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Dolomites – Ortisei, Lake Garda, Bologna, Ravenna... – Sep/2023

Dolomites – Ortisei, Lake Garda, Bologna, Ravenna... – Sep/2023

Old Mar 4th, 2024, 03:34 PM
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Sep 20 - continuing...

We took the high-speed train from Bologna at 1:02pm and arrived in Florence at 1:39pm. From Stazione Firenze S. M. Novella, we walked to our hotel. We checked-in, got settled and went out.

There were a lot of people near the Duomo (Florence Cathedral) and all over the Historic Centre. I wanted to enter the Duomo to see the ceiling of the dome. The entrance is free with line, and although the line was big it was moving fast, and in less than 15 min we entered.


Duomo (Florence Cathedral)

Duomo (Florence Cathedral)

After that, we walked towards the Piazza della Signoria, took pictures of some historic monuments, and the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio Museum. Continuing our walk to see the main points, we arrived at Ponte Vecchio. We stayed there for a little while and then started to walk towards the restaurant I had reserved for 5:00pm, because later, around 7:00 – 7:15pm, I had planned to be at Piazzale Michelangelo to see the sunset.


Palazzo Vecchio - Piazza della Signoria


Piazza della Signoria



Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria

Palazzo Vecchio

Florence

We wanted to try the aged beef that is famous in Florence and you see it in many restaurants in town. We really enjoyed Osteria del Gatto e la Volpe which is not in the busy, touristic area. Everything was delicious!


Florence


Osteria del Gatto e la Volpe

We left the restaurant and took a taxi to Piazzale Michelangelo - €14.10. The weather was cloudy and the sun was covered, but anyway we enjoyed the views and the nice songs a guitarist was playing for the crowd. When it started to get dark, we walked back down the road and crossed the river at Ponte Vecchio. We got nice photos in the blue hour.

We walked a little more before walking back to the hotel and found a good ice cream at Venchi.


Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence

Florence

Florence

Florence

Tomorrow day trip to Siena.

To be continued...



Last edited by leifields; Mar 4th, 2024 at 03:39 PM.
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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 04:41 PM
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leifields, your photos of Florence are stunning! Especially the evening photos. We were there for one day in the 70's, so a long time ago and not nearly enough time.

So, Yestravel, leifields, and Leely2, 4 nights in Bologna would be better if we want to include a daytrip to Ravenna?

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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 06:09 PM
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I love Florence! I was so surprised at how pristine the historic center was when we were there. It was the fall of 2021 so during Covid still -- very few Americans.

Leifields, did you find Bologna clean? I've read here that the students like to indulge in graffiti.

How did the two cities compare size-wise? They have about the same population.

Decisions decisions!



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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo
leifields, your photos of Florence are stunning! Especially the evening photos. We were there for one day in the 70's, so a long time ago and not nearly enough time.

So, Yestravel, leifields, and Leely2, 4 nights in Bologna would be better if we want to include a daytrip to Ravenna?
KarenWoo: Thanks again for reading!
Considering a day trip to Ravenna, I think 4 nights is good, and you will enjoy Bologna for sure. I loved it!

lrice - Regarding the town being clean, I think it depends on the neighborhood where you walk. That downtown area you see in my pictures looked pretty clean and neat.
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 11:10 AM
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I’m sold on Bologna! And I think it needs adding to one of my future itineraries.

Loving your report.
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Old Mar 6th, 2024, 05:45 PM
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Sep 21 – Florence – day trip to Siena

In the morning, we walked to Florence bus station, which is very close to the train station S. M. Novella. We bought our ticket to Siena for the bus Linea 131R (Rapido) – 1h15min - €18.60 one way – for both of us.

https://www.at-bus.it/en/linee-e-orari/regionali-131r

We took the bus around 9:00 am and when we arrived in Siena, we walked straight to the Duomo, admiring the pretty town on a beautiful sunny day. There was a line already to buy tickets and it took us some 30 min to get ours.

