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Solo in Italia once again: Venice, Bologna (Ravenna), Ortisei, Bolzano, Verona

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Sep 21st, 2018, 08:48 PM
  #21
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Additional photos from Ravenna:



Ravenna Apse of the Basilica of San Vitale


Ravenna Apse of the Basilica of San Vitale Justinian Mosaic


Ravenna Apse of the Basilica of San Vitale Theodora Mosaic


Ravenna Chapel of Sant'Andrea Christ as Warrior


Ravenna Sant'Apollinare Nuovo The Three Magi and the Madonna and Child


Ravenna Sant'Apollinare Nuovo The Three Magi
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Sep 21st, 2018, 09:17 PM
  #22
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In transit to Ortisei: I was booked on the 10:45 a.m. Frecciargento to Bolzano, 1st class, (€39.90), with stops in Verona and Trento, 2 1/2 hours total. Neither at the time that I booked nor on the ticket was there any indication of the train’s final destination, a critical piece of information to be obtained at the station. Bologna Centrale is large and multi-leveled; allow sufficient time to find your way. Note that there’s no way to know which way you’ll be facing on the train. I had booked a seat that faced forward on the diagram of the train on the Trenitalia booking site but wound up facing backward to Verona and then forward for the rest of the journey.

I’d had a series of private drivers for the first three legs of my previous trip that included the Amalfi Coast, and they’d been worth every penny. The bus is my least favorite form of travel, but the distances and times to Ortisei weren’t great; a private driver didn't feel like a necessity this time. There were two bus routes from Bolzano to Ortisei, the 170 and the 350. The 350 offered a more direct route and fewer stops but left me with a longer wait at the bus station. Another option was to change trains in Bolzano for the regional train to Ponte Gardena where it would be easier to pick up the 350.

On arrival in Bolzano, the line to purchase a train ticket was long, the train to Ponte Gardena was to depart momentarily, and the thought of an additional transfer was increasingly underwhelming. I decided to head to the bus station, just a couple of blocks away, and purchased a ticket (€6.50) for the 170 due to leave at 2:10 p.m. This was a proper bus of a good size and comfortable enough. The 170, which took us through Castelrotto (a pretty village but I wouldn’t choose to stay there), did turn out to be the milk run. Not only did it make all of its scheduled stops, it picked up and dropped off people at the roadside. Still, the scenery was pleasing and the journey, which I think took about an hour and a quarter, was not excessively windy. The bus stopped conveniently in the middle of Ortisei at the Piazza San Antonio, less than a ten minute walk to my little hotel.

Here are a couple of websites with information about bus travel in the area:

Ricerca orari SAD - Trasporto Locale

SII Timetables Südtirol Mobil Mobilità Alto Adige

Last edited by bon_voyage; Sep 21st, 2018 at 09:21 PM.
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Sep 22nd, 2018, 08:56 AM
  #23
 
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For others considering this route.... There is a train station close to Ortisei with regional service from Bolzano, Verona, Trento and Rovereto from the south and Bressanone from the north: Ponte Gardena Laion. From PGL, there is bus service to Ortisei (Linea 351 originating in Bressanone), but it's only 14 kms./8.5 mi. from PGL to Ortisei in a taxi.

https://www.valgardena.it/dl/stchris...7_08122018.pdf

Public trans connections in this area often involve long-ish waits no matter which way you go, and sometimes you just have to decide where you'd like to spend that idle time. I believe you can buy bus tickets on the buses, but there are cards you can buy for system-wide travel if you intend to ride buses and cable cars over several days.

There is bus services throughout the region... if you have lots of time.

SII Timetables | Südtirol Mobil | Mobilità Alto Adige
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Sep 22nd, 2018, 09:14 AM
  #24
 
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Wonderful mosaic photos, bon_voyage!

You are a more intrepid solo traveler than I (I also dislike bus rides). FWIW, I was coming from Venice and took the train to Bolzano, the one in the afternoon run by bahn.de that requires no changes. From there I had arranged a taxi in advance from the Val Gardena website.
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Sep 22nd, 2018, 02:29 PM
  #25
 
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just found this bon_voyage, and am enjoying it very much, especially as I also visited Venice and Bologna in February this year and in that order!

Just one hint to save you [or anyone else reading this] money when getting from the airport to Venice - there is a bus run by ATVO from Venice Marco Polo to Piazzale Roma in Venice which costs about €7 each way and has a dedicated luggage area under the bus. And it is non-stop unlike the ACTV bus which stops several times and has no luggage space. So of course you can take a cab if you want to but the bus is much, much cheaper. I have also used the alilaguna but whether it is worth bothering with very much depends on where in Venice you are staying. When I stayed in Cannaregio near the Gulio stop it was worth while because it was just round the corner from my hotel [right by the Ghetto which I toured as well!] and only took about 45 minutes, but when I was staying near the Zattere it would have taken nearly 2 hours to get there from the airport so it wasn't a good idea and I took the bus and then walked.

i can visualise your hotel in Bologna as i walked past it virtually every day i was there on my way to or from the language school in Campo San Stefano. I often wondered what it was like! Personally I liked the look of the nearby Best Western and have earmarked it for any further stays in the city. What I didn't manage to do while I was there was to go to Ravenna so that's another excuse to go back!

