When I first started researching Bologna, I had come across multiple websites/blogs that told me to venture out and take as many day trips as possible. I knew looking on the map and seeing how close these great towns were; a day trip couldn’t hurt!
I spent a total of three days in Bologna; one of which I devoted a whole day outside the city. It was hard to choose which trips to take, but I had to decided based upon a few factors. 1) How much I wanted to spend on train ticket 2) how much time I wanted to spend on a train 3) and of course weather. After an odd hour or so, I decided on two: Rimini and Ravenna. Other ones that I did look into where Parma, and Modena. You can also visit the town of Ferrara which is another popular one.
1) Rimini: Sand, Speedos and Sunscreen
Beautifully located on the Adriatic Coast, Rimini was an absolute pleasure to experience. I started my day off catching a 9:30 train from Bologna Centrale to Rimini Station. I got there around 11:00 taking the slow train.
When you get off the train and out of the station, you are greeted with a cute roundabout, tiny palms, and lush green canopies that cover the sidewalks (so different from Bologna!). With a current temperature being 24 degrees, my only goal at the time was to dip my feet in the Adriatic sea. Multiple signs point to Al Mare so it’s never a problem!
Rimini is not that big which made navigating without a map less stressful. Being Sunday, all the tourist offices were closed…no map for Charlotte. If you keep walking and following the signs to “Al Mare” You will make it to a canal that eventually leads to the water. Colourful boats line the harbor while artsy graffiti brings out the complete bohemian of this town. As I was walking toward the beach, I passed pre-teens getting set to sail their racing boats, rich Italian men spraying down their beautiful sailboats and scuba divers drying off after a morning dive.
At last you make it to the beach. Go ahead and take off those shoes you’ve been walking in for about 20 minutes now. let that “oh-so-fine” sand sink in-between your toes.
Now, stroll towards that gorgeous sea in front of you and just walk along the shore. People watch or find place to sit under a thatched umbrella. I brought an apple and protein bar for my lunch so I snacked on that after I meandered the beach for a bit.
Trying to get my picture taken was a quest in itself. There is an art to point out the most reliable picture taking person available. I’m sorry, but I didn’t want the 75 year old man in a speedo, nor the middle aged woman, arguing to her husband while her boobs hung to her hips; hammock-ed in this tiny string bikini. Oh the joys of solo travel! Ugh. At last I finally found a normal looking/acting person and got this snapshot!
There are a ton of bars, restaurants and I’m sure a kick ass night life. Seafood is commonly served in restaurants here as it is the freshest you could ever imagine.
Walking back was just as beautiful, except for the fact I stepped in a piece of fresh gum in the sand. Feeling my flip flop not flop back to my foot was gross.
From the time spent in Rimini, I enjoyed every moment of it. It made the list of favorite tiny town to visit! Check it out!
2) Ravenna: Mosaics, Mosaics…aaaaand Mosaics
It was the lady who ran my Bologna Hostel who recommended this town. According to her, It was the best. I took her word for it, and was nothing short of impressed from what I saw. Ravenna is located close to the east coast and a little north from Rimini (Which made the train ride short and cheap!). It is known as a UNSECO World Heritage Site for its mosaics.
The first few steps out of the station, it doesn’t look like much of a town. It took me a few minutes of a strolling to figure out the right direction I needed to head. I visited this town on a Sunday, so I’m 95% sure I was the only English speaking tourist there. Thanks to these past 5 weeks in Italy, I have picked up phrases and can understand basic responses — holla!
If you decided to visit this town, I suggest you do what I did. I walked to the nearest UNESCO site (Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo). Around the train station are several big signs that direct you to all of them, so if you don’t happen to have a map (like I did) then there is nothing to stress about! Once you reach one of them, you can purchase a variety of entrance tickets to the other 7 or so churches, baptisteries etc. Since time was limited, I bought the 9.50 euro ticket which left me with access to four different ones! It’s nice they organised which monuments you’re able to see by proximity. All the the ones I visited were 10 minutes from each other.
This picture was taken inside the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo.
Once my neck started to get a bit sore from staring up for a consistent 20 minutes, I said goodbye to this monumental site and headed for the next one on my ticket: Archiepiscopal Chapel. I was unable to take pictures inside as photography was prohibited. This image below is from Google!
Last but not least, I popped quickly next door to the Neonian Baptistry. This was probably my favorite. So small, yet incredibly grand. You walk in to see a beautiful deep bath, with surrounding walls and ceilings of incredible mosaics.
I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to stop at the last monument included in my ticket, but I felt incredibly satisfied with the ones I did get a chance to see. This is a picture of me standing in front of the Neonian Baptistry (to the left of me — your right).
Heading back to the train station, I took a few side streets as a short cut. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to see this b’dazzled mosaic bike…ahh…only in Ravenna.
Hope you’re enjoying your day.
Ciao for now,