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Padua or Bologna

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DH and I will be taking a cruise on the Adriatic next year (Venice to Venice) and will be spending more time in Italy either before or after. We will spend a few days in Venice before or after the cruise and then we would like to rent an apartment or house for a 7 days in either Padua or Bologna as those are areas we have not spent time in. We plan on day trips from there as well as perhaps spending a few days beyond that at Lake Garda. Any suggestions on apartments or houses in Padua or Bologna? Lake Garda will more than likely be a hotel for about 3 days but definitely want to be able to cook for a week....Thanks for any help.

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    Will you be renting a car as well? If so, you need to stay in an area of Bologna that is easy to get in and out of without running into ZTLs. In that regard, you might look for an apartment just south of the train station, somewhat on the western side of the historic center (around via Marconi). It is easier to drive in and out of the parking ares on that side of Bologna without worrying abut ZTL cameras.

    If you aren't renting a car but are planning a lot of day trips, the area I just mentioned is also convenient for that. However, it is not directly inside the medieval center, which some people prefer. (Upside for not staying in the medieval center is amenities like elevators, better air con, usually more space.) If you want to stay inside the medieval center, I would advise against staying right in the university quarter because it can be very noisy at night.

    Both Bologna and Padova are fantastic market towns, so they are great places to do some cooking. In particular in Bologna, buying fresh pasta and cooking it up at home to eat with butter and herbs, or to have in broth (the way the Bolognese eat it) can be better than any restaurant. The one time I stayed in an apartment in Bologna it was in a very tiny studio, so I can't offer any personal recommendations except to say the Halldis agency has a nice selection of apartments, and I also found that basic Google searches turned up a lot of choices.

    I'm sorry I don't know Padova well enough to offer any suggestions about where to locate there.

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