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Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

Pennsylvania
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Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

I am giving myself 3 weeks in a designated small walkable Italian city with easily manageable day trips via public transportation - in October.

I had 2 weeks in Verona last year, happily loved every minute. Verona happened quite by accident; beyond Shakespeare, I'd known nothing about it. The size, the walkability, the sites and sights were perfect for my wishes. I walked about ten miles every day. I have had the same experience with Nice.

I was in Florence for six days as many years ago and had planned to spend my vacation there again this year. Due to lost luggage for five of the six days, some of that trip is a blur. Do have a hotel booked. However, I have seen a number of less than enthusiastic posts on the Florence forum re Florence being too crowed, too touristy, not for a longer stay... and I am suddenly wondering if I should look elsewhere. I will be 70 in October, traveling solo; am not interested in renting a car; like having an easily accessible airport.

And so I thought I would ask if there are any such Italian cities I have overlooked or if the Florence naysayers should be ignored.

Grazie.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

I also was reluctant about going to Florence due to seeing similar messages. However when I did go to Florence last year I really enjoyed it. The warnings about it being crowded and touristy are largely true, but there is plenty to see and the historic centre is relatively small and walkable. The truth is that you don't really know whether you are going to like a place until you go there yourself. If you are looking for alternatives, I would recommend Lucca, which is less crowded than Florence, and close to Pisa and Pisa Airport. It is also near enough to Florence to do a day trip there.

Edited: 12 March 2013, 00:27
New York City, New...
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2. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

Have you been yet to Bologna? Wonderful medieval city; adored it and you can easily travel to towns/cities not that far - i.e., Parma, Ferrara, Modena - well, look at a map and, if you have not yet been, you might want to check it out. I don't care for Florence (the art yes, the city, no) - obviously, all personal tastes. I fell head over heels when I finally made it to Bologna last year - so much great energy, lots of students, some incredible museums and, again, easy to get to some great places to explore.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

Or maybe Lucca. Easy to get to Florence by bus or train should you wish, but a lovely, liveable town of a size where there are enough restaurants, shops and so on to keep you in food and meals, a big market, several charming squares, several very good museums and stunning churches.

I haven't been to Bologna, but we also loved Parma. We stayed in a very convenient B&B and marvelled at the art in the churches, the old wooden theatre inside the fortresslike palace that led to an excellent local art gallery that even had a Leonardo. Several other churches, the baptistry, really, really good food.

Pennsylvania
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4. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

Thank you.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

Another vote for Lucca or have you considered Rome ?

Munich, Germany
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6. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

I would have said Bolzano as something completely different although the weather in October in this region can be iffy (although I've driven around there in late Ocotber in bright sunshine.

UK
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7. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

Lucca is a lovely city but in October it hosts the Comic and Games Fair which this year runs from 31st October to the 3rd November. In the weeks leading up to the event the city is taken over as they cover piazzas and public spaces in white tents. Bologna would make an ideal base for three weeks as tourists make less of an impact there than at Lucca and it's junction on the railway system enables day trips to many places. Just make sure there is no large convention being held at the same time as hotel prices rocket and rooms are snapped up early.

Pennsylvania
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8. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

I am now spending a thoroughly rain-soaked morning looking at Bologna. Realized that by fast train Florence is very close. Again, thanks for your responses.

Florence, Italy
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9. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

dear friend, my first answer is do ignore and go on with Florence, which is there waiting to be loved, after your first experience. But my second, and easy, answer is Lucca. Same reasons why you liked Verona you'll have there. Look if you find, here on this same forum not many months ago, some interesting post about Lucca. have a wonderful trip, in any case. bye.

Brussels, Belgium
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10. Re: Throwing this "where to go question" to the winds

Siena isn't such a good base for travelling out of, but it's a lovely city. Venice is highly walkable and October would be nice there. Bologna isn't exactly a small walkable city.. but nearby you have Parma, Mantova and Ferrara, which are...