My first trip to Italy

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Jul 4th, 2006, 05:13 PM
  #1
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My first trip to Italy

I made my first trip to Italy from June 18th to July 3rd of this year. When I go back (and I will go back)I will go earlier in the year like April/May or September when it isn't so hot. I was in Rome, Cortina, Bologna. These are my impressions rather than an extensive, blow-by-blow report.

Rome was hot and crowded. The sights were magnificent but the crowds were not. Going to the Vatican Museum, I felt like I was in a herd of cattle being moved as quicky as possible from one location to another. Seeing Rome from the top of the Dome at St. Peter's was something to behold. My next stop was Cortina in the Dolomites. Looks more like you are in the Swiss or Austrians Alps than in Italy but the scenary was unbelieveable. A must see as it is different from the rest of Italy. Next stop - Bologna. Made a day trip to Florence from Bologna - Florence a lot cleaner than Rome and easier to manage from a site seeing perpective. All major sites were jammed and difficult to get into without a major wait. Drove to Ravenna - glorious little city and then drove to San Marino - a republic inside Italy. Great views of the surrounding country side as it sits high on a hill. Draw-back too many stores lining the narrow streets all selling the same stuff. Made this historic republic seem more like a flea market than a republic.

Stayed in Bologna area for 5 days and used this as jumping off site for our trip to Florence (by train) and trip to Ravenna. Saw the making of cheese in Parma and Balsamic vinegar in a small town south of Modena. 50 year old Balsamic Vinegar - a very small bottle for 125EUs. - but the taste was something unexpected - sweet and not tart.

Our next to last day as a train trip to Venice. We were there on a Sunday - city was not filled with tourists and easy to manage. Our regret was not taking more time to spend in this city.

Of all the countries in Europe I have had the good fortune to visit - Italy is one I would go back to and Venice is the city I would revisit.
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Jul 4th, 2006, 05:41 PM
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Interesting impressions. I'm curious as to why you based out of Bologna--a city many people never bother with at all--but spent only one day in Venice.

Yes, Venice is worth several days of exploring.

Cimbrone
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Jul 5th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Thanks for sharing, d

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Jul 5th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Glad you enjoyed it. You planned a very interestingly varied itinerary.
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Jul 5th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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FYI, we visited the Vatican in February and were extremely disappointed at the mass (herd) of humanity - and this was off-season. It was difficult to appreciate even the Sistine Chapel as a result.

However, all other sites more than made up for that experience. No crowds anywhere! I'll always go off-season (or shoulder-season) in the future as I am spoiled now. The cooler weather was not a problem at all - in fact, preferable for me!
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Jul 5th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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We were in Rome, Florence and Venice May 27-June 9th and FROZE! We had lots of days with highs in the mid to low 60s. That would have been ideal, had we not packed for the type of heat that you experienced.
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Jul 5th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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dhoffman: We will be staying in Bologna for 5 days from July 20-25. Chose it as our "base" because Aer Lingus flys there and I would rather take day trips than cart luggage everyday.

If you have specifics about Bologna I would appreciate hearing about them.

Is it easy find the place in Modena tha gives the tours of the Vingear?

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Jul 5th, 2006, 08:04 PM
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Barbmc: If motorcycles are of interest to you, the Ducati factory is in Bologna and available to tour.
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Jul 7th, 2006, 04:49 AM
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There are many interesting sites in Bologna as it is one of Italy's oldest cities. The Sancturary of San Luca is something that should be one your list as well as the churches of St. Stephen. Of course everyone talks about the Statue of Neptune. In the plaza that holds this statue you will find the tourist information office. I assume you will not have a car but Florence is a 1 hour train trip away and Venice is a 2.0hour (or 1.5 hours depending on what train you choose). We did both. We caught a 'local' train to Venice at 8:30am and returned at 2000. That is not enough time for Venice, but we are planning to go back to Venice. Not only is there a Ducati produced there but also Ferrari and Maserati. They are located in towns nearby but you may need a car. As for Balsamtic (sp)., we visited a small factory in Spilamberto, just off the Autostrade near Modena. Perhaps the Tourist Office can help. You can also visit, in Parma, places that make cheese as well as Parma Ham. However, we stayed at a B&B in a small town south of Bologna and visited a private farm that gave us a 2 hour presentation on the making of Parma cheese. You will enjoy Bologna and it portico streets.
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