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And the winner is ...India? Egypt? no, Italy!

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Over the last few weeks some very patient people here bore with me while I tried to plan a trip to look forward to in February.

My initial thought was India, a place that I had always wanted to visit but in which DH had no interest, but I gradually came to the conclusion that for various reasons I was biting off rather more than I could chew at this stage, and after toying briefly with Egypt, seeing some cheap flights to Venice decided me that a return trip to an Italian language school was just what I needed. I have always enjoyed the schools I've attended in various parts of Italy, and it's a great way to make friends and as well as to learn a language, and to find out about a city and/or area; language schools generally organise tours of their town and surrounding places often for free or at very little extra cost.

Along with a couple of friends last year I did some research about schools in Bologna, and when I was unable to go earlier in the year, they went anyway, as "guinea pigs" :

https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=academya+lingue+bologna&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&dcr=0&ei=2k0UWuLkNO2sgAbNvrm4Aw

They liked it a lot so it seemed to be the obvious choice for my trip. The best flights would give me a few nights in Venice before the course started [or Venice and ?] and Bologna is an easy train ride away from Venice which would make getting there and back very easy. It's also a terrific base for exploring Parma, Ferrara, Modena and Imola on ½ day trips, as well as for longer trips to Ravenna.

So why am I coming here for help when I've got it all sewn up?

The hotel I have found in Venice [a bit of a splurge but it's only for 4 nights and the accommodation found for me by the school is very cheap] is in Canareggio, an area I've never stayed in before, though I've been to Venice several times, including a week at a language school there. I have found that although Venice isn't very big, it is so "dense" that staying in a different area each time brings big dividends. Plus it's a short walk from the Alilaguna orange line stop and an easy walk to the station.

So firstly, does anyone know of a good tour of the Ghetto? I found a link to the jewish museum which does tours of the main synagogue but the fodors' guidebook of 2010 suggests that also includes tours of the rest of the ghetto and other synagogues - has anyone here done the tour?

http://www.museoebraico.it/en/guided-tours/

[reading it again it does say "synagogues" so it may be what I'm looking for]

Secondly, I'm intending to spend a day on a trip to Padua to see the Scrovegni chapel and other sights. What I can't decide is whether to do this as a day trip and return to Venice in the evening, or to split my 4 days into 2, and spend 2 nights in Venice, then move to Padua, and spend one day there, and another possibly in Vicenza.

Finally, on the way back I have a flight out of Venice at 13.30, so I want to be there by 11.30. There are plenty of trains from Bologna to Venice Santa Lucia, but what is the easiest way to get to the airport from there? I could catch an early train to Venice and catch the alilaguna again, but has anyone ever caught a bus from the station at Mestre to the airport? it strikes me as being a lot easier, and might give me an extra hour in bed! Alternatively I could book a last night in Venice - my hotel has a single for one night for about €60. That would make getting back to the airport a doddle!

Of course anyone who has any tips for places see and where to eat in Canareggio, Bologna, Padua and other cities in the area please jump in. I have read a load of TRs [thanks to all who take the trouble to write them] and have printed off quite a lot of info to refer to later.

And thanks to all in advance for all and any help you can give me.

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