Looking forward to reading more of your adventures, more please!
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Sep 22nd, 2018, 08:22 PM
  #26
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Ladies, thanks to you all for your typically informative and helpful comments! Jean, I think Ponte Gardena gets less attention as a transit point so thanks for highlighting it. I am encouraged, Leely, to persist with the photos and am happily pocketing “intrepid.” Ann, it’s good to have you aboard!
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Sep 23rd, 2018, 10:16 AM
  #27
 
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bon voyage...we took that bus from Ortisei back to Bolzano, it was unpleasant, jam packed and standing for the entire trip, can laugh about it now.
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Sep 23rd, 2018, 11:04 AM
  #28
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Oh, Adelaidean, a horror, especially on the 170. A couple of my bus trips on the Amalfi Coast, one from Capri town to Anacapri and the other from Amalfi to Ravello, both mercifully shorter than Ortisei to Bolzano, were SRO and I was standing. Squished and unable to see anything, not what I had in mind when I envisioned my idyllic time on the AC. And you have just jogged a memory of what happened on my return from Ortisei...
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Sep 24th, 2018, 12:12 PM
  #29
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ORTISEI: Having grown up in Florida, I have many good memories of beach vacations, and I’m more drawn to the seaside than to the mountains. I’d never stayed in the mountains in Europe and thought it was time. Having read about the spectacular scenery of the Dolomites, I honed in on Ortisei about which I’d noted favorable comments from several Fodorites, including Steve_James, ms_go, jamikins, Jean, and Adelaidean, with confirmation from Leely as my planning proceeded. It had churches dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, a long tradition of woodcarving, and its lifts offered a wide variety of options for exploring. I settled on three nights with the idea that, since my next stop was Bolzano, I could spend part of my day of departure in Ortisei if need be. My three night stay and wish not to be on half-board limited my hotel options.

Hotel: I settled on the Garni Dr. Senoner, a small, simple hotel located just within the pedestrian zone. My reservation was for a double room with balcony, single occupancy, (€67/night). I had paid the required €80 deposit months ahead so I was surprised to find that my room had no balcony. They were completely sold out with no option of a change until my third night. The woman in charge mentioned that I was a single person in a double room as though that were a mitigating factor. She offered to reduce the room rate to €60/night as a consolation.

Not getting the type of room I’d booked was a decided negative, particularly given the deposit, but now it was time to look on the bright side. My room was a comfortable size, and its window looked out a short distance to a hotel with a profusion of geraniums in window boxes with the mountain behind. Although the decor was spare, the garni was neat a a pin and had the most comfortable bed and bedding of the entire trip. Breakfast, served in a pretty downstairs room with windows and white tablecloths, covered all of the bases—meat, cheese, fruit, yogurt, freshly baked quick breads, eggs served soft, medium, or hard-boiled—and appeared calculated for just the number who had stayed the previous night. I received a complimentary card that was good for travel on the local buses, including the bus back to Bolzano, but it didn’t include the lifts.

Activities: My first morning took me up and up some more to Seceda with its top of the world forever views. My thought had been to hike down to Col Raiser where I’d pick up the lift to Santa Christina and then bus back to Ortisei. Fellow travelers on the web had said, yes, this would be possible with no poles and athletic shoes with good tread.

And then there was reality. The mountainside had patches of snow and the short path to the dramatic outcropping nearby, the Forcella Pana, had patches of mud. At 8200' feet, a short walk back up from a cow and mountain photo opportunity left me catching my breath. I decided that a walk along the ridge toward the Forcella Pana and back followed by lunch at the Baita Sofie would be just the ticket. The sun was in and out. When it broke through it warmed up and changed the landscape. On the way back down I had a lovely chat in the gondola with a couple from Rome.

The South Tyrol was ceded by Austria to Italy following the First World War, and German still seemed to be everyone’s first language. Ortisei was attractive and charming with its two picturesque churches, pastel buildings, and cobblestone streets dotted with modern sculptures. That afternoon I explored the village, checking out restaurants and shops, many featuring woodcarving and sports togs, and a variety of other offerings. I coveted the glitzy, high-topped sneakers that I saw everywhere.

The second morning was a bit sunnier and warmer and I headed up a lift in the opposite direction to the Alpe di Siusi, the largest, highest plateau in Europe. I stepped off the cable car, exited the station, looked out, and gasped. The Langkofel group with the Sassolungo filled my field of vision. I walked to the right and down into the meadow. That scene, with those fierce, craggy peaks both contrasting and yet also in harmony with the vast, gently undulating, green meadow, was unforgettable. There were trails in all directions, comfortable territory. I followed a loop that took me around to the chair lift in the meadow that went back up to the cable car. In the cable car I met up with a couple from California whose son lived ten minutes from me in Orange County.

