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Italy in late May: Modena vs. Parma and Orvieto vs. Perugia?

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Hey Fodorites,

I'll be traveling to Italy in late May and early June with my friend. This is our first time in Italy so most of our time will be in Rome, Florence and Venice. However I've set aside two nights for some smaller towns.

The first is between Venice and Florence. We will spend the night of May 24th, a Friday, as well as most of the next day, in either Modena or Parma. Initially I had my heart set on Modena because of the new Museo Enzo Ferrari and because I had heard good things about its food scene what with being between Parma and Bologna (not to mention that balsamic vinegar was invented there!)

But then some have said Parma is more beautiful and interesting. However, it doesn't have the Ferrari museum. I'm not even that big of a car geek, but it is something unique among all the old churches and museums of Italy. But, taken as a whole, is the atmosphere/ambience/food better (esp. based on what's in season) in Parma or Modena?

Same basic question goes for Oriveto and Perugia. We will spend one night in either one on May 29, a Wednesday. Unlike Modena/Parma, I wasn't attracted to either one more than the other initially, so I'm really confused. Both look beautiful, Orvieto perhaps moreso being on a cliff, but Perugia is a bit more lively, apparently? If anyone has stayed in both I would appreciate some insight.

We will not have a car.

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