Excursions from Bologna: the best day trips around Bologna

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Bologna is a city full of attractions, museums, parks and home to many cultural and musical events, film reviews and concerts, organized practically all year round. Not only, the Emilian capital rises in a strategic position, from which it is easy to move towards medieval villages of great charm, natural parks where you can rediscover the wildest nature, but also amusement parks where you can enjoy the sun and swimming pools, as well as relaxing and welcoming seaside resorts.

Here are what they are the best day trips to do around Bologna!


  1. Dozza
  2. Monteveglio and the Park of the Abbey of Monteveglio
  3. Brisighella
  4. Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi and Abbadessa
  5. Rocchetta Mattei
  6. Marina di Ravenna
  7. Mirabilandia amusement park
  8. Ravenna
  9. Ferrara
  10. Modena
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Dozza

Dozza is located south of Bologna and is included in the ranking of the 100 most beautiful villages in Italy. What makes this place unique is the urban art that has invaded entire palaces, old houses, buildings and streets: Dozza is a village of medieval origins that over time has become an open-air museum.

Walking through its narrow and historic streets means walking into an art gallery, full of murals and colorful works by internationally renowned artists. In the historic center to visit is the Rocca Sforzesca, built in the th century, where you can enter to visit the Rocca Museum, or a series of sumptuous rooms in which the noble Malvezzi and Campeggi families lived, such as the bedrooms, the living room, the sitting rooms, the kitchen and prisons. Unmissable is also theRegional Enoteca, located in the basement of the Rocca, where it is possible to follow a real journey of taste, with wine tastings and typical dishes of Emilia Romagna.

  • Range: 35 km
  • by car take the E45 (40 min). By public transport, take bus 101 to Toscanella and change to bus 147 to Dozza (2 h, average cost € 4,00) - Get directions
  • village that can always be visited / Rocca Sforzesca 10: 00-18: 00 / Regional Enoteca 9: 30-13: 00 and 14: 30-19: 00
  • free village / Rocca Sforzesca € 5,00

2 - Monteveglio and the Monteveglio Abbey Park

Monteveglio today is a fraction of the Valsamoggia, located on the Bolognese Apennines. The village has very ancient origins, it seems that the first human settlements date back to the Neolithic. One of the most interesting buildings to visit is the large one Abbey of Santa Maria, dating back to the Romanesque era, which extends over three levels, of which the most interesting part is the crypt, located in the basement. To learn about the historical events of Monteveglio, we recommend a visit to the castle tower, which houses a small museum, with finds and documents of the time.

Furthermore, nature lovers near the village they will find the Park of the Abbey of Monteveglio, almost 900 hectares wide, in which to walk various paths in the name of adventure and history. From the park you can enjoy a beautiful view of the vineyards and gullies that surround this place, a bringer of relaxation and serenity, far from the urban chaos.

  • Range: 28 km
  • by car take the SP 569 (30 min). By public transport, take bus 94 to Bazzano (ticket cost € 2,00), and then bus 656 to Monteveglio (ticket cost € 1,50). Total travel time 1 h 10 min - Get directions
  • village that can always be visited / Abbey of Santa Maria 6: 30-12.00 and 15: 00-19: 30
  • gratiuto village / Abbey of Santa Maria € 3,00

3 - Brisighella

Another village included in the ranking of the most beautiful in Italy it is undoubtedly that of Brisighella, of medieval origins located one hour from Bologna. The village rises between the mountains and its charm is visible even in the distance, with its historic stone buildings that peek out in the middle of the green of the woods and suspended on chalky pinnacles.

Visits to the Clock Tower are not to be missed, built in 1290, at the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monticino, where a sacred image in terracotta from the 600th century is venerated, and at the well-known Rocca built by the Manfredi family in the told the relationship between man and the mineral typical of these areas. If you happen to be in these parts in June, you could attend Brisighella Mediovale 300, a historical re-enactment event that involves the entire village.

  • Range: 68,4 km
  • by car take the E 45 (1 h). By public transport, take the train to Ancora and get off at Faenza (40 min, € 4,00), from here continue by train to Brisighella (€ 2,20), total travel time 1 h 30 min - Get directions
  • village that can always be visited / Rocca di Brisighella 10: 00-12: 30 and 15: 00-19: 30
  • free village / Rocca di Brisighella € 3,00

4 - Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi and Abbadessa

On the first hills surrounding Bologna there is a karst area of ​​great interest: the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi and dell'Abbadessa. Inside it is possible to engage in different types of excursions, choosing from a variety of itineraries in nature.

