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So much Italy, so little time.....

A few weeks ago, I posted here about my plans for a September trip to Italy, beginning in the Veneto and ending with a week in Bologna. I was pretty pleased with the hotels I had booked, places with good reviews by Slow Travellers.

But of course, me being me, no sooner had I finalized at least that much of my trip when I began to have second thoughts about my itinerary. Bologna? No question. I have never been, and I've heard so many good things about the city. As well, I think it'll be a great base for seeing other cities I'm interested in, especially Ravenna and Parma. I'm even beginning to look for apartment reviews for Bologna, although I haven't found any as yet. But it's good to have booked 7 nights in a decent hotel, the Hotel Porta San Mamolo, as my fall back.

But the Venice part of the trip has been bothering me. Venice is very beautiful, and although I've been twice before, I fully realize that I've barely scratched the surface of wonderful sites to see. Yet I'm beginning to doubt whether I really want to go back again, just now.

I'll admit that the expense is a big part of my doubts. Venice is so pricey. I spent time today paying bills from last month's trip to Rome, and working on my tax return (!) so I'm hyper-aware of finances just now.

In Venice, I have booked a single room at the popular Pensione Accademia, which has already billed two nights at 145 euro per night to my credit card, and the sudden appearance of a $500 bill on my Visa statement was a bit of a blow just now.

Hmmmmmmm. I'm thinking back: what made me wish to visit Venice this fall, anyway? Some things were set: I knew I would have 2 weeks for this trip, and that Bologna would take at least a week. That left one week open. I've wanted to see Padua and Verona. So, if I was in the Veneto anyway, wouldn't it make sense to spend 5 nights in Venice?

That was my rationale. Now, it's sounding a bit flimsy. When I first devised my plan for this trip, I had thought I could return to La Calcina, a great small hotel where a single is about 100 euro. But they are full, as are many other recommended smaller, less expensive B+Bs and hotels. I've been looking at Venice apartments, but even studios look quite pricey.

Meanwhile, I've been thinking a lot about Florence. I really love Florence, and I miss it a lot! I've visited there 3 times, twice for a week each time. But the last time I visited Florence, two years ago, I had taken my elderly Mom. She became ill on our second day in Florence, so we didn't really get to see or do very much, unfortunately.

One of the greatest reasons I love Italy is the art -- I'm wild about visiting churches and art galleries, with Florence has in great abundance. (As does Venice, of course!)

Budget-wise, it would be less expensive. I know of at least two very nice apartments, popular with Slow Travellers, that I could rent for less than 100 euro per night. This is making Florence very appealing, because of the lower price AND because I actually enjoying the holiday apartment life as opposed to hotels. (Although deciding between the San Lorenzo flat and the little Residenza Il Carmine apartment in the Oltr'arno would be a tough decision!)

And I also miss Umbria -- I really loved Perugia last June and only saw a few other hilltowns. I would return there in a flash!

Yikes! What to do? Stick with my existing plan for 3 nights in Verona, 5 in Venice and 7 or 8 in Bologna? Or maybe spend 7 or 8 nights in Florence and 7or 8 in Bologna? Or, return to Perugia for a week, then Bologna?

I need list the pros and cons for each of the various plans....HELP!

Comments (8)

http://www.ilgiardinodigiulia.com/index3.html

Venice IS pricey; sometimes I have to roll my eyes at the fact that I've fallen for one of the most expensive cities in Europe.

The link is to a budget apartment where I've stayed twice.

Another option might be to stay somewhere else in the Veneto and train into Venice. I think that's what softdrink did last year.

Good luck with the planning - remember, you can't go wrong no matter what you decide!

Zerlina:

I sympathize with your quandary…

Venice is pricey, no question, but as an art city, it rivals Florence. For my money, it outdoes Florence. Florence is, by and large, the Renaissance. Venice is everything from the Byzantine to the Baroque.

As an art city, Bologna is simply not in the same league. It’s a good central point from which to visit Ravenna and Parma, which you mention. But also Modena and Mantua and Ferrara.

Or, as the Monty Python line goes, “for something completely different”, what about Rome? I know a lot of people dislike Rome, but I personally think its perceived disadvantages – large and chaotic – are hugely exaggerated. The historic centre of Rome is almost as walkable as Venice or Florence; the Romans are more excitable than the Florentines but they’re also less aloof. And they do say “Roma, non basta una vita” (Rome, a lifetime is not long enough) for a reason…

Kim:

Relax - you can't go wrong. In September though, Venice and Florence could both be crowded still; I'd head out to Umbria.

Anne:

Hmm, where to base oneself in Italy? Oh happy dilemma!
(In fact, I had an agonizing time nailing down our choices last summer so I do feel your pain.)

I fear I can't be of any help though...I am all over the map when dreaming of where I want to stay on my next visit to Italy. One day Rome, the next Assisi, or someplace off the beaten track like Mantua...excuse me, I have to go check my lottery ticket...

Train time and ease of traveling is always one of my considerations. Bologna to Perugia is 2.58 to 3.51 minutes with a change in Florence or Arezzo. If you don't mind the longer train travel, I would probably agree with Kim and go for Perugia since you have been thinking about Umbria so much.

While in Bologna, you could do a day trip to either Florence or Verona or even both (Verona is a longer train trip though).

Where are you flying in and out of?

I really understand just what you are going through as I am in the same dilemma about one leg of my trip.

As everyone said though, you can't go wrong. They are all wonderful choices and you will be back again!

Sandra:

Girasoli, I haven't yet booked my flight...I think I do things backwards -- I always find the hotels I want, which helps me decide the cities I want to stay in (I think part of the reason I've lost a bit of interest in Venice was that I was counting on staying at the inexpensive La Calcina which was already booked!) The flights come last! Perugia is so tempting, but it can be a mistake to try to recreate what was an excellent vacation.....but as everyone says, there really are no wrong answers. Good luck with your travel planning, too!

Sandra,
If you do go to Florence there is my apartament. I lost all of my photos with an update of software but have thumbnails. I'll be going in June and have more photos.

You can email me if you want to think about it and I'll give you details.

Sandra:

Thanks, Angie, I didn't realize that your apartment was available....I had thought it was rented. I'll drop you a note soon!

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