretching between the Po Valley in the north and the Apennine Mountains in the south. This is a land of diverse people and diverse landscapes. The striking contrast between the mountainous areas and the long Adriatic coastline offers some of Italy's most spectacular views. The region has a rich cultural and artistic heritage, with a vibrant music scene that is quickly gaining international prestige. Emilia-Romagna produces a range of fine wines as well as a variety of culinary delights, including gold-colored egg pastas like tortellini and tagliatelle. Farther from the tourism-driven coastal areas, the region features a tranquil countryside dotted with parks and nature preserves, ideal for those looking to spend some time hiking, horseback riding, or cycling on their holiday.
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Liguria travel guide

4.2
Aquariums · Landmarks · Beaches
Two millennia ago the whole of northwestern Italy was inhabited by the Liguris, the people from whom the region of Liguria gets its name. Today, this northwestern region of Italy is home to seaside resort towns often compared to Cannes and Monaco. Liguria's coastline is dotted with dozens of sandy, rocky, and pebbly beaches. Genoa, a thriving urban center and the country's largest commercial port, is also here. An easily accessible holiday destination, the region features an excellent network of roads and railroad lines that run the length of the coast, linking the popular Italian Riviera with France and the rest of Europe, which makes it especially convenient if you’re planning trips to other areas. Whether you choose to travel by train or car, the journey takes you through tunnel after tunnel and past villages, vineyards, and olive groves.
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