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month stay in February 2024 - Bologna or Padua, Italy

month stay in February 2024 - Bologna or Padua, Italy

Old Mar 18th, 2023, 12:38 PM
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month stay in February 2024 - Bologna or Padua, Italy

Now that I am retired, I am heading out of freezing Ottawa, Canada winters for 2-3 months. As part of a longer trip: starting with Bernina Express from Chur to Italy, Milan, Bergamo, Ravenna, Rimini and perhaps San Marino would be another small clustered segment of the trip; finally and ending with a week in Venice, I am looking for a 2 week and 4 week location for day trips (or overnights) in Veneto and Emilia Romanga regions before Venice. Bologna has excellent train connections but Padua seems to have more appeal. I seem to get a bit more bang for my buck on the apartment department in Padua, but a small part of me worries that I will run out of things to do in the city itself.
While I like and search out local specialties, I am not a big foodie, so if I think about Modena and Parma it may not be for the food. Definite day trips would be Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara...other options that pique my interest. I have an interest in ancient Roman ruins and vintage textiles. Though 'green' in February may be relative, I need reasonable access to green space whether gardens or nature walks. An ideal scenerio on a day with no trips is to head out the door mid/late morning after the first chill is off, walk a few blocks for some local architecture or museum/church visit, a local lunch, some more wandering and picking up dinner items from a local market. I am not big into night life or nursing a drink over a meal, but if there is something special going on I'm happy to head out.
So with this in mind, does one location scream '4 weeks' over tje other, or is it a tossmof a coin?
Thanks for any insight or recommendations.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 01:57 PM
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What a great dilemma to have! I love both of them but if I had to pick one for a month long visit it would definably be Bologna. So much to do [over 100 museums and galleries to start with] plus loads of possibilities for day trips and possibly overnights.

But I'm a tad confused -you talk about looking for [both?] a 2 and a 4 week location but I can't see which the options for the 2 week one are. I know that you have a week at the end of your trip on Vencie but if you ahve an extra 2 weeks, my choice would always be Venice - spending a longer period of time there is such a different experience to a day or even a week, and there are lots of places to visit like Padua, Vicenza, the islands of the lagoon, exploring the Giudecca, visiting Palladio's churches [which fits in very nicely with Vicenza] - so many options. And it fits ideally into your preferred way of travel - every casual stroll brings a new discovery.

Hope I haven't misunderstood your plans and that I've been of some help.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 02:13 PM
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For green space, the Orto Botanica in Padova is great, a UNESCO classified garden with a stunning 2020 greenhouse.

A week in Venice is like watching only the trailer to the best movie you could ever imagine. As Ann suggests, and she does know Venice somewhat well, give yourself more time there.

Our first visit to Venice was for six nights, and we found ourselves on the train to Verona feeling unsatisfied. After another ten visits, we keep on returning to Venice, and we will be back there for a month this October.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 02:13 PM
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Bologna also has a busy airport witih some international connections. Its picturesque siege towers and more than 40 kilometres of sidewalks under archways add to the appeal.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by annhig
What a great dilemma to have! I love both of them but if I had to pick one for a month long visit it would definably be Bologna. So much to do [over 100 museums and galleries to start with] plus loads of possibilities for day trips and possibly overnights.

But I'm a tad confused -you talk about looking for [both?] a 2 and a 4 week location but I can't see which the options for the 2 week one are. I know that you have a week at the end of your trip on Vencie but if you ahve an extra 2 weeks, my choice would always be Venice - spending a longer period of time there is such a different experience to a day or even a week, and there are lots of places to visit like Padua, Vicenza, the islands of the lagoon, exploring the Giudecca, visiting Palladio's churches [which fits in very nicely with Vicenza] - so many options. And it fits ideally into your preferred way of travel - every casual stroll brings a new discovery.

Hope I haven't misunderstood your plans and that I've been of some help.
Annhig, sorry about the confusion. I may not have made myself clear. I was looking at either 2 weeks in Padua and 4 weeks in Bologna, or 4 weeks in Padua and 2 weeks in Bologna...before Venice.
I am trying to book an overnight in Venice for opening weekend of Carnival but so far the 2 bookings have cancelled the request...I guess I am too early for them to know their plans (or prices), but their booking sites were available.
I was in Venice 20 years ago and I wasn 't enamoured with it. I expect a lot of that was due to travel fatigue and needing to find places like laundromats and internet cafes. It rained the whole time and at my height, was constantly dodging umbrella spokes threatening to poke out my eyes. I am trying to give it a second chance though I know weather may not be an improvement. I figured I would hedge my bets and give it a week and approach it differently this trip. If I don't like it, then 2 weeks is too long, but if I fall in love with it, then it can work its way into future Europe trips. And as I am willing to give Padua 2 weeks, then I can hit those suggested day trips (I am hoping to time it for opening weekend for the Brenta Canal barge trip from Padua to Venice - I love water travel). There are some museums that were closed on my first trip (Accademia and Fortuny), but I think to wander the districts and see what each offers; as well as get out to the islands. Maybe I can stretch to 10 days for flexibility to the islands. I am a bird watcher and it looks like Torcello could be a day in itself as it is bird migration time late March. I just want to be away before Easter.
Hope that makes more sense.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter_S_Aus
For green space, the Orto Botanica in Padova is great, a UNESCO classified garden with a stunning 2020 greenhouse.

