11 Memorable & Easy Day Trips from Bologna, Italy

Bologna, Italy at sunset

Bologna, Italy is a captivating city with a rich history, lively culture, and delicious food. There is an abundance of sights and activities to explore within Bologna itself. However, what makes it even more special is its location in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, which provides visitors with the perfect opportunity to embark on amazing day trips to nearby Italian cities.

During my visit to Bologna, I used it as a central hub for my adventures, venturing out to nearby destinations each day. The experience of discovering the surrounding areas and returning to Bologna in the evening was unforgettable. In this guide, you’ll find a curated list of the best day trips from Bologna, along with tips on how to make the most of your time in this incredible region.

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    Best Transportation for Day Trips from Bologna

    Train System in Italy. One of the best ways to take day trips from Bologna Italy to nearby cities.

    The two best ways to take a day trip from Bologna, Italy are to travel either by car or by train. Here’s a breakdown of the best way to travel using each method of transportation in the region.

    1. Italy Train System

    Trains are the best method of transportation in Italy. The train system in Italy is easy to navigate, offers numerous routes to all major tourist destinations, is affordable, and provides breathtaking scenic views along the way to each destination.

    Here are step-by-step instructions for using the train to take a day trip from Bologna to other destinations in Italy:

        1. Book a ticket for the train: While you have the option to book a train ticket on the spot at the train station, it is recommended to book it in advance. The recommended train company to use in Italy is Trenitalia.

        2. Depart from / arrive at the Bologna Centrale Train Station: The main train station in Bologna is called “Bologna Centrale.” It’s a major transportation hub located in the city center and serves as a gateway to both domestic and international train connections throughout Italy. When planning a day trip from Bologna to any other destination in Italy, booking your train trips to and from Bologna Centrale will be the best option.

        3. Tips for traveling in Italy by Train: Some important things to keep in mind when traveling in Italy by train are:

          • The schedule isn’t always accurate: Trains in Italy are notorious for running off schedule. Don’t be surprised if your train is late or even arrives earlier than the estimated arrival time. It’s best to arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time and be prepared for potentially waiting time before your train departs.

          • Make sure you’re in the right train car! In Italy, Not every train car stops at every location. It’s important to ask the conductor to confirm that you are in the right car to avoid missing your stop when you reach your destination. My friends and I learned this the hard way when   our train stopped in Calabria, but we couldn’t get off because we were nowhere near the platform. Don’t make the same mistake as we did!

    2. Rent a Car in Italy

    Red Fiat parked in Italy

    The second-best way to take a day trip from Bologna to any other destination in Italy is by renting a car. This option is ideal if you desire more freedom and flexibility with your schedule or if you plan to make stops at other destinations along the way that may not be easily accessible by train.

    Here are step by step instructions for renting a car in Bologna, Italy:

    1. Book the Rental Car: When booking a rental car in Italy, the best approach is to visit the rental car company directly and make the booking in person rather than online. In Bologna, there are several rental car companies available, and one trustworthy and reliable option is Hertz.

    2. Put all drivers on the reservation: Make sure that everyone who plans on driving submits their license and is registered to the vehicle.

    3. Important note for traveling by rental car in Italy: Be mindful of traffic laws, especially when passing through tolls. Ensure that you enter the correct lane at toll booths to avoid any issues. We learned this the hard way when we received a ticket while driving from Bologna to Florence because we accidentally entered the wrong toll lane. The toll camera captured our license plate, and the rental car company later contacted us. This is a common occurrence for many tourists, so it’s crucial to stay aware and cautious during your journey.

    1. Day Trip from Bologna to Florence

    Florence at sunset

    One of the best day trips from Bologna is to visit Florence. Florence is a popular destination in Italy where history, art, and culture come together. With iconic landmarks like the Duomo and the romantic Ponte Vecchio, many visitors consider it one of the most beautiful and charming destinations in Italy. 

    • Distance from Bologna to Florence: The distance from Bologna to Florence is approximately 97 kilometers (60 miles).

