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10 Best Day Trips from Bologna, Italy

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Are you planning to visit Emilia Romagna Italy? If you want to find out which are the best day trips in Emilia Romagna, you’re just in the right place! Most visitors come to the region and stay in Bologna. But there’s much more in Emilia Romagna than Bologna! Find out which are the best day trips from Bologna Italy from a local! We will be covering the best day trips from Bologna by train, as well as specific topics for those who’re searching for the best day trip to Ravenna from Bologna, or a day trip from Bologna to Cinque Terre!

10 best day trips from Bologna Italy

So, what are the 10 best day trips from Bologna Italy? Honestly, since I’m located in the region, it’s really difficult to choose places and rank them. Especially when we speak about the best day trips in Emilia Romagna region. I love every city in the region so I can’t pick. Therefore, the items on the below list are sorted randomly.

If you’re looking for the best cities to visit in Emilia Romagna within day trips from Bologna, you’ll find everything in our post. We’ve also highlighted the best day trips from Bologna by train, and a day trip from Bologna to San Marino. Also, you’ll find tips for a trip to Ravenna from Bologna too!

As you may know, Bologna is the capital city of the Emilia Romagna region in Italy. The city is located just an hour’s drive from the east coast and halfway between two important Italian cities, Milan and Florence.

Getting to Bologna is really simple since the international airport connects Bologna with many major European cities. Also, thanks to the train lines, day trips from Bologna by train are really easy to plan.

If you’re in Bologna you want to discover the city first, since there are many beautiful things you can explore! Being the home of the world’s oldest university, Bologna has much to offer for history and culture lovers. Foodies won’t regret visiting Bologna either, since the city is called the culinary capital of Italy.

1. Piacenza

piacenza

Piacenza is definitely one of the best day trips from Bologna Italy, especially if you’re looking for a city that’s really off the tourist radar. One of the best cities to visit in Emilia Romagna for great food, beautiful historic center, and cute activities around the town.

If you’re looking for the best day trips from Bologna by train, Piacenza is definitely a good pick, since you can arrive from Bologna in about 1.5-2 hours without changes! Piacenza is a beautiful hidden, yet not hidden town in Emilia Romagna that’s also really close to Milan. It’s just 53 minutes away from Milano Centrale train station.

The beauty in the fact that Piacenza is not that famous for tourists is that the city is still really authentic and untouched. You can visit a handful of landmarks in the city, such as Palazzo Gotico on the main square of Piacenza, Piazza dei Cavalli. Also, you should visit two of the most stunning churches in the city, the Duomo di Piacenza and the Basilica di Sant’Antonino.

Additionally, don’t forget that Piacenza is a city in Emilia Romagna, and as such, great food here is guaranteed! Try some local dishes like the Panzerotti al Forno, Pisarei a Faso, or Anolini, but don’t forget the three most famous cold cuts that are made in the province, the Coppa, Pancetta, and Salume from Piacenza!

2. Parma

Another highlight for the best places to visit in Emilia Romagna! The beautiful city of Parma, that’s one of the best day trips in Emilia Romagna, but also one of the best day trips from Bologna by train. Parma is about an hour away from Piacenza, being just an hour away from Bologna by train. It’s really easy to travel to Parma, and the experience is unmissable anyway!

Stunning churches, rich history, colorful streets, and amazing food, that’s all Parma! This city is less packed with tourists compared to Bologna, but lately, it has started becoming a very popular tourist destination, since people start to appreciate smaller towns with great food instead of sophisticated crowded cities.

Touring the historic center of the city, while stopping by at the Cathedral of Parma, the baptistery, and some other important spots, like the Teatro Regio opera house, that’s something incredible! Then, you must visit the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory for the world’s no 1 parmesan cheese, and the Prosciutto di Parma (ham) factory. Make sure to do an Aperitivo in the city and eat as much cheese and cold cuts as you can!

3. Reggio Emilia

reggio emilia

Reggio Emilia is smaller, not really visited the town in the region of Emilia Romagna, Italy. This is another option for the best day trips from Bologna Italy, and also one of the best day trips from Bologna by train. Reggio Emilia is a great half-day stop if you’re traveling through the region, and it’s located between Modena and Parma.

