We had some time to kill (don’t let anyone tell you 30 days of vacation is necessarily easy to manage) and decided to give Italy one more try. We were kind of disappointed and stressed out by Verona, didn’t get enough time in Bologna (and were rather nonplussed by Tren Italia on the way back), and are running low on fancy imported olive oil.
So we rented a car, said goodbye to the work peeps for a week, and bugged out for Mantova (known in English as Mantua), the first stop on our road trip.
We stayed overnight in Mantua at the Armellino Bed & Breakfast in Mantua. It was a perfectly lovely room with very friendly and helpful hosts. We’d recommend them again anytime.
Getting to Mantua by car was pretty easy; our GPS did not lead us astray and the weather cooperated. We rolled up in front of the Armellino, and Massimo came out to advise us where to park the car. We dropped our bags and set out exploring, looking for dinner. While we were out strolling, the fog rolled in, making for an eerie evening with (seemingly) no one else out to enjoy the atmosphere.
We slept in the next morning, enjoying the Sbrisolona for breakfast and strolled around a bit more to get a glimpse of the city by daylight — or what little the clouds let through. After a nice lunch of pizza, we got back in the car and made our way further south toward Tuscany.
5 thoughts on “Italian Road Trip: Part One, Oberpfalz to Lombardy”
Love the collection of bike colors! And the fog adds such mystery… you have a good eye.
How long was the drive out of Deutschland to Mantua?? We are going to Italy for a few days this Christmas break and I want to go somewhere relaxing with amazing food. I would love to know how long it took and what you would recommend. Do you think Bolzano is nice?
Coming from Regensburg, it was about 6.5 hours. That does not include time getting lost. It would probably take you about as long or a little longer, as you are somewhat further north. I really liked Mantua – the old town is on an island and the approach is really spectacular. For gawkers like me, there’s a lot to just stare at and soak up. There’s also a ducal palace that we didn’t have time to visit. Cliff thought it was kind of boring, but that might be because we were there in what was SO the off season.
Bolzano is very nice and nestled in the Dolomites, so the views are pretty great. Hiking in the area is very good and there are tons of wineries and viniculture to explore. That said, Trentino-Alto Adige (the region in which Bolzano lies) was part of Austria-Hungary until the early 20th century. There’s a pronounced Germanic feeling there, for me, anyways. If you’re looking for ease with the language, that’s a plus. If you’re looking for Italian immersion, it’s not.
When did you do this road trip? my wife are flying in end of Nov and are looking to drive around the Dolomites. We were concerned about road conditions due to weather during end of Nov. Will there be snow on the roads? Ice? etc? Looking to drive SS241 and SS48 from Blzano eastward and ultimately down to Venice.
Logically, you might run into some rain, snow or ice while driving through the Dolomites. Make sure the car you rent has snow tires! If you do need them, you’ll REALLY need them. All-season radials aren’t a thing here.
That said, we have a talent for going places off-season and lucking into glorious weather. Our little road trip was in the first half of November last year. The only weather we ran into was the fog in Mantua – south of that, all clear.
I hope you have a great trip!