Family Trip to Italy

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Italy with my family. We started our journey in a small village, Algie. We spent four days there with relatives. They showed us some local sites, tantalized our taste buds with delicious local cuisine, visited the church my great grandparents were married in (the church was built is 1738), and then it was time to say our good byes and embark on our customized 7 night adventure.

We rode the train from Milan Central Station to Lake Como. Our train tickets were part of the customized package that I built for us. It was such a relief to arrive to the crowded train station and already have our tickets. 


When we arrived in beautiful Lake Como we took a taxi to our hotel. Our hotel was located right in the center of the city. We had wonderful views of the lake, were walking distance to yummy restaurants, shops, and sites. Lake Como has a gorgeous cathedral and is home to the Basilica S. Fedele which is worth a visit. They believe it was built around 1120 and was the main church in Como. We rode the funicular in Lake Como up to Brunate. Brunate offers various beautiful hillsides for hiking, and amazing views from every direction. The hiking can be strenuous to the lighthouse. If you have any restrictions it’s probably not the hike for you. 

We rode the ferry to Bellagio on another day. I highly recommend visiting Bellagio. It’s a small, quiet village. The views were spectacular, the gelato was the best, and it would be a lovely place to stay 2-3 nights. They have some activities for kids on Bellagio that include painting and then a ropes type park. The ferry ride over offered gorgeous views of various parts of the Lake Regions, and we were on a tour so our guide was informing us of various estates and information on sites we were passing.  Four nights was plenty in Lake Como, and we were excited to catch the train back to Milan to start exploring another city. 

The train ride between Milan and Lake Como is around 45 minutes. Milan is a huge city. It reminded me a lot of New York City. The shopping did not disappoint, in fact Milan has one of the 5th Richest Streets of the world. I found Milan to be very overwhelming, and it would be best to have tours/excursions planned in advance. You must purchase your tickets to view The Last Supper. I highly recommend the viewing. It was a nice, quick tour that took only an hour. Our hotel once again was centrally located which made access to the Duomo, Galleria, shopping, and restaurants very convenient. Veal Milanese is one of the many specialties to try, as is Saffron Risotto. Both dishes were very good. The city is home to Sforzesco Castle. It was built in the 15th century for the Duke of Milan. The grounds were enormous. We were in the city during one of the busiest week-ends of the year. The Alpine Troops and their families were in town. There were food vendors set up all over the streets, and the city was preparing for a Sunday morning parade. With the influx of extra people, it made navigating the city a bit more difficult. 

I am so glad I had the opportunity to explore this part of Italy. I recommend you contact your agent at The Joy of Travel (or myself of course) and have them build you a custom vacation, or if you aren’t opposed to a tour that would be a great option for these cities.

- Meredith Carrell