Bologna -- 5 May to 8 May

Old Apr 3, 22, 3:55 am
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Bologna -- 5 May to 8 May

A few FTers will be in Bologna from Thursday 5th May to Sunday 8th May. Why not join us?

Official flights are
BA542 LHR-BLQ 05May 14:35
BA539 BLQ-LHR 08May 14:00

of course the best seats have been taken already ;-)

The plan is: eat lots of great Italian food. We'll figure out the details closer to the time.

Chain hotels are a bit thin on the ground, but there are plenty of smaller options in town. I'm staying at the Phi Hotel.
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Old Apr 3, 22, 4:25 am
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see you there :-)

Originally Posted by Calchas View Post

of course the best seats have been taken already ;-)
I don't think I am sitting next to you on this trip though ;-)
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Old Apr 3, 22, 7:46 am
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Ill pop by if Im still in Italy at the time. I dont know yet where Ill be that weekend so put me down as a maybe.

Ive been lucky on all my arrivals into BLQ this year in that Ive been in row 1 and first in line for the passport queue. Once last year we landed just after another flight and it took ages to get through. They usually let British passport holders use the egates (and then stamp manually) on a BA arrival. So it was odd when I arrived into BLQ on Royal Air Maroc and the egates rejected me!

When going back to the UK be aware that the lounge is landside and you therefore have to go through security and passport control after the lounge. Theres a security channel in the lounge that is sometimes open. When its not open you can use the regular fast track.

Being landside Ive been able to use the lounge (with a lounge pass, not with my arriving boarding pass) on arrival at the airport while waiting to be picked up (or one time waiting for the queue for the train, which you can see from the lounge window to go down). Thats been quite handy as I often get picked up from the airport but the flight times are not always the most convenient.

The Marconi Express train from the airport to the main station is something of a joke. The trains are tiny, the train shakes about when its moving and despite it being driverless space is wasted for a massive drivers compartment (with a nice comfy looking seat). Theres been massive queues for it so it might be worth considering a taxi. You can pay with contactless on the barriers like the tube in London so dont pre-purchase tickets for it. You might get there see the queue and change your mind.

Hotels: when some friends came over in 2020 they booked the Hotel Corona dOro through BA holidays. It was actually the cheapest option at the time (perhaps the name put people off!) but was a very nice little hotel. Theres nothing Hilton in the whole region! For IHG theres a Holiday Inn but its not central.
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Old Apr 3, 22, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
A few FTers will be in Bologna from Thursday 5th May to Sunday 8th May. Why not join us?

Official flights are
BA542 LHR-BLQ 05May 14:35
BA539 BLQ-LHR 08May 14:00

of course the best seats have been taken already ;-)

The plan is: eat lots of great Italian food. We'll figure out the details closer to the time.

Chain hotels are a bit thin on the ground, but there are plenty of smaller options in town. I'm staying at the Phi Hotel.
Damn! The exact timings of my next trip. Could have done it but hopefully next time.
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Old Apr 3, 22, 8:54 am
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I stayed at the Corona Doro in Oct 2020. Very central and walkable to most sites / restaurants.

I took a taxi to/from the airport
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Old Apr 3, 22, 9:04 am
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Great tips!
The Corona D'Oro has certainly recovered its prices now but it looks gorgeous.
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Old Apr 3, 22, 9:18 am
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Originally Posted by SaveECRewards View Post
The Marconi Express train from the airport to the main station is something of a joke. The trains are tiny, the train shakes about when its moving and despite it being driverless space is wasted for a massive drivers compartment (with a nice comfy looking seat). Theres been massive queues for it so it might be worth considering a taxi. You can pay with contactless on the barriers like the tube in London so dont pre-purchase tickets for it. You might get there see the queue and change your mind.
Agree - the train carriages are tiny - what were they thinking?! Was wondering if it was going to come off the rail at one point. 9 for 7 minutes also felt a little punchy.
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Old Apr 3, 22, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by polochick View Post
Agree - the train carriages are tiny - what were they thinking?! Was wondering if it was going to come off the rail at one point. 9 for 7 minutes also felt a little punchy.
It only opened in 2020 so they cant even use the excuse that it was built at a time when the airport was smaller and less busy. The only explanation that anyone can think of is that it was a dodgy contract where they massively overpaid for something thats built on the cheap. It was even worse when it first opened and they tried to enforce social distancing. The only positive is the trains can be doubled up (but Ive never seen that happen yet).

Its a shame its so bad as Bologna is a great starting point to explore Italy by rail and Id highly recommend it if you want to stay a bit longer. The high speed Frecciarossa trains have an executive class which has service levels more typical of first class on a plane. Theres only 8 seats, a dedicated host and a decent wine list. Even on the 35 minute trip to Florence I managed a main course with wine. The other classes are business (more like a typical train first class), premium and standard. There seems to be no limits to what you can have (obviously subject to availability)
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Old Apr 3, 22, 9:44 am
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We are going tomorrow for a week and hopefully using it as a base to do a few day trips by train.

We will be staying near the station, is it easier to just take a taxi from the airport for 3 of us?

We are thinking maybe a day in Venice, and maybe a day or two in a couple of other nearby cities, maybe Florence. Can we buy train tickets on the spot or do we have to book in advance? Are tickets reasonably priced? Thank you!

Oh, also any recommendations for good trattoria/casual eating places for good pasta? Not fancy but nice!
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Old Apr 3, 22, 10:05 am
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Join Date: May 2018
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Originally Posted by benjai View Post
We are going tomorrow for a week and hopefully using it as a base to do a few day trips by train.

We will be staying near the station, is it easier to just take a taxi from the airport for 3 of us?

We are thinking maybe a day in Venice, and maybe a day or two in a couple of other nearby cities, maybe Florence. Can we buy train tickets on the spot or do we have to book in advance? Are tickets reasonably priced? Thank you!

Oh, also any recommendations for good trattoria/casual eating places for good pasta? Not fancy but nice!
Its cheaper to prepay for train tickets. Theres two operators of high speed trains. Trenitalia has the Frecce high speed trains with Frecciarossa being the fastest and the only one that offers the four class service I mentioned. Private open access operator Italo offers a good service but less frequent, prices are often lower.

One thing I did notice in 2020 was Italo sometimes mentioned promotions on their Italian site that werent on their English site.

If you can afford it I really recommend Executive class on the Frecciarossa.

Also have a look at Interrail passes for Italy. They can be quite cheap. Theyre for people who are not resident in the country theyre travelling in. So as I now live in Italy I got a UK Interrail pass for 8 days first class for around 350 which is great for me on my next trip to the UK. Note: Interrail isnt valid in executive class. The first class Interrail maps to business class on the Frecciarossa.

I cant think of specific recommendations in Bologna as I dont live in the centre but when I have eaten in the centre Ive not been disappointed. The hotel will probably be able to point out some places nearby. Ive yet to encounter places that try and rip tourists off.
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