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Florence (by Train): Approx. 35 to 40 minutes. However, please note that travel times can vary depending on the specific train service and schedule.

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Florence (by Car): Approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions and the specific route taken.

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Florence: There are many things to do when on a Day Trip to Florence from Bologna. Some of the top attractions include:

    2. Day Trip from Bologna to The Tuscany Wine Region

    Picture taken when taking a day trip from Bologna to Tuscany

    Located next to the city of Florence is the wine region of Tuscany, where breathtaking landscapes, including vineyards, olive groves, and charming countryside, await. The best way to explore this region is by car, allowing you to drive through the rolling hills and easily access the region’s restaurants and other attractions.

    • Distance from Bologna to the Tuscany Wine Region: The distance from Bologna to Tuscany Wine Region is approximately 150-200 kilometers (93-124 miles).

    • Travel Time from Bologna to the Tuscany Wine Region (by Car): On average, it takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach popular areas like Chianti or Montepulciano from Bologna. However, travel times can be affected by factors such as traffic conditions and the exact location you are heading to within the Tuscany Wine Region. While it is possible to take a train to the Tuscany wine region, it is not advised as it is more economical and convenient to visit with a rental car.

    • Top Things to do on a Day Trip to The Tuscany Wine Region: The Tuscany Wine Region is vast, and you can’t go wrong with any choice you make. Here is a list of the top five things to explore in the area to inspire your visit:

      1. Explore Chianti: Visit the charming Chianti region, renowned for its picturesque vineyards and olive groves. Take a scenic drive through the countryside, visit wineries for tastings, and indulge in local culinary delights.

      2. Visit Siena: Discover the medieval city of Siena, known for its stunning architecture, including the famous Piazza del Campo and the magnificent Siena Cathedral. Wander through narrow streets, explore historic sites, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the city.

      3. Explore San Gimignano: Experience the unique beauty of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its medieval towers. Explore the well-preserved town center, sample local gelato, and take in panoramic views of the surrounding Tuscan landscape.

      4. Discover Montepulciano: Visit the hilltop town of Montepulciano, renowned for its exquisite wine production. Take a stroll through its historic streets, visit wine cellars for tastings of the famous Vino Nobile, and enjoy breathtaking views from the town’s viewpoints.

      5. Enjoy Tuscan Cuisine & Drink the Regions Wine!: While you’re in the area, stop to indulge in its famous cuisine and wine while soaking in the views. One of the best restaurants in the region for both outstanding food & wine is Osteria di Passignano.

    3. Day Trip from Bologna to Pisa

    Picture of the leaning towere of Pisa

    Pisa, known for its iconic Leaning Tower, is just a short ride away from Bologna, Italy. During a day trip to Pisa, visitors can explore the city’s vibrant streets, indulge in delicious cuisine, and experience the lively atmosphere while enjoying the views along the Arno River.

      • Distance from Bologna to Pisa: The distance from Bologna to Pisa in Italy is approximately 144 kilometers (89 miles)

      • Travel Time from Bologna to Pisa (by Train): Approx. 2 hours. However, please note that travel times can vary depending on the specific train service and schedule.

      • Travel Time from Bologna to Pisa (by Car): Approx. 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the specific route taken.

      • Things to do on a Day Trip to Pisa: The main attraction that draws tourists to Pisa is the infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, there is much more to explore in the city during your day trip! Here are the top sights to see in Pisa:
        1. Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa: During your visit, you can capture fun pictures that play with the illusion of having the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa behind you. Additionally, you have the opportunity to climb the iconic tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top. Note that advanced reservations are often needed to climb to the top of the tower.

        2. Check out the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles): Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site that houses the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

        3. Explore Cattedrale di Pisa (The Pisa Cathedral): Check out the impressive Romanesque architecture of Pisa Cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta.

        4. Wander through Pisa’s Historic Center: Take a stroll through the charming streets of Pisa’s historic center. Discover hidden gems, picturesque squares, and local shops. Also be sure to walk along the vibrant Lungarno, the street running parallel to the Arno River.

