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heyheyitsaj Jan 8th, 2015 10:44 AM

Base for Northern Italy 3 nights
I am travelling to Italy late this August and have a period of three nights that I would really like to spend in Northern Italy. I would have already spent time in Venice and am going on to Vienna afterwards, so a place with good rail connections would be great. I am travelling by myself using public transport and just really want to see as much as possible (vague, I know!). I was thinking of basing myself in Verona, but I'm finding the accommodation is far too expensive and very limited as I did not realise that it was opera season - so stupid of me!! I was wondering whether Bologna or perhaps Padua would be a good base? Or another place I do not know of!!
I would be interested in any sights or scenery, and the reason I was thinking Verona was primarily because of the Shakespearean connections, which I am very interested in. I also am interested in Italian art, architecture, and of course, the food!! I really am open to anything as I know that there will be many wonderful things to see in Italy that I have never heard of!
Thank you very much in advance for your suggestions!!

dfourh Jan 8th, 2015 10:52 AM

Bologna makes a great rail hub, and there are plenty of reasonable hotels close to the station (I've stayed at places right by the station, but I also just booked a high-rated apartment with kitchen on one bus stop closer to the center for $65 a night).

Sassafrass Jan 8th, 2015 11:38 AM

Vicenza for the beautiful architecture, good food and good rail connections.

mnag Jan 8th, 2015 11:56 AM

Have you considered the Ortisei area or Val gardena. It is breathtaking. We spent time in Venice, Lake Garda, and other areas in N Italy and Switzerland a few years ago and the Ortisei regaion was the best part of the entire trip. The dolomites are stunning. I am not too sure about transport though.

greg Jan 8th, 2015 11:57 AM

How about Bolzano on the rail line to Innsbruck? From Bolzano, you can take a bus to the Seiser Alm in the Dolomites.

Jean Jan 8th, 2015 02:04 PM

I second Bolzano or Ortisei. Also Castelrotto and Bressanone. The weather in late August would be reason enough for me, but beautiful mountain views are a bonus.

The Val Gardena has good bus service. Here's a link:

Note that the schedules list the cities in two languages, and although the August 2015 schedules aren't posted yet you can look at the August 2014 schedules. When we stayed in Ortisei in October 2014, our lodging provided us with Val Gardena Mobil Cards for free.

If you go to Bolzano, visit the Iceman Museum. We thought it was fascinating.

heyheyitsaj Jan 15th, 2015 11:03 AM

Thank you all so much for the wonderful suggestions! They all look absolutely beautiful and I'm having a hard time narrowing it down to one!! Are all of these safe and easy for a solo female traveller? (I feel stupid to ask, but just wanted to check!)

sandralist Jan 15th, 2015 06:54 PM

Would you be up for a bit of road tripping? You can put your luggage in the Verona train station and visit the town before moving on to the Dolomiti (if you want to go to the mountains without a car. I don't know anyone who has successfully done it, so it would be good if Jean described her trip using the buses in more detail). I don't think I would want to go to the mountains and stay in a city, especially in August, when it will so crowded with tourists, so make sure you actually can get a taste of the real scenery.

In addition to Vicenza, some other lower-cost possibilities for August with reasonably good train connections are Bergamo, Varenna (on Lago di Como), and Lugano (pricey though). If you go to Bologna you should be able to get a low cost flight on Air Austria to Vienna if you book in advance.

Jean Jan 15th, 2015 11:14 PM

The OP is talking about 2 days (3 nights), and even with a car this wouldn't be enough time to explore the Dolomites. But a short stay in the Val Gardena would give a taste of the mountain scenery. There are pretty views from the small towns of Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva, and there are cable cars directly from each town to the mountain tops for even better scenery.

We had a car and didn't use the buses. We also weren't there in August. But the drive we took from Ortisei to Bolzano one day was the same route that the bus takes, and the scenery was nice (very nice in spots).

kawh Jan 16th, 2015 12:31 AM

Bologna makes a fantastic hub... and the oldest part of the city is an easy walk to the train station, too. (though there are shuttles and taxis.) There is a university there, so there is a young crowd as well as older. We love it as a base. Have rented 2 different airbnb places there and both were cheap and outstanding... one in a building that was once a convent and another overlooking the tiny little canal!

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