|Subject: Re: Northeast Italy - advice, please|
Verona is certainly a wonderful city, with just about all the criteria you require. The main
drawback might be that it is very touristy. And you would be there during the opera season,
when performances at the Roman arena attract many thousands. For me, this would be an advantage;
I don't know about your interests, and I don't know how much the crowds would bother you.
A few years ago I spent a wonderful week in Ravenna, and you might want to consider it. It is readily accessible by train, not too far for trips to Venice, San Marino, and other wonderful places. The city itself is small enough to be easily handled on foot, but large enough to have the amenities you would need. Its restaurants are excellent.
I don't know about apartment rentals in Ravenna, but you can easily check that out online. I stayed in the Hotel Byron, centrally located, inexpensive, and (very important in July) air-conditioned.
And if you like old churches, no city I know has a greater concentration of them. And they are truly old, dating back in many cases to Byzantine times, with what are widely considered the most beautiful mosaics in Europe. There is an ancient Roman tomb on the outskirts of town (but close enough to walk there) as well.
Ravenna is not usually terribly crowded, since most tourists visit on day trips rather than staying overnight in the city. As a result, prices tend to be a bit lower than those in the more usual tourist haunts.
BTW, I agree with you about Lucca. It is a delightful and beautiful city, much under-appreciated by most tourists.
Ron Audet Fredericksburg, VA (Near Washington, DC)