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BOLOGNA OR FLORENCE AS A BASE

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Apr 2nd, 2016, 07:31 PM
  #1
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BOLOGNA OR FLORENCE AS A BASE

We will be coming from Cinque Terre via train. I have 6 nights / 5 days
If we base in Bologna we can day trip by train to Ravenna, Venice, Ferarra,
Florence, Parma, Verona.. Any of these
If we base in Florence .. We can day trip to italy San Gimignano, Lucca, Siena,
Which is a better place to be????? I know it's subjective ...
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Apr 2nd, 2016, 09:21 PM
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Your time in either city is closer to 4.5 days.

What time of year? Where are you headed after these days?

I would save Venice for another trip since the last train back to Bologna departs around 7:30p.

Maybe you've listed the only day trips that interest you, but additional day trips possible from Florence include: Fiesole, Pisa, Arezzo, Montecatini Terme and Alto, Certaldo, Cortona.

And additional day trips possible from Bologna include: Modena, Padova, Mantova.
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Apr 2nd, 2016, 09:33 PM
  #3
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I am travelling in August.
I was wondering which location with day trips be preferred.
After this portion I am headed out of Rome to the Alsace region of France.
Many thanks
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Apr 2nd, 2016, 09:34 PM
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I am travelling in August.
I was wondering which location with day trips be preferred.
After this portion I am headed out of Rome to the Alsace region of France.
Many thanks
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Apr 2nd, 2016, 09:47 PM
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You can look up train schedules here:

http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

The Albergo Centrale in Bologna is a terrific hotel.
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Apr 3rd, 2016, 01:42 AM
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You will encounter far, far fewer tourists basing in Bologna in August, if that matters to you. Also, most of Bologna's streets are covered with porticoes, so you are protected from the sun, and the streets are rather breezy.

There is more to do and see right in Florence, however, and if you are travelign with kids, they often like meeting other traveling kids their own age who speak English. Be aware that a day trip to San Gimignano means finding a seat on a bus, not a train.

Subjectively, for me, coming from le Cinque Terre in August, I would want a break from all the tourists, especially if the kids I was traveling with had a limited appetite for museums. I would go for Bologna or Ferrara (the latter if the kids really liked to bicycle). I would add Milan to the list of possible day trips from Bologna if I were traveling with kids (and elminate Verona or Mantova).

Again, for a 6 night stay in either place, I would get an apartment.
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Apr 3rd, 2016, 08:21 AM
  #7
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call it a problem or not I love to be up and out and about ... and see as much as possible on trips ... we don't languish or have long long lunches etc and I personally love art but yes with kids you can only do so much but they never have complained on any trip and my older son really love history and the antiquity of things ... so I just wanted to know which local would keep us the most occupied ... and fill our days with much to see and do? cheers !!
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Apr 3rd, 2016, 08:34 AM
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There is a lot more to do in Florence itself. The places for day trips are all wonderful, but you will need a car to get to many of them efficiently.

I can hear the screams, but I think Bologna is kind of one-note. On the other hand, there are lots of day trips mentioned above that are really easy to do on the train.

Firenze will be packed, perhaps only second to Venice. If you like a lot to do, that will be exciting.

Both will be hot, but not as hot as Venice.
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Apr 3rd, 2016, 09:53 AM
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With active kids who enjoy bicycling I would stay in Ferrara rather than Bologna, unless you are keen for daily day trips (nothing wrong with that) and possibly taking a cooking class (which may not be possible in August.

With kids who are truly okay with more than a bit of cultural sightseeing and shopping, I would stay in Florence, and do a moderate number of day trips (and probably none by bus). I would check out the public swimming pool in Florence just to mix it up for a day. Just do a google search for "public swimming pools Florence Italy". I might also spring for a walking tour or a photography class or art class if they are generally interested in that sort of thing.

Most Italian towns have some music festivals in the evenings.
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Apr 3rd, 2016, 09:56 AM
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Just to add: If heat is an issue, you have no way of knowing which will be the hottest location in August. As mentioned earlier, Bologna has literally miles and miles of shade --- but it can also be hotter and muggier than either Florence or Venice on some August days.

Last year or the year before (can't remember), the August weather was remarkably cool throughout northern Italy (including being a touch too cool on the coast). So you just don't know anymore. But you should book places with air conditioning, as much to protect against mosquities and noise as the possibility of a heat wave.
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Apr 3rd, 2016, 06:35 PM
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The fastest trains between Bologna and Florence take 37 minutes. This means that you could base yourself in either place, and do the exact same day trips, and potentially only be adding 37 minutes to the trip (in the event that you decide to do day trips south from Bologna or north from Florence).

I suggest deciding what kind of place do you want to stay in: 1) Florence, jammed packed with people, but with A LOT to see and do without leaving the city; or 2) Bologna, quiet, enough to see in one day, but good for day trips. (Most people will be away from the Bologna on vacation, so very few tourists).

There is no right or wrong answer, it's up to what you want.

I'm not unbiased, as I lived in Bologna for two years and really loved the location and access to the surrounding areas. In May or September, I might suggest Florence, but I would choose Bologna in August. Florence will be so packed, and you can see a lot in the surrounding area from Bologna: Parma, Modena, Mantua (a favorite), Verona, Vicenza, Ferrara. I would avoid Venice in August personally, unless you never think you will get back there again.

Note about Ravenna. This is a big beach destination from Bologna. Don't go unless you have reserved train seats, and preferably don't go on a weekend. The trains will be mobbed and it is not likely to be a pleasant experience in August.

One other option, if you want to rent a car: stay somewhere in Tuscany and do day trips by car, avoiding Florence altogether.

Have fun!
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