European Vacation: Vienna and Northern Italy

Jack and I just returned from a two-week vacation in Europe. We visited Vienna as well as three spots in northern Italy. I hope to write up each of the cities/regions we visited in detail over the coming months, as well as some of the delicious meals we ate while traveling. Here is a general outline of our trip:

Days 1-2: Travel days

We Flew from SFO to VIE with a short layover in FRA (Frankfurt). We left San Francisco at 2pm on Saturday and arrived in Vienna by 1:10pm Sunday.

Days 2-6: Vienna, Austria

We stayed in Vienna for four nights (Sunday – Thursday). It rained for most of our stay in Vienna, but we were able to do most of the activities to which we had been looking forward. We saw one of the most beautiful paintings I’ve ever seen, attended a 4+ hour-long opera, ate incredible Middle Eastern food, ate fish cooked in beeswax, drank local wine at heurigen (wine gardens outside of the city), and explored much of this beautiful imperial city on foot.

At the opera (are we being photobombed??)

Views from one of the heurigen we visited
Sunset view from another heuriger

Days 6-10: Piedmont, Italy

We flew from VIE to MXP (Milan Malpensa) on Thursday morning (the flight took an hour and 25 minutes). We rented a car at the MXP airport, which allowed us to drive around the Piedmont region (or “Piemonte” as the Italians call it) and visit various villages during our four night stay (Thursday – Monday). We hiked, drank wine, and ate incredible food (including THE BEST MEAL I’VE EVER HAD). We also discovered the pros and cons of visiting an area with few American or English-speaking tourists.

Drinking wine with my new buddy “Dada”
My favorite dish at my new favorite restaurant
Piedmont countryside #yesfilter

Day 10-14: Lake Como, Italy

We drove back to MXP, dropped off our rental car, then took the train to Varenna (one of the mid-lake towns along Lake Como), then a ferry to Bellagio. We stayed here for four nights (Monday – Friday). We ate local lake fish, walked through beautiful gardens, enjoyed sparkling views of the lake, and ventured out to a less touristy town on the lake where we had an incredible meal, met a rebel artist, and soaked up the early evening Italian vibes.

View of Lake Como from our hotel room in Bellagio
Mr. Savethewall Gallery (Como’s “Banksy”)
Como at dusk

Day 14-16: Milan, Italy

We took the train back to Milan Centrale Station (~1 hour) to end our trip with a couple of nights (Friday – Sunday) in the fashion and design capital of the world. We dodged models and photographers, window shopped our hearts out, soaked up views of the Duomo at sunset, saw one of the most famous paintings in the world (a mural, actually), and finally learned what all the fuss is about the Aperol Spritz.

Enjoying wine and snacks amongst the models of Milan
Duomo in the morning
Navigli (canal) district of Milan

We flew home Sunday morning and made it back to San Francisco in time for dinner (a sad store-bought salad) before we fell asleep at 8pm. We had a great trip exploring four new and distinctly different areas of Europe, and I look forward to sharing my favorite meals, activities, and lesson I learned very soon!

2 thoughts on “European Vacation: Vienna and Northern Italy”

    1. Yes! The Kiss – wrote this as a bit of a cliff hanger, but it’s not much of a secret! I’m looking forward to the Klimt and Rodin exhibit coming to The Legion of Honor next month. The best meal I’ve ever had was at Piazza Duomo in Alba, Piedmont. Can’t wait to share more photos!

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