When you’re visiting Reggio Emilia, make sure to visit the beautiful square of Piazza Fontanesi. Then, learn about the city’s history at Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, and stroll down to Piazza Prampolini. Also, make sure to stop by at a local salumeria, and sample and buy some tasty local cold cuts and cheese!

If you’re in the area, and you’re looking for some great outdoor activities, consider a hike at Pietra di Bismantova. It’s a stunning piece of the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy. The Pietra di Bismantova is a characteristic mountain of the Reggio Apennines, standing lonely in the middle of fields and beautiful green lands. You can do an easy hike to the top, as well as do via Ferrata or rock climbing here! Some great activities to do here if you’re looking for the best day trips in Emilia Romagna!

4. Modena

We’re not even close to the end of our list of the best day trips in Emilia Romagna, so here’s another of the best cities to visit in Emilia Romagna, Modena! If you’re planning to visit Emilia Romagna, Modena is always a must-do! A medium-sized city that’s only half an hour away from Bologna by train.

The three main reasons to visit Modena are culture, food, and cars. Don’t forget that one of the most famous opera singers in the world, Luciano Pavarotti was born in Modena, and he also lived in the city. Then, there’s the famous Aceto Balsamico, the most famous balsamic vinegar around the world. And not to forget that Modena is the home of Ferrari as well.

If you’re planning to get lost between delicious dishes, check out the restaurants like La Francescana or Trattoria da Ermes. Then, if you’re into sports cars, make sure to visit the Enzo Ferrari Museum, but you can also sign up for a Ferrari driving experience at the Modena Autodrome!

5. Ferrara

Ferrara is one of my personal favorite, but also the best day trips from Bologna Italy. This beautiful town is definitely one of the best day trips in Emilia Romagna! Ferrara is located about 48km north of Bologna. If you’re not planning a trip all the way down in Emilia-Romagna, but you’re visiting Bologna, and you’re looking for great day trips, Ferrara is one of the best choices.

You can discover in Ferrara’s historic center a mix of medieval Italy and the Renaissance. Walking down the beautiful street of Via delle Volte will actually feel like you’ve traveled back in time. All the area of Via delle Volte is a labyrinth of beautiful medieval streets to get lost on.

You must also see the main square of Ferrara, the Piazza Trento e Trieste, where you’ll see the gorgeous Ferrara Cathedral, as well as the Loggia dei Merciai, the city hall and the beautiful bell tower, the Torre dell’Orologio. In Ferrara, the Castello Estense is also a must-see! You can’t see Ferrara without seeing that!

While you’re in Ferrara, Italy, you must try the most popular local dish, the Cappellacci di Zucca with tasty ragù. One of Ferrara’s specialties, that’s basically a larger size of stuffed pasta with pumpkin. It’s delicious, and one of the best places to find it is Osteria degli Angeli. All in all, Ferrara is definitely a place to visit in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

6. Ravenna

Ravenna

Ravenna is another great option if you’re looking for the best day trips from Bologna Italy! If we’re looking at the best cities to visit in Emilia Romagna, we can’t ignore Ravenna. It’s located on the eastern coast between San Marino and Bologna. So if you’re planning a day trip to Ravenna from Bologna, you can easily do it also by train.

Ravenna served throughout history as an extremely important city for many different empires. Thanks to this, Ravenna has several historical buildings of which some are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The architecture and mosaics of the Byzantine Era, but also its location and rich history make Ravenna really popular for visitors.

Moreover, you can also visit the tomb of the creator of the Italian language, the writer, Dante Alighieri. This alone gives everyone a great reason to visit Ravenna, but if this wouldn’t be enough, the Ravenna Marina is also a wonderful coastal resort, so a perfect place for those seeking beach, sand, and sea. This is one of the best beaches in Emilia Romagna.

7. Rimini

rimini

If you’re looking for the best day trips in Emilia Romagna on the coast, then Rimini is one of the highlights for this! If you visit Emilia Romagna, you must know that Rimini is the most famous for its beaches. Also, if you’re looking for the best day trips from Bologna by train, you’ve got a direct train going to Rimini!