        5. Visit the Museum of the Opera del Duomo: Located near the Cathedral, this museum houses a collection of historical artifacts and artworks from the Cathedral complex. Explore the exhibits to gain insights into the history, construction, and restoration of the famous monuments.

    4. Day Trip from Bologna to Milan

    Milan Italy

    Milan is a vibrant city in Italy known for its fashion, design, and cultural heritage. It offers a blend of historical landmarks, such as the iconic Duomo di Milano, and modern attractions, including high-end shopping districts and world-class museums.

    • Distance from Bologna to Milan: Approx. 215 kilometers (134 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Milan (by Train): Ranges from approx. 1.5 hours to 3 hours, depending on the train that you take and number of stops.

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Milan (by Car): Approx. 2 hours depending on traffic

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Milan:


        1. Visit the Duomo di Milano: The top attraction in Milan is the Duomo. If you have time to see only one thing during your day trip, make it this magnificent cathedral. It boasts impressive Gothic architecture, and you can enjoy panoramic views of the city from its top.

        2. Explore Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: Located next to the Duomo, this 19th-century shopping gallery is a must-visit. Enjoy window shopping at luxurious boutiques, dine at one of the stylish cafés, and take in the stunning architecture and mosaics.

        3. Wander through Brera District: Head to the Brera neighborhood, known for its charming streets and artistic ambiance. Visit the Pinacoteca di Brera, an art gallery housing masterpieces by Italian artists, and take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque streets lined with boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafés.

        4. Discover Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper: Book a timed entry ticket in advance to see Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic mural, The Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano). 

    5. Day Trip from Bologna to Ravenna

    Picture of mosaic in Ravenna​, Italy

    Ravenna, a UNESCO World Heritage site located within driving distance of Bologna, is a city with a rich history and stunning beauty. Its captivating allure and historical significance make it a remarkable destination to explore.

    • Distance from Bologna to Ravenna: Approx. 80 kilometers (50 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Ravenna (by Train): About 2 hours, depending on which route you take.

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Ravenna (by Car): About 1 hour, depending on traffic

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Ravenna: 
      1. Explore the Byzantine Mosaics: Ravenna is renowned for its exceptional Byzantine mosaics. Visit the Basilica di San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and the Arian Baptistery to admire these stunning works of art.

      2. Visit Dante’s Tomb: Pay homage to the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri by visiting his final resting place at the Basilica di San Francesco. The tomb is a significant cultural and historical site in Ravenna.

      3.  Discover the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra: Step back in time at the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, an ancient Roman archaeological site. Explore the well-preserved mosaic floors and learn about daily life in ancient Ravenna.

      4. Stroll through Piazza del Popolo: Enjoy the lively atmosphere of Piazza del Popolo, the main square in Ravenna. Take a leisurely walk, relax at one of the outdoor cafes, and soak in the charming ambiance of the city.

      5. Visit the Museo Nazionale di Ravenna: Immerse yourself in Ravenna’s history and art by visiting the National Museum of Ravenna. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the city’s cultural heritage.

    6. Day Trip from Bologna to Venice

    Boats at sunset in Venice, Italy. Taken on a day trip from Bologna to Venice.

    Venice is an enchanting city built on a network of canals, renowned for its romantic gondola rides, magnificent architecture, and unique charm. Explore the city to discover its picturesque bridges, historic landmarks like St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere that makes Venice truly special.

    • Distance from Bologna to Venice: Approx. 150 kilometers (93 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Venice (by Train): 1.5 – 3 hours, depending on the route you take

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Venice (by Car): Approx. 1 hour and 30m

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Venice:
        1. Explore St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco): This is also known as the heart of venice. Here, you can see the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica, and climb the Campanile for panoramic views of the city.

        2. Take a Gondola Ride: One of the most famous experiences in Venice is a gondola ride through the city’s canals. These rides can be quite expensive, but there’s a way to enjoy a shorter trip and capture the iconic photo without paying a hefty price. To do this, approach a local who is crossing the canal in their gondola and ask if you can hitch a ride across. They will likely agree, and you’ll find it to be a much more affordable option.

