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4 weeks Italy: Milan, Bellagio, Bologna, Florence (Part 1)

We did 4 weeks divided among these 4 places in Sept/October. Our accommodations were all great (Hotel Berna, Milan; Hotel Centrale, Bellagio; Albergo Centrale, Bologna; Residenza Il Villino, Florence). This was our second trip to Italy. Highlights: -walking in the Brera area of Milan -spending 5 days in Bellagio which allowed us to take a few hours at a time and explore the other lake towns but also just relax; -being in Bologna over the days they were celebrating their local Saint's Day which meant the streets around Piazza Maggiore were closed to car traffic and there were extra events in the Piazza (concerts etc); -the amazing Duomos and other churches in all of the places: Milan's Duomo; the churches of Varenna; Saint Domenico in Bologna; Basilica of St. Anthony in Padova; the Duomo in Florence at 8 am on a Sunday morning when hardly anyone was there except the souvenir stand vendors setting up; -our day trip to Padova - oh my goodness it is a lovely place with the nicest food market I have seen in Italy; plus the Basilica and walked right up without advance tickets for the Scrovegni Chapel (early October on a Tuesday morning); -staying for extended time at our destinations which took the pressure off of having to see too many sights each day; walked neighbourhoods and stopped as we wanted to; -the architecture be it churches, apartment buildings, the porticoes of Bologna; -the Oltrarno section of Florence; the Piazza della Passera with its great eating choices;
-shopping but more specifically the creativity in display windows and packaging purchases; the selection and design (I know, I am stating the obvious!);

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