Starting to Build an Trip Plan

Feb 4th, 2015, 03:48 AM
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Starting to Build an Trip Plan

Our style is to wander around towns and see the sights. We do visit some museums but really only major ones.

We do not rent a car and get around mostly by train and a little by bus.
Food is less of an event.

Our recent trips to Italy have been a focus on Umbria though it included Venice (2 times previously ) with a few day trips. We based in Perugia and went on several day trips. Ended in Rome for a couple of days but stopped in Orvieto overnight on the way.

We spend about 11 days based in Florence and did several day trips a few of which were overnighters but kept our room in Florence.

Now we're planning 2016 (for 2015 we have a trip already planned elsewhere).

I was thinking of possibly Bologna (never been there) with 2-3 day trips, Florence with no day trips for a couple of days (been to Florence 3 times but a couple of days here is always nice) and end in Rome for a couple of days (been there 3-4 times but always good for a couple of days) and maybe one day trip to Tivoli.

My questions are about Bologna since this is the place we've never been to. Given our style is it a good choice for several days (we are not foodies)? What would be the top day trips? Day trips within 1 1/2 hours max by train.

Thanks for all relevant comments.
Myer is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 04:27 AM
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From Bologna, day trips by train with no changes include Ravenna, Parma, Milano, Verona, Ferrara, Padova, Modena, Faenza, Rimini.

You also might want to consider Verona. Top day trips from Verona are Vicenza, Mantova, Trento, Milan, Venice, Padova, Bologna and the southernmost towns of Lago di Garda.
sandralist is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 09:31 AM
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We day tripped to Verona, Ferrara and Padova from Venice two years ago.

You named the ones I was considering: Ravenna, Parma.
Unfortunately, Mantova is a bit far.
I'll check out the others mentioned.
Myer is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 12:25 PM
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I wonder if I should investigate an alternate site as a mini-base or does Bologna have the look and sites to spend a few days?
Myer is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 01:13 PM
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I love Bologna and I'm not a foodie. It has gorgeous architecture and a very nice "feel". Well worth a few days by itself. Great walking city. Day trip to Ravenna is easy. And there are trains from Bologna to Mantova that take less than two hours. If you have more than a few days and want another day trip Mantova is definitely worth it.

Have a look at the photos.
Bologna -
Mantova -
isabel is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 01:19 PM
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I'm not sure you understood that I was suggesting Verona as an alteranate, but since you've already been, you already know it doesn't appeal. I would enjoy it for its beauty and it variety of day trips. Trento is quite different from Mantova, and quite different still from Lago di Garda, or Vicenza.

I really enjoy Bologna and enjoy ferreting into its sights, but they are not obvious ones. Although it is always hard to compare Italian cities, I will say -- very very loosely -- that Bologna is more like Perugia than it is like Florence, maybe especially since both towns draw so much of their life from students, rather than tourists, and because while an art city like Firenze or Venice has a lot of embellishment, Bologna and Perguia have a character that owes more to a longer history (as if 500 years weren't enough).

From Bologna you can really mix it up with day trips -- The mosaics of Ravenna are just spectacular, and Parma and Ferrara each boast multiple wows of art and history. In recent years, food has become such an overwhelming topic of chatter and consumption among tourists that it tends to blot out what else the Emilia-Romagna is all about, but it has multiple layers of historic interest.

All that said, without a car, you are pretty much stuck with the long, flat landscape, which has a sleepy charm from the window of a train (or some dreamy mystery if its foggy) but you need to make an effort to get an elevated view if based in Bologna. (Up to the local Santuario or a longish daytrip to Brisighella).

If you didn't mind hustle and bustle and motor traffic of Florence, Bologna's won't put you off. If what you really enjoy is a place full of bicycles and cafes, then you might think about either Modena or Ferrara (with the latter having a bit more in the way of museums and multi-roomed castles, and the former offering an easy shot at Mantova). Both are much smaller, and staying in either will add at least a half hour to the trip to Ravenna, so that might be reason enough to nix it. You can find quiet in Bologna if you pick the right neighborhood.
sandralist is offline  
Feb 4th, 2015, 04:51 PM
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No, the hustle and bustle of Florence has never bothered us. In fact, since our visits to Florence span over 20 years, we've seen it grow. Still a great town.

I see that an overnight day trip to Ravenna with a couple of stops either on the way there or back might be interesting.

Good info. Thanks.
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