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hotticket Nov 6th, 2010 05:43 PM

Bologna is , Modena or..
Bologna appears to be booked the last day of March through the first week of April--my vacation time. So, any recommendations for a city lover as a base-camp? Parma ? Modena? Ferrara looks great for a day, but too small for an extended stay.

Might just go to Umbria...

valtor Nov 7th, 2010 01:12 AM

I think that you have to try again, I can not beleive that there are no free rooms, 5 months in advance. Maybe they have not yet the prices and this can be the reason that they do not list yet the rooms.

zeppole Nov 7th, 2010 03:51 AM

E-mail Antica Casa Zucchini in Bologna. I was able to find room there during a trade fair. And the B&B is simply gorgeous, and in a great location. Not expensive.

Likewise, try albergo via drapperie -- well reviewed and in the smack dab heart of the food markets.

Another well located choice is Albergo Garisenda -- but not all rooms have a private bath.

If you decide to go to Umbria, Perugia is the only location that is a big city, and I think it's a great one (but not as much fun as Bologna, perhaps especially in March, when Bologna's covered streets will be an asset). In Perugia, I think Hotel Rosalba is a perfect charmer, right at the foot of the escalator that zips you up to the Corso Vanucci -- and it very cheap.

(valtor, Bologna has a nearly a dozen mega-trade fairs each year, at fixed dates, that solidly book out the town's affordable hotels).

nochblad Nov 7th, 2010 04:15 AM

If you have time consider going to Mantova. This is a truly delightful city where everything is within walking distance. Find time to see the Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Tea as a minimum.

The food is magnificent too! It is a bit late for Mantova's famous tortelli di zucca (ravioli with pumpkin filling) even though some restaurants will still be serving them but it is also a great place for buying mostarda (being near Cremona). Many places in Italy sell it mixed but here you can make up your own combination as they also sell the various fruits etc individually. For anyone keen to try making their own mostarda you can buy the extract at the chemist.

zeppole Nov 7th, 2010 04:23 AM

I'll echo everything nochblad said EXCEPT the suggestion that Mantova is a nice place for mostarda because it is near Cremona. Mantova has its own tradition of mostarda -- and on somedays you could convince me it is tastier than Cremona's, which tends toward the sweet while Mantova's bites. A mostarda of apples (mele) from Mantova is simply wonderful. (True, Cremona's wins all the prizes for sheer beauty in a bowl).

nochblad Nov 7th, 2010 04:32 AM

zeppole - my comment was really aimed at the uninitiated and was more a geographical comment than a gastronomic one. The Cremona "classic" mostarda is the one seen all over the world but in Mantova many shops have their own preparations including more unusual ones such as onions, chestnuts etc.

It is a gloomy day in northern Italy - the weather calls for a bollito misto and mostarda!

hotticket Nov 7th, 2010 07:40 AM

Thanks all.. I e-mailed Zucchini and am waiting for a response from Drapperie. There 's a book fair the last week in March, so that's the problem.

However, I did get rooms in BOlogna for the first few days of April at Residenza Antica. I might spend the last two days of March in Parma.

We are arriving in Rome, staying there a few days, then heading to Bologna. I am open to other suggestions en route from Rome before arriving in Bologna, so if you them, bring 'em on.

zeppole Nov 7th, 2010 01:34 PM

I don't know how much time you have between Rome and Bologna -- Rome is a place for a city-lover to linger -- but if you have extra time, how about Perugia? It would really be a change of pace from both Rome and Bologna. It's a wonderful unique only-in-Italy city -- the topgraphical layout is a phenomenon -- that has fallen off the tourist map (and is no doubt the better for it).

Perugia has one of the very finest museums of art in all of Italy. A pure pleasure. Plus many other treasures, from almost every era of Italian history. It has wonderful food, wine and CHOCOLATE, plus great student cheap eats, including street food. It's got great train and bus connections to other unusual sights of interest, like Assisi or Gubbio or smaller towns.

For lodgings, I adore the cheap and clean Rosalba hotel at the foot of the multi-layer escalators that whisk you up to the flat top of the city. There are other choices you can find on TripAdvisor.

Another location to consider is Arezzo. While it is only a small city, it is a vital, commercially thriving Tuscan city, not wholly dependent on tourism, with a beautifully preserved centro storico, lively markets and true Tuscan restaurants, with a bit of affluent polish. Again, a place that's off the tourist trail (It's got Cortona on one side and Florence on the other) but a real Italian charmer. Wish I could recommend lodgings, but all I can do is point you to Tripadvisor, with a warning that you want to be in the historic center, not the modern business hotels that ring the town.

zeppole Nov 7th, 2010 01:39 PM


it wasn't exactly gloomy today on the Italian Riviera, but drizzly enough to summon thought of a zuppa di zucca -- con castagne!!!! Except when I got to the store, they were out of chestnuts!!! (I already had the zucca, courtesy of my properatrio.) But it was OK, since by that time the sun had reappeared, so I went with shrimp, pasta and basil. :-)

Just last week in Parma, I ate at the restaurant of the Hotel Daniel, which specializes in bollito misto with mostarda -- the beautiful, glistening, jewel-like mostarda di Cremona. I simply couldn't face another bite of meat, but I ended up ordering a dessert of simply cheese and mostarda, just to have those beautiful round colorful globes on my plate. They tasted good too!

TDudette Nov 8th, 2010 08:56 AM

I share zeppole's recco of Perugia. A truly wonderful city. If you go there and have a drink at Dempsey's Bar, please tell them the Rhodys say hey.

Do remember that many places close for a couple of hours in the midday-our bus trips often landed us right in the middle of this! Also, even though there are escalators, you should be in good enough shape to manage some rather steep streets and stairways.

We bussed or trained to Gubbio, Nimes, and Deruta. Hired driver for Montepulciano and Montalcino when we stayed in Perugia.

For Bologna, which I also adore, did you try the Sofitel across from the train station?

alihutch Nov 8th, 2010 09:06 AM

I checked on here

Loads of places

valtor Nov 8th, 2010 12:43 PM

Hotticket, I checked for you and found 29 available hotels in Bologna in the period of time when you want to be there. Between these hotels there is Zanhotel Regina, where we stayed and we loved it and its location.

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