Time on Your Own- after walking tours

During the Bellissima trip there are several occasions for "time on your own to explore" - any suggestions for places you may have explored in more depth that were mentioned on the Tauck walking tour portion, but not actually visited or part of an individual guided tour.
Cities including: Milan, Stresa, Verona, Bologna, and Venice.- Your suggestions or experiences with this "time on your own" and places you would recommend to explore are greatly appreciated in advance.


  • It really depends upon what interests you. In Milan you will be given a list of other museums within a short walking distance and the shopping near the hotel is unbeatable provided you have a good credit card. In Stresa I took the time to relax, there is a pool. I don't think there is much else to see, but the scenery is spectacular. I very much enjoyed walking in Verona. The church next to the hotel is worth visiting, but again depends upon interest. Bologna the same with the added attraction that there is again shopping. Personally I do not ever look to there tours for shopping. Now Venice with the full day you can do galleries, churches, shopping or just walking and getting lost. The city itself is the number one attraction. I think that you will enjoy this tour regardless of what you choose to do in your free time.
  • Milan you will want to go in the Duomo. I arrived day early, so was at Duomo at 8 when they opened, then I went around to the elevator to go to the roof. From there I went to the museum associated to the Duomo (you get to see some of the original statues and stuff that was on Duomo. I, also, went to see the finger statue placed in 2009. After that I went to a church nearby (San Maurizio well worth a visit). I heard Sant 'Ambrogio is worth a visit. I, also, checked out the opera house (only worth a visit if you can see inside, I was lucky they where setting up for the next performance. Also, take a walk around the Duomo The statues and gargoyles are as good as going inside). Most of the rest of Milan is covered on the tour.

    Stresa is a time to relax and if you are lucky will have view of the Alps. Verona I mostly explored. In Bologna I went back in the Basilica to see the sun come through at 1PM. I picked up a sandwich and fruit for lunch the went to recommended gelato. Venice there is lots to do. Suggest going across bridge and explore away from the worse of the crowds. Friari church and San Rocco are worth seeing, gelato at il Doge is the best, if time the art in any church and the academia was good. Best part of Venice is to explore less traveled streets. Eat lunch where you see the Gondola guys eating at (was told they usually know the best places.
  • I was also at the Duomo at 8:00 but went inside first to avoid the long line. Not much of a line around 9:00 or so for the elevator. Also agree that the Frari Church is well worth a vist. The walk there from the hotel is not overly complicated if you follow the sign for the Rialto and then have a map to find the church.
  • Thank you both so much- this is exactly what I was needing to direct me- several of the sites and churches you mentioned were on my list to possibly explore based on my interests- and your mentioning of them (Duomo, San Maurizio, Sant' Ambrosia) has encouraged me.
    In particular your recommendations for Venice are very valuable- having been there on the small group Classic Italy- I was thinking along the same lines of Frari, Ghetto, and Accademia and moving (exploring) out from my comfort zone- how secure did you feel using the public transportation -should the ol' legs get tired.? vaporetto? I know there is much to explore in all the places, but sometimes it gets overwhelming, and having a semi-plan helps alleviate some of that. Again, thank you.
  • edited June 2016
    I took to water bus to the ghetto stop and walked back. I stayed in Venice, so had a lot of time to cover everything. As always when using public transportation be careful of pickpockets. I have a rule. Never put in pockets what I can't loose. Men especially. Have heard they picket even tight jeans without feeling anything. Only other public transportation might be in Milan, but hotel easy walking from Duomo and most other. Have hotel point out Sant'Ambrosia it is mostly off the map. Was closed on Sunday.

    I did at least 50 miles a week for the 2 weeks I was on tour and the added days.
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