Preparing for Your Trip

If your question is not answered below, please e-mail us and we’ll add yours.

WHAT AIRPORT and WHAT TIME?

Malpensa (MXP) is the main Milan airport and has direct flights from JFK, Newark and (sometimes) Atlanta. (Wichita travelers tend to fly Denver-Frankfurt-MXP or Chicago-Newark-MXP on United; Atlanta-area travelers can fly ATL-JFK-MXP when the direct Atlanta flight on Delta is not operating).

Our bus usually picks up arriving groups at Malpensa around 9:30 or 10 AM, depending on when everyone arrives. And it departs Poggio Verde around 6 or 6:30 AM to take travelers to Malpensa on the day of departure.

There are two other airports that serve Milan, as well, mostly from within the EU: Linate (LIN) and Orio al Serio (BGY). BGY is essentially Bergamo but is about the same distance to the villa as Malpensa.

The villa is about 1.25 hours from MXP and about an hour from BGY and LIN.

TRAVELING BEFORE OR AFTER YOUR VILLA WEEK
Traveling before your week at the villa is a great idea! You can fly into another airport if you’d like, and out of Milan. This also gives you an opportunity to de-jetlag a bit before your week at the villa.  If you do decide to travel elsewhere after your stay at the villa, but you are flying home from Malpensa, you might want to consider staying at a hotel near the airport the night before your departure as many flights to the states depart around 10 AM.

If you are traveling by train before your Poggio Verde stay, you can plan to arrive in Monza around 11 AM and we can arrange to pick you up in time to get settled and join us for lunch that day. If you are coming from the north by train, (Switzerland), we can pick you up in Lecco.

If you are traveling by train after your week at the villa we can arrange to drop you off at Monza or Milan (Porta Garibaldi or Stazione Centrale).

If you would like some ideas of places to go before or after your trip feel free to ask Judith or Gretchen. Travel before or after your week at Poggio can be reserved at Gretchen’s partner travel agency, Elesta. Judith or Gretchen can put you in touch.

TRIP HEALTH INSURANCE

We require all participants to purchase international health insurance for the duration of their stay with us. It is not expensive, and it will assure that, in the case of a health emergency, the best possible care will be provided.

We recommend World Nomads for medical and trip cancellation insurance. If you’d like to see more information about trip insurance, click here for an article from Forbes that might be helpful.

WI-FI / INTERNET
The wi-fi in the villa is very good. You will be given the passwords upon arrival.

ADAPTERS and CONVERTERS
Adapters are available at the villa but if you have your own, go ahead and bring them.  If you bring a curling iron or heating pad, etc., please make sure it has a switch that toggles back and forth to 220 volt. Converters (the big clunky things).

HAIR DRYERS
Each bathroom has a hair dryer.

WASHER/DRYER
There is a washer and a dryer in the villa and one in the Residenza and Farmhouse apartment but it is European size (small) and we won’t plan to use it much. Laundry service can be arranged – check with Gretchen or Judith.

CELL PHONES
Call your carrier, let them know you’ll be in Italy and ask what you need to do, if anything, to make and receive calls. Most companies have a variety of plans to choose from to keep you connected while you’re there. (Verizon’s international people are very helpful: 1-800-711-8300).

Your phone will essentially be using the American network to make calls. So call American phones as you normally would, with area code and number. To call Gretchen or somewhere in Italy, you would hold down the “0” key (zero) until it turns to a plus sign (or dial 00), then dial 39-335-813-4309 as it is an international call, the same as from home.

iPhones and iPads work the same as at home – whenever you are connected to wi-fi, your FaceTime and texts to another iPhone are free.

COMMUNICATION
If you have a Smartphone (iPhone, Samsung, etc.) consider downloading the “WhatsApp” App. That would allow us to do group texts while we are there and you will be able to also do group texts with your family at home, as well (if they download the app).

You will be provided a printed list and a link to an online google doc with your host and your group’s phone numbers and email for contact purposes before and during the trip.

CREDIT CARDS
Bring a card with a chip if you have one as they are more common in Italy than in the US. United Explorer and Capitol One cards do not charge euro/dollar conversion fees, just FYI. It’s a good idea to call your credit card company before you leave and let them know you are traveling and where so they don’t deny your first charges in Italy!

CASH
You can get euros at the airport ATM when you arrive. If you’d like, feel free to pick some up at your bank or AAA (no fee for members) before you come. (Wichita travelers: Intrust and Commerce Bank in Wichita have euros and the charge is minimal.)

ATTIRE
There is no particular dress code. Pack light, though, and come ready to enjoy yourself and be comfortable. Layers and scarves seem to work well for most travelers. If you are there with the Wencels your photo is likely to be snapped numerous times. 🙂 To get ideas of attire from previous travelers, check our Flickr albums – they are arranged by date so you can find an album from around the time of your own trip. Bring a collapsible umbrella if you have one – it does rain on occasion in sunny Italy. Tennis shoes are perfectly acceptable footwear – the important thing is that your shoes be comfortable. Dinner at the villa is among friends, of course, so dress as you would if going to a friend’s house for dinner. 🙂 If you have purchased a beautiful new scarf or shoes or other attire on the trip, feel free to wear them to dinner so we can all appreciate them.

SHOPPING
And speaking of new shoes, scarves, clothes, etc., Bellagio has some very nice shopping for silks and linens, as does Como, and of course Milan. Bergamo also has some nice shops. Some of the trips include a trip to a silk outlet near Como.

HOUSEKEEPING
We usually arrange for a mid-week cleaning of the bathrooms and a towel change. If you or your group would like more frequent housekeeping service, we can make arrangements.

WEATHER
Click here to get an idea of what the forecast or average temps and weather are at different times of year at the villa. (Change the month at the top of the page as needed).

SUNRISE/SUNSET
If you’re curious when the sun is rising and setting when you’re there. you can click this link.

TIPS
There is no expectation for tips at the villa. If you are particularly pleased with the service of the housekeeper, chef, etc., feel free to tip but it is not expected. All other tips in restaurants, buses, etc., are taken care of.