9 Countries in 7 Weeks: Italy

Each year Messina Hof Wine Cellars, Inc offers travel to a wine region.  Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo lead these travel tours. This year our Messina Hof Travel was on Amawaterways from Budapest to Bucharest. This was an unexplored wine region for wine and food.

Tip for Travel: If you are traveling abroad for a guided tour, try to go early before the tour and/or stay after to explore other areas. Make the most of your time there to do as much as possible. Airfare and 9 hours of flight time are investments.

This was a great trip and we wanted to share our favorite finds and some tips along the way.

Tips for all destinations:

  1. If you are traveling by train, book your hotel near the train station or tram stop that runs from the train station. It makes movement around the city and to other destinations much easier.
  2. On the first day we either take the sightseeing Hop on Hop off bus to learn more about the city or we jump on the local buses and trams to see every part of the city. This allows us to identify areas we want to explore more. We usually go to the local Tourist Information office to get maps and points of interest.
  3. We use the bus and metro to move around the cities. Most towns offer one and two day passes for all local modes of transportation.

Milan, Italy – The train ride from Interlaken to Milan took 9-10 hours.

Hotel: Hotel Bernina Milano

Via Napo Torriani, 27 20124 Milan, Itlay +39 02 66988022

This hotel is a small boutique hotel not far from the train station.


Arriving just before Design Week, we saw designer pop-ups in most stores of the Design District and in public space like the front of the train station.

The Galleria Shopping mall near the Duomo Piazza and the Duomo itself are must see places in Milan.  We love wandering the back and side streets for treasures. Not only are there many antique shops, designer clothing shops, and specialty shops, but there are many good restaurants and wine bars.

We happened upon the Campari Bar where they serve great appetizers with drinks. House wine by the glass comes with a delicious appetizer.

Brescia, Italy – 2-3 hours by train.

Hotel: AC Hotel Brescia

Via Giulio Quinto Stefana 3, Brescia, IT 25126

Brescia was new to us and we did not know what to expect.  The hotel is modern and offers breakfast. Following the sound of the bells led us to the old town at city center.

At city center there was a 15-block flea market. Stopping at Caffe’ Floriam near the market offered a mid-market respit for lunch and great place for people-watching. The Old Cathedral is an iconic landmark for the area.

Verona, Italy                                          

19 Via Sottoriva, Verona Historical Center, Verona, 37121, Italy +393456779007

Hosts: Gulia and Nicolo’

Riverside View of Castle
Verona town center market

Verona captures the art, history, food, and romance of the Italy of Romeo and Juliet. Elegant Ristorante Vittorio Emanuele overlooks the Arena and offered the perfect way to say goodbye to Verona.

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