That afternoon I tooled around town a bit more. Discovered the escalator in the middle of the village that went up to a path above the shopping area. Made a few more small gift purchases. Went into the farmacia to get some hand cream, found lip gloss to replace lipstick lost in transit.

Food: I had thought that Ortisei would be the perfect place to forego dinner in a restaurant that first night. Late that afternoon I walked down to the Conrad market at the other end of the village and purchased a roll, some cheese, and an apricot nectar, all I needed after that long day. The couple from Rome on the gondola recommended La Terrazza so I went there my second night and had braised leg of pork with sauerkraut and potatoes. My third night was at Mauriz Keller where I got the sea bass. Both dinners were fine, not particularly notable.

Best was the hot chocolate at Café Demetz, sitting outside on the patio and watching the world go by on the main pedestrian street.

Best purchase of the trip: Hands down, the bag of Dolomiti dried porcini mushrooms from Despar’s market

Overall impressions: Delightful area, fabulous scenery, hiking for all levels of ability; attractive, upmarket Ortisei felt just the right size
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Sep 24th, 2018, 01:00 PM
  #30
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P

Seceda Forcella Pana


Seceda


Alpe di Siusi Langkofel group/Sassolungo


Alpe di Siusi


Ortisei Church of St. Antonio in the background


Ortisei war memorial


Ortisei shop window


Ortisei bus stop shelter
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Sep 24th, 2018, 09:20 PM
  #31
 
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Brings back lovely memories. What a sweet town Ortisei is. And I photographed that very bus shelter too, ha. That was a good price for your room, but I’d have been annoyed about the lack of balcony, too, given you’d booked it.
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Sep 24th, 2018, 10:12 PM
  #32
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Adelaidean, so glad to have brought back good memories. One of my favorite aspects of others’ trip reports is having the opportunity to relive the journey through their eyes. Funny, too, about the photogenic bus shelter.
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Sep 25th, 2018, 06:17 PM
  #33
 
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So weird! I took that same Seceda hike earlier in the summer than you, but perhaps not the exact same trail?, and I don't recall being close to snow.

Thank you so much for the report and photos. It really is like a return visit. Though I'm surprised you skipped dinner; hiking all day meant I gave myself license to eat whatever came my way.

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Sep 25th, 2018, 08:24 PM
  #34
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Gorgeous picture, Leely, thanks for sharing it—you had great weather! I wound up not taking the hike I’d planned at Seceda. How was the one that you took?
And is that strudel on your plate? I did feel it necessary to sample the strudel at every opportunity.
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Sep 25th, 2018, 09:58 PM
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Ha, us too! We declared the apfelstrudel at Resciesa (the hut further on from funicular) to be the best!
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Sep 26th, 2018, 11:42 AM
  #36
 
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Yes, that’s a strudel and some kind of berry juice they make there too. I had to try it. Verdict: delicious.
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Sep 27th, 2018, 09:54 AM
  #37
 
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Leely, could that be a johannesbeerschorle? Fruit juice is mixed with soda, so refreshing.
Have been enjoying them on my current trip.
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Sep 27th, 2018, 03:53 PM
  #38
 
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Adelaidean, possibly, but it wasn't bubbly. Wasn't straight fruit juice either, though.

Are you on a vacation now? Where? Sud Tirol?
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Sep 27th, 2018, 05:49 PM
  #39
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In transit to BOLZANO: On to Bolzano with dreams of returning to Ortisei for the berry juice and the apfelstrudel at the Resciesa hut . My notes say that the only viable (likely meaning in the morning) 350 bus to Bolzano left at 9:01 a.m. Bags go in the baggage hold so need to haul anything into the bus. I took a seat toward the back. The 350 made fewer stops than the 170, and the route was more scenic on larger and less windy roads, overall a good option. I always travel with anti-motion sickness preparations, and I’d already made liberal use of my scopolamine patches, including one for this leg of the journey. It was warm on the bus, but otherwise uneventful until the toddler in its mother’s arms, one row up and to the left, upchucked into the aisle. I expressed to the mom as well as I could in my Italian, this happens with the children, I’ve been there. Thankfully, the patch worked its magic.

We arrived in Bolzano a short time later, and I walked the few blocks to my hotel whose entrance was just off the Waltherplatz. I’d vacillated between one night or two in Bolzano and settled on two in case I left Ortisei later in the day. I was also setting a deliberately leisurely pace to avoid coming down with a cold (my norm). The train and bus stations are located right in the heart of the center, very convenient. Attractive pastel buildings, positive energy, bustly vibe, Bolzano made a good first impression.

Last edited by bon_voyage; Sep 27th, 2018 at 05:51 PM.
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Sep 27th, 2018, 09:48 PM
  #40
 
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bon voyage..

I also thought Bolzano looked interesting. Nonconformist wrote a great report

Castles in two languages: Merano and surrounds

based in Merano- the whole area so appealing.

Leely, am currently in Hall in Tirol, so gorgeous. Got a report going live if you’re needing more ideas LOL.

3 slow weeks in Bavaria
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