Overseas Adventure Travel
Northern Italy: The Alps, Dolomites & Lombardy +
The Swiss Alps Pre-Trip Extension
June 12 through July 4, 2023


Click on the above link buttons that will take you directly to a particular page or area of the review; or you can just click through to the next page at the bottom of each page.
Page 1 – Lucerne, Switzerland
Page 2 – Lucern & Bern, Switzerland
Page 3 - Bern & Zermatt, Switzerland

Page 4 – Lecco, Italy (Includes Milan)
Page 5 -
Lecco & Tirano, Italy
Page 6 - Tirano & Sulzano, Italy
Page 7 - Sulzano & Trento, Italy
Page 8 - Trento & Bressanone, Italy
Page 9 -
Bressanone & Mogliano Veneto, Italy


Day 20 - Bressanone, Italy

We were looking forward to breakfast in our new hotel.  The restaurant was a pleasant space with a large photo of the Dolomites on one wall.  There were plenty delicious looking food items.



We were very surprised to see a Berkel meat slicer, similar to the one that we had seen in Trento a couple days earlier.  This one was manual, and we could slice our own pieces of ham ourselves.  It was a very smooth-running machine.

They also had a large honeycomb that was dripping into a bowl to serve yourself.  We were also able to make our own fresh squeezed orange juice by plopping in a couple of oranges into the machine and watching it do its thing. 


A waitress took our orders for eggs or omelets.  I think that Amadeus was making them.  He would come out periodically in his apron to make sure that everything was stocked and OK.  This was our favorite hotel breakfast spot of the trip.  We were glad we would get to have three breakfasts there.

This would be an interesting touring day.  We would be going to the town of Bolzano for a city tour there, then we would have an optional tour to Plose Mountain to see the Dolomites.  In looking at the weather forecast for this day, it appeared that we had a good chance for rain.  OAT had a Plose Mountain visit as a $75 optional tour for this day.   We would have to book it several days in advance if we could get eight people wanting to do the tour.  With the potential for rain, the group wasn’t that interested in booking it in advance to be stuck in a rainstorm or with clouds all around obstructing the view.  Amy had another idea where we could wait till the day before and see if the forecast was better and just get taxis to take us to the cable car station that was about a half hour outside of Bressanone.  With the cable being free with the Brixen Card and the taxi ride costing about 8€ each way, it was a much better option.  We hoped that the weather would be good when we went.

We took about a 30-minute train from Bressanone to Bolzano.  With the Brixen Card, the train ride was also free.  An interesting thing happened on the ride.  It was a pretty full train, and I was sitting with an Italian couple near the trains restroom.  They spoke English and I was enjoying our conversation.  The wife was wanting to use the restroom, but whoever was in it was taking a very long time.  When the conductor came around to check tickets, the couple told them about how the restroom had been tied up.  The conductor knocked on the door.  No answer.  He knocked again, much harder.  A raggedy looking fellow came out.  There was a short conversation and the conductor kicked him off the train at the station we had just stopped at.  I guess he thought that if he stayed in the bathroom long enough he would get a free ride to wherever he was trying to go to.
When we got off the train, we began our walk for a short city tour on the way to our first destination.  We first came to Walther Square, with the centerpiece being the staue of Walther von der Vogelweide.  He is described as a lyrical poet who wrote love songs and political songs.


On one side of the square is the Bolzano Duomo Maria Assunta.  The roof is quite unique, and the bell tower is decorated nicely.


I got a kick out of the Pinocchio Toy Store.  It seemed appropriate even though Pinochio’s assumed birthplace was 250 miles away in a town near Florence. 

Bolzano, with 108,000 residents, was metropolis compared to Bressanone.  It was more crowded and lots to see.   It had a lot of pretty buildings. 




One shop was interesting to look at with unusual looking bird statues in all the windows. 


We had two activities to do while in Bolzano.  The first was to go to the Museum of South Tyrol for a controversial topic session, Cultural Identity in South Tyrol.  We went up to the second floor in one of the rooms that had a display of ceramic heaters.  We were meeting with two residents of the area, Delilah and Alex.  Delilah was Italian and Alex was German. 


When Amy had discussed that the region allowed for the two languages, she had discussed that there were issues between the two groups.  In this meeting we would hear firsthand how these two people were affected.  Amy was in her mid 30’s and Alex was only 17 and in high school, so there experience was somewhat different.  I was surprised that there was so much prejudice between the two groups.  Kids weren’t allowed to play with the other group.  They made fun of each other and worse.  In getting a job, you had to speak the language the company preferred or not get the job.  It was even better if you could speak both languages.  Amy wasn’t allowed to go to a school to learn German.  It was worse for Amy, since younger people are more acceptable with diversity these days.  But there are still issues that they both deal with.  It was so nice to talk with them.  Alex was quite a mature young man; we were surprised that he was so young.   Both were very good communicators. 

