Emilia Romana - Base City

Jan 5th, 2008, 09:55 AM
Original Poster
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Emilia Romana - Base City

My wife and I have added a half week to our plans for May - June 2008. The balance of the trip will be a rented apartment on Lake Como.

So the the interesting base towns for our half week are: Parma, Modena, Bologne, Ferrara, and maybe Padua. What would your recommendation for a base town be?
Anything overlooked?

We have been to Venice twice as well as Vicenza. Primary interest is architecture and historic centers - maybe one museum.

Big_Red is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Bologna makes an excellent base to visit your other destinations, since it is a hub where many train lines cross--easily accessible to all your other choices.
ellenem is online now  
Jan 5th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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I agree Bologna seems the logical central base. I highly recommend visiting Ravenna if you have never been there--the mosaics are amazing
Vttraveler is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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I love Bologna Big_Red, and I too would stay there for the remainder of the time. But in that you will have just a half a week is that 3 or 4 days total and are you counting the day you arrive and the day you depart? If so I always figure a half a day lost arriving and a half a day departing. So if you are figuring 4 days for Bologna (3 nights) I would research the other cities you listed to figure out which ones you would like to take a day trip to. And do leave time to get acquainted with Bologna of course. I would opt for Padova (the Italian name for the English version of Padua) for one day. I would probably skip Ferrara unless you had time, and the train schedule worked for you to stop there say for a look around on your way to Padova. You would be traveling northeast. You could go also take a day to go west by northwest from Bologna to visit Modena and Parma for the day.

But IF you have a total of three nights in Bologna I would probably chose one way or the other. Or a good daytrip to Ravenna which is lovely to visit if you love mosaics. Have fun planning your time in Italy!
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 02:36 PM
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Another vote for Bologna. I was there Nov 06 - great base to do days trips to Modena, Parma, Ravenna . And the food...wonderful.

Here are a couple recommendations:



Carta_Pisana is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 08:54 PM
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May I make a rank ?
I make it considering the period and your interests.
1) Ferrara
2) Bologna
3) Padova
4) Modena
5) Parma


vincenzod is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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I would also recommend a daytrip into Mantova(Mantua) if your interest is architecture. The old city has many architectural treasures including 6 palaces and a slew of churches & squares. We are also not big on museums but the sprawling ducal palace was fun to explore on our own.

We have only used Parma and Modena as bases in two separate trips. In Parma, we loved our new hotel on the top floor of a palace right next to the Duomo. Itís a comfortable base town with plenty of good restaurants and shops. Our rooms were large guest suites with a nice rain shower, marble bathroom and a long mini kitchen for $170 euro in 2006. The youngest son of the noble family who owns the palace was our host who booked us to the good restaurants. The 3 main architectural areas in Parma that I can remember were around the Ducal Palace, Piazza Garibaldi and the Duomo itself.

Years ago, my wife was so turned off by the heavy traffic noise and pollution inside Bologna city center that we cancelled our hotel stay there. We probably should have stuck it out but in any case we ended up staying in Modena. It was a different experience as we barely saw any tourist in Modena so it gave us the feeling of a real town with plenty of nice architecture. There wasnít as much traffic inside the city center which made it more comfortable to walk around. Every morning we had cappuccino with the locals at different cafes. It was fun because I just completed a year of learning Italian. Every night we ate at the top restaurants in town which were rather reasonably priced. Modena is a thriving city on a strategic major freeway intersection, so traffic on the freeway can be bad during rush hour as it was when we approached Bologna.
DAX is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 05:50 AM
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And this is where DAX stayed in Parma:

Zerlina is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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Thanks everyone.

My wife and I discussed it last night, and we agree that this would be good. I appreciate everyone's experiences.
Big_Red is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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We loved Reggio Emilia and stayed at La Posta. http://www.hotelposta.re.it
jnjfraz is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 11:15 AM
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For just half a week, any of these cities could work and it depends on whether you prefer a bigger-city feel (Bologna) or a smaller-city feel (any of the others). Personally, I agree with DAX in that I find Bologna congested, trafficky and not that great - although it is popular on this board and I think it would make the most convenient base if you were talking about staying a week or more. For just 3 or 4 days, though, I don't think you will get bored in a smaller city. And from the other places you've been to, you seem to prefer smaller cities.
metinmadrid is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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You might want to check out Luxury Link; I got an unbelievably great deal at auction on a 3-night stay at Hotel Posta in Reggio Emilia. The hotel gets stellar TripAdvisor reviews and seems like a good base for exploring the region.
snoopy12 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2008, 01:47 PM
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We based in Bologna for 8 days last fall and it was wonderful. However, when we went to Parma, I thought it was more my style. It has more of a smaller, quaint feel and I like the layout of the town much better than Bologna. If you have a car, Bologna is a nightmare to get in and out of, IMHO. I didn't mind the walk to the parking garage, but it's not an easy city to get on and off the autostrada. I swear we went in and out every day and it seemed we never came back in the same way twice! Bologna is unlike any other, it's an amazing town. Parma seemed more elegant and refined. Depends on what you're up for. One thing is for sure, no matter what town you choose, you will eat like a king in Emilia Romagna, it's the best food in the country. I ate green lasagne until I was sick! If your looking for an apartment, we stayed in a wonderful place in an awesome location. Feel free to email me if you are interested!
GiuliaPiraino is offline  
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