For the next day of our excursion, we rented cars from Budget to wander the countryside. I don't really recommend working with them- they were really slow with the check-in, and they didn't give any options for changing the reservation once it was made. Otherwise there were no issues with the rental.
So we headed out to the cities west of Bologna- Reggio Emilia, Modena and Parma. I don't know if it was my headache (which came and went all day), the fact that riding in cars makes me sleepy or what, but I just didn't enjoy this bit of the trip as much. Of the 3 cities, I like Modena the most, though we didn't spend very much time there. We got into the city center, parked in an area where we weren't supposed to, moved the car, and then wandered briefly. The highlight was Mercato Albinelli, an adorable covered market with all sorts of foodaliciousness. They had all sorts of bakeries, charcuterie shops and vegetable stands, and it was all in the middle of town. The main reason why I like Modena was that it was the prettiest of the 3 cities that we stopped in, but like I said, we just didn't spend a lot of time there.
After leaving Modena, we went to Reggio Emilia, which was not our favorite city- it was very small and we didn't find anything that really interested us that much. We ran into a traveling crap fair (lots of clothes for 1 Euro, etc) that seemed to follow us from city to city, and we had a mediocre lunch of pizza (all I could find), but then we headed out again after less than an hour. At least there was free parking:).
The next stop was Parma, which I think would have been a much more interesting city except by this point my head really hurt and I was ready just to curl up and sleep. They do have several interesting churches (the Duomo is pretty, and the Baptistry looked interesting, but we didn't go in). The city was clean, and they make Parma ham- I don't know how you could go wrong?!
After wandering about in Parma for 1-2 hours, we headed home (I slept). I went to bed early in hopes that my headache would be gone in the morning!