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Old 05.08.2010, 17:47
Nev
 
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Bologna and Ravenna

Planning a few days there next week. Taking the train. I'm really going to see Ravenna and the legacy of Theodoric and his goths. Anybody familiar with either cities able to offer any inside scoop on what not to miss? My first time in either place.
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Old 06.08.2010, 09:50
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Re: Bologna and Ravenna

Bologna is a gorgeous city. I lived there for one very happy year and go back occasionally to visit.

Personally, I like:

The Santo Stefano basilica
The pilgrims' walk to San Luca (begins inside the city and leads you out and up to San Luca - Sancutary of the Madonna - in the neighbouring hills)
The covered market in the centre of town
Restaurant Diana (fancy, expensive meal)
Mea Culpa (delicious, inexpensive meal)
Gelateria Gianni
Hotel l'Orologio

Have a great trip!
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Old 06.08.2010, 12:06
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Re: Bologna and Ravenna

I concur about Bologna. The Torre degli Asinelli and Basilica di San Petronio are often crowded but nice to experience. And the restaurants at the Piazza Maggiore outside the Basilica were okay. But I haven't been there since 2007.
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Old 06.08.2010, 18:48
Nev
 
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Re: Bologna and Ravenna

Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 12.08.2010, 18:49
Nev
 
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Re: Bologna and Ravenna

Just returned from our trip. Here 's some feedback.
Emilia Romagna makes for a great three day break and is easy doable by train. From Montreux to Bologna took us just over 5 hours of hassle free travelling via Milan. The High speed rail links make a big difference. Milan to Bologna was around an hour.

Having never been to the area, as well as being a great place in it's own right, I didn't realise what a good hub Bologna is for sightseeing. If you base yourself there, Ravenna, Verona, Venice, Parma and Florence are all between 45 mins to 1.5hrs away if you use the high speed intercity trains - so no need to hire a car.

From Bologna, we made day trips to Ravenna and Ferrara by train. The 6th century buildings and mosaics at Ravenna were spectacular. With 8 Unesco World Heritage buildings, for me, Ravenna ranks as one of the best historical sights in Europe, along with Carcassonne in France. I went with very high expectations. All I can say is Ravenna exceeded them. Blows away anything you'll see in places like Venice, Florence or Siena. We visited the Church of San Vitale (which includes the Mausoleum of Galla Placida), the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and the Arian and Neonian baptistries - all within easy walking distance of each other. And Ravenna itself is such a pretty town that it's a pleasure just to walk the streets or sit in the Piazza del Popolo with a glass of Prosecco. The centre is only a 5 to 10 minute walk from the station.

Ferrara was also a delight. The fresco ceilings in the Castello Estense were fabulous and alone made the trip worthwhile. The Cathedral interior is one of the best examples of Baroque I've seen. We only went for a half a day so we missed out the many palaces.

One word of warning. If you go to Bologna, August is holiday season for the locals and a lot of them vanish to the coast or the hills. On the upside, all the sights are open and you have the city practically to yourself. No need to reserve a table. On the downside many boutiques are closed if shopping is your thing, but the big shops are open. Don't get me started on the food. There's none better. Try the cotoletta alla bolognese!

Edit: the best place we ate in was the Drogheria della Rosa. Very intimate, very special atmosphere. 80 Euros for two with a bottle outstanding wine at around 20 Euro included. Prosecco handed to you as you sit down without asking. The pan fried guinea fowl was out of this world.

Last edited by Nev; 12.08.2010 at 19:32.
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Old 13.01.2011, 10:27
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Re: Bologna and Ravenna

Quote:
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Just returned from our trip. Here 's some feedback.
Emilia Romagna makes for a great three day break and is easy doable by train. From Montreux to Bologna took us just over 5 hours of hassle free travelling via Milan. The High speed rail links make a big difference. Milan to Bologna was around an hour.

Having never been to the area, as well as being a great place in it's own right, I didn't realise what a good hub Bologna is for sightseeing. If you base yourself there, Ravenna, Verona, Venice, Parma and Florence are all between 45 mins to 1.5hrs away if you use the high speed intercity trains - so no need to hire a car.

From Bologna, we made day trips to Ravenna and Ferrara by train. The 6th century buildings and mosaics at Ravenna were spectacular. With 8 Unesco World Heritage buildings, for me, Ravenna ranks as one of the best historical sights in Europe, along with Carcassonne in France. I went with very high expectations. All I can say is Ravenna exceeded them. Blows away anything you'll see in places like Venice, Florence or Siena. We visited the Church of San Vitale (which includes the Mausoleum of Galla Placida), the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and the Arian and Neonian baptistries - all within easy walking distance of each other. And Ravenna itself is such a pretty town that it's a pleasure just to walk the streets or sit in the Piazza del Popolo with a glass of Prosecco. The centre is only a 5 to 10 minute walk from the station.

Ferrara was also a delight. The fresco ceilings in the Castello Estense were fabulous and alone made the trip worthwhile. The Cathedral interior is one of the best examples of Baroque I've seen. We only went for a half a day so we missed out the many palaces.

One word of warning. If you go to Bologna, August is holiday season for the locals and a lot of them vanish to the coast or the hills. On the upside, all the sights are open and you have the city practically to yourself. No need to reserve a table. On the downside many boutiques are closed if shopping is your thing, but the big shops are open. Don't get me started on the food. There's none better. Try the cotoletta alla bolognese!

Edit: the best place we ate in was the Drogheria della Rosa. Very intimate, very special atmosphere. 80 Euros for two with a bottle outstanding wine at around 20 Euro included. Prosecco handed to you as you sit down without asking. The pan fried guinea fowl was out of this world.
Great report--thanks for the details! I missed the update until now.
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