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Trip to Venice, Bologna, Puglia

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Mar 3rd, 2013, 09:58 AM
  #1
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Trip to Venice, Bologna, Puglia

We are planning a trip to Italy at the end of May, and I am looking for any advice, recommendations, or suggested changes to our itinerary, hotel choices, or rec'd sites that are "not to be missed" esp. those travelers who are familiar with Puglia. Any advice would be much appreciated!

May 25 - Arrive in Venice (Aqua Palace Hotel b/t the Rialto Bridge and St. Marks Square)
4 nights. Any restaurant recommendations? Would you recommend visiting Murano or Burano (for picture taking ops?)

May 29 - Drive from Venice through Ferrara to Bologna (Art Hotel Novecento) 2 nights
Day trip to Modena, Reggio Emilia, & Parma (Food experience!)

May 31 - LONG drive from Bologna through Bari to Polignano a Mare. (Should we skip seeing the little country of San Marino on the way? I know it is touristy, but wondered if the view makes it worth it.) (Staying at Hotel Grotta Palazzese for 2 nights; want to eat dinner at their cave restaurant one night, despite some negative reviews on T.A. Has anyone eaten here? Setting itself looks incredible.)

June 2 - Monopoli (Staying such a short distance from Polignano a Mare b/c we wanted to stay at Don Ferrante Dimore di Charme, only available these 2 nights; your thoughts?)

From Polignano a Mare and Monopoli would do day trips to:
Alberobello, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Cisternino, Ostuni; any recommended changes/additions here? (Would like to go to Matera, but not sure there is time.)

June 4 - Drive to Lecce (Risorgimento Resort) 2 nights
Day trip to Ortranto, Gallipoli (Any suggestions of the best places to see or route would be appreciated!)

June 6 - Drive to Brindisi, fly back to Venice (overnight), fly home next day.
Any recommendations for best hotel to overnight before flight to US next morning? We'll arrive in Venice at 2:30pm.

We love quaint, different, interesting; love being near the water, taking a million pictures, and FOOD, of course!

Thank you for any advice/wisdom!
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 10:31 AM
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If you like pottery the museum in Faenza is to die for.
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 10:50 AM
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Jus to quickly answer your Murano/Burano question.. Burano is the one with all the brightly colored houses, so in my opinion, better for photography.
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 11:25 AM
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We spent three weeks in Puglia and Naples and loved it. I think you will be really rushing in the time you have there. It looks like you have 5 nights in Puglia? You can click on my name for my TR. There are lots other TRs that are very helpful with Puglia. I guess I'm wondering why you are starting way up North and going to Puglia? Wouldn't it make sense to focus on one area or the other?

While in Bologna I would do a day trip to Ravenna to see the mosaics which are spectacular.

Agree Burano is great for photography.
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 12:17 PM
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If you're arriving late in Bologna, taking a day trip to 3 towns, leaving early for a long drive, and staying just two nights, you won't have any time to see Bologna ... that would be a huge mistake if you're looking for a food experience.

Same observation for a couple other of your 2-night visits. I don't see how you can manage those day trips -- it looks like you'll spend all your time in the car.
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 12:32 PM
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personally i'd jettison Murano and concentrate on Burano [for the charmingly painted houses] and Torcello for the ancient Basilica and its mosaics.

I'd also consider getting the train to Bologna and not picking it up until you leave there for Puglia, because of the ZLTs [limited traffic zones] in italian city centres.

overall I think that you're doing a hell of a lot of driving in ratio to the nights that you are staying in the various places.
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 01:09 PM
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We spent a week in Puglia last year, you may find our trip report helpful: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...t-do-italy.cfm
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 03:37 PM
  #8
kja
 
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> Grotta Palazzese for 2 nights; want to eat dinner at their cave restaurant one night, despite some negative reviews on T.A. Has anyone eaten here? Setting itself looks incredible

I ate there back in 2007 and I loved it! The setting is, indeed, incredible. When I was there, the food was outstanding; I have no idea whether the quality has been retained.

Enjoy!
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 05:57 PM
  #9
jgg
 
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Not sure if you are doing an organized tour for the food experience outside of Bologna, but we did a tour with Italian Days Food Experience (http://www.italiandays.it/) and had a fabulous day. We went to a parmegiano reggiano factory, a parma ham factory, acetio balsamico and had a fabulous lunch at a vineyard. Here is a link to my trip report which gives more details of the tour along with pictures:
http://www.fromhometoroam.com/2012/08/bologna-2010/
Scroll down to DAY 3 for the food tour
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Mar 3rd, 2013, 06:26 PM
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The Food Experience with Alessandro is a tour you will never forget! It is so informative and you will get back to your hotel around 3. Still enough time to walk around Bologna - that is if you can move! Have gelato for dinner.
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