Rome/Bologna Itinerary


Sep 30th, 2016, 03:48 AM
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Rome/Bologna Itinerary

Hello all:

I have my hotels booked:

Flight is booked
Thurs 6th Oct: LCY - ROM: 1055 – 1425
Wed 19th Oct: ROM - LCY: 1730 – 1910

Here is my preliminary itinerary for your review and suggestions:

Thurs 6th: LCY - ROM: 1055 - 1425 Travel/Capitoline Museums/ Santa Maria in Trastevere
Fri 7th : Early morning Vatican Museums/St. Peters/Run around Rome seeing all the Caravaggio’s
Sat 8th : Tivoli/Hadrian's Villa & Walking Rome
Sun 9th : Borghese Gallery/Gardens & Walking Rome
Mon 10th: Travel to Orvieto for the day
Tue 11th: Roman Forum and Palatine/ Museo Nazionale dell'Alto Medioevo
Wed 12th: Rome: Churches/Mansions/Palaces
Thu 13th : Travel to Bologna morning/Explore Bologna
Fri 14th: Travel to Ravenna Morning/Explore Ravenna
Sat 15th: Travel to Vicenza/Padua Morning/Explore both
Sun 16th: Explore Bologna
Mon 17th: Travel to Rome morning/ afternoon. Split the day between Bologna and Rome
Tue 18th: Rome: Churches & Mansions/Walking
Wed 19th: Store luggage at Airport/ Explore Ostia Antica/ 1730 Flight to London

Best regards … Ger
OReilly is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2016, 08:54 AM
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I responded in the lounge, but I'll do so here too:

If you can make it work, Context Tours has an EXCELLENT Caravaggio tour that will cover all the Caravaggios in Rome, and then some. I did it a couple years ago and it was the highlight of my week in Rome.

Try to pick up a now out of print book called Holy Rome. It was written for the 2000 Jubilee, but it's a guidebook that covers every single church in Rome and what each is known for. I still take it to Rome with me on every trip. I was popping into churches I would have otherwise walked by for things I'd read in that book.
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Sep 30th, 2016, 02:40 PM
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I think it looks like a great itinerary. I am also a Caravaggio fiend, and I think you have enough time to see a lot of his work wherever/whenever. I personally would be kinda wiped out after the Vatican to run all over town looking for Caravaggios.

You didn't ask, but that's never stopped me before:
I had good meals at Gianni (lunch on a weekday) and Twinside (dinner; this is the slightly more casual sister restaurant of Caminetto d'Oro) in Bologna. It was summer when I was there, so I often found salad places to eat too. If you are not a vegetarian, this is a great area in which to indulge in meat--porky things like mortadella, culatello, etc., in Bolgona. Worth it.
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Sep 30th, 2016, 03:05 PM
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A fast-paced trip for sure - the kind I love. Are you going by train or car?

Trains I presume -with car you could not keep to such a fast itinerary - most of your trains will be regional trains except for Rome to Bologna - if you want that is and those are dirt cheap and require no advance booking - no seat reservations possible. I assume the veteran traveler you are you know that on long-distance trains you can nab nifty discounts at but those are booked in stone and can't be changed -thus the beauty of regional trains - on those day trips you never know when you will want to leave your destination cities - regional trains just hop on.

But Rome to Bologna and back you can save tons. Anyway writing this as much for others as I think you probably are well informed but if not... check for exquisite info on discounted tickets and for general info and

Bologna to me is a vastly underrated city - said to have more listed historic medieval monuments than any city in Italy. If going thru the main train station check out the memorial window there to commemorate dozens who were killed in a terrorist bombing in the 1980s or so - the hole in the wall the bomb left is now glassed over and the names of those killed next to it.
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Sep 30th, 2016, 03:45 PM
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Many people go to Bologna for the historic markets, most of which will be closed Thursday afternoon and all of which will be closed all day Sunday.

I don't think you can easily see the sights of both Vicenza and Padova in one day, especially if you don't have a car.
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Sep 30th, 2016, 04:59 PM
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It's too late for this comment, but I would have trained to Bologna upon arrival and put all the Rome days at the end.
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Sep 30th, 2016, 05:15 PM
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Ann, that Context tour doesn't cover all the Caravaggios in Rome. Maybe it's just the Caravaggios in churches. In addition, there are two in the Capitoline Museums, three in the Barberini Gallery, three in the Borghese Gallery, two or three in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, and I think one or two in the Vatican Museums. It would be next to impossible to see them all in one day.

Ger, you already have three of those museums on your schedule, so you'd just have to add the Barberini Gallery (one of my favourite museums in Rome), and the Doria Pamphilj Gallery.