Usually the paths are to be done on foot and are not particularly difficultMoreover, in some cases, given the presence of asphalted roads, it is possible to travel by mountain bike. Among the main attractions to visit are the Spipola cave, discovered in 1932, which can only be accessed with a guided tour, and the Spipola dolina, a karst cavity with a diameter of 700 meters, the largest in the Park.

From the Miserazzano plateau, however, you can enjoy a magnificent view over the Savena valley and among the most suggestive natural formations there is the Buco delle Candela, that is a series of vertical furrows on the rock wall, originating from the action of the stream.

  • Range: 12 km
  • easily accessible by car (25 min). By public transport, bus 19 to San Lazzaro Municipio, then bus 126 to Falcone (50 min, € 1,50) - Get directions
  • until sunset
  • free

5 - Rocchetta Mattei

Rocchetta Mattei is definitely one of the most eclectic buildings in Italy. It is nestled in the hills of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, at an altitude of about 400 meters above sea level. It was built during the nineteenth century, at the behest of Count Mattei, a self-taught doctor, a scholar of homeopathy, who wanted to develop his searches.

The architecture of the Rocca is the result of the meeting of a series of styles, from Gothic to medieval, passing through Moorish details. What you will find inside the Castle will leave you amazed: hippogriffs guarding the entrance, gnomes in the shape of caryatids and then huge stairs, oriental-style courtyards, large colored rooms that evoke distant countries, as well as a large area where it is the courtyard of the Alhambra in Granada was rebuilt.

  • Range: 52 km
  • by car take the Strada Statale Porettana 64 (1 h). By public transport, train Bologna Centrale-Porretta Terme (1 h 15 min, € 5,40) - Get directions
  • Saturday and Sunday, winter 10: 00-15: 00, summer 9: 30-13: 00 and 15: 00-17: 30
  • full € 10,00, reduced € 5,00

6 - Marina di Ravenna

Ideal destination to be reached especially in the summer. Bologna is also beautiful for this reason, even though it has no outlet to the sea, it is quick and easy to reach the famous Riviera Romagnola. Marina di Ravenna is indeed a well-known seaside resort for tourism, full of clubs, shops, cultural and musical events and obviously characterized by a long and beautiful beach.

Very relaxing is the walk on the marina, where you can enjoy excellent fish dishes, perhaps at sunset time. Also interesting is the visit to the National Museum of Underwater Activities, the only one of its kind in Italy. While for pure fun it is better to focus on the nearby park of Mirabilandia, full of water attractions, swimming pools, rides suitable for both children and adults.

  • Range: 90 km
  • by car take the A14dir and then the E45 (just over 1 hour). By public transport, take the train to Rimini (ticket cost € 7,90) and then get on the Marina Traghetto (ticket cost € 1,50), total distance 2 h - Get directions
  • city ​​always accessible / National Museum of Underwater activities can be visited by appointment
  • city ​​free / National Museum of Underwater Activities € 2,50

7 - Mirabilandia amusement park

Opened in 1992, it is the largest amusement park in Italy, located near the city of Ravenna. Mirabilandia is the dream of children and adults: many water games, swimming pools, attractions of all kinds, artificial beaches, are available every summer for thousands of visitors.

During its existence the park has seen constant change, with the arrival of new attractions with a futuristic flavor; this is the case of the Thai Master, a double track on which you can travel wearing virtual reality headsets.
Designed for families with children instead is Bimbopoli, the area full of attractions and activities dedicated to children, with the classic carousel of horses and the roller coaster suitable for children aged 3 and up, fast and safe.

The huge park is equipped with all the necessary services to spend a dream vacation, in addition to guaranteed fun, there are numerous restaurants, refreshment areas, shops and lots of greenery.

  • Range: 88 km
  • by car take the A14dir and then the E45 (1 h). From Bologna Station, train to Rimini (ticket cost € 7,90) to Ravenna, from here take bus 176 to Mirabilandia (ticket cost € 1,30), total travel time more than 2 hours - Get directions
  • opening at 10:00, closing time from 18:00 to 22:00 according to the month and the single days. Consult the official website
  • adults online € 19,90, at the ticket office € 35,90; children up to 140 cm online € 19,90, at the ticket office € 29,90, children up to 100 cm free. Consult the official website

8 - Ravenna

Another famous and popular resort on the Romagna Riviera, Ravenna is also one of the oldest cities in Romagna. Of uncertain origins, it seems that a long time ago it was similar to Venice: surrounded by water and accessible only by sea. Over time the city was a very important cultural and artistic center and several testimonies today still tell its story. Having a day to discover the city at its best we recommend a private guided tour with access to the monuments!

