Lucca or Bologna

Old Dec 26th, 2010, 07:53 PM
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Lucca or Bologna

I usually just stay in Santa Margherita but I would like an additional 3 nights in another place. I am thinking of Lucca or Bologna. Traveling by train from Malpensa. I have been several times to Florence-last visit was April 2010, so not there. I prefer smaller towns. I do not like food so I am not concerned with that, but I do love gelato! I have visited Lucca as a day trip about 5 years ago, but I do not remember much about it. Any other suggestions? I will just be seeing the sights, shopping, antique markets. I will be traveling solo if that makes a difference.
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 03:41 AM
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Hi Scat,

Lucca is a nice, quiet place to just chill out in.

Verona or Venice not on the list?

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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 05:15 AM
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First of all, if you like gelato, I hope you already know about Frigidarium in Rapallo (opposite the small castle on the sea).

Bologna is a fantastic destination, which has the added advantage of being walkable and enjoyable in rain or even hot weather, because 30 miles of its historic center has covered sidewalks, some of them beautifully frescoed.

http://cache.virtualtourist.com/4275...ur-Bologna.jpg

http://www.turistipercasa.it/IMG/jpg...onetti_jpg.jpg

http://www.gourmandbreaks.com/blog/w...alafrugell.jpg

Plus, being Europe's oldest university city, it has a wealth of fascinating interiors that are simply gems -- like the historic anatomical dissection lecture room

http://www.bolognatourguide.com/foto...-anatomico.jpg

Or the small but incredible medieval museum filled with fascinating tombs of professors and students

http://www.dur.ac.uk/images/cmrs/Bologna%20Students.jpg

And other dramatic and one of a kind works of great Italian art, some in its fabulous museum of painting, some in small churches

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2537/...6f6b74fbb2.jpg

http://robertarood.files.wordpress.c...2/lamenta4.jpg

http://www.rositour.it/Arte/Perugino...0e%20santi.jpg

http://www.terminartors.com/artworkp...ith_the_Dragon

Bologna has incredible high-end shopping and antique shops, and beautiful historic piazze.

Lucca has lovely Renaissance details in its architecture, stacked on top of its still visible Roman roots, and many enjoyable piazze -- plus the pleasure of strolling its tree-lined walls with a view to the Apuan alps. Since its historic walled center is almost entirely car-free, many people enjoy it as a kind of waterless Venice, a place to just wander around, and mainly shop. It has little in the way of compelling interiors or museums. It is also a much smaller place than Bologna, and much more touristic. Bologna is a thriving Italian city, with 90,000 university students in addition to its own population, so the joint is jumping. There are several gelaterie in Bologna of some note.

In Bologna, three days will scratch the surface of the city's complex attractions. In Lucca, 3 days might begin to feel a bit long, but there are trains to nearby towns of charm.

If you choose Bologna, this is an absolutely marvelous place to stay, very central to everything and on the via Santo Stefano, in one of Bologna's prettiest areas. I would ask for the Guido room.

http://www.anticacasazucchini.it/stanza_guido.html
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 08:27 AM
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Ira,

I have never actually stayed in Verona. I have visited there on a day trip a few years back. I thought it might be a little cold for me being up north. I would like to spend some time there. I have been to Venice about 10-12 times, maybe more. I take all "new" traveler friends there. And I did think about staying there too. I love it! Too cold there early April? I arrive in Milan on March 31. I live in Texas and I do not like cold weather.

zeppole

Thanks so much for all the info. Bologna was my first thought. I have never spent time there. The covered sidewalks will probably be needed in early April. Then I read about Lucca and thought it sounds nice too.

Antica Casa Zucchinni looks fabulous! Almost enough to book now without another thought.
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 10:57 AM
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Antica Casa Zucchini is wonderful. And wonderfully quiet with those incredible thick walls. It is quite the family palazzo, with a great history.

By the way, if you like antiques shopping, the large weekend antiques market in Chiavari, just a few train stops, might be something you'd really enjoy. The town also has many antiques shops. When you get off the train, just turn your back to the sea and keep walking. You'll come to the area of town with antiques (and other stores). It's also a great place to stroll and shop for anything if you get a rainy day. It, too, has porticos.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_bBheHAjRq8...f_chiavari.jpg
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 11:05 AM
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Thanks zeppole. Chiavari is only 12 minutes from SML. I will make a visit. Looks nice. Wish I could make up my mind about Bologna or Lucca or even Verona. I will be staying 3 nights in SML after the first stay then from SML, I'm thinking of going to Bellagio for 2 nights. I need more scarves! Then on to Nice for 5 nights.
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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I vote for Bologna. More to do when you're on your own. On the other hand, Lucca is smaller as is Verona.

