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Help Needed Trying to choose between basing in Arezzo or Modena - which city do you prefer?

YoPhilly

New Member
After studying Italian off-and-on for several years - and losing much of my fluency due to non-use - I'm planning a 2-week immersion course in Italy, followed by a third week of traveling from a different base city. For the language school, I like the ones in the small cities of Modena and Arezzo. I haven't been to either town, although I've spent time in several towns near Arezzo. From your experience, which town would you prefer if you had 2 weeks there? (Keep in mind this would be October/November - not ideal weather, but that's the time frame that works for me. And all my travel will be via train or bus.)

For example, if I do the school in Modena for 2 weeks, I could do some afternoon/weekend exploring in nearby towns of Parma, Mantua and Ferrara by train/bus. (I've already spent time in Bologna.). Then, for my third week, what other town would be a good base for speaking solely Italian?

Conversely, if I school in Arezzo, I'd be visiting many of the towns in Tuscany and Umbria in which I've previously stayed - and enjoyed - so that certainly wouldn't be a hardship. Maybe the third week could be based in Emilia-Romagna, since I'd only been to Bologna in that region.

Any and all suggestions are most welcome. Thanks for your input.
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
I like Modena because of all the car manufacturers in the area. I've visited them all, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani, however, if that is not important to you, I think Arezzo is a better choice. This is assuming the language schools are equal.

As a third week base, how about Lucca?
 

YoPhilly

New Member
I like Modena because of all the car manufacturers in the area. I've visited them all, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani, however, if that is not important to you, I think Arezzo is a better choice. This is assuming the language schools are equal.

As a third week base, how about Lucca?
Thanks for responding, NoSpin. I don't have any particular interest in visiting car manufacturers; I'm happy enough to appreciate those fabulous Italian designs on the street! Why do you prefer Arezzo?

As for my third week, I've already spent time in Lucca, Siena, Orvieto, Firenze, Bologna, Verona...
 

jan

100+ Posts
I have spent time in both Modena and Arezzo and would prefer Modena. The train connections to so many fabulous ER towns is just part of the reason. Food and wine is the primary reason. For you, I would get a feel for the language schools and base my decision on that.
 

YoPhilly

New Member
I have spent time in both Modena and Arezzo and would prefer Modena. The train connections to so many fabulous ER towns is just part of the reason. Food and wine is the primary reason. For you, I would get a feel for the language schools and base my decision on that.
Thanks for your input, Jan. I was leaning toward Modena for the same reasons, especially the very good train connections. Whenever I visit Italy, I base myself in one region and explore many of the small towns nearby. Except for a short visit to Bologna, I'm a novice when it comes to ER, and I'm eager to visit. What small towns would you recommend for day trips?
 

jan

100+ Posts
#1 Parma! Lovely. The baptistry is one you have likely seen in photos. Nice pedestrian zone, too.
#2 Dozza is a small town filled with public art. Really worth a day trip although we had a car to get there.
#3 Mantova/Mantua Although it is in Lombardia, not ER, Mantova is moody and gorgeous.
#4 Reggio Emilia--another very characteristic Emilia town where it would be easy to spend a day walking around.

That should get you started. ;)
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
Thanks for responding, NoSpin. I don't have any particular interest in visiting car manufacturers; I'm happy enough to appreciate those fabulous Italian designs on the street! Why do you prefer Arezzo?

As for my third week, I've already spent time in Lucca, Siena, Orvieto, Firenze, Bologna, Verona...
I actually prefer Modena because it is close to Maranello. I own a couple Ferraris so I always visit the factory when I'm there. I recommended Arezzo because there are some very nice small towns to visit such as Montepulciano and Pienza. Of course, there are nice small towns all over Italy! :) If you need a recommendation of an apartment in Montepulciano, let me know and I can look up where we stayed. I got the reco from someone on this forum.

I didn't even think about transportation since we always lease a car when we're in Italy and France. If you have to take trains then I guess you have to consider that
 

YoPhilly

New Member
Thanks, Jan. I had planned to visit Parma, Mantova and Ferrara. Dozza wasn't on my radar but I've seen it mentioned on these boards a few times - I'll have to research it.
#1 Parma! Lovely. The baptistry is one you have likely seen in photos. Nice pedestrian zone, too.
#2 Dozza is a small town filled with public art. Really worth a day trip although we had a car to get there.
#3 Mantova/Mantua Although it is in Lombardia, not ER, Mantova is moody and gorgeous.
#4 Reggio Emilia--another very characteristic Emilia town where it would be easy to spend a day walking around.

That should get you started. ;)
 

YoPhilly

New Member
I actually prefer Modena because it is close to Maranello. I own a couple Ferraris so I always visit the factory when I'm there. I recommended Arezzo because there are some very nice small towns to visit such as Montepulciano and Pienza. Of course, there are nice small towns all over Italy! :) If you need a recommendation of an apartment in Montepulciano, let me know and I can look up where we stayed. I got the reco from someone on this forum.

I didn't even think about transportation since we always lease a car when we're in Italy and France. If you have to take trains then I guess you have to consider that
NoSpin, lucky you with your Ferraris! I can understand why you'd be interested in the factory. I've actually spent a week based in Montepulciano in a lovely apartment and visited Pienza from there. In fact, wandering around Pienza I happened to come upon the filming of the TV series "Medici". The entire piazza was festooned with medieval facades!
 

joe

500+ Posts
I don't know how much markets appeal to you, but the Mercato Albinelli in Modena is supposedly very recommended. During our 5 day stay in Bologna in 2018 I had put it down as a possible day trip for us, but we found enough to keep us busy in Bologna that we didn't get around to seeing this market.
 

braindoc

10+ Posts
We spent most of Wednesday in Mantova with 2 Italian friends. It is indeed a lovely, very green (parks) small city with incredible art. The Ducal palace is extraordinary.
 

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