Among the most beautiful buildings to visit there are the octagonal-shaped Basilica of San Vitale, where you can admire splendid mosaics and breathe a very special oriental air. Even the splendid mosaics of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia will leave you amazed: a starry ceiling inside a seemingly empty space. Furthermore, in Ravenna there is a bit of Florence: a visit to Dante's tomb is not to be missed, whose remains have been preserved by the Franciscans against disasters and wars.

In the summer period, it is useless to repeat that you will find long beaches and bathing sites where you can enjoy the sun and relaxation, without neglecting the excellent fish cuisine that you will find in every corner of the city.

  • Range: 80 km
  • by car take the A14dir and then the A14dir (1 h). By train you need to travel to Rimini (ticket cost € 7,90) and get off at Ravenna (1 h) - Get directions
  • city ​​always open / Basilica of San Vitale and Mausoleum of Galla Placidia every day 9: 00-19: 00 / Dante's tomb every day from 10: 00-18: 30
  • city ​​free / cumulative ticket € 10,00 (including Sant 'Apollinare Nuovo, Neoniano Baptistery, San Vitale, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Museum and Archiepiscopal Chapel)
  • Ravenna: private guided tour with monument access Ravenna: small group tour of the best mosaics and highlights

9 - Ferrara

Ferrara is the city known for being the political and cultural center of the Renaissance, a period in which it knew its maximum splendor. If you don't want to travel by public transport, private guided tours from Bologna are organized, including transport.

Certainly one of the most interesting places in Ferrara is his historical center, practically intact and little changed over time, here a visit to the Estense Castle is inevitable, built in the early 1300s for defense purposes by Nicolò II d'Este. Another important symbol of the city is the Cathedral of San Giorgio, with its splendid white marble facade. Walking through the medieval-looking streets of the city, you will also come across the splendid frescoes of Palazzo Schifanoia, created precisely to chase away the boredom of Alberto V d'Este. If, on the other hand, you have a more spiritual soul, you must go to the Monastery of Sant'Antonio in Polesine, where in the morning you will listen to the singing of the Gregorian mass of the cloistered nuns.

If you want to relax surrounded by greeneryFinally, the advice is to go to the Giorgio Bassani urban park, a vast green space near the Po.

  • Range: 48,5 km
  • by car take the A13 (50 min). By public transport, direct train Bologna-Ferrara (ticket cost € 5,00, 25 min) - Get directions
  • city ​​always accessible / Estense Castle Wed-Mon 10: 00-18: 00 / Cathedral of San Giorgio Mon-Sat 7: 30-12: 00 and 15: 30-18: 30, Sun and holidays 7: 30-12: 30 and 15: 30-19: 30 / Palazzo Schifanoia Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 30 / Monastery of Sant'Antonio Mon-Sat 9: 30-11: 30 and 15: 15-16: 45
  • city ​​free / Estense Castle full € 12,00, reduced 10,00 / Ferrara Cathedral free, Monastery of Sant'Antonio in Polesine free offer / Free urban park
  • guided walking tour among the treasures of the city 2 hours private guided tour from Bologna

10 - Modena

Another city rich in history and art of Emilia Romagna, not far from Bologna, is Modena. Visiting it means go to a place where cuisine, tradition and culture have met for a long time.

In the center, or in Piazza Grande, one of the first buildings to visit is the Duomo, famous for its 86 m high bell tower, called Ghirlandina, among the most beautiful in Europe, so much so that it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here it also arises another symbol of the city, the Town Hall, with a seventeenth-century appearance and that you can visit inside. Part of Modena's identity is also its history linked to the car manufacturer FerrariIn this regard, a visit to the Enzo Ferrari Museum is very interesting, where films, photos and various exhibitions will make you retrace the origins and success of this great entrepreneurial reality.

  • Range: 47,4 km
  • by car take the A14 / E35 (less than 1 hour). From Bologna Central Station, direct regional train (20 min, ticket cost € 3,85) - Get directions
  • city ​​always accessible / Duomo every day 7: 30-12: 30 and 15: 30-19: 00 / Town Hall Tue-Sun 9: 00-18: 30 / Enzo Ferrari Museum every day 10: 00-18: 00
  • free city / Cathedral of Modena and Ghirlandina and Palazzo Comunale € 6,00 / Enzo Ferrari Museum full price € 16,00 reduced € 14,00
  • Modena: food tour and tastings From Bologna and Modena: wine tour with lunch

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