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Rome to Milan in low season (March 16-30, 2013): New spots to visit?

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We arrive at Rome Fiumicino at noon on Saturday, March 16 and depart from Milan Linate exactly 2 weeks later, on Saturday March 30. There are large holes in our plans for how we will spend the 2 weeks that follow our arrival. Probably a few days in Rome - this is our Nth visit to Rome - then travel by train or rented car in one OR two of the regions north of Rome: Tuscany/ Umbria... Emilia-Romagna ....or maybe Piedmont.

I'm looking for Fodorite advice on where to go and what to do on this late-winter trip.

We're a mobile, well traveled older couple who like architecture, history, food and scenery.
We usually rent a car for part of our trip - even driving out of Rome does not faze us. We like renting apartments or houses and often prefer - at least for part of a trip - having one spot as our base, from which we make day trips by car or train.

We've spent a lot of time in S Tuscany, including late October and mid-March visits. But since the weather is uncertain in March, we might be best advised to focus on urban areas.

I'm pretty familiar with the most popular destinations: Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Perugia, Arezzo, Cortona - so I'd like to expand our horizons a bit. For example, I've never visited Bologna, which is high on my wish-list. Friends have also recommended Turin - not a common choice, I think. Any suggestions?

We fly from Linate to Amsterdam at 11h20 on Saturday, March 30. That is the middle of the Easter weekend. We will stay in Milan for 1 or 2 nights before our flight to Amsterdam. My primary purpose is to spend time with an old friend, so the fact that most tourist sites could be closed is not terribly important. But will restaurants be open on Good Friday? Any suggestions on what we might see or do during this important religious holiday?

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