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The Emilia-Romagna capital, located in northern Italy, Bologna, is positioned between Venice towards the north and Florence towards the south.
Even with having rich culinary experience, exotic historical landmarks, and relaxing and lively environs, tourists still overlook Bologna on their usual route from Venice to Rome via Florence.
It is an irony that there are a lot of things you can do in Bologna, i.e., from exciting fun tours to historical towers. It is an excellent base for you to explore various scenic attractions in the area. Once you get here, we guarantee that you will love the blend of grittiness and elegance, as well as the delectable fresh pasta.
So, let’s take a look at the best day trips from Bologna!
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Table of Contents
Top Day Trips from Bologna, Italy
The city of Venice has never lost its charm even after 600 years, which is why it is so much loved for a romantic getaway. Venice welcomes more than 20 million tourists and 56000 residents per year.
At first, the city may not look large because it is the cluster of several boroughs. There is an area which has 118 islands in the major districts, known as Sestieri. The major sights and monuments are located in Castello, Dorsoduro, Cannaregio, Santa Croce, San Polo, and San Marco. Some of the prominent islands to visit here are San Francesco del Deserto, Torcello, Murano, and Burano.
The capital of Tuscany, Florence, is the artistic, architectural, and cultural marvel in Italy with a population of more than 366,500 residents. Florence attracts tourists all year round. Large numbers of tourists flock to the landmarks like Duomo di Firenze, even in extreme weather. Experience the warm weather in Florence in April before it turns to humid and hot in the city.
When warm weather starts, the outdoor seating becomes available in cafes and restaurants. Don’t like the crowd? Get here in January and February when it is calm and serene with day trips from Bologna by train. It gets scorching heat in August, and most shops are closed during this month.
Next on your day trips from Bologna is Parma, which is known for the famous ham, Prosciutto di Parma, and manufacturing of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. You will find the living epitomes of Romanesque architecture in its historic center, including the cathedral built in the 12th century, which is full of impressive frescoes.
Palazzo del Governatore is the Governor’s Palace built in the 18th century. It has an exotic façade as well as a bell tower where you can witness the marvelous astronomical clock. It falls on the same rail route as Modena, and it is located only 50 to 70 minutes from Bologna.
You can stroll at Ducal Park and visit Ducal Palace, which was built in the 16th century and which is decorated with exotic frescoes. Parma is known for some of the cool wine bars, food markets, and restaurants to enjoy local food and visit a top opera house and museums.
The Eternal City, Rome is the largest city and capital of Italy and the Lazio region. It is a well-known city for the Seven Hills, the Roman Empire, the Vatican City, La Dolce Vita, and the Three Coins in the Fountain. It has been the center of culture (being one of the greatest civilizations ever in the world), power, and religion for a millennium, and it had a significant influence across the world in its existence, which lasted roughly 2800 years.
UNESCO has declared its historic center as a World Heritage Site. It has millennium-old churches, exotic palaces, substantial romantic leftovers, ornate statues, lavish monuments, and grace-worthy fountains. Rome has a vibrant cosmopolitan environment and historical heritage. So, it is one of the most visited, influential, popular, and exotic capitals in Europe and the world.
It is also a haven for the shoppers and has ever-growing nightlife for the tourists, making it the fascinating Bologna day trip. It is well known as the fashion capital in the world as you can spot some of the oldest clothing and jewelry shops in Italy.
Modena is officially known for balsamic vinegar. Well, there is another reason to visit as it was the location of Master of None Season 2, where the first couple of episodes were shot. After a quick train ride for 30 minutes, you can stop by Acetaia di Giorgio, one of the closest vinegar manufacturers to the city center. You can take a taxi, or it is a 30-minute walk from the station.
It is much like a family-run undertaking. Here, families have been making vinegar for generations, and they pass on the tradition to the next generation. The vinegar is aged at the Acetaia in wooden barrels for 12 to 25 years. Some of the vinegar moves between different barrels, and it is a time-consuming process as it evaporates year by year.
Located north of Bologna, Ferrara is a Renaissance town covered by the walls which you may like to walk around or ride a bike. This picture-perfect castle dates back to the 14th century, and it rules the historic landmark. There is a cathedral built in the 12th century, which is a blend of Gothic and Romanesque styles.
There are stunning 13th to 14th-century frescoes at the Church of Sant’Antonio in Polesine. The Este family ruled the city from 1208 to 1598. It became a hub for the arts under them. It is also the best place to bike or walk or sit in a café. It is located only 20 to 45 minutes from Bologna by train.
Also known as Five Lands, Cinque Terre combines five coastal and small villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Monterosso located in Liguria region of Italy. All of these villages are listed on the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Its serene landscape is the major attraction of the town. Mediterranean trees and herbs grow atop the hills spontaneously to the water level. You will love the human activity of the ancestors on the wine terraces, as well as the magnificent scenery of nature.
You can explore the crazy and endless work of transportation in the past where all the massive stones were carried on women’s heads and men’s shoulders. The whole stone-wall network was estimated to be built in around 200 years.
The total length of this wall has been calculated to be similar to the Great Wall of China. As a tourist, you will love the scenery here, hike on the paths, walk through the towns, and enjoy the serene and local environment.
Verona is the place where the famous playset play set by William Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” took place. It is located an hour of distance from Venice, but it is still admired as the most pleasant, relaxed destination to explore. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 due to its urban architecture and structure.
The Roman Empire has taken over Verona in the First Century AD. It preserves the ruins of the Roman era, especially the Arena, in the same way as the Colosseum of Rome. However, a lot of its medieval landmarks dated back to over 800 years ago.
If you are a history lover, Verona has an excellent opportunity for you to explore the transformation of Western European art from Medieval to Renaissance styles, with its opulent art museums and churches which were built in the 12th century.
The city also has fortifications and a magnificent castle thanks to the military importance of Verona under the Austrians. Here, you can explore the architectural landmarks of Scaligeri, who ruled this city from 12th to 14th centuries.
The Leaning Tower is what Pisa is known for. However, visitors who get here already expect to see only the Tower and miss other artistic and architectural gems of this exotic city.
There are several interesting shops, sights, and restaurants awaiting you from a half hour long walk from the train station to the Campo Dei Miracoli or the Field of Miracles. Walk the streets to explore Pisa as it is very small, and you can cover the whole atmosphere on your day trip.
Pisa wouldn’t be such a magnificent city without the University. The city is flocked by the students who hold shows, parties, and events, and the central street has been decorated at night. There are 60000 students in the University of Pisa, and the city has a population of over 100,000 residents.
Officially known as the Republic of San Marino, the city of San Marino is one of the oldest republics in the world and third smallest state in Europe, followed by Monaco and Holy See City. It was founded by Marinus, a Christian stonemason in 301.
You can witness two of the three towers by buying Red Card that costs just €4.5. You can see one of these towers with the yellow card which costs only €3. On the third tower, there is no entrance. The narrow streets have no lack of surprises when you walk along with the city. The walkways wind down and up the hills in a beautiful way.
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Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.