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Two weeks Verona, Bologna and Venice - time for other day trips?

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Jul 18th, 2014, 12:14 PM
  #1
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Two weeks Verona, Bologna and Venice - time for other day trips?

After previous consultation on this board, I've come up with the following plan for our 13 days in northern Italy. I have incorporated a few days trips but I'm not sure if that's too rushed.

We are 2 mid-50’s active couples travelling to Verona, Bologna and Venice in September. We enjoy food, wine, art, museums, walking.

Day 1 – arrive Venice from Canada at noon and immediately take train to Verona. We have tickets to the opera that night (it is the last performance of the season and we realize we may be tired but would like to try to attend).

Day 2 – Verona (Piazzas Bra, Erbe, del Signori, San Zeno Maggiore Basilica, Castelvecchio, San Fermo)

Day 3 – Verona – what to do on this day? Are there any tours that would be interesting? Or should we see something else on our own?

Day 4 – day trip to Lake Garda – train to Desenzano; visit Sirmione. Is this worthwhile? Any other spot on the lake be better?

Day 5 – train to Bologna – apartment 15 min walk from train station (explore Piazza Magiorre)

Day 6 – have booked an organized food tour to Parma, Modena

Day 7 – Bologna – walk up to San Luca

Day 8 – Day trip by train to Ravenna

Day 9 – Train to Venice – apartment in Dorsoduro

Day 10 – Venice plus day trip to Burano

Day 11 – Day trip to Padova (Pinacoteca Museum)

Day 12 – Venice

Day 13 – depart Venice back to Canada

Any comments you have are most appreciated. Thank you!
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Jul 18th, 2014, 12:27 PM
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I think it sounds nice. Have you considered a day trip from Verona to Vicenza. I like Vicenza a lot. Several building by Andrea Palladio and it is not as touristy as VErona (although I also enjoyed Verona.) I'm not a big fan of lake Garda, but there are many on this board that sing its praises. I guess it adds some variety seeing the lake, but I would swap it out for Vicenza.

In Padua, have you considered visiting the Scrovegni Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni)? Its fantastic. We did a double turn (2 back to back times in the chapel) and it was incredible. Between the 2 tours we were in the chapel by ourselves and loved it.
Have a great trip!
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Jul 18th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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I'm just back from another year in Verona. The opera will, I assume, begin at 9PM as most all of them do. Once you arrive in town I would go to the hotel and take a nap. Yes, I know all about the stay up as long as you can to get over jetlag routine. But the last thing you want to do it fall asleep during the performance.

Are you on the steps, in the seats "on the steps," or in the orchestra. If you are on the steps, definitely pay to rent the cushions.

Eating. A few of the restaurants will stay open after the performance concludes but not all of them. Ask at your hotel but consider the possibility of eating prior to the performance.

Weather. Remember that the Arena reserves the right to delay any performance for as long as 2.5 hours due to weather before cancelling and authorizing any refunds. Once a performance has started there are no refunds even if the weather prompts one.

Wear comfortable clothes; you'll see all manner of dress.

The Piazza Bra you will already have seen when you roll into the arena for the performance; the Erbe is somewhat more stereotypical looking, almost like a movie set. People seem to like the San Zeno and its doors more than the duomo. I have not visited the fortress.

Frankly I think you can see most of the highlights in a long well-planned day (no, this does not mean sleeping in until noon ; that leaves you lots of time for other activities.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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Day 4 – day trip to Lake Garda – train to Desenzano; visit Sirmione. Is this worthwhile? Any other spot on the lake be better?>
Sirmione the Ersatz fishing village that now angles more for tourists' dollars than fish is one of the most crowded mob scenes I have ever seen - so you do not say when you are going but in season it's too crowded IME to be enjoyed.

But Sirmione has adjacent to it a fine fine archaeological site that is not overrun with tourists and reason for going there.

But in my day out on Lake Garda I bought a boat pass and wound my way up to the fjord-like northern tip of the lake where ther are some really nice non-inundated villages and towns - I'd do a boat tour of the lake getting off an on and also see the archaeological site at Sirmione.

