Help! I won a trip to Italy!

Old Dec 24th, 2002, 01:34 PM
  #1  
rtodd
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Help! I won a trip to Italy!

It's a gastronomy tour to Parma and Bologna, where I've never been or thought to go, but hey! I'm not complaining! So, does anyone have any information about the region? What should we see, where should we go? (There is lots of flexibility so far in the tour as we'll be on our own). We are very adventurous travellers but will have our three year old with us.
Thanks!

 
Old Dec 24th, 2002, 01:39 PM
  #2  
xxxx
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Leave the toddler at home. This should be the trip of a lifetime and it is appropriate to be selfish.
 
Old Dec 24th, 2002, 01:40 PM
  #3  
mimosa
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Congratulations! I have nothing to offer as never been.
Merry Christmas.
 
Old Dec 24th, 2002, 02:21 PM
  #4  
Bonnie
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Congrat. Have a ball but don't eat too many Bologna sandwiches.(bad pun intended)

Merry Christmas
 
Old Dec 24th, 2002, 03:25 PM
  #5  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Congrats and buon natale !
However, as with any trip to Italy, you need to tell us when and how long?? You will be within 2 hours of some of the best of Italy--the Lakes, Tuscany, cinque terre etc.
 
Old Dec 24th, 2002, 05:14 PM
  #6  
Howard
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We were in Bologna this fall and loved it. Give us more details--how long, when are you going, etc.--and more suggestions will follow.
 
Old Dec 25th, 2002, 11:46 AM
  #7  
Yum Yum Yum
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Emilia-Romagna is generally an overlooked area with regards to tourism. Which is a pity, since many people consider E-R to be the gastronomic heart of Italy. There are tourbooks published specifically for E-R.

I don't know what your gastronomy tour will include, but if it doesn't include a trip to a caseficio di parmigiano (parmigiano-reggiano cheese factory), make an appointment with the consorzio di formaggio parmigiano-reggiano to go on a tour of it. The process is fascinating, and plus you'll get plenty of goodies, including wine at 10:00 AM.

As long as the places that you eat do not include the word "McDonald's," you shouldn't have a problem eating.

Emilia-Romagna is the home of prosciutto, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar, mortadella, fresh pasta, ....

If you are unsure of how you'll manage, I'll be more than happy to take your trip for you and tell you about it.
 
Old Dec 26th, 2002, 11:16 AM
  #8  
rtodd
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To my first replier, I assume you are the trustworthy and generous person willing to take on the little tyke for ten days? Alas, I don't know anyone to do it either!

Okay, so the trip is 10 days, but the dates are, for now, flexible. My preference is to go in May or June, before heat and crowds arrive. The only thing I know will be on the itinerary is a trip to the Verdi festival in Parma. From there, it will depend on when we go as the point is to visit food festivals in the area. But as I said, we are very adventurous and like to go to archaeological sites, long walks (yes, he's a lovely, easygoing, indulgent child) and good restaurants (babysitters will be arranged by tour planner!)

I'm glad to hear someone who thinks E-R is overlooked. Like the replier who said "it's near some of the best..." my first thought was "but how far will we be from Florence?" and second was, "could we also go to the mountains?" That's what's sooo great about winning a trip -- exploring a place I might never have gone on my own!
 
Old Dec 26th, 2002, 12:00 PM
  #9  
Mariarosa
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A free gastronomic tour with lots of flexible time? Wow! I am jealous!

We were unable to make it to Bologna but we visited Ferrara, which is a delightful town, not far from Bologna and accesible by direct train. You can bike on the restored medieval walls that still stand. The food was wonderful and the people were very friendly.

From Ferrara, it is a short train ride to Ravenna, which is famous for its spectacular 6th century mosaics in various churches and baptistries. Definitely look up Ferrara, Ravenna, Modena and Mantua in a guidebook.
 
Old Dec 26th, 2002, 12:01 PM
  #10  
Mariarosa
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P.S> - Ravenna is not part of E-R, but its very close by train
 
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 03:33 AM
  #11  
Alice Twain
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Mariarosa, I am very sorry to inform you that Ravenna is officially part of Emilia Romagna, while Mantova is not (it is in Lomardy, on the other side of the Po river. By the way, my grandparents are from Mantova).

In any case, forget about Florence!!! you will have plenty to see in Emilia Romagna, which is an area with lots of great things to see and do, and several "città d'arte" to visit. Beside Bologna and Parma, you might take daytrips to many destinations in the area. In addition to those mentioned by Mariarosa, one great daytrip is to rent a car and drive to the many castles in the countryside around Parma. At Felino, beside the castle, you sould taste some of one of the best salame in Italy (Salame di Felino). By car you should also consider driving to San Secondo and Zibello for a taste of coppa and cultello. Also, you might consider spending one day at the spa in Tabiano or Salsomaggiore. From Bologna, one great daytrip is going by train to Porretta Terme along one of the most fascinating railroads of Italy.
Why "Forget about Florence"? Because you would need at least three days in Florence and because ten days are five days less that you woudl need to properly see all that there is to see in Emilia Romagna.

http://www.regione.emilia-romagna.it/
http://www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/
http://www.adriacoast.com/en/index.htm
http://www.emiliaromagnaterme.it/
http://www.appenninoeverde.org/index_EX.html
http://www.cittadarte.org/ita/index.html
 
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 03:39 AM
  #12  
Alice Twain
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Oh, I forgot one thing, bring your child to the restaurants: all italian restaurants are equipped to receive children, some even offer specific menues, although most italian food is fit for the needs of a three-years old, in particular what you are going to find in Emilia Romagna is mostly soft tastes, no hot or sicy stuff, so that your child should enjoy it.
 
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 11:51 AM
  #13  
sandra
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Congrats! How fortunate to win a trip to Italy. You can do alot in 10 days, but is there any chance you could extend your stay to be there 14 days (of course you'd have to pay for extra costs for hotel, etc) --- it'd be worth it to maximize your trip. Plus an extra few days would give you the opportunity to get to Florence, or another area of Italy.
 
Old Dec 28th, 2002, 03:30 PM
  #14  
Mariarosa
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Alice, thanks for the correction. I did not have my guidebooks reachable, and my memory was very fuzzy!
 
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