A week in Venice is like watching only the trailer to the best movie you could ever imagine. As Ann suggests, and she does know Venice somewhat well, give yourself more time there.

Our first visit to Venice was for six nights, and we found ourselves on the train to Verona feeling unsatisfied. After another ten visits, we keep on returning to Venice, and we will be back there for a month this October.
Bologna was my first plan, and it sounds like it is still the right one. If you see my reply to Anne, I can then do 2 weeks in Padua for the day trips in the Veneto. I could maybe stretch Venice to 10 days.
Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Southam
Bologna also has a busy airport witih some international connections. Its picturesque siege towers and more than 40 kilometres of sidewalks under archways add to the appeal.
NO question that Bologna seems to be a great transport hub. Staying dry and off the slippery icy walks make those porticos practical. 40 kilimetres? That's a lot of safe walking Thanks.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 02:55 PM
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I did a month in Bologna last November and loved it. Lots to do and great day trips from there. My favorite place was Piazza Santo Stefano. It was a wonderful to sit and relax. No cars, quieter than a block away. https://www.bolognawelcome.com/en/pl...anto-stefano-2. I stayed about a 5 minute walk from the square and would stay on this area again. Have a great time🙂
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 03:24 PM
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Bologna for four weeks, no contest, absolutely wonderful to stay there. . Padua for two weeks would be nice.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Paqngo
I did a month in Bologna last November and loved it. Lots to do and great day trips from there. My favorite place was Piazza Santo Stefano. It was a wonderful to sit and relax. No cars, quieter than a block away. https://www.bolognawelcome.com/en/pl...anto-stefano-2. I stayed about a 5 minute walk from the square and would stay on this area again. Have a great time🙂
Thanks for the area of recommendation - and for the website.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for the endorsement Happy Trvlr.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 04:23 PM
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For birdwatching in the Venetian lagoon, Torcello is great. Walk past the church, turn right, follow the wall of the church. Cross a couple of little canals, and you will find yourself on a path with lagoon to both sides, waterbirds everywhere.
Also in the lagoon, Certosa is a favourite of ours. There is a boatyard and small hotel and bar. The isand used to be a military facility and has been cleaned up. Walk past the boat yard and the marina, and you are in a bit of a wilderness, and a great escape from the Venice crowds. Go on a week day; weekends do see Venetian families and their kids.
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter_S_Aus
For birdwatching in the Venetian lagoon, Torcello is great. Walk past the church, turn right, follow the wall of the church. Cross a couple of little canals, and you will find yourself on a path with lagoon to both sides, waterbirds everywhere.
Also in the lagoon, Certosa is a favourite of ours. There is a boatyard and small hotel and bar. The isand used to be a military facility and has been cleaned up. Walk past the boat yard and the marina, and you are in a bit of a wilderness, and a great escape from the Venice crowds. Go on a week day; weekends do see Venetian families and their kids.
Hello fellow birder. Thanks for those tips. 10 days in Venice is looking better all the time. Much appreciated.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 06:39 AM
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Your itinerary has you mostly in cities, but I want to correct a misimpression. In rural Italy, the fields of winter wheat are bright green in February.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/D6ysp3DGpDQ87v198
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 07:04 AM
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Agree with the majority -- Bologna for the month Be careful where you stay and stay away from the student areas which get really noisy at night, most nights! We had an apt in the student area this fall. OMG! It was crazy most nights and jamming on the weekend nights. We literally had to pick our way thru the students to get to the front door of the apt. Kids were fine, just noisy late into the night & early am.
Parma is a wonderful city whether you are a foodie or not. Really great to wander with a few interesting sites.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci
Your itinerary has you mostly in cities, but I want to correct a misimpression. In rural Italy, the fields of winter wheat are bright green in February.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/D6ysp3DGpDQ87v198
Thanks for sharing that beautiful view. Yes, in this case, I am in the cities. I love the art. Also, I won't have a car, so a little harder to get into the countryside. But this is why I love train and bus rides - the views are stunning and I don't have to do the driving. Once I am settled in Bologna, I may be able to figure out how to get a little out of the city and into some countryside. I am not much of a hiker/distance walker, so parks or river paths work too.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel
Agree with the majority -- Bologna for the month Be careful where you stay and stay away from the student areas which get really noisy at night, most nights! We had an apt in the student area this fall. OMG! It was crazy most nights and jamming on the weekend nights. We literally had to pick our way thru the students to get to the front door of the apt. Kids were fine, just noisy late into the night & early am.
Parma is a wonderful city whether you are a foodie or not. Really great to wander with a few interesting sites.
Thanks for the warning. Yes, I will stay away from the student areas. I look for that sort of thing in the reviews. Now that it looks like I have most time in Bologna, I'll head out to Parma and Modena even if I don't focus on food. Though I do like ham and cheese...and I might need to get to the Ferrari museum because I am just a little fascinated by it all.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 12:41 PM
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<<Once I am settled in Bologna, I may be able to figure out how to get a little out of the city and into some countryside. I am not much of a hiker/distance walker, so parks or river paths work too.>>

