I have just returned from spending a few days in Bologna, staying at the excellent 4 Viale Masini Design Hotel, near the Railway Station. I have seen some European hotels charge ten euros per hour for Wi-Fi but it is free and fast at the Design Hotel. A good breakfast is also included in the room price.
Bologna has excellent train connections and I was able to take the train out to Parma, Padua, Modena and Ferrara.
Padua is two hours away but Parma and Ferrara are only an hour journey and Modena is just 20 minutes.
I had visited Bologna before, but none of the others. I was most impressed by Ferrara. It's a World Heritage site and fully earns the designation. The picture is of the huge and impressive Castello Estense.
The area is flat and cycling is very popular. I had never seen an electric bike before but there were lots about. One surprising thing was that I did not see a single person wearing a cycle helmet, even in really dangerous traffic. In some countries [e.g. New Zealand] they are compulsory. I have started wearing one after someone I know suffered a serious head injury. It made me cringe to see people cycling through heavy traffic totally unprotected.
All the towns, except Bologna, had created extensive pedestrian areas that were a delight to walk through. It is not until the motor car is removed that you realise how much it spoils the environment.
Bologna has a real traffic problem, and is not doing much to solve it.
Sometimes, walking down its narrow medieval streets filled with roaring cars is like walking through a motorway tunnel; noisy, stressful and and stinking.
However, it does have the worlds best gelateria [btw - gelato is not the same as ice cream, certainly not the same as what we know as ice cream in Anglo Saxon countries].
Read this post on gelaterias in Bologna.