Rimini, the 2000 years old beach town also great for those interested in culture! You can visit the Tiberius Bridge, that’s one of the oldest and most beautiful Roman bridges to find. Also, you can visit the Arch of Augustus, the Roman amphitheater, and the Piazza Tre Martini.

During the Medieval Era Rimini was blooming, and this resulted in some other great landmarks that you can now visit, such as the Malatesta Temple, Piazza Cavour, and the Sismondo Castle. Don’t miss the neighborhood of Borgo San Giuliano either, and the food! Try some local seafood dishes, white truffles, porchetta, and rabbit meat – if you like it.

8. San Marino

San Marino

One of the best day trips from Bologna Italy is definitely San Marino. The autonomous country is a great destination if you’re seeking something really unique and breathtaking. To plan a day trip from Bologna to San Marino you can also choose the train, but you must change a few times, so if you don’t have a car, the buses can be the other option.

In San Marino, the castle is located on the top of the hill, and you can explore three 11th century towers on it. The Guaita tower is the oldest and most famous one. Cesta tower is on the highest peak, and it’s hosting a museum with over 1500 medieval weapons. Then, there’s the third, the Montale tower which is the smallest one, and this isn’t open to the public either.

There are other great things to explore in San Marino of course, such as the National Museum that hold a collection of over 5000 artifacts. Also, you should visit the Basilica di San Marino, and the unusual option, the Torture Museum in San Marino.

9. Cinque Terre

cinque terre

Beyond the best places to visit in Emilia Romagna, if you’re looking for the best day trips from Bologna, Cinque Terre is definitely a must-do! For those who are looking for the best day trips from Bologna by train, and a day trip from Bologna to Cinque Terre, I’ve got some good news! Though it’s not close to Bologna, and you will have to change trains to arrive in Cinque Terre, it’s absolutely doable.

Since the five towns of Cinque Terre, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are really close to each other, you can see them all within a day as well. By train, the distance between the towns is about 5 minutes. This makes Cinque Terre a perfect destination for those who are looking for a day trip from Bologna.

While Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Manarola, and Corniglia are more about the fascinating towns, and the beautiful sea views, Monterosso has large beaches, so it’s always great to visit this as the last one if you’re in the area during the summer. If you can start your trip from Riomaggiore, heading through the 5 towns, you can arrive in Monterosso and spend the afternoon on the beach relaxing after a day of sightseeing.

10. Verona

10 best medieval cities in Italy - Italy Best

There are many reasons to visit Verona, and one of them is that Verona is one of the best day trips from Bologna by train! The story of Romeo and Juliet feels like it’s all around the historic center. Verona has the most charming and romantic streets downtown to wander around for hours.

Colorful buildings that are preserved beautifully, and squares that will make you fall in love. Visit the Piazza Bra, where the 2nd largest well-preserved amphitheater of the Roman Empire is still standing. Then, head to the fascinating Piazza delle Erbe, and stop by for a drink to admire the square.

Right near the Piazza delle Erbe is the famous House of Juliet, where you can enter, you can touch Juliet’s breast for good luck in love, and you can stand on the iconic balcony, to wait for your Romeo. While visiting Verona, you must see the famous Ponte Pietra, that’s been damaged in WW 2, and the Castelvecchio. And, we’re still not done! There’s one place in Verona that’s offering an incredible view over the historic center of the town from Castel San Pietro! Verona must be on your Italy bucket list!

Wrapping up the 10 best day trips from Bologna Italy

After living in this region for more than a year now, I must say, that if you’ve ever thought that it’s not worth visiting Emilia Romagna, you couldn’t be more wrong! This is the region I fall in love with every morning when I look out my window. When it comes to visiting Bologna and planning the best day trips from Bologna Italy, I’d say go, and see as much as you can!

I hope you found ideas for the best day trips in Emilia Romagna, and now that you know which are the best cities to visit in Emilia Romagna, you’re actually ready to go! As you’ve seen, we covered also a day trip from Bologna to San Marino, as well as a day trip to Ravenna from Bologna, and a day trip from Bologna to Cinque Terre. Bologna is a super convenient destination since some of the most beautiful places in the country are located in the central-northern side of Italy and they are close to Bologna.

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