So your trip is Milan Malpensa to Bologna/Lucca/Verona, then to SML to Bellagio to Nice? Kinda doesn't make geographic sense. Maybe Bellagio first to get over jet lag, followed by B/L/V, then SML and Nice.
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Santa Margherita is a nice enough place but very commercial. Take a look at Camogli.... it is spectacular and far fewer tourists.
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Old Dec 27th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Mimar

I had intentions of going to Bellagio first, but I thought it might be a little warmer a week later. Wishful thinking actually. I emailed Hotel Florence in Bellagio and they are closed til April 14. Last time I was there I stayed at Hotel Centrale. Very nice, friendly owners, wonderful breakfast. Downside: lots of steps to climb with luggage. I'm getting lazy in my old age. But I will email them next. And I am leaning towards Bologna. Ira's remark about Lucca being a nice place to chill is making me think. I do not chill. I'm very hyper and want to be doing something all the time.

jnjfraz

I love Camogli too. I go there every time I visit SML. I just always return to SML...don't know why. A little more to see in SML and I go to Portofino each time. Just because it is pretty. I usually take a day trip to Cinque Terre. And this trip I am going to Chiavari as suggested by zeppole.
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Old Dec 29th, 2010, 05:34 PM
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zeppole

Is the Antica Casa Zucchini near the Piazza Maggiore? It looks really nice and the price is great!
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 04:10 AM
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Yes, it is about a 10 minute walk from piazza Maggiore. It's a stone's throw from the piazza Santo Stefano, which is beautifully atmospheric. You are also very close to piazze Cavour and Galvani -- two of the major high end shopping spot. But there is also plenty of bargain shopping around, within walking distance.

If you plug the street address into a google search string, followed by the words "bologna Italy", Google will give you a map so you can see how close it is to piazza Maggiore.

The area is one of the very nicest and most atmospheric in Bologna, and Casa Antica Zucchini is blissful. The present generation that owns it didn't realize that there were original frescoes hidden behind lowered ceilings until they began to renovate to create the guest rooms. They are stunning. The owners speak perfect English (one of them runs a local book club that reads books in English) and they also teach cooking classes in town, so the breakfast is nice.

If the weather is clear while you are in Santa Margherita Ligure, you might enjoy the cable car up to Monteallegro in Rapallo, and if it is sunny and warm, a stroll along the seaside path in Zoagli if you haven't already done these things before.
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 04:16 AM
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PS: You will find it difficult to get from Italy to Nice. Your best bets might be to fly from Milan or Bologna (if you can). The train ride is long and dreary.
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 04:34 AM
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Stayed at the Red Lodge at the Metropole last April

www.metropole.it sea view GREAT place not commercial at all

Portofino nearby easy acess by boat or train to the CT

Paid 120 euro per nt including an awesome breakfast.

Bologna have been a bunch to find it euroindustrial and dodgy

especially around the train station and hard to navigate

although outlying areas can be nice.

Also very FAR away from SML where you will be.

Much prefer www.lucca.info great ambience no cars centrally

hike bike city walls great views food go for that lots closer

for 3 euros or so train through the www.cinqueterre.com

to La Spezia then a short train to Lucca.

Happy Journey,
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 04:38 AM
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Last April also did the train ride to from Nice it was great.

took about 4 hours or so easy beautiful cheaper less hassle

than flights.

SanRemo makes a nice stop super casino hotels

and a very nice area to break up your journey if time.

Happy Journey,
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 07:19 AM
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>>>qwovadis on Dec 30, 10 at 7:38am
Last April also did the train ride to from Nice it was great.
took about 4 hours or so easy beautiful cheaper less hassle
than flights.
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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Thanks zeppole. If I decide on Bologna, I will try to get a room at the Antica Casa Zucchini. I am hoping they have wifi. I will email them soon. I've kinda decided on Bologna, but Lucca and Verona are nice options.

Thanks everyone for your info and suggestions. I will appreciate more input from anyone.
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Old Sep 9th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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zeppole, I booked the Antica Casa Zucchini and then found your recommendation here. The Guido room was the only one available, and from the website, it was the one I would have picked anyway! Why do you say to choose it? On TripAdvisor, someone else says to avoid it. The B&B that is currently #1 on TA is also available, but my preference is for Zucchini.

If you don't check this thread out again, I might give you a shout-out in a separate post. thanks.
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Old Sep 9th, 2011, 11:37 AM
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Bookmarking for Zucchini. Thanks for info.
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Old Sep 9th, 2011, 05:58 PM
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I recommened it because in addition to having wonderful stays there, the house is a historic Bolognesi house, and one of the unusual things about Bologna is that there is a great deal of beauty behind closed doors in Bologna. It is an atmospheric town, but some of its most enjoyable experinces require knowing which doors to open. Staying at Antica Casa Zucchini is a great way to get behind the scenes in Bologna.

I took a friend there for my first stay because the price of two rooms compared favorably with Bologna's expensive hotels. (There is also one room at Zucchini that two people not in a couple could share comfortably.) I liked it so much, I brought my husband to stay there on a subsequent visit.

I read the Tripadvisor review and the only negative I saw was from an Italian visitor who felt Italians were paid less attention to than foreigners. Another complaint was that coffee was served in plastic cups, but that was not my experience on two separate occasions. Still another was that not all the furniture was antique. Nine other reviews gave it five stars. One other, 4. Up to you. Residenza d"Azeglio is in a very good location. I've never stayed there.
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Old Sep 9th, 2011, 07:50 PM
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I was just talking about the Guido room itself -- you recommended to pick that room, but someone on TA said to avoid it. I think it was because the shower was way too small.

I am staying there and it looks lovely. Just was surprised when one person said to avoid the Guido room and you said to pick it! I'll go with your recommendation anyway!
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