After the session, we looked at a couple of rooms in the museum.  They had some interesting stuff, but we had an appointment at a different museum.

We walked across the street to the archeological museum.  We were there to see Otzi the Ice Man. He is a 5,000-year-old Copper Age person that was found in a glacier in 1991.  Once again we were lucky that Amy had tickets, since it is a very popular attraction.

There are two floors with exhibits.  On the first floor photos weren’t allowed, but they were on the second floor. The main attraction at the museum, which is totally dedicated to the iceman, is the actual corpse that was discovered in 1991.  It is kept in a small, chilled room with a small window for one person at a time to look at.  We were fortunate that the line was short when we were there.  We couldn’t take photos of the actual corpse, but it can be found online.  It isn’t that pleasant to see.  His arm is bent in a strange position across his body, that looks uncomfortable, plus it’s a corpse.  He was only 5’ 3” tall, but looked much smaller in his current state.

There were exhibits on the first floor of items that were found with Otzi.  Unfortunately, photos of those weren’t allowed either.  On the second floor, photos were allowed, but most of the exhibits were information boards about what they have been able to find out about Otzi in the 32 years since he was found.  Below are some of the things:

1.     He weighed about 130 pounds
2.     He was in his 40’s when he died
3.     He had lyme disease, intestinal parasites and ulcers
4.     He was murdered

There was also a recreation of what Otzi looked like that had been recreated using new technology. 


Another exhibit was the world’s oldest snowshoe.  It was 6,000 years’ old.

After we left the museum, we had the option of staying in Bolzano and returning to Bressanone on our own or returning on the train to Bressanone with Amy.  Once back in Bressanone, we had free time to do what we wanted or go up to Plose Mountain with Amy.  Like us, most were anxious to go to Plose Mountain to hopefully see the Dolomites.  We would only have one more day to see them, so we didn’t want to miss a chance.

Amy already knew how many of us wanted to go to Plose, so there were two van taxi’s waiting for us when we got off the train.  The ride took about 30 minutes, and the cost was around 7€ pp.  Quite a bargain.  Especially since the bus would have cost us $75 pp for the round trip.  We arrived at the base of the cable car that would take us up to almost 7,000 feet.


We boarded the cars for free using the Brixen Card and enjoyed the scenery on the way up.


When we arrived, we could see some of the Dolomites, but there were clouds covering some of them.

Amy was taking us down a trail that would give us a closer and better view of these Dolomites.  The Dolomites can be seen in several places because they cover a 548 square mile area.  As we walked, some of the clouds were moving, plus our angle of view was better.  There was one cloud free section and one with clouds.  The jagged peaks were quite striking.  We were so glad to be able to see them.  They aren’t always so cooperative.

We were concerned that it was going to rain, so we headed back to the facility.  On the way there, the sun shined on the mountains.  More clicking away.  Such a beautiful place. 


On the way back, I took a photo of the large wooden statue of an owl.  The background wasn’t bad either.

Some people took the free time to have some wine and others of us had a beer.  Either way, it was a gorgeous place to enjoy your drink of choice.  We did get a little rain for a few minutes; but by then it didn’t really matter, we had seen the Dolomites.

The Plose sign was a popular photo opp.  The “O” has a bicycle inside of it.  It looks like at times someone must ride it around in circles.  None of our group had the desire to try it.

We had some pretty views on the way back down the mountain.  The gondola window was terribly scratched, but I still wanted to put the photo of going down the mountain.  The taxis were waiting for us to take us back to the hotel for the same price as the first ride. 


We had an included dinner that night at a local restaurant.  We had a very good meal.  The amuse-bouche wasn’t on the menu, so I don’t remember what it was.  But we believe that it was a type of croquet.  The main course was a choice of homemade bio-hemp Maccheroni,braised tomatoes and Pecorino cheese or steak of young pork in olives “Taggiasche” crust, rosemary dumpling and spinach leaves.  Dessert was mousse of ricotta cheese with vanilla and raspberries, sesame puff pastry.



It had been another wonderful touring day.  We were so glad that the weather was so much better than what we were concerned about.


Day 21 - Bressanone, Italy

After another wonderful breakfast, we looked forward to our last full touring day in northern Italy.  We would be going to Passo delle Erbe in the Dolomites.  The drive through the gorgeous countryside was spectacular.  We even saw a section of the Dolomites during the drive.



Amy stopped the bus before we got to our destination, so that we could take some photos of the beautiful wildflowers and scenery.  It was just spectacular.

