PLANNING A WHITE CHRISTMAS. PREFERENCE IS TO BASE OURSELVES IN MILAN AND USE IT AS A BASE FOR TRIPS TO VENICE, COMO AND SWITZERLAND, IS THAT A GOOD IDEA? ANY THOUGHTS ON BUDAPEST FOR THE NEW YEAR? N. GRAHAM, WESTLEIGH NSW
Milan is central and good for side trips but you could stay somewhere smaller with more of a village atmosphere. My choice would be Bolzano, in the Dolomites region of north-eastern Italy. This was part of Austria until the end of World War I and it still feels more Austrian than Italian. On the platform of Bolzano train station, an Italian once asked me which country we were in. Austrians really know how to celebrate Christmas. In Bolzano you can expect Christmas markets and spiced wines and lots of traditional cakes and foods. You have the winter glories of the Dolomites on your doorstep, a much better chance of a white Christmas than in Milan and Venice is in easy reach. You're also closer to Budapest and that's a great choice for the New Year. Expect fireworks at midnight, balls, concerts, slap-up dinners and river cruises on the Danube.
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