Podcast conversation with Andrea Grisdale

Andrea and I squeezed in as much as possible to 50+ minutes. That is a hard task when it comes to Italy, even though we confined ourselves to just the north. We didn’t even touch on everything I had on my list, like the Barcolana boat races or professional soccer games, so I’ll add in a few extras below. Additional details will be available on my website after the podcast episode comes out.

We talked about many regions including the Dolomites, Cinque Terra, Venice, Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Tuscany.

The range of experiences available in Italy is vast. Some ideas for inspiration:

  • Culinary & wine
  • Cheese and wine tastings
  • Informal cooking classes in a local Italian family’s home
  • Formal cooking classes from an accredited school
  • Aperitivo tastings
  • Picnics – ranging from impromptu to formal, by horseback, bicycle, or Vespa
  • Adding in… if you are with kids (or not) grab a jar of Nutella, which my kids consider the #1 export of Italy

Active/Adventures

  • It’s worth acknowledging I love via ferratas. Italy is the origin of the via ferrata (meaning “iron way”) from WWI. Via Ferrata Rino Pisetta is on my personal bucket list.
  • Biking, hiking (check out Smugglers Trail near Lake Lugano)
  • Hot springs
  • Transportation – visit the Ferrari factory-North of Florence, take a Vespa tour (driving or being driven)
  • Horse back riding – so many places o Paragliding near lake Garda
  • ATV off roading
  • Thermal springs
  • Golf – Golf Club Asiago – rated one of the most scenic in Italy o Stroll the Walk of kisses o Skiing
  • Cultural:
  • Two loved museums – Ufizzi (if you want to see David without the lines, check out the life size replica in Duomo Square) and the Guggenheim.

Other Experiences

  • Pro Soccer game
  • Polo match
  • Truffle hunting
  • Stargazing in Saint-Barthélemy, a designated a Starlight Stellar Park
  • Cruise around Venice by yacht or gondola
  • Barcolana – annual boat race
  • Barcolana – over 2000 sailing yachts 2nd Sunday of October

Accommodations Venice has many stunning hotels – some classic Venetian (like the Gritti Palace) and others more contemporary. If you are visiting with kids, or like to retreat to a place with fewer people, consider staying off the island. Three options to consider: JW Marriott (they have villas for families, 3 pools, one for kids), Kempinski, Belmond.

A favorite in Italy is Castello di Reschio – described as “dreamy.” It’s set on a secluded 3700 acres, made up of a group of ancient farmhouses that have been transformed into luxurious havens.

Another wonderful option – Borgo Santo Pietro – described as “the prettiest hotel ever”

Other favorites

  • Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como – chic, sophistication with 3 lakeside pools and stunning views.
  • LeFay on Lake Garda – guests love staying here to luxuriate in the spa and on the property.
  • LeFay in Pinzolo – Dolomitis – opened summer 2020, guests come to enjoy the spa and also the outdoors – there’s great hiking to waterfalls and mountain biking.

Two upcoming new accommodations to look out for:

There are too many restaurants to select favorites in this large area. I will of course curate a list for you based on the towns you visit. Tip: If you are in Milan, check out the Radio Bar on the rooftop of ME Milan Il Duca.

Italy is waiting for you!

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