Virginia, one of our hosts in Verona, says that she would ‘encourage people to visit Bologna. A train company has just introduced a direct journey from Verona to Bologna. This makes the travel easier and it only takes half an hour for about €15.’
Once in Bologna journey through the longest covered walkway in the world; Portico Di San Luca. This is a famous covered walkway which today many the locals use for a running route. Traditionally this walkway was used as a pilgrimage route with some still using it as such. As they walk the route they recite the Mysteries of the Rosary and stop at the many chapels along the way. The path leads to the ‘sanctuary on top of the hill’, otherwise known as the Basilica Di San Luca. The Basilica is a stunning terracotta coloured building which houses many treasures.
To celebrate your walk to the Basilica, take a coffee break in Piazza Maggiore, the city’s main square. If you still want to explore we also suggest visiting the Basilica of San Petronio. The church has longest meridian line in the world and, at the end of it, one of the earliest depictions of heaven and hell.
Virginia also said that Soave village is ‘really nice to visit. It is a medieval time and is very famous for its white wine.’ The main attraction is the village’s castle which still has a working drawbridge and moat. The walls of the castle completely encircle the village and so to enter you must pass through some impressive gates.
Of course you can’t visit Soave without tasting Soave wine. Accompany a lunch of Bigoli or polenta with a chilled glass of white wine. Perhaps also take one of the walking routes from the town centre. Or book a tour from the village into the countryside to admire the landscape of surrounding vineyards.
Lake Garda is one of the most well known lakes in Italy spanning 51km in length. Virginia says that the lake is ‘definitely worth the trip’ despite being a bit further out. The lake is perfect for outdoor water sports such as canoeing, sailing & windsurfing. The surrounding shore line of the lakes also perfect for mountain biking and hiking.
Getting to and from the lake is easy. If you don’t have access to a car then a train journey from Verona to Desenzano would be recommended. Once at Desenzano take the short walk to the lake’s shore and catch a ferry to one of the numerous towns, we suggest visiting Sirmione.
Sirmione is one of the towns located along the shores of Lake Garda and has been a holiday destination for thousands of years. Rumour has it that the rich ancient Romans would come to this stunning town for a break from the bustling cities. The town is well-known for its thermal springs and is still a popular spa destination to this day.
The main attraction of the town is Rocca Scaligera which is a 13th Century castle. The castle is free to enter and offers stunning views of the Lake from the top of its turrets. As Sirmione is at the end of a peninsula in the lake, the castle feels as though it is entirely surrounded by water. Whilst in the town you must also visit the Grotte di Callulo. This is a famous ancient villa that is said to have inspired many an Italian poet in its time. The house cannot be missed as it is crowned with gorgeous purple flowers and on the inside there is a labyrinth of rooms to explore.
If you are looking for something more adventurous then you should definitely travel to the UNESCO heritage site of the Dolomites. Depending on what time of year you visit there is a wide range of activities on offer. If you visit during the winter, the mountains get covered in snow and are perfecting for learning to ski, or mastering your skills on the slopes. If you are visiting during the summer this would be the perfect time to trek the landscape and take in the surrounding nature. Or perhaps try your hand at rock climbing.
Feeling a little less adventurous but still want to see the view, take the cable car ride to the top of the mountains. The panoramic views from up here are absolutely spectacular.
This town, though you might not know, was at the heart of the renaissance period during its height. Leon Battista Alberti and Michelangelo were one of the many famous artists that visited and took residence in this town. This rich artistic history is ever present in the architecture and art that cover this UNESCO heritage site. Exploring this town can either be done on foot or on bike. Upon visiting the town you must see the Cathedral and admire its stunning interior as well as its unfinished pink marble bell tower designed by non-other than Leon Battista Alberti. Opposite the Cathedral you’ll find the old Ducal Palace of the Este. The Este were Ferrara’s ruling family during the renaissance period. The Palace is now home to a bustling square called the Palazzo Municipale.
Other attractions that you should visit whilst in Ferrara are Estense Castle where you can admire the detailed Frescos as well as Via Delle Volte which is the medieval part of the town and should not be missed.