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Piedmont,Emilio-Romagna,Milan trip. Help please

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Jun 14th, 2015, 07:26 PM
  #1
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Piedmont,Emilio-Romagna,Milan trip. Help please

We have planned for a full 14 days(on the ground) trip flying in and out of MXP. So far, here's what we have: arrive MXP, rent car, drive to La Morra for 6 nights. Already have rented an apartment and will be there during the truffle market in Alba. While in Piedmont we plan to visit a few wineries (all suggestions welcome). After that we will drive to Emilio-Romagna for a total of 5 or 6 nights. We're thinking about 2 nights at an agriturismo in the countryside somewhere between Parma and Modena. Would like to find a place, possibly with good restaurant, that is an easy drive to the nearby towns. Then it's on to 3 or 4 nights in Bologna. We would return the car there and do the rest of the trip by train. In Bologna, we would like to take a cooking class, go the market and spend a day in the Ravenna/ Ferrera/ Faensa area (train or driver?).

We will take the train from Bologna to Milan for the remainder of our vacation. I'm thinking 3 nights in Milan will be enough. That will include 1 day at the Expo and, hopefully, a night at La Scala.

Nothing has been booked except for the 6 nights in La Morra. We have found many nice looking places for the other places on airbnb and agriturismo.it but haven't nailed anything down.

Would love some suggestions and critique of this itinerary.

TIA
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Jun 14th, 2015, 08:15 PM
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Leaving Piemonte, consider visiting Parma on your way to the agriturismo (sorry I don't have a recommendation). Then consider driving to Ravenna for a night (making it easier to see the mosaics in the small town of Classe that is 10kms south of Ravenna). Visit either Ferrara or Faenza on the way to Bologna, then drop off the car. Most people visit Faenza for the ceramics, and if that is not a keen interest of yours and you still have the car, consider visiting scenic Brisighella instead (I like the restaurant Locanda La Cavallina, but there are several others.) If you have time for only one day trip east of Bologna, Ravenna is one of the greatest historic and artistic sights in all of Italy.

In looking for an agriturismo between Parma and Modena, consider the flat area north of the A1 (roughly the corridor between Modena and Mantova) as well as the hills south of the A1. The flat area is not as scenic, but there are interesting towns, and interesting food and wine.
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Jun 15th, 2015, 09:42 AM
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Thanks Sandra! I will look at all your suggestions. I would love to visit Faenza and Ferrara. There is a craft fair in Ferrara during the weekend that I would like to go to, however that is the time when we may not have a car. We have to rethink keeping the car. The reason we were returning it in Bologna is because we don't want to drive in the cities and didn't want to deal with the historic zones.
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Jun 15th, 2015, 02:42 PM
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It's only 20 minutes to Ferrara from Bologna, so take the train. Of the day of a craft fair, you might find parking is tougher. You really don't need a car in Bologna and it has one of the most complicated Zona Traffico Limitato rules in all of Italy.
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Jun 16th, 2015, 06:04 AM
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Indeed, we have a family member who lives in Bologna. We almost always take the train to visit him. On one occasion, we drove, because we bringing him a piece of furniture. He offered to meet us at a city gate and pilot us in, and were glad he did. He has a car, but he has the ZTL rules memorized.
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Jun 16th, 2015, 06:59 AM
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DRJ
 
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Two recommendations:

For Bologna look at Petronio residence on booking.com. In 26 trips to Italy this is the best apartment of all.

A lunch at Hosteria Giusti in Modena is memorable. In the rear of a salumeria (don't bump your head in the doorway), only four tables, recommendation mandatory.
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Jun 16th, 2015, 08:28 AM
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In tne Piemonte, for a family owned boutique winery, visit Pietro Rinaldi Winery in Madonna di Como, minutes from Alba. We really enjoyed our visit there.
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Jun 16th, 2015, 09:31 AM
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Thank you all! Will check out all of your recommendations. Really appreciate them!
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Jun 24th, 2015, 08:20 PM
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Ok. So now we are thinking of driving from Alba to either Ferrara or Ravenna and spending one night there before dropping off the car in Bologna. We would spend the evening plus the next day in these towns before dropping off the car in Bologna. That gives us 5 nights in Bologna and we will use the train for day trips. Suggestions? Would you recommend spending the night in Ravenna or Ferrara (or somewhere else)? What's it like to drive in these cities?
In Bologna, we have planned a day trip by train to Hosteria Giusti and Modena, a tour of the parm and balsamic places and prosciutto farm, a cooking class, maybe a day trip to Parma and some time seeing the sights and market in Bologna. Now the itinerary looks like this:
6 nights Piedmont (staying in La Morra)
1 night Ravenna or Ferrara
5 nights Bologna
3 nights Milan (includes Expo)

Looking for expert opinions of this plan. Also, any other suggestions for wineries to visit?
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Jun 24th, 2015, 08:35 PM
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It makes sense to see Ravenna while you still have the car, but that means a hefty drive from Alba -- realistically, nearly 5 hours. I suggest you break up the day by having a nice lunch a bit east of Parma. I wouldn't go into the city, but just pick a countryside place for a relaxing meal.

It is not difficult to drive in Ravenna, but they do have a ZTL (so does Alba, I bet). So be sure you know where it is. Ask your hotel desk to help you avoid it before you arrive. If you find yourself in need of a cup of coffee between your lunch and arriving in Ravenna, consider a pit stop in Dozza or Lugo, just to stretch your legs.

Leaving Ravenna, I highly recommend driving 10kms south to the very tiny town of Classe, where there is a beautiful mosaic-filled Basilica that takes no more than 20 minutes to admire. Then you can easily get on the road to Bologna. I happen to hate dropping off a car in Bologna, and usually do it at the airport, but people less cranky than me do it all the time without fuss. Just be sure you know where you are going, because Bologna has a number of ZTLs and a lot of traffic.
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Jun 24th, 2015, 08:52 PM
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Thanks again, Sandra. We will be dropping the car at the Bologna airport. Do you think it's better to stay in Ravenna or Ferrara for the night?
Suggestions for lunch on the outskirts of Parma?
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Jun 24th, 2015, 08:56 PM
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Ravenna -- sorry I wasn't clearer in my first response. Not only does Ravenna merit the full day, but Ferrara is so easy to get to from Bologna by train, it makes sense to use the car to get to Ravenna, which is a much longer train trip from Bologna.

I think I would pick a restaurant from the Slow Food list for Emilia Romagna

http://www.emiliaromagna.slowfood.it/le-osterie
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Jun 24th, 2015, 10:07 PM
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I recently returned from a fabulous trip to Emilia-Romagna and aside from telling you to check my screen name and find my trip report, I can tell you briefly the following :

1) DO NOT MISS RAVENNA!!! In 11 days, it was truly one of the if not THE highlights of my trip. We did not manage to spend the night but DID spend almost the entire day and I think it is truly one of the wonders of the world.

2) Ferrara is indeed a very short and easy train ride from Bologna and that is exactly how we visited. It is a lovely place and I am not unhappy we went. However between the two, there is no contest in my opinion.

3) Dozza is also a very unique enjoyable small village and sooooooo worth the stop.

4) We fell in love with Bologna, also stayed 5 nights, and have no doubt they will be seeing us again !!

Have a great visit!!
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Jun 25th, 2015, 08:23 AM
  #14
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Thank you Flame!! I will look for your trip report.
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