John H

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John H

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Sep302012

Tour/Activity

Lake Maggiore Day Trip from Milan

Milan, Italy

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

What a wonderful tour! Lake Maggiore is spectacular. The Borromeo Palace on Isola Bella is beautiful and has an interesting history. Our local guide (Sara) was entertaining and knowlegeable. Our lunch at La Pescheria on Isola dei Pescatori was delicious. Stresa is a lovely town with friendly people, quality hand made gifts, and exceptional gelato. We had terrific weather and enjoyed the climate, palm trees, and boat rides. Our local guide (Lara from Zani Viaggi) was very nice and attentive. She even helped us to go for last minute tickets to see Da Vinci's "Last Supper" on our return to Milan, which was a perfect way to end the day. Highly recommended.

Sep292012

Tour/Activity

Swiss Alps Bernina Express Rail Tour from Milan

Milan, Italy

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

The tour is worthwhile, although we had the misfortune of wet and cool weather for our trip. The bus trip to the rail station offers a good look at Lake Como and the country beyond Milan, but there can be slow traffic, especially on the return. I would give a higher rating except for some disappointment with the tight seating of foursomes on the Bernina train. Also, while everyone wants to get the perfect shot of the Alps and glaciers, it is a bit disconcerting to have camera buffs jumping from side to side to claim a view spot. Even with considerable fog and clouds, the Alps are magnificent! The stop in Tirano was not a favorite. Again, the rain was a deterrent and merchandise overpriced. We did find a friendly restaurant called "Sale and Pepe" that served an excellent minestrone and good beer. St. Moritz is a very upscale ski resort and it was a treat just to be there. I think other reviewers have noted that shops may be closed and that was the case during our visit. Our guide recommended "COOP" for local products and we had some of the best chocolate ever. Keep your cameras out for the road trip back to Milan. Scenery on the "bends" is awesome. Definitely recommend the trip for those who have not been to Switzerland and enjoy a ride in the mountains.

Sep282012

Tour/Activity

Milan Half-Day Sightseeing Tour with da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'

Milan, Italy

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Our day started out poorly with news that the refectory museum (state) employees were on strike and we would not see the "Last Supper" frescoe as expected. Viator was a non-factor and the local agency, Zani Viaggi, would only offer reimbursement for the museum tickets (10 euros p.p.), but no total refunds. Most visitors opted to accept, although some had traveled from as far as Australia and Sweden just to see Leonardo da Vinci's painting. The city tour was a good highlight look at La Scala Museum and Theater, which we saw as a private group, the Castello Sforzesco, the Duomo, and the Galleria of shops. Our guide made the best of a difficult situation and added a special exhibit of art at the castle. As independent travelers, we appreciated the opportunity to get a feel for Milan before learning the tram system and venturing out on our own. It was also nice to get information from the guide about museum artifacts, a history of the castle, and a fun explanation of the famed tile depictions on the floor of the Galleria. We would have liked more time in the cathedral and, in fact, went back for a second look. It is one of a few in Italy that permits photos and has close access to crypts, paintings, and a magnificent organ. We heard from others that the Hop On Hop Off tour was not the best, so I think this is a good option and would recommend it.

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