My husband and I find ourselves with 3 full unplanned days between our flight into Milan and the start of our rental in Lucca. We would like to leave Milan(been before) and move somewhat toward Tuscany. Husband is a foodie and I like churches and museums so we compromise. Besides Florence, any suggestions? What about Cremona, Parma, Modena, Bologna? If we went to Cinque Terra (also there in Sept 2006 but happy to go again), is it especially rainy there in mid May? If so, what is possible as a day trip from 5 Terra if rained out of hiking? Thank. Judy Y
CRemona is a beautiful city. You can visit the Stradivari museum
http://musei.comune.cremona.it/PostCE-display-ceid-17.phtml Bologna is my favorite city , it's worth a visit. In milan did you already visited San Bernardino alle ossa ? It is a very particular chuch , maybe a quite macabre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Bernardino_alle_Ossa
I'm one of the few who didn't like Bologna, but if you're interested in food, it's certainly worth a visit. My two most memorable meals were at Trattoria da Gigina (on the outskirts, but easily accessible by bus or taxi) http://www.trattoriagigina.it/ and Trattoria Gigina (in the center, no website, make reservations as it's very popular). I liked Cremona and Parma a lot, and found Modena interesting too (it's smaller). I'd certainly like to revisit all of them. In Cremona, I remember the past stuffed with pumpkin; I called it a "dessert pasta," in the manner of a dessert wine, as it's really sweet (and delicious). The other local specialty I tried was donkey stew - not as memorable.
All good choices. If you decide to stay over in Bologna, Parma and Modena are easy to reach; if you love churches (especially mosaics), Ravenna is a little further and worth the time; I would even suggest an overnight there, but the historic center is very compact and you can see a lot in a day. Take the city bus (if you don't have a car) to Classe for another important church, Sant'Apollinare in Classe - the other two are San Vitale and Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, in Ravenna proper.
Thank you for the quick response. We will look at Parma and Modena, I think. Perhaps Cremona. We spent 3 days in Ravenna on our last trip. The 3 churches you mentioned were wonderful, especially the mosaics at San Vitale. MY special interest in art history really made me appreciate their beauty. Judy Y