After you are done with your delightful Bologna exploration, hop on a train or a bus and visit nearby day trip destinations. There are plenty of opportunities for quick stops at charming towns and cities within the beautiful region of Emilia-Romagna.
Here are some ideas you may be interested in:
First up, please do not leave Bologna without taking the time to check out the lovely Portico di San Luca. Since it is located outside of the town center, it is often bypassed by tourists due to it’s out of the way location. However, this is one of the most unique and interesting structures in the area that is definitely worth a visit.
Hop on Bus No. 20 from the station of Via Indipendenza beside Piazza Maggiore. The bus will take you right to the doorstep of the Meloncello Arch, the starting point of the 2-mile arcade. Don’t get discouraged by the distance, it is an easy stroll throughout and the portico’s more than 600 arches will keep you company all the way. Moreover, you will be rewarded with stunning panorama of Bologna’s landscape when you get to the top.
Another interesting day trip destination from Bologna is Ferrara. Travel time takes only a little less than an hour by rail and there is plenty to enjoy and discover when you get there. Rent a bicycle and explore the city like a local. History enthusiasts will delight in cycling around the city’s medieval walls. Pedal your way uphill to get to the top or take a more leisurely pace along the sidewalks to fully explore the site.
Other must-see attractions include the city’s magnificent cathedral or the Duomo, the green expanse of Piazza Ariostea, and the Este Castle whose drawbridges, moat and towers will inspire fairytale references. Also, take snapshots of the city’s popular landmarks which include Palazzo Prosperi, Volto del Cavallo, and Piazza Municipale, among others.
Ferrara’s many charming cafes and restaurants are the perfect spots to rest your weary feet and observe the beautiful Italians going about their day. If you are up for a bit of shopping, head to Via Mazzini and Via Garibaldi to hit the shops. However, if you are more into flea markets rather than expensive Italian brands, then Saturday is your lucky day when Piazza Trento-Trieste is transformed into an open-air market where antiques, clothes and fresh produce are sold depending on the vendors’ theme for the week. If you love candies, then you should be here when the same piazza becomes candy haven – this happens at least one night a week so be sure to ask which night. Love fruits and fresh produce? Then, don’t miss a visit to Ferrara Frutta where you can find some of the best local produce in the area.
Ravenna is another popular destination from Bologna, with a distance of about 50 miles separating both cities. Getting to the area is easy, you can take the train or the bus but if you are in a hurry, you can also take the plane if you don’t mind the hefty price tag.
The city is meant to be explored on foot because walking around is the best way to discover many lovely bars and cafes along the way. Try not to miss a visit to the impressive Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo where you will find not only a handsome facade but also a treasure trove of splendid Mosaics displayed indoors. The churches of Sant’Apollinare in Classe and Basilica San Vitale are also home to more wonderful mosaics and worth a visit.
Fan of Dante’s Inferno? Then take a half-mile stroll from the Basilica to visit Dante’s Tomb. Finally, those who love to shop will delight in the city’s many small yet charming shops where great finds await you.