The Barberini Gallery has Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes, one of his best, as well as Raphael's la Fornarina and Holbein's Henry VIII. Da Cortona's grand frescoed ceiling is not to be missed. I think the museum is still undergoing renovations, but it's definitely open. The Doria Pamphilj has Caravaggio's Rest on the Flight into Egypt, another of my favorites.

I think the Palazzo Corsini has a Caravaggio also.

It would save some running around if you could visit the Capitoline Museums on the day you visit the Roman Forum; they're right above the Forum.
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Sep 30th, 2016, 10:05 PM
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Let me start by saying that I have been to Bologna five times in the past three years and have lived there for 1.5-2.5 months each time.

I love Bologna for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is its central location on the train line. You can get anywhere easily if not quickly. Someone mentioned, but you can also check out, a private train company.

Bologna is a great city, so please do not give it just a glance. There are 52 museums there, monuments, and restaurants galore.

Mercure, as you probably know, is just across the street from the train station. Turn right out of the front door, go to the corner (Via Independenza), take a right, and you'll arrive in Piazza Maggiore in 10-15 minutes.

FYI.... There is an antiques market (small one) in Piazza 8 Agosto on Thursdays. You'll pass it if you walk up Via Independenza. The huge weekly market is there on Fridays and Saturdays, too. Il Mercato di Mezzo is in the centro, and Mercato delle Erbe is on Via Ugo Bassi.

I also suggest you do not miss Le Sette Chiese di Santo Stefano (Seven Churches of Santo Stefano).

I just got back from Bologna..... I'm jealous that you're going this week!
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Sep 30th, 2016, 11:12 PM
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Your week sounds like a parody of those "if it's Tuesday is this Belgium?" stories. I've no idea whether you're looking for greatest hits in each city, whether there's something you're particularly interested in - or, frankly, what the point of this post actually is.

Nor can I see how you're planning to get about, If you're seriously suggesting visiting Padua and Vicenza from a Bologna base and getting back there the same day, you're barmy. Just getting to Padua, seeing the simplest set of Padua Greatest Hits (Scrovegni Chapel, St Anthony's Basilica and the guided tour at the Palazzo Bo) and getting back will eat up a whole day.

If Greatest Hits are your thing, there's only one (the theatre) in Vicenza, and it really isn't worth a journey. Vicenza's real jewel is the extraordinary density of second-division wonderful Palladio-designed (or inspired) building scattered all over the (quite compact) central area. There are interesting walks around them suggested in the leaflets at the TIC, but I couldn't find anything useful online: you've got to organise your time around the TIC's opening hours to get the suggestions. It simply isn't possible to do that and do the walks before dusk (this IS October) if you insist on what seems to be a railway geek's tour of Italian railway stations.

I'm similarly gobsmacked about thinking you can get to Tivoli, see it properly, then get back for Walking Rome, whatever that's supposed to mean.

As for "running round Rome seeing all the Caravaggios". How about actually looking at just one? Or even, if you limit yourself to San Luigi dei Francesi, two. Save your running for a gym.

The ONLY sensible day in this pointless week of Stakhanovite masochism is the trip to Ravenna.

All of this stuff will be there in a century. Scrap at least half the travel and spend your time looking properly at no more than two cities. Personally, I'd junk the whole week and spend all of it in Rome.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 07:29 AM
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I was going to add, somewhat tongue in cheek, that there is a Caravaggio in a church in Taormina that we saw recently that you are going to miss, but after Flanner's post, I think that it might be a little tactless to mention it.

I know that when I am travelling by myself I pack more in than I do when I'm with others. I'm sure that you will work it all out and see whatever you can that you have planned, and jettison/reschedule the rest.

Have a great trip.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 09:40 AM
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Chris, I'd like to hear your Bologna recs, esp for cafes, restaurants and, ahem, jewelry stores. We like both modern and old-fashioned cafes, ditto for restaurants (moderate to semi-expensive price range -- we live in Switzerland, so are semi-inured to high prices). For jewelry, I'm planning to get a nice gold chain necklace as my Christmas present (I gave mine away to a teen-age niece who was having a really tough time at school). Thanks!

We'll be there in December for 4 nights after 2 nights in Milan and are staying at the Hotel Corona d'Oro: No day trips planned, we want to hang loose in the city.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 10:06 AM
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Weisser, I stayed at that hotel two years ago on a solo trip to Bologna. I enjoyed my stay--very nice staff, great location. My room had an enormous bathroom.

