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Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

Houston, TX
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Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

My husband and I have been to Italy 6 or 7 times and have seen so many lovely things. In October we plan another trip, starting in Venice and then heading down to Tuscany. I'm thinking about stopping in Bologna on the way and taking side trips to Parma and Reggio Emilia. Are they worth a driving trip, rather than just training to Sienna and picking up a car there? What's the incentive, other than the wonderful food? Thank you for your help.

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

Everything I learned about them, I read in my guidebook with some additional online research. I'm surprised your guidebook has nothing on them - well worth it, in my opinion.

I adore Bologna - it is a beautiful Medieval city studded throughout with the stunning porticoes. Fascinating history, museums/galleries galore, etc

I suggest reading up on them to decide if they will be of interest to you. It was more than worth it to me. Whether it is for you, I don't know how anyone can say.

St Paul, MN
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2. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

I went on 2 day trips to Bologna.

Here is a google map with sights to see in Bologna marked. See if the sights appeal to you.


When I stayed in that area I did not visit Parma.

I visited Ferrara and Ravenna.

Bergen County, New...
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3. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

I haven't been there in eight years. But before that vacation visit, I went to Reggio Emilia four times on business-their huge, operating replica of a Baroque theater, for at least a week each time. I very much like the town, and hope it is still the same. You will never meet anyone there speaking English at a restaurant, or carrying Rick Steve's "Italy". We did meet a German tourist at a cafe once.

It's big enough to have plenty to do in a city way, but small enough to have a small-town feel at Passeggiata time. The food is extremely good, I remember the best pizza I've every had anywhere in the world, let alone in Italy. It's also close to Bologna and even Florence if you need one more museum or restaurant in the other place.

I did not do the Parmiggiano Reggiano trail, but presumably that would be interesting. We always stayed at a family run, but fully modern hotel called the Scudo D'Italia, which had a family restaurant (dinner only??) on the first floor. The town has a weekly market (or did) that was superb, with competing Parm Regg. dealers, as well as everything else.

I'm sure you don't need more than three days there, however. I remember about 20 years ago that the NY Times Magazine mentioned that there were some worldwide art theft rings centered there. I don't know anything about that!

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4. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

On our day trip to Parma from Bologna last May, we had the best meal of our trip at La Forchetta.

north carolina
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5. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

It's like everywhere else, it's not worth anything unless you are interested. We consider Parma and Bologna to be significantly different from other places in Italy and well worth the time to see them. Study your guide books.

Newton, MA
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6. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

We honeymooned in Emilia Romagna region in 2001 and returned for our 10th anniversary in 2011, mostly because the food is so fantastic. Bologna is an absolute must-do for foodies. Insanely excellent food scene, plus the university is one of the world's oldest and the architecture stunning.

Parma is also the home of Parma ham and Parmiggiano Reggiano. A feast for all senses also with marvelous art and architecture.

I've never been to Reggio Emilia, but other cities in the regions are amazing: Ferrara, Modena, Ravenna, to name a few.

Bologna is a major rail hub. You do not want a car there (about 30 Euros to park in the city for the day and you can't drive in the historic center). All of the other cities I mention are also easily accessible by train.

All of these places are real Italian cities, not tourist places.

It is very hard to find a good guidebook with coverage of this region. Cadogan used to publish a guide but no longer does. But you'll find good tourist board sites by each city online.

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7. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

The Emilia Romagna tourist website is pretty useful. It includes themed itineraries for walks around Bologna.


I agree that detailed guide books for Bologna are thin on the ground. We have used 3 different ones to try and get decent coverage!

8. Re: Bologna, Parma and Reggio Emilia worth the trip?

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