We then continued our ride to Puez Olde Nature Park, where we met our guide for the morning, Andreas.  He was another wonderful guide who loved his part of Italy and wanted to share it with us.  In this part of Italy many people spoke Ladin, the oldest language of the Alpine region.  There are only around 35,000 Ladin people in the Dolomites.

We could see the Dolomites in the distance with their tops covered by clouds. 

As we moved further down the trail and got closer, the clouds cleared some.  We were able to take individual and a group photo.


As we continued, the beauty was truly overwhelming.  I took so many photos and decided to take some panorama ones to show how beautiful it was.  Obviously, photos aren’t nearly as good as the real thing, but hopefully you can get an idea of what we saw.

I took so many photos of the same mountains, but as we moved the angle was different and I had to take some more.  I took 700 photos this day.  I have cut them down as much as I could.


Andreas pulled out his map to show us where we were and what we were seeing.

Andreas walked us to the end of the trail, where there was a spring that we could fill our water bottles up with.  It was pretty challenging to get to it, but some did.  My water bottle had plenty left, so I didn’t bother with it.

As we walked back to the bus, I had to take even more photos.  The Dolomites themselves are beautiful, but the beautiful fields and trees are just as much of a treat.


We said our goodbyes to Andreas and continued our ride to where we would have lunch.  We passed by a small castle and more beauty.


We arrived at the restaurant, a large wooden building.


The interior had so much to look at.  The dolls caught most of the attention.  At our table, the head decoration above our table was most enjoyed.


For the included lunch, there were 4 choices for the appetizer and main course.  We had Tyrolean speck dumpling soup for an appetizer.  The main course that we had was Grestle with coleslaw and dessert was an Apple strudel.


The restaurant was in such a gorgeous place.  I wish that we had eaten outside to enjoy it.

As we left the restaurant, Amy wanted to stop the bus a few minutes away so we could see an old mill.  She was thrilled that the water was flowing through it for us.


When we got back to Bressanone, some of the group were interested in seeing the 5-star Elephant Hotel during our free time.  It sounded like a good idea, so we joined the optional tour.  The exterior certainly had its share of elephant images all over it.



We walked there and Amy went in to ask if we could come in to look at it.  She got permission and in we went.   There were lots of elephant items in curio cabinets and paintings.  The public rooms were nicely done.



When we left the hotel, we walked over to the hotel’s garden area.  I didn’t see any elephants, but it was a nice one.


Amy set us free to enjoy our free time.  Several of us wanted to see the Hofburg Palace.  It is a 70 room Diocesan Museum containing the sacred art of the Tyrol region.  The original building was done in the 13th century with major revisions in the 16th and 17th centuries.


I was surprised when we went in to get our free entrance with the Brixen Card, that there was only one person working there.  As we walked around, we never saw another employee.  As you will see in the photos, there are many valuable items that could easily be removed without anyone noticing.  I hope that they have employees watching through cameras to protect these very valuable antiques.  The first area we came to was their very well known nativity collection.  There was a lot more than just nativity scenes.




I next walked over to their chapel.  Such gorgeous frescoes.


Later when I was on the second floor, I could get a photo looking down into the chapel.


As I walked around, there were so many rooms and so much to look at.  It would take several hours to see everything, and we had arrived at around 5:00 PM.  The museum closed at 6:00 PM.  I will put a collection of what I saw below, but there was just so much more, and there was no way I could see every room.






There was a large elegantly decorated meeting room that could hold a good sized group.



We were once again on our own for dinner.  We were ready for a meal we recognized, so Cathy and I split a hamburger and a pizza.  They were wonderful!


Day 22 – Transfer to Mogliano Veneto, Italy

The last full day of the tour had finally arrived.  We had another great breakfast and thanked Amadeus for a wonderful stay at his hotel.  We would be taking a bus to a hotel that is about fifteen minutes from the Venice airport.  The total trip would take about 4.5 hours.  We would actually backtrack on some of the road we had taken when we came to Bressanone.  We were able to see the large castle on the mountain again, but from a different angle.

We would be leaving the mountains behind but had some beautiful views on the way.

After a couple hours we stopped in the Valsugana Valley.  We were visiting an apple orchard.  Our guide and one of the owners was Lorenzo.  The name of their business was Bortolotti Agritourismo. 

This is a very fertile valley where there are many apple, cherry and pear orchards.  Lorenzo was able to convince his father that they should convert from a traditional apple orchard to an organic one.  His father was resistant at first, but he is now very glad that he listened to his son.  It takes time to be able to convert to organic, but he can get a much higher price for his apples since they are now in higher demand.  He walked us around the garden area near his house and the orchard.


