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Feb 8, 2008 08:36 AM

Where to stay - Parma/Modena or ????

We are going to be taking a 2 week trip through Italy/France/Germany in late March/early April...currently, we have the entire trip booked except for what was supposed to be two nights in Bologna. Turns out there is some big convention the dates we would be there, so all hotels seem to be booked (we are going to be there for two nights, April 2 and 3).

So what is a good second choice to stay in the area? We have a car, so driving is not a problem...I am hoping to take a cooking class while we're in the area, just not sure where yet...we're also considering doing a culinary tour - either Parma Ham or the Balsamic Vinegars, but haven't decided yet...I would like to spend some time in Bologna as well, so I want to be close enough to drive for t he day....

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Hosteria Giusti is a restaurant in Modena which seems to rank as many Chowhounders most cherished dining experience. On the other hand, I can't remember a single post about a restaurant in Modena other than Giusti.

    We stayed in Parma for several days and we came away enthusiastic about our time there. Here's the link to my trip report for Parma:

    Incidentally, if you go to Parma, you may want to read John Grisham's recent novella, PLAYING FOR PIZZA. It's a novel about a washed up NFL player who becomes the quarterback for a NFL team in Parma, Italy. (Apparently, the existence of such a league is fact.) Much of the novel focuses on the culture of Italy and there are loving descriptions of restaurant and home-made meals in Parma. One of the restaurants mentioned in the book is Sorelle Picchi, a place I wrote about in my trip report.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Indy 67

      we ve stayed in hotel canalgrande in modena and enjoyed it there, yes eat at giust, for a more foraml dinner at fini

    2. There are plenty of hotels in Parma, probably the best is the Hotel de la Ville. This is a 5-star situated close to the centre and where you can park your car.

      If you do a gourmet tour I would suggest you try contacting

      I don't know Modena very well at all, so I can't help you there.

      1. Thanks guys...Indy, I did in fact read your trip report and it was quite helpful! I will check out the Grisham novel - could be some good reading for the plane!!

        I have also gotten in touch with Parmagolosa so I guess I'm on the right track!

        1 Reply
        1. re: tkln

          Some years ago we stayed at Hotel via Baglioni (sp?) in Parma, we had a 2 story suite with floor to ceiling windows and a sleeping loft. one of my favorite rooms of all time.
          We also ate at an incredible place called Restaurant Charlie, the Chef made us a 10 course meal with wines and a sampling of flavored mountain grappas. 4 hours of culinary bliss. We were so full we overslept and I missed my private tour of the prosciutto factory. Enjoy your trip.

        2. A suggestion perhaps not as helpful as Parma and Modena would be Lucca, farther away but not by all that much. Tuscany, yes. It's a beautiful place, a walled city with a rich food history. A perfect place for two days.

          1. We stayed outside of Parma for 6 nights this summer on a parmigiano farm! It was awesome. You don't need to book with the parma golosa tours.. You can read my report of the Country House Leoni here - they can hook you up with everything:

            Here is my blog with a review of a few of the restaurants we ate at:

            The parmigiano tour was 10 Euro's each I believe, and the prosciutto di parma tour was 15 euros each including lunch. The tours were in English. lunch.....YUM!

            7 Replies
            1. re: hornvixen

              That Country House Leoni looks wonderful! I must give it a try.

              1. re: hornvixen

                Wow...hornvixen, that place sounds great! I'm going to look into that...thanks so much!

                fgf - we are actually going to be staying in Chianti for three days prior, so we will be visiting Lucca while there!

                1. re: tkln

                  When you are in Lucca, do not miss Buca di San Antonio.

                  1. re: rrems

                    Agreed. Also, I haven't seen much mention of Osteria Miranda on this board, but it's one of my favorite restaurants in Lucca.

                    1. re: fgf

                      I'm staying in Lucca for a couple of nights. Intend to try Buca, and thanks for the rec for Miranda.

                      I'm in Bologna at The Metropolitan for 5 nights, doing day trips to Modena, Parma, and Ravenna. I'm salivating from all the wonderful resto suggestions.

                2. re: hornvixen

                  hornvixen,how long did it take you to get from Country House Leoni to your other destinations, like say, La Buca or Arnaldo's?? Im trying to sort out a trip just now to he area.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    hmmm....generally it depended because we weren't often going directly to dinner. ie. we spent the day in Modena and then went to Arnaldo's from there. That made for a long day! But it certainly not more than an hour in any direction - that is a "guesstimation"....based on getting to the destination without getting lost or parking difficulties etc. La Buca was pretty close - 30-40minutes. Arnaldo's was further.. Maybe an hour, max. We generally would go explore somewhere for the early part of the day. Then nap in the late afternoon, before heading off to dinner. Sorry these timings sound very vague.... But once there, it seemed closer than from Canada that's for sure!