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Arriving Milan/Leaving Venice-please help plan

Arriving Milan/Leaving Venice-please help plan

Jun 12th, 2010, 10:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 24
Arriving Milan/Leaving Venice-please help plan

We will be landing in Milan, staying 2 nights, renting a car...have 8 days (not counting travel days back/forth to US) and are going back home from Venice. We want to drive and stop in other cities/towns inbetween. Looking at the map there is Parma, Bologna, Ravenna, Modena...so much to select from that I'm getting overwhelmed and would very much appreciate your advice. I was thinking 2 nights in each stop-city...but don't know if that is really best. We love food, walking a city top to bottom, museums, castles and getting the local flavor. We also like spending a lazy day at the sea. Can you help and recommend which cities to stop in and for how long? Thanks so much!
synergysol is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I would take a much different approach. You do not want to drive in Milan--I would get the car at MXP and drive to Lake Como for those first 2 nites. Then, I would go to Verona, the Val Gardena in the Dolomites, and end in Venice---dropping the car as you arrive in Venice. Why do you want to drive into Italian cities when some of the most spectacular beauty in the world is right there?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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I think your Italian itinerary is just fine and filled with ravishing sites and food. (Bobthenavigator often posts that he really dislikes Italian cities! In fact, if I'm not mistkaen, he's never been to Parma, Modena or Ravenna -- all gorgeous -- and I'm dubious about Bologna too! )

But obviously there are many people who do their scenic driving in America and Canada -- and don't want to miss the spectacular beauty of Italy's painting, mosaics, stunning architecture -- all of which Parma, Modena and Ravenna have in gorgeous abundance.

You will certainly get more of the local flavor of Italy by going to beautiful places like Parma and Modena, than by sticking to such tourist magnets as Lago di Como and the val Gardena in the Dolomiti.

But you could see all the art cities you are planning to see by train instead of driving. And even if you you do choose to drive, you it might make more sense to stay in some spots longer and day trip to nearby places, rather than relocate.

If you would rather take a train than rent a car, Bologna is the perfect base for daytripping to Ravenna, Parma and Modena.

If you'd rather drive, you might consider basing near Parma, and daytripping to Modena. Since you like castles, you might consider staying at Torrechiara, 15 km outside of Parma.


Then I would head to Ravenna and spend 2 nights there. Be sure to also see the mosaics at Sant'Apollnaire in Classe, just a few minutes away.

With only 8 days on the ground, I think giving Bologna a miss in favor of spending more time in Venice gives you a more relaxed trip. You might even have time to include a daytrip to Verona from Venice.

But on your way to Ravenna, you should plan to stop for a wonderful lunch near Bologna or Ferrara


If you don't want to see Milan, you can pick up your car at the airport and drive straight to Parma. However, if you plan to spend some time in Milan, you can also take a train from there to Parma, and pick up your car in Parma.

Have a great trip!
zeppole is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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PS: Were it me, I woud also give serious consideration to staying here with a car, and daytripping to everywhere -- Parma, Modena, Bologna, Ferrara and Ravenna, and then heading up to Venice.

zeppole is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Oh -- I forgot about your lazy day at the sea!

It is not impossible to drive to the Italian Riviera from a base in Parma. About 2 hours to Lerici, which has the best parking. For me, that would not be very lazy.

You might try an escape from super-touristed Venice to some rather hidden corners closely on the Adriatic:

zeppole is offline  
Jun 12th, 2010, 06:36 PM
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You have a lot that you want to fit in in a short amount of time! Two nights in each city doesn't actually give you a lot of time; when you factor in travel time, you have 1 1/2 days, or less, in each location.

I've been to Milan, Venice, Bologna and Ravenna, but not Parma and Modena, so I can't say anything about those cities. I'm not a beach person, so I can't really help you there either; the lake region has also never clicked with me (though we've been), so I don't have any advice about those areas. You could easily stay in Bologna and visit Ravenna; and probably Parma and Modena. Depending on where you stayed in Bologna, driving in and out of the city might be a hassle, though. You could also take the train between all those cities; that might be easier. (Someday we will get to Parma and Modena; we just haven't been able to fit them in, yet.)

You mentioned what you enjoy; those are all available in most of those cities - you'll have to cut out some possibilities, remind yourself that you can't do everything, and you'll just have to return!

Here is a short summy, IMHO of course, of the great things about the cities. We love food, walking around and people-watching, and I love art and mosaics:

Milan - I was very pleasantly surprised by Milan. We flew into Milan for several trips, but never visited until DH had a business meeting there. It's quite untouristy, I didn't find the residents ALL stylishly dressed, the Duomo was interesting, and it has several smaller museums with quite good collections.

Bologna - I love Bologna; I tell my family that I lived here in a past life. Also very untouristy, nice size for walking around, great cafes and people-watching, great restaurants and markets. Their museum has some good stuff, and several interesting churches. San Stefano is a church built on a church built on a pagan temple; very interesting.

Ravenna - We've now visited here twice, because I just can't get enough of their amazing mosaics. Each time, we visited as a day trip, and spent about half a day in Ravenna. The mosaics here are fantastic; even better than those you find in Rome, partly because you can see them closer up. Given your short time, though, I would say to go to Ravenna only if you think you like mosacis (google for pictures). The city itself is not as special as the others, in terms of people-watching, restaurants or spending the night.

Venice - It's great, I won't say more because there's tons of information elsewhere about Venice.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2010, 03:26 PM
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Posts: 24
You are all terrific in your suggestions. Listening to all of you and taking your advice (thank you), we will arrive iin Milan, stay 2 days... stayin Bologna as a base for 3 days. Can you recommend a nice hotel to stay that is in the center of things. We are ditching the car and will be walking everyone on foot and training it to do day trips. We are more concerned about being in the 'heart' of Bologna more than cost...we don't have to scrimp, but we don't have to splurge either. We are interested in convenience, atmosphere, clean, safe, a work out room would be a bonus albeit, not common in Europe. Then we'll train to Venice for 3 days, splurge on a hotel there and take advantage of a lazy pool day there.

If you can give me more recommendations, I'd appreciate it....ny recommendations for a hotel in Bologna...as well as restaurants (we love to go where the locals go, and LOVE good food...doesn't have to be fancy, just mangia good)...in Milan, Bologna, Parma, Venice (Venice is a repeat trip for us)? Thanks so much.
synergysol is offline  

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