Driving from Assisi to Venice - must sees?
July 22, 2022 9:57 PM   Subscribe

We're going to be renting a car in Assisi and driving up to Venice over the course of a week in early October, but otherwise have no itinerary for this stage of the trip. What small towns/sites/ experiences are (relatively) on the way North to Venice, and can't be missed?

(We're skipping Florence on this trip as we have both already been!) Thank you!
posted by egeanin to Travel & Transportation around Italy (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's been a long time since I did exactly this, but I would definitely go to Ravenna for the mosaics. And to Urbino for the Palazzo Ducale. And to Bologna, which is not a small town, but it is a wonderful town. I liked Padua too. Maybe you are thinking of even smaller towns, and I do remember finding Chioggia charming.
posted by mumimor at 11:40 PM on July 22, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Gola del Bottaccione 1.5km = 1 mile NE of Gubbio on route SR298 is the site where Alvarez et al. first discovered the platinum+iridium layer at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary which was taken as evidence that a meteor had finished off the dinosaurs 65mya. The Chicxulub impact crater was discovered in Yucatan later. Gubbio is nice too, but only 45 mins from Assisi, so too early to stop for coffee?
posted by BobTheScientist at 3:48 AM on July 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Consider staying in and exploring the Po Delta
posted by vacapinta at 4:38 AM on July 23, 2022

Best answer: We just did a similar trip. We went to Gubbio and Urbino (pretty hill towns), San Marino, Ravenna for the mosaics, and Bologna. All of these places were great — the food in Bologna was sooo good. I don’t know if you have time for it but we also went up to the Dolomites (stayed in and did some hiking from Ortisei) which was awesome.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:09 AM on July 23, 2022

I once did this trip and the most memorable mini-adventures were just spontaneously stopping in random towns in the hills that caught my attention. Amazing meals too.
posted by Jon44 at 8:49 AM on July 23, 2022

Best answer: So you will be travelling through the region of Emilia-Romagna, which is one of the important culinary regions of Italy. Foodstuffs include Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Parma ham, traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena and Reggio Emilia, Culatello salami, and tagliatelle and tortellini pasta. The regional capital is Bologna, a city where you can try many of these and which is also regularly voted the most lovable Italian city. It is a lovely city, with nearly 40 miles of porticos helping make it much cooler than many italian cities in the summer. You should try the ragu with tagliatelle, which is as close to spaghetti Bolognese (because Bolognese see!) as they will allow you to ask for. It's rich and many restaurants in the city will serve it so easy to find. There are also a bunch of historical deli style shops where you can pick up high quality food & drink to eat at their outdoor tables or take away. Look in the lanes around the main square. Seriously, it is one of the great culinary cities of the world.

Site wise, you will want to see the pair of leaning towers, the main square and fountains in the centre, there is also a church, the sanctuary of San Luca, on the edge of town which you can walk to via a long (2 mile) portico, but it's quite uphill and you might not fancy it. There is a bus service if you are not driving.
posted by biffa at 3:01 PM on July 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Please don't miss the Scrovegni Chapel (known as the Arena Chapel, built on the site of a Roman Arena) in Padua, site of a fresco series by Giotto that is immersive, as all the walls and the ceiling were frescoed by Giotto. The subject of most of the frescoes is the life of Christ and the life of Mary, except the back wall, where the Last Judgement reminds you of your miserable fate as you exit, if you stray from God. It's an incredible experience, and is part of a complex of artworks in Padua that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It's a small chapel, built as a private chapel for the Scrovengi family, and won't take more than an hour, so it can easily be part of a travel day, but I would not miss it. Giotto's frescoes are magnificent, and this sounds like an idyllic itinerary at an ideal time of year. I've been there several times and Giotto's frescoes remain a highlight of the many incredible works of art I've seen in Italy.
posted by citygirl at 3:47 PM on July 23, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The suggestions above are all great: Bologna is a wonderful city, with lots of things to do in summer. Don't miss Sotto le Stelle del Cinema which I used to volunteer for. And the food is just the best.

If you prefer your towns slightly smaller, then Mantua is very attractive, as is Modena. Ferrara, Ravenna and Parma are also nice, each with its own contributions to literature, gastronomy, art, architecture, history. There are some nice little hillside towns in the hills to the south-west of Bologna and Modena, offering beautiful vistas.
posted by fregoli at 6:09 AM on July 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I nearly mentioned the outdoor cinema. Our first day in Bologna we got to the square and saw the huge screen. I checked the Italian listing and used my meagre Italian skills to work out they were showing Once upon a Time in the West. Could not have been more excited, huge screen, presentation from people involved in the making of the film, so good. Worth getting there early to get seats, getting a table at one of the surrounding cafes and bars probably best option if you can.
posted by biffa at 6:20 AM on July 24, 2022

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