Ger, your trip looks busy, and I suppose Vicenza/Padua might be too much in one day (never been), but otherwise I think your plans are more or less reasonable. And you can always move things around or cut back once you're there.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 02:12 PM
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There may very well be a good trustworthy jewelry shop in Bologna, but if you are not adverse to spending money, I would suggest taking the 45 minute fast train ride to Florence and shopping for a gold chain there. You must research in advance because, as you probably already know, there are many unreliable shops in Florence marketing inauthentic stuff to tourists. (But do your research for Bologna too!). You probably also know that Florence has a tremendous history of gold-working and jewelry making, so you might think it worth the rather short trip from Bologna. You could easily do it after lunch and be back in time for dinner.
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Oct 1st, 2016, 03:15 PM
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Thanks, Frencharmoire, but Florence is not on the agenda this trip. Last year, we did look there, but so many of the shops actually have one owner and the atmosphere just didn't appeal. If we don't find something in Bologna, we'll look in Germany, where we do know and trust several places.
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 10:15 AM
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Sorry I am so tardy in getting back – I was busy closing down a project.

Lots of great stuff here, and many thanks to all for responding.

Yes, perhaps the pace appears to be manic to some, but it is not so for me. To each his own. I am not the ‘sit in the Piazza and watch the world go by’ tourist. I am very high energy and a walker, awake by 6am and I walk until I drop, usually by about 8pm. This is what I enjoy. This is what makes me happy on my travels. I usually have a long lunch or early dinner at some time in between, in really good restaurants that always involve excellent wine.

I generally start with an agenda, then am prepared to change, based on weather and crowds etc.. If the weather at my destinations is sunny and warm, I will spend less time in museums and churches, and more time walking.

I may spend more time in Bologna than Rome, if the crowds in Rome truly get to me. I have been to Rome several times, but have never spent more than four nights there. I am actually not ‘in love’ with Rome, but there is so much that I want to see again. I have not booked an hotel for the last two nights, and may decide to spend them in Bologna.

I love good food, so please add your restaurant recommendations for both Rome and Bologna, and many thanks to those who have already done so.


Amyb & Leely2:
I was very lucky to see an enormous exhibition of Caravaggio’s paintings, from all over the world, in Naples about 10 years ago. I followed it to London and Toronto. I am passionate about the man.

Amyb: I am checking the tour out, which, as bvelenci says, covers a few, but not all. At this point, it appears they do not have availability for my dates. Thank you for the recommendation – I will keep trying.

Leely2: Probably not the best idea to follow Caravaggio after the Vatican. I may reconsider. Thank you for the restaurant recommendation.

PalenQ: I will be doing trains from Rome and Bologna. I have checked out train time, so have built in to my preliminary itinerary timings.

Frencharmoire: Interesting. Vicenza (Palladio architecture)/Padua (The Cathedral) was a late addition. I may skip this side trip and just stay in Bologna. Good call – thanks.

Jean: I did think about doing Bologna first, but I was concerned that I would get annoyed by Rome and need an escape. Hence the day-trips in the middle and the few days in Bologna.

Always brilliant advice! Barberini Gallery and the Doria Pamphilj Gallery are already on my itinerary.

Your passion is obvious, and I love it. At least an extra day there is called for. Yes, I stayed in the same hotel days after 9/11, so I know it is convenient for both travel and walking to town centre. I’d love your restaurant recommendations.

Flanner: Hello, and thank you for your comments. I think all of your issues might be addressed in the responses to other posters.

Ann: I probably will not make it to Taormina, but you never know.

All: A good friend of mine, an engineer, told me that I had no ‘fly wheel’ – I don’t idle, I have only an on and off switch. This is true – I am like one of those wind-up clockwork toys, while not all would like my travelling style, I personally LOVE it!

Best regards to all … Ger
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 10:34 AM
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"Just getting to Padua, seeing the simplest set of Padua Greatest Hits (Scrovegni Chapel, St Anthony's Basilica and the guided tour at the Palazzo Bo) and getting back will eat up a whole day."
( we visited from Venice )
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 10:50 AM
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Actually Ger, now i think about it the Caravaggio was in Ortigia [the island off Siracusa] but i don't think that makes a lot of difference.

In fact your travel style is a little like mine; we agree about the long lunch with excellent wine. The walking from dawn to dusk you'd be doing by yourself.
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 12:09 PM
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This is true – I am like one of those wind-up clockwork toys, while not all would like my travelling style, I personally LOVE it!>

Me too -my kind of itinerary but not for most! I also love trekking around cities from dawn to dusk -different strokes for different folks!

Time spent on trains to me is part of the joy of traveling - especially local trains that stop a lot and are yes full of locals not business types or tourists.

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Oct 3rd, 2016, 01:14 PM
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I'm like you, Ger, very, very active while on holiday. If I'm in a place with lots to see, well then I can go, go, go. If only I had as much energy at work...

Also, I think the longer you are in Rome, the easier it is to go see sights that are further afield, giving yourself much-needed time away from the crowds. Makes it a more enjoyable city to visit. At least that has been my experience (but I love Rome, very biased).

FWIW, I did a wine tasting one evening at Vino Roma one year, and it was very enjoyable. I learned a lot about Italian wines. I've forgotten most of it by now, of course!
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