Desenzano is the perfect place to start - an interesting fortified town in its own right - and is just one of two rail heads for the lake.

Lake Garda is magnificent but if you only go to Sirmione you experience little of the marvelous lake itself and its several towns much more calm than Sirmione. (But if depends on the time of year you go - avoid weekends if possible.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:10 PM
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I think you should take a day trip to Vicenza. We took
a walking trip from the tourist office in Vicenza and it was well worth our time. Also, I agree that the Scrovengi Chapel in Padua is a "must see." You should arrange for tickets before you leave.I am sure that I got the info from this forum
or you can just type scrovengi chapel into Google. Visits are strictly timed and there is great demand for tickets.

Pat
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:17 PM
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We went to Padua to see the Scrovegni Chapel and highly recommend that you include it.
Burano is not really a day trip from Venice, much shorter. Also include a visit to Torcello which is nearby Burano, historic, uncrowded, wonderful church, a break from the crowds.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:21 PM
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Torcello is infamous for its feral cats lurking everywhere - and I mean everywhere - it is by far the least visited of the three islands and to me to most romantic. Murano is a zoo and tourist trap - Burano much calmer and nicer and Torcello, which gets few of the maddening crowds from Venice nearly deserted.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:25 PM
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Yes, Burano is just a visit, but becomes a great day out if you include Torcello.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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I personally think there are far more interesting things to do in Bologna than walk up to San Luca. If you really enjoy some daily physical exercise, and look for ways to incorporate it into your trip, than marching up the hillside is good exercise. But culturally, and scenically, it is rather so-so. Culturally in Bologna, it is much more rewarding to go to many of the churches and frescoed interiors, or the medieval museums and artifacts of Bologna's history as Europe's oldest university town. The low view from the second floor of Palazzo Communale and the Papal Legate rooms reveal more about the history of the Bologna than the sanctuary. Even taking a pasta-making class might give you more of sense of the heart of Bologna.

Anyway, even if you are slow walkers it will not take you all day to walk up and back, so you have time for other discoveries.

And I will be yet another person who urges you to read up on the Scrovegni chapel and consider including it in your itinerary.

If you find yourselves fascinated by Venice proper, skip going to Burano.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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I meant to address this issue:

<<<<"Day 3 – Verona – what to do on this day? Are there any tours that would be interesting? Or should we see something else on our own?<<<<<

Read up on the Roman theater, the Giusti garden, and the Duomo, and see if you would be interested in visiting them in the morning. Consider a wine tour in the afternoon, into the countryside, or perhaps somebody in Verona does some guided in-city wine tastings and bar hopping.
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Jul 18th, 2014, 01:51 PM
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Yes, absolutely see the Scrovegni Chapel - it is amazing. I also loved the Guisti gardens.

You could look into a cruise on the Brenta Canal if you are interested in Palladian architecture.

Lunch at Gatto Nero on Burano is always a must for us. You could also have lunch at Venissa on neighboring Mazzorbo (just a short walk across the bridge).
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Jul 18th, 2014, 02:41 PM
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If you can get to Bologna early enough, you could catch the walking tour operated from the central tourist information office most afternoons, starting at 4:30 p.m. The walking is easy; the information is valuable and can help orient the rest of your visit. http://www.bolognawelcome.com/en/eve...rical%20centre
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Jul 18th, 2014, 03:15 PM
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Oh my goodness - what great answers. So prompt and thorough! I will investigate your suggestions and get back to you with further queries if necessary.

Sounds like Scrovegni Chapel and Vicenza - plus your other suggestions - need a bit more research on my part.
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Sep 19th, 2014, 09:53 PM
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As an update to this - we did do a day trip to Vicenza from Verona. It was a very easy train ride and a beautiful spot to visit. Our planned day trips from Bologna and Venice didn't happen because there was just too much to do and see in those cities. Thank you for your input and assistance - the Fodor's forum was invaluable in helping us plan our trip.
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