        3. Visit the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale): This palace is a symbol of Venetian power and history. From here, you can walk across the Bridge of Sighs, and wander through its chambers and courtyards.

        4. Walk to the Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto): Cross the iconic Rialto Bridge, the oldest and most famous bridge in Venice. From here, you can enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the nearby Rialto Market, where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and souvenirs.

        5. Get Lost in the Venetian Streets: Wander through the narrow alleyways, known as “calli,” and get lost in the charm of Venice. Discover hidden squares, picturesque canals, and vibrant neighborhoods. Don’t be afraid to explore off the beaten path and embrace the city’s unique ambiance.

    7. Day Trip from Bologna to Parma

    Parmigiana cheese in Parma, Italy

    Parma, Italy is known for its rich culinary heritage, particularly its Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and prosciutto. It offers a delightful blend of historical architecture, including the stunning Parma Cathedral, and a vibrant food scene that attracts visitors from around the world.

    • Distance from Bologna to Parma: approx. 98 kilometers (61 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Parma (by Train):  30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the type of train and the specific route taken.

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Parma (by Car): Approx. 1 hour depending on traffic.

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Parma:

      1. Visit the Parma Cathedral (Duomo di Parma): Explore the Parma Cathedral, an impressive Romanesque masterpiece known for its beautiful sculptures, and stunning dome.

      2. Explore the Teatro Farnese: Step back in time at the Teatro Farnese, a wooden theater that dates back to the 17th century.

      3. Discover Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and Parma Ham: Indulge in Parma’s culinary delights by visiting local cheese and ham producers. Take a guided tour to learn about the production process, taste authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and try some renowned Parma ham.

      4. Wander through Piazza Garibaldi: Stroll through Piazza Garibaldi, the main square of Parma, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.

      5. Visit the Palazzo della Pilotta: Explore the Palazzo della Pilotta, an impressive complex that houses several cultural institutions. 

    8. Day Trip from Bologna to Modena

    Cathedral in Modena Italy

    Modena, Italy is renowned for its rich culinary traditions, especially the famous balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The city offers a delightful fusion of gastronomy, culture, and architectural beaut

    • Distance from Bologna to Modena:  Approx. 39 kilometers (24 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Modena (by Train):  20 – 30 minutes

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Modena (by Car): 30 – 45 minutes depending on traffic

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Modena:


      1. Explore the Modena Cathedral (Duomo di Modena): Visit the beautiful Modena Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

      2. Visit the Enzo Ferrari Museum: Discover the world of legendary Italian sports cars at the Enzo Ferrari Museum. Here, you can learn about the history of Ferrari and explore a collection of iconic cars, including Enzo Ferrari’s personal vehicles.

      3. Try some Balsamic Vinegar & Parmigiano Cheese: Modena is renowned for its traditional balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, making it the perfect place to indulge in these culinary delights.

      4. Wander through Piazza Grande: Take a leisurely stroll through Piazza Grande, Modena’s main square. Admire the charming architecture, enjoy a coffee at a café, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling square.

      5. Explore the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale): Visit the Ducal Palace, an impressive Renaissance palace in Modena. Explore the beautiful courtyard, admire the elegant architecture, and learn about the history of the Este family, who ruled Modena for centuries.

    9. Day Trip from Bologna to Rimini

    Rimini Italy

    Rimini is a vibrant coastal city in Italy, known for its long sandy beaches, lively atmosphere, and vibrant nightlife. With its historical sites like the ancient Roman Arch of Augustus and the Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini offers a delightful mix of sun, culture, and entertainment.

    • Distance from Bologna to Rimini:  Approx. 120 kilometers (75 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Rimini (by Train):  1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Rimini (by Car): 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Rimini:


        1. Explore the Historic Center: Take a stroll through the charming historic center of Rimini, known as Borgo San Giuliano. There, you’ll find colorful houses, narrow streets, and a lively atmosphere.

        2. Relax on the Beach: Rimini is famous for its long sandy beaches. Spend some time relaxing by the Adriatic Sea, soak up the sun, and take a refreshing dip in the water.

