Hi all, I'm planning an 8 day trip to Northern Italy - flying into Venice on 10 April, and leaving on the 19th. I've arranged for a rental car. What shall I do?!
My initial thoughts are to include cities like Treviso, Verona, Bologna, Modena, and/or Parma. I'm looking for elegant small cities, where I can walk to most places in the city center, and with a buzzing aperitivo and dining scene. I'm not after Michelin places, but local trattoria and mom and pop shops instead.
Treviso seems obvious for at least one night since I arrive quite late at Venice airport (8PM), and this is close by and seems wonderful.
Afterwards I'm thinking of finding a base near Parma, as from what I've read that seems closest to my wish of an elegant small city with a buzzing food scene. From there I can do day trips to the other places. I don't have to get to know each city inside out, so I'd be happy with just a lunch in Modena for example. Also not really interested in doing food tours.
I also want a few days rest and relaxation somewhere in the countryside of either Piemonte, or near the coast of Rimini. Since it's springtime Piemonte seems more obvious because I'm not going to do any swimming in this weather. I've found a nice place near Dogliani, and it seems perfect for some food shopping, cooking, and occasionally eating out.
Of the smaller cities mentioned, which deserves the most time? Is Parma really the gem other reports make it out to be? I don't have to know the entire dining scene of for example Bologna inside out, so that's not really a concern in terms of base.
Any reasons to prefer the Rimini coast over Piemonte in April? Or perhaps even go to Perugia and surroundings?
Have I missed some obvious jewels? Lake Garda for example?
How would you plan an 8 day trip in April?