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home base? to visit Verona, Lake Garda,Parma, Padova, Modena and Bologna

home base? to visit Verona, Lake Garda,Parma, Padova, Modena and Bologna

Old Feb 4th, 2024, 11:57 AM
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home base? to visit Verona, Lake Garda,Parma, Padova, Modena and Bologna

yes, it seems like a lot, and it is. but being from Texas, it is all a lot closer than anything we have around here, and plans can change, but as a part of a month long driving trip (done the big cities, want to explore the smaller towns), I am considering 6 nights or so in an area that could provide a good base in this area. We will have a car, and enjoy car trips! Padova could be 'too far', but the others are interesting to me, and I am sure you would have some preferences, and I would love to hear them.

This is the week after a week in the Piedmont area, to be followed by 2 weeks in Tuscany and Umbria.

Many many thanks. And lodging recommendations and restaurants, as well as any extras are greatly appreciated. xoxo
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 03:02 PM
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Have you driven in Italy before this trip?

There is no one geographic point that would be central to all of these places by either car or train. You could split the nights... such as Bologna for Bologna and day trips by train to Modena, Parma, and then Verona for Verona and a day driving around Lake Garda. You could train to Padova from either Bologna or Verona.

You can't drive into the historical centers of the cities, so whatever you think the drive times are (say, estimates from Google Maps?) you need to add time to account for traffic (esp. around Bologna), finding parking outside the ZTLs and walking or busing into the centers. IOW, it's not about the literal distance between points; it's about the time it takes to drive. Do you want to spend 2.5 to 3 hours each day just driving to and from? Of course, you could just keep moving and do a string of one-night stays in each place. Definitely not my idea of fun, but it's your trip.

FWIW, you say you want to explore "smaller towns," but, other than towns on the lake, your list isn't what I would characterize as "small" towns.
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 07:36 PM
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Why do you need a car for most of that? Six days isn't enough for all that unless the goal is to just breeze by things.
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 08:30 PM
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As already mentioned, the places you listed are not that close together. Have your group make a list of why you all want to visit each city, and what things draw you to that city. Is it historical sites? Beautiful churches or palaces? Art? Food? Depending on your interests, you may find other cities that are more centrally located to your home base for this part of the trip.

Lago di Garda is an outlier, but you could make a one-night stay there on your way from the Piemonte to your next home base. Padova and Verona are not close to the other locations, but you could visit them in one day, from Lago di Garda, then finish the day at your home base. If you drop those two locations, figure out, based on a map, which cities might be good options for your group. Bologna, as the biggest, has that as a draw, but depending on where in the city you stay, getting in and out for day trips could be a hassle.

I hate to add to your list, especially without knowing what your interests are, but when we visited Emilia-Romagna several years ago, Mantova was near the top of my list; the art and palace there were amazin (to me), and in addition, I found it a lovely little city for sitting at a cafe and people-watching. Another appealing small city if Ferrara, which is easily reached from Bologna.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 12:20 AM
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I struggle with the idea of using a car in Italy, well actually anywhere but in Italy, where you are not native born Italian, don't understand the system etc and the dangers of ZTLs? Crazy. With ZTL's and such great public transport plus the effects on Climate Change. https://www.autoeurope.co.uk/travel-...to-avoid-them/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change

The two obvious bases on the train system are Padua or Verona, both would be good bases to access all the ancient beautiful cities around you quickly and easily.

seat61.com explains how a train works
trenitalia is the major train company in the area
trainline covers everyone
rome2rio gives yo ua rough planning over view but don't trust the data
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 12:50 AM
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All the places you mention are of easy reach from Verona (y public transport as welll).
You mention mainly big cities. Are you not interested in the smaller one's like Mantova, Cremona, Crema, Bergamo?
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 12:51 AM
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If this is a holiday of road trips I would highly suggest looking at a website like Via Michelin for scenic routes to help you in putting this together. If you just choose minimal travel times between destinations you will end up on the autostrada and not see everything you were hoping for. But bear in mind that back roads are slow roads, so you might have to attempt less based on that desire.

Lavandula

I just read back through this thread and saw the (repeated) advice not to drive. Given the ZTLs I would take this into serious consideration. It is getting harder in many countries to drive because of the low emissions zones everywhere and trains are excellent in Europe.

Last edited by lavandula; Feb 5th, 2024 at 12:58 AM.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 05:42 AM
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thanks all. yes, I have driven in Italy before. Probably need to clarify a bit. we are there for a month, trying to "home base" in an area and explore. Alba is our home base in Piedmont for a week, then I have a week open before a week in Tuscany based around Siena. then a week in Umbria. I would like to explore the region mentioned, and realize it is broad. probably basing around Lake Garda, and perhaps a day trip to Bologna (either by car parking outside the city, or training in). Never been to these cities, and don't plan to necessarily see them all, but having a car around Lake Garda seems necessary.

We have probaby spent 10+ weeks in Italy over 4 or 5 trips, but never explored some of these areas. I appreciate your input.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 06:16 AM
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https://www.visitgarda.com/en/bus-timetables/
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 06:59 AM
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teatro olimpico photos
an amazing, perfectly proportioned structure.

I love Vicenza, a quick 25 minute train ride from Verona. I spent a week there, making day trips to Padua, Venice, Verona, etc. IMHO, it is very overlooked by tourists. The theater, alone, is worth the trip. Check out the photos. If you go, just be very sure to check the hours of when things are open. Visiting times and days are very limited at all the sights. There is a wonderful local street market with all kinds of local produce, olives, cheese, etc. I forget which day. You could check if interested. Of course there is also the lovely architecture of Palladio.

Padua is also really lovely with wide pedestrian walking areas and some fantastic food and architecture. Honestly, unless Art/art history or religion is important to you, I would skip the chapel. Yes, I know the importance of it, and some people are moved to tears, but it is kind of a hassle and I preferred walking around more, just my own opinion. I was much more excited by the Teatro in Vicenza, another just my opinion though.

We did not drive anywhere. Taking a train was so easy.

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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 07:26 AM
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the danger of taking a car around is you end up having a holiday behind a sheet of glass. You can do that by watching TV. Getting to meet people, breath the air, smell the cornetti, just so much better out of a car.
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