        3. Visit the Arch of Augustus: Explore the ancient Roman heritage of Rimini by visiting the Arch of Augustus. This well-preserved Roman triumphal arch dates back to the 1st century and serves as a reminder of the city’s rich history.

        4. Discover the Tempio Malatestiano: Check out the architectural beauty of the Tempio Malatestiano, a stunning 15th-century cathedral.

        5. Experience the Rimini Nightlife: Rimini is known for its vibrant nightlife. In the evening, head to the city center or along the beachfront promenade to find a wide selection of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. 

    10. Day Trip from Bologna to Ferrara

    Ferrara Italy

    Ferrara, Italy is a captivating city known for its well-preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture. With its charming streets, grand palaces, and a rich cultural heritage, Ferrara offers visitors a delightful blend of history and beauty.

    • Distance from Bologna to Ferrara: Approx. 50 kilometers (31 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Ferrara (by Train): 20 to 30 minutes

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Ferrara (by Car): 30 to 40 minutes

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Ferrara:
      1. Explore the Estense Castle (Castello Estense): Visit the Estense Castle, a medieval fortress with moats and towers.

      2. Stroll through the Historic Center: Take a leisurely walk through Ferrara’s well-preserved historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the Renaissance palaces, beautiful squares, and charming streets like Via delle Volte.

      3. Visit the Cathedral of Ferrara (Cattedrale di San Giorgio): Discover the impressive Ferrara Cathedral, dedicated to Saint George.

      4. Explore the Palazzo dei Diamanti: Visit the Palazzo dei Diamanti, a unique palace known for its diamond-shaped facade.

      5. Enjoy the City’s Bicycle-Friendly Atmosphere: Ferrara is known for its bicycle-friendly streets. Rent a bike and explore the city like a local, cycling through the historic center, along the city walls, and along the banks of the River Po.

    11. Day Trip from Bologna to Verona

    Verona, Italy is a captivating city renowned for its association with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. With its well-preserved ancient Roman architecture, including the iconic Verona Arena, and its charming streets lined with Renaissance buildings, Verona offers visitors a blend of history, romance, and cultural richness.

    • Distance from Bologna to Verona: Approx. 113 kilometers (70 miles)

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Verona (by Train): 1 hour to 1 hour and 3 minutes

    • Travel Time from Bologna to Verona (by Car): Approx. 1 hour

    • Things to do on a Day Trip to Verona:


        1. Visit Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta): Explore the iconic house associated with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Admire the balcony, leave a love note on the walls, and explore the courtyard with its statue of Juliet.

        2. Explore Piazza delle Erbe: Discover the lively Piazza delle Erbe, Verona’s central square. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, admire the historical buildings, and explore the market stalls selling local produce and souvenirs.

        3. Marvel at the Verona Arena: Visit the Verona Arena, a well-preserved Roman amphitheater. Explore its grand structure, imagine the spectacles that took place here, and consider attending an opera or concert during the summer season.

        4. Explore Castelvecchio: Discover Castelvecchio, a medieval fortress turned museum. Marvel at the stunning architecture, view the art collection inside, and enjoy panoramic views of Verona from the castle walls.

        5. Visit the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore: Explore the beautiful Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore, an impressive Romanesque church. Admire its intricate façade, stunning frescoes, and the crypt containing the tomb of Saint Zeno.

    Read More Inspiration for a Trip to Europe

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    3 thoughts on “11 Memorable & Easy Day Trips from Bologna, Italy”

    1. Bologna is so close to so many amazing places! I’ve done a lot of running around in the Tuscany region, and love so many of the places you’ve listed here. Great suggestions!

    2. It is such a great idea to base yourself somewhere then make day trips. It saves on the frustration of booking lots of accommodation and moving your travel gear around constantly. Plus it lets you immerse yourself in the local culture. Some great places to visit on your list.

    3. What an amazing guide to various day trips from Bologna! Each on of these day trips is an entire adventure unto itself. I’m jealous and want to go today! Thanks for putting all this detail together.

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