One well known excursion in Bologna is to take the little tourist train from the main square in front of the TI [Piazza Maggiore] up to the Basilica di San Luca which is a few miles out of the city with wonderful views over the city and the countryside, so long as you pick a clear day of course. If you feel in need of exercise it's possible to walk through a succession of portici all the way back into the city or just get the bus back.

As for Padua, as Pete says the Orto Botanico is a must but there are many other things to see too, including the university, the Basilica di San Antonio, the Prato della Valle, and of course the Scrovegni Chapel for which you will need to book. Personally I think that a week there would be sufficient, which would give you time for a day trip or even overnight to Vicenza and from there you could get the train straight to Venice and finish your trip there.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by annhig
<<Once I am settled in Bologna, I may be able to figure out how to get a little out of the city and into some countryside. I am not much of a hiker/distance walker, so parks or river paths work too.>>

One well known excursion in Bologna is to take the little tourist train from the main square in front of the TI [Piazza Maggiore] up to the Basilica di San Luca which is a few miles out of the city with wonderful views over the city and the countryside, so long as you pick a clear day of course. If you feel in need of exercise it's possible to walk through a succession of portici all the way back into the city or just get the bus back.

As for Padua, as Pete says the Orto Botanico is a must but there are many other things to see too, including the university, the Basilica di San Antonio, the Prato della Valle, and of course the Scrovegni Chapel for which you will need to book. Personally I think that a week there would be sufficient, which would give you time for a day trip or even overnight to Vicenza and from there you could get the train straight to Venice and finish your trip there.
I have mentally shortlisted the Basilica di San Luca. I will surely take the tram or bus, or whatever they have to get up to it.
I expect a number of day trips from Padua including Palladian Villas (if open). Some have beautiful gardens to wander. But I appreciate your suggestion of time allotment. I am still at the 'shifting cities on the calendar' stage, but soon I'll start to make bookings.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 01:49 AM
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Both Padua and Bologna are great options for a longer stay in the Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions. Here are some factors to consider:
  1. Location: Padua is closer to Venice, which could be a plus if you plan on spending a lot of time in the city. Bologna is further away, but it has excellent train connections to other parts of Italy, which could be advantageous if you plan on doing a lot of day trips.
  2. Size: Padua is a smaller city than Bologna, so you may run out of things to do in the city itself after a while. However, Padua has a charming historic center with plenty of architecture, museums, and churches to explore. Bologna is larger and has more to offer in terms of nightlife and entertainment, but it can also be more crowded and touristy.
  3. Access to green space: Both cities have parks and gardens to explore, but Padua has the added bonus of being close to the Euganean Hills, which offer plenty of opportunities for nature walks and outdoor activities.
  4. Ancient Roman ruins and vintage textiles: Both Padua and Bologna have their share of ancient Roman ruins and historic sites to explore. Padua is home to the famous Scrovegni Chapel with its stunning frescoes, as well as the ancient Roman theater and archaeological museum. Bologna has the Romanesque Basilica di San Petronio and the Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts from the Roman era. In terms of vintage textiles, Bologna is home to some of Italy's finest textile and fashion museums, while Padua has a rich history of textile production and a museum dedicated to the art of weaving.
  5. Local specialties: Both Padua and Bologna are renowned for their local cuisine and food markets, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to indulge in local specialties. However, if you're not a big foodie, this may not be a deciding factor for you.
Overall, both Padua and Bologna would make great bases for a longer stay in the Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions. If you're looking for a smaller, more relaxed city with easy access to green space and ancient Roman ruins, Padua may be the better choice. If you prefer a larger city with more nightlife and entertainment options, and excellent train connections to other parts of Italy, Bologna may be the way to go. Ultimately, it may come down to personal preference and what you're looking for in a long-term stay.
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