We bought the OPA Si Pass (€15 each). This ticket includes the church interior, crypt, baptistery, and cathedral museum (Museo dell’Opera) with a viewing platform. You could choose where to go first, but someone from the office advised us to go first to the Museum with the viewing platform to see the town from above because the line takes long and maybe it would get worse (I don’t think it was a good idea because this line took us more than 30 min to get up there). The view is very pretty.


Siena

Siena

Duomo - Siena

Cathedral museum

Cathedral museum

Siena

Siena overview


Siena

Cathedral museum

Cathedral museum

The cathedral is stunning, beautiful. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with the addition of red marble on the façade. The Piccolomini Library has beautiful frescoes full of bright colors and gold details, and an astonishing ceiling.



Duomo - Siena

Duomo - Siena









Duomo - Siena


Piccolomini Library


Piccolomini Library

We finished the visit to the Duomo by 1:45pm and went to find a place to have lunch. We chose Ristorante Pizzeria Il Bandierino right at Il Campo, where we could sit in the shade and have a nice view of the town.


Siena - Il Campo

Ristorante Pizzeria Il Bandierino

Siena - Il Campo

After lunch, we visited another building that was included in the OPA Si Pass and walked up to the Fortezza Medicea, to have some views of the surrounding countryside. Then before 4:30pm we walked back to the station to take the bus 131R to Florence (€18.60 one way – for both of us).

In the evening, we walked again in the historic center, and got some nice pictures in the golden and blue hour.


Florence - Duomo

Florence

Florence

Florence


Sep 22 – Florence – end of afternoon train to Padova

I had pre-booked and bought tickets online for the Uffizi Gallery with a month in advance (@9:30am - €30 each). We arrived there a bit earlier because you have to show the email to get the tickets and go to the entrance. I had selected a few paintings I wanted to see. Even though our visit was scheduled for early morning, we noticed that there were a lot of people, mainly around the famous pieces.


Uffizzi Gallery

Uffizzi Gallery

Uffizzi Gallery

Spring by Botticelli

Uffizzi Gallery

Uffizzi Gallery

The Baptism of Christ by Leonardo da Vinci





Rembrandt

Head of medusa by Caravaggio

In fact, we entered the gallery at 9:20 and left at 11:30am.

This was one of the more crowded places that we visited. I had been using a mask in other situations like this (on the flight out of the US, on the buses in the Dolomites and some train rides) but I decided not to wear one this time. Wouldn’t you know it, I got COVID 2 days after I got home. Ufizzi was one of the last places we visited. Not sure if it was from the visit to this gallery or on the flight back to the US where I was using a mask but not all the time. It was the first time I tested positive.

After we left the Uffizzi, we went to a store where I had seen some clothes I liked the night before but it was closed. So, I bought them and went again to the Osteria del Gatto e la Volpe to have some more of the aged beef.

Before going back to our hotel, we stopped in a couple of groceries stores to buy some cookies and chocolate as souvenirs. We got our luggage at the hotel and walked to the train station to get the 4:20pm Frecca train to Padova (1h44min).

Arriving in Padova, we walked to our hotel, got settled and went out to find something eat. We walked around and didn’t see many options and there weren’t many people around either. We ended up going to a McDonald’s which hit the spot. We like to go to McDonalds in other countries to see how they compare and this one was very good.


Padova

Sep 23 – Padova to Marco Polo Airport

We went early in the morning to buy the Busitalia bus ticket for 8:25am to Marco Polo Airport. It leaves from platform 11 at Padua’s bus station, next to the train station and it takes 65 min to arrive there.

https://www.fsbusitalia.it/content/f...e-airport.html

And that is it.

Last edited by leifields; Mar 6th, 2024 at 05:50 PM.
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Old Mar 6th, 2024, 06:32 PM
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Thank you for writing this wonderful, detailed report. And your photos are incredible. I enjoyed returning to many of my favorite places by reading along. It confirmed why I wished we had a month in Bologna instead of 4-5 days.
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Old Mar 6th, 2024, 07:18 PM
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Your Siena photos are outstanding! It's been many years since I have visited and now I see that I need to get back.

