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Bologna Day trips - Modena, Ferrara, Parma and/or Ravenna

Bologna Day trips - Modena, Ferrara, Parma and/or Ravenna

Old Oct 16th, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Bologna Day trips - Modena, Ferrara, Parma and/or Ravenna

I have three days in Bologna in mid November. I was there for one (fairly long) day a few summers ago but did not spend the night. This trip I want probably two day trips and am trying to decide between Modena, Ferrara, Parma and Ravenna.

My main interests are wandering around soaking up ambiance and taking pictures. I go into most churches but rarely museums (except major ones in big cities - and my Bologna stay is sandwiched between London and Rome where I do intend to do a lot of museums). Shopping is always nice.

I notice that Modena is on the same train line to Parma. Would it be overdoing it to try to do both in one day. Given the short amount of day light it would probably mean only about 3 hours in each town. But that might be enough to just get a feel for the town centers and take some photos.

I also see that Ferrara and Ravenna are in the same direction but it doesn't look as easy to combine those two. I know everyone raves about Ravenna but primarily because of the mosaics. While I would certainly like to see them, for me anyway, the towns themselves are the primary attraction. And Ravenna is at least 1 1/2 hr each way whereas the other three are less than a hour. So is it "worth" it to do Ravenna.

So..... opinions please.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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A few years ago we planned to spend a week in Bologna as part of a longer trip in Italy. On the third day we took a day trip to Parma. We liked it so much that we checked out of our hotel and moved to Parma for the remainder of the week. It suited us much better than Bologna. Many people like Bologna but we didn't.

We have never been to Ravenna.

Happy travels, wherever you go.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Almost any town in Italy has something for the eye; Ravenna has the addition of the mosaics that should not be missed, and I found Ferrara to be one of the least interesting towns. But Faenza might fit the bill, and while you are not interested in museums, you might want to take a look at its faience museum.

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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 12:07 PM
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Check to see before you go to Modena if the Torre della Ghirlandina is still under renovation. It has been wrapped in scaffolding and a protective screen for some time.

It's really hard to know what you find photogenic. The deep reds of Bologna, yellow (and pink) of Parma, the austerity of Ravenna -- (the filmmaker Antononi was born in Ferrara, and found Ravenna excpetionally photogeic; Fellini, born in Rimini, liked to photograph is town).

It's also hard to believe that somebody would go to Ravenna and not be left speechless by the mosaics and treasure the memory as one of having seen one of the greatest artworks in both Western and Eastern civilisation, but I guess such people exist!

You may very well get a lot of fog during November.

Parma has legendary shopping, but don't go on a Thursday afternoon, when all the shops are closed.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 12:31 PM
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A suggestion is to take the train from Bologna to Mantova - one of the most beautiful small cities of Italy. Visit the Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Te and experience the history of the Gonzaga family. On the way back you can stop off in Modena.

If you visit Mantova in November you must try the various dishes with the zucca (pumpkin). It is different to the American orange pumpkin in that it has a deep green skin. But the tortelli di zucca (pumpkin ravioli) are to die for!
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for the tip about Torre della Ghirlandina. I googled it and found that the renovation was to be completed by the end of 2010 (it was started in 2007). November is pretty close to "the end of 2010" but I wish I could find out if it was really done (or would be in the next month). Since I am trying to narrow down the day trip possibilities that might be one way to do it. I'll post a separate thread seeing if anyone knows.

I've had Mantova on my "list" for a while now. But it, like Ravenna, it's close to two hours on the train from Bologna while Modena, Parma and Ferrara are about an hour or less. So I guess what I'm trying to determine is if I really want either Ravenna or Mantova bad enough for the extra train time. And if I could reasonably combine two towns - looks to me like it would work well for Modena and Parma but wanted to see what others think.
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