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Venice & Bologna -- which one first?

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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:44 PM
  #1
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Venice & Bologna -- which one first?

Hello everyone,

My husband and I will be spending 2 weeks in Italy--the last week of September and first week of October. We will be flying in and out of Venice. We'd like to spend at least 3 nights in Venice and about a week in Bologna (renting an apartment and taking a couple of day trips by train--we're thinking Parma and Modena). We aren't sure about the remaining 3 nights.

Here are my questions--

1) Does anyone have any suggestions about where to spend the remaining 3 nights/days? We've been to Rome several times, as well as Florence, other parts of Tuscany, and the Amalfi coast. We'd like to avoid renting a car. We love exploring large city neighborhoods, relaxing, people-watching, but also appreciate more rural, scenic, or smaller-town destinations. Should we just extend our time in Venice and do day trips?

2) Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether we should spend the first 3 nights of our trip in Venice, then move on to Bologna, etc. from there, or whether we should go directly from the Venice airport to the nearest train station (not sure if that would be Santa Lucia or Mestre) and take the train to Bologna? Whatever we decide, we want to spend our final night in Venice as we have a morning flight home. We're wondering whether there will be much difference as to crowds, weather, festivals or other events if we spend our 3 days in Venice at the beginning (last week of Sept) as opposed to the end (first week of Oct). Also, would one be a lot easier than the other logistically (in terms of time spent on airport transfers and getting to train stations) than the other?

Thanks very much!
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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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For me, the fewer moves the better so I'd go directly to Bologna for the first half of the trip and return to Venice for the 2nd half.

Easy day trips from both places. From Bologna, Hub and I trained to Ravenna. Other possibles are Faiance, Parma, Farrara, etc.

From Venice, Padua, Verona, Treviso and even Trieste are possible. Not to mention Murano and Burano.

You'd need to check the travel books to see what calls out to you and how many days you would need. Looking forward to your trip report!
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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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I would add the 3 days back to Venice. If you need to spend your last night there, then I would go straight to Bologna, and return to Venice for the second half of the trip. Then you can do daytrips in both E/R and the Veneto.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Thanks TDudette. I think we were leaning toward going to Bologna first, for the same reason (fewer moves, the better).

Sounds like maybe you're suggesting staying longer in Venice or Bologna and adding day trips, rather than moving to a different location for the 3 unplanned nights/days. I do want to see Murano for sure--will need to do a little more reading on the other towns.

Numerous friends have told us that they feel one or two nights in Venice is enough, but that seems awfully short to me, which is why I'm thinking 3 nights (maybe more with day trips). Anyone have any thoughts on how much time is "enough" for Venice? I'd think it depends on what you're interested in. I feel like I could spend a week in Rome and not tire of it.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Thanks socaltraveler. So if we spend a total of 6 days in Venice, any thoughts on how much time to alot to Venice itself as opposed to day trips in the Veneto (see my response to TDudette on how much time is "enough" for Venice)?
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Jun 6th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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Another idea is to spend 3 or 4 nights in Verona. It is a great base for day trips to Padua, Vicenza and Trieste. The hotels are less than Venice although there are many trade fairs there and hotels can be scarce. At least be sure to
see Verona as a day trip from Venice. If you enjoy art history, Padua is a must for the Scrovengi and Vicenza is very pleasing. I think you will have a great time, no matter what you decide.

Pat
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Jun 6th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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we were in Bologna for a week and stayed 3 nights in Venice less than a month ago.
We did fly into Bologna and out of Venice.
I agree - go to Bologna first. It is less crowded and more relaxing than Venice.
We liked Bologna more than expected. The only day trip we made
was to Florence ( only 37 minutes)- we have been there before
some years ago.
Visited incredible San Luca ( don't miss it) and spent an afternoon in lovely Parco di Villa Ghigi above the city.

We had an afternoon and two full days in Venice ( 3 nights). I was sorry we did not have two more days.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 02:10 PM
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Yes, RMMR2, I'd just split between the 2. How many days for each has to depend on what you like based upon your reading.

Hub and I stayed in Verona and took day trips to Vicenza and Milano, but you could do them from Venice.

We made an entire to trip Venice one time and visited the places I mentioned upthread and still didn't get to all of the places in Venice on our "to see" list!

2 nights in Venice were what we spent on our first visit- based upon how much time guided tours spent there. It's not enough time to savor this amazing place. The Scuola are gorgeous, the churches and palazzos--but the architecture and the entire concept of no cars--everything by water is fascinating.

Again, get a good guide book and make a list--that should help you decide how many days you'd need in both places.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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(I mean, 37 minutes on the train to Florence.....)
I am sorry we did not go to Modena or Ferrara ,
but we like taking it easy.
Verona seemed a longer train ride from Bologna than we like.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 04:42 PM
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I agree w/TDudette about splitting your time between the two and starting in Bologna first. We just got back from a week in Bologna and nine days in Padova. We used trains in Bologna and had a car in Padova but could have lived without one. Our favourite day trips were to Ravenna (for the mosaics - the town didn't overwhelm us but day trips are an unfair evaluation in that regard), Ferrara (liked it much more than expected), Parma, Verona and Padova itself for the AMAZING Scrovegni chapel (visit the museum or read about it beforehand). Once you decide on your itinerary come back for food recs.

We didn't visit Venice on this trip although we've been twice before and happily spent a week there without any day trips (if you don't included Burano which we enjoyed more than Murano) and it wasn't nearly enough - a lifetime wouldn't be, it's just that kind of place.
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Jun 7th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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FYI, it was out experience that the first stop to Murano let us off at a commercial blown glass factory. We then had a bit of a walk to find the Glass Museum and realized that it was at a later vap stop. Both were of interest to us so no problem but if you want to see the museum first, stay on the vap.
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Jun 7th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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You could start in Bologna, then work your way to Venice. A train from Bologna to Chioggia would take about 2 hours 10 minutes. It's a lovely little fishing village about an hour's boat/bus ride from Venice (maybe an hour and a half). The summer beach crowds will be gone by then. Spend the night there (Hotel Grande Italia - ask for a lagoon view), then boat to Venice the next morning.
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Jun 7th, 2012, 10:47 AM
  #13
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Everyone,

Thank you for all of your helpful suggestions for other places to visit--I intend research them all further. You have also convinced me that spending more than 3 nights/days in Venice would not be too much.

TDudette, thanks for explaining the vap stops on Murano--I think we might be more interested in the museum, so that's good to know.

I'm sure I will ask for more recommendations on dining, etc. once we firm up our itinerary.
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