And, in a more prosaic vein, I'd not thought of using Padova as a base to depart from VCE. I'm putting that idea in my back pocket.

Thanks so much for this terrific report. Glad you had a good time.
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr
Thank you for writing this wonderful, detailed report. And your photos are incredible. I enjoyed returning to many of my favorite places by reading along. It confirmed why I wished we had a month in Bologna instead of 4-5 days.
Thanks for reading and for your comments, Happy Trvlr!
Bologna is really special and I also wished I had spent more time there.
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 08:01 AM
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An amazing trip report! Your photos are beautiful. Love the sunset in Padova.
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 12:24 PM
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Lovely photos!

South Tyrol is so beautiful, one of my favourite places I've been.
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Leely2
Your Siena photos are outstanding! It's been many years since I have visited and now I see that I need to get back.

And, in a more prosaic vein, I'd not thought of using Padova as a base to depart from VCE. I'm putting that idea in my back pocket.

Thanks so much for this terrific report. Glad you had a good time.
Leely2, thanks for reading and for your kind words. Yes, Padova worked as good base to depart from VCE.
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo
An amazing trip report! Your photos are beautiful. Love the sunset in Padova.
KarenWoo, thanks again for reading and for your compliments!
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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 03:11 PM
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nonconformist2 - Thanks for your comments.
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Old Mar 9th, 2024, 05:40 PM
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Such a treat to finish your report on this 40C day and imagine myself back in Europe.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old Mar 10th, 2024, 06:42 AM
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What a great TR and gorgeous set of photos-it brought back a lot of wonderful memories of my own travels to many of the places you visited. Bologna in particular is a favorite of mine and, I, too, was astounded by the mosaics in Ravenna, Thanks for all that you shared
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Old Mar 10th, 2024, 06:43 AM
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Great report and photos leifields, thanks for taking the time to post your adventures.

PS - love that sunrise (or is it sunset?)
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Old Mar 10th, 2024, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Adelaidean
Such a treat to finish your report on this 40C day and imagine myself back in Europe.
Thanks for sharing.
Adelaidean, studenttobe, Melnq8 - Thanks again for reading and for your kind words. Your support was meaningful for me.

I think we all spend the year dreaming about the next trip, lol.

Melnq8 - the last picture in Padova is a sunset.
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Old Mar 11th, 2024, 09:13 PM
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Love all of your photos of Florence and Siena. I haven’t been to Siena since 2010 - that Cathedral is magnificent!

It seems that there weren’t tons of tourists around. You were able to buys museums and train tickets on the spot. Although you had reservations for almost every dinner - is that right?

What a wonderful helpful report! Thank you for sharing!
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by lrice
Love all of your photos of Florence and Siena. I haven’t been to Siena since 2010 - that Cathedral is magnificent!

It seems that there weren’t tons of tourists around. You were able to buys museums and train tickets on the spot. Although you had reservations for almost every dinner - is that right?

What a wonderful helpful report! Thank you for sharing!
Lrice – Thanks for your kind comments. I’m glad you liked and it’s been helpful.

For Florence, we had arrived by fast train from Bologna which I had bought tickets and reserved seats 2 months in advance. We were there for only 2 nights, and had reserved dinner for only one restaurant. I had pre-booked and bought tickets online for the Uffizi Gallery with a month in advance. And for the Cathedral of Florence, I didn’t buy tickets. I entered for free waiting in line. Although the line was big it moved fast, and in less than 15 min we entered.

For Siena, we did a day trip by bus which we bought the tickets at the station just before boarding - Bus 131R (Rapido). We had just a lunch there and no reservation. For the Cathedral of Siena, we didn’t buy the tickets in advance. There was already a big line when we arrived to buy the tickets, and it took us some 30 min or more to get ours.

We bought the OPA Si Pass (€15 each). This ticket includes the church interior, crypt, baptistery, and cathedral museum (Museo dell’Opera) with a viewing platform.

We noticed that in the big crowd we saw in the morning there were a lot of day-trippers (bus-tours) to visit the Duomo, and then to have lunch. But later on in the afternoon there were less people.



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