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Getting to and around Busetto (Verdi) and Modena and Parma (food)

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We will be in Bologna for 4 weeks (Sept. 16 - Oct. 12) and plan to visit other cities during the weekends. We would like to go to Busetto to see the various Verdi sites and to Parma and Modena for the food factory tours/museums (vinegar, prosciutto/salami, cheese, ?tomato?). It appears that many of these are not easily reachable by public transportation. Would it be better to rent a car? Perhaps we would try to see all of these during one weekend and spend the night somewhere in the area. Where might be a good place to do that? If all of this is too much for one weekend, we could come back some other time by train and see the sights we missed that are close to a train station.

For the Verdi stuff, I don't know yet if we'll try to go to the Verdi Festival in Parma. If we don't, I presume it would be better to see the Verdi sights in September, before the crowds arrive for the festival. Correct?

For the food factories, I presume if we have a car, we can see them on our own and not need to go on an organized combo tour. I know that I need to contact each factory separately and make my own arrangements

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