He apologized for the long grass we had to walk through.  They had just completed the cherry harvest and hadn’t been able to mow.  He also explained how they use machines for almost every step of the production to be as efficient as possible.


He is very passionate about organic farming.  He has relatives that have orchards right next to his that still do traditional farming.  He showed us how we could tell what method a farmer uses.  The traditional farmer kills any growth around the base of the trees, where he lets the tree’s undergrowth remain.


After completing our tour of the farm, we went to his home.  We sat on the porch while Lorenzo told us about his apples and cider.  He gave us samples of each.  The cider was outstanding!

We then went inside for what was described as a light lunch.  It was anything but light.  It was served buffet style and there were so many delicious items his mother had made for us from their garden.




After thanking Lorenzo for the tour and lunch, we got back on the bus for our last leg of trip.  The mountains quickly disappeared, turning into hills.  It was kind of sad since we had seen so much mountain beauty over the last three weeks.

After the 2.5-hour drive, we pulled up to the Hotel Villa Condulmer. Quite an impressive looking place.  Although it doesn’t show in the photos, the exterior needs some TLC.  Now that tourism has returned after Covid, I hope they will be able to bring it back to its former glory.  It is still a beautiful place and we were so glad to be able to be there.

We entered a large elegant ornately decorated room.



In the center of the room was a piano that was once played by composer Giuseppe Verdi, who was a house guest.

There was a nice parlor just off the main room.

We were taken down a long portico to the stairs leading to our room.  From there, I was able to take a photo of the back of the villa.

We were very pleased with our room.  It was large with lots of storage.  And most importantly a very good air conditioner now that we were at a lower hotter altitude.




The bathroom had a whirlpool tub, but we wouldn’t have time to try it out.


The view out the window was also nice.

After getting settled in the room, I went outside to take some photos.  It was a lovely area and quite peaceful.



There was a large swimming pool that looked quite inviting.  With us leaving for the airport in the morning, we weren’t about to get our swimsuits wet before a flight home.

The 19th century villa was surrounded by beautiful grounds.  They even had a golf course.



I came back into the villa and saw that happy hour had started in the bar area.  Just outside the bar was the dining room where we would have our farewell dinner and breakfast in the morning.


I went back to the room to get Cathy so we could enjoy our last happy hour of the trip together.  Before dinner, we all gathered in front of the villa for photos.  Amy wanted pics with each person/couple.

For our farewell dinner we had a choice of turkey or fish.  Once again, we had tiramisu for dessert.



One of the couples, Jim and Elizabeth, brought some party favors to celebrate the event.  Since it was July 4th eve, the masks were most appropriate.  Amy put one on.  It was an enjoyable meal, but it is always so sad to say goodbye to new friends and an awesome trip leader.

On the way back to the room, I took a photo of the back of the villa as the sun was disappearing. 

Day 23 – Fly Home from Venice, Italy

It was the morning of our flight home.  Some of the group had to leave at 3:30 AM due to earlier flights.  We didn’t have to leave until 9:00 AM, so we were able to see some of the others in our group and Amy at breakfast before heading out.


It took less than 15-minutes for us to get to Marco Polo Airport in our van.  The villa was a great place to be so we could avoid the Venice traffic early in the morning.  While we waited for our plane in the Marco Polo Lounge, we were able to look out the window and see Venice in the distance.  We would be back there for three nights in June 2024 before a cruise.

Our flights to Miami were right on time with a connection in Philadelphia.  Since we arrived in Miami after the last Brightline train, we hired a car to take us home.  We were able to watch some July 4th fireworks along the way.  It felt like we were celebrating July 4th and the end of an awesome vacation.


When we booked this trip, we knew it could be a very good one.  It turned out to be so much better than we even hoped for.  We had almost perfect weather every day to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.  The small cities we visited were so gorgeous with so much to experience in them.  Our great group of fellow travelers to share the experience with.  But most importantly we had two trip leaders who did everything in their power to make our trip the best trip it could be.  They succeeded! 





Click on the above link buttons that will take you directly to a particular page or area of the review; or you can just click through to the next page at the bottom of each page.
Page 1 – Lucerne, Switzerland
Page 2 – Lucern & Bern, Switzerland
Page 3 - Bern & Zermatt, Switzerland

Page 4 – Lecco, Italy (Includes Milan)
Page 5 -
Lecco & Tirano, Italy
Page 6 - Tirano & Sulzano, Italy
Page 7 - Sulzano & Trento, Italy
Page 8 - Trento & Bressanone, Italy
Page 9 -
Bressanone & Mogliano Veneto, Italy


© 2023 ThePreismans.com • All Rights Reserved