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Bologna as a base

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Sep 27th, 2015, 08:08 AM
  #1
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Bologna as a base

A few years ago we went to Tuscany.

We based in Florence for the entire 10 day trip and trained on day trips on 6 of those days. Two of the day trips were actually overnighters where we kept our base hotel so we didn't "lug" luggage and took with small backpacks with toiletries and a clothing change.

As we get older carrying luggage around becomes less enticing.

We just went on a trip where we changed sleeping locations three times. On one of them we had to carry our luggage up a flight of stairs in a train station. On two of them we had to maneuver luggage onto and thru the train. We want to reduce some of that "work".

We're thinking of using Bologna as a base (using air miles and AA or a partner flies there).

I realize matching Florence as a base is a challenge but will we be bored spending a few days and all of those evenings in Bologna?

We'd probably go on a couple of overnight day trips (Florence and maybe Ravenna/Rimini?) so that reduces the number of evening in Bologna.
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Sep 27th, 2015, 08:55 AM
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We only spent one night and two days in Bologna a few years ago, on our way, driving from Milan central station to MOntone in Umbria.
We happened to find an American chain hotel forget exactly, but I think maybe a HOliday Inn Express, (I was emarassed to ven mention it in a report!) which was in an eastern suburb. I would look it up for you, but at the moment we are in Paris)

It turned out to be a super base place, if you will be driving.

There is a bus that goes in to Bologna every 30 minutes or so, and the food is so good in Bologna, I can recommend this place, as a base.

I will look it up on the Internet and will reply again.
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Sep 27th, 2015, 09:27 AM
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It's a good question as to whether you might be bored in Bologna for 10 full evenings. Most evenings in Bologna only the students are out and about, cavorting, and you are likely to feel the age difference if you are over 27. The rest of the "nightlife" of the town is all about eating in restaurants -- and it is very filling food. For 10 nights in Bologna, an apartment is HIGHLY recommended. If you are planning many day trips -- and I would recommend not only Ravenna and Rimini, but also Modena, Parma, Parma and Brisighella -- then I also recommend getting an apartment generally closer to the train station, so it's an easy walk in heat or cold, or else one with a very good direct bus connection to the train station that runs into the night. Unless of course you don't mind a 7e taxi fare twice a day.

People who enjoy extended stays in Bologna usually fill up part of their time cooking classes and food tours as well. These are not available at all times of year.

Another Bologna-sized city with excellent train connections for interesting day trips is Verona, and you might find the non-student atmosphere a bit more to your liking. Also, many peope prefer strolling about Verona in the evening just for aesthetics, and absence of graffiti. Interesting day trips from Verona include Trento, Modena, Vicenza, Milano, Padova and Venice.

With either Bologna or Verona you can usually find a few more unusual day trips using purely local transportation for festivals and small town charm.
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Sep 27th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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I meant to add you can easily revisit Florence from Bologna.
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Sep 27th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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(And in the summer you can go to the opera in Verona plus make excursions to Lago di Garda.)
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Sep 27th, 2015, 09:30 AM
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Instead of Parma, Parma I meant to write Parma and Ferrara as easy day trip from Bologna.
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Sep 27th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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I'm getting the feeling about 8 evenings in Bologna might be way too much.

We visited Verona, Vicenza and Padova as day trips from Venice a couple of years ago.

We won't have a car so travel is mostly by train with the odd bus.

Modena and Parma were also on my list of potential day trips.

I think I may rethink this trip unless the comments begin to shift in the other direction.
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Sep 27th, 2015, 03:20 PM
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I've just come back from Bologna and I found it one of the most agreeable cities I know in Italy. The historical centre is intimate, full of surprising corners and squares, lively and - not unimportant - still very much a normal living and working city, not overflowed with tourists like Florence or Siena. Having said that, in itself it won't occupy you for much more than two full days.
Up north, a couple of years ago I've used Padova as a base for similar reasons. A normal city with anough attractions to keep you busy for a few days, and strategically situated for day trips to - in this case - Venice and Vicenza.
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Oct 1st, 2015, 10:12 AM
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I visited Bologna 4 times since 2006, I love it there: the architecture, food, general atmosphere, piazze. 3 of my trips have been 6-7 days long and I don't think an 8-day stay is too long. Easy daytrips (all great) include Ferrara, Modena, Ravenna, Mantova (this one takes longer since it requires a change of trains in Modena).
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Oct 1st, 2015, 04:58 PM
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I stayed for three or four nights in 2014. I had wanted one or two more nights there, but I doubt I would have been bored with even seven or eight. Day trips and leisurely eating/drinking, plus relaxing (yes, now that I am in my 40s I like to include some relaxing while on vacation) seemed to eat up a lot of time. All of a sudden I had to ramble on to Rome. I do plan to return to Bologna someday.

You could do a five-three split somewhere if you're concerned.

I wish you a wonderful holiday.
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