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If you’re heading to Venice and have a few extra days on hand, plan some sightseeing adventures with this list of easy day trips from Venice by train.

colorful buildings overlooking the grand canal in veniceAh, Venice! No matter how much time I spend in this beautiful city, it’s never enough. But hey, I get it, some of you might want to explore further afield once you’ve seen all the top sights. After all, Italy has such a rich and diverse heritage that once you’re here you want to cover as many sights as possible, right?

There are some great cities near Venice that are well worth a visit. From the artistic gems of Padova to the foodie delights of Bologna, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Obviously, one day won’t be enough to see everything, but you’ll be sure to leave with a ton of travel memories and plenty of reasons to come back soon.

This article features only destinations within two hours by train from Venice (except for the last one). After all, you don’t want to spend most of your day trip travelling, do you?

At the bottom of the page, you’ll find a link to my guide to train travel in Italy that will help you navigate the Italian railway system. This way, you can easily book train tickets for your sightseeing adventures.

So, these are my suggestions for some great day trips from Venice.

The artistic gems of Padova

Padova is my top choice when it comes to side trips from Venice. It’s super quick to reach and offers many beautiful things to explore.

The main attraction is the Scrovegni Chapel, where Giotto painted stunning frescoes. They are listed among the most important works of Western art.

You can see one of the oldest universities in Europe, whose faculty once included Galileo Galilei. This is also where a woman got an academic degree for the first time ever.

statues of prato della valle square in padovaOther highlights include the world’s very botanical garden dating from 1545, and Prato della Valle, one of the biggest squares in Europe.

Padova is also a deeply religious city and its Basilica of Saint Anthony is a major pilgrimage site in Italy. Don’t miss a visit for the stunning architecture and pay homage to the saint’s relics.

How to get from Venice to Padova by train: it’s an easy half-hour train ride using either Trenitalia (choose Regionale Veloce or Frecciarossa trains) or Italo.

Tip: try a mint coffee at the historic Caffé Pedrocchi. Prices are a bit steep, but it’s a real Paduan icon.

Read more: 1-day itinerary in Padova

Verona between romance and history 

If chasing your inner Romeo and Juliet fantasies has always been your secret dream, then you should head to Verona on your day trip from Venice.

Here you can see all the iconic sites associated with the story of the two Shakespearian lovers, including the famous balcony and the tomb of Juliet.

the castelvecchio bridge in veronaThroughout Verona, you can also find a wealth of fascinating attractions to explore, all reflecting the city’s vibrant history.

Castelvecchio, for example, is the heart of medieval Verona, complete with a museum and panoramic ramparts. The Scaligeri Tombs, on the other hand, are one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in northern Italy.

A must-see in Verona is the Arena. It was built before Rome’s Colosseum and is the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in the world. Today, it serves as a fascinating open-air opera house.

For a taste of Renaissance landscaping, be sure to check out the Giardino dei Giusti. It’s a beautiful garden that first opened its doors to the public in the 16th century.

How to get from Venice to Verona by train: it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get from Venice to Verona. You can use either Trenitalia (Frecciarossa or Regionale Veloce) and Italo trains.

Tip: one of my favourite things to do in Verona is visiting Juliet’s Club. There, you can become one of Juliet’s secretaries for a few hours! I wrote about it here.

Read more: What to see in Verona in 2 days

Treviso, the Little Venice

Treviso is a lovely town that often gets overshadowed by other more famous cities in Veneto, but it’s got a lot to offer. It’s a great option if you are looking for a change of pace after the crowds in Venice.

In its historic walled center, you’ll find narrow streets, Renaissance palaces, bridges, and canals that earned Treviso the nickname “Little Venice”.

a picturesque cobbled alley lined with pastel-coloured, porticoed buildingsStart your exploration from Piazza dei Signori, the main square full of cute shops, cafés and historic buildings. Among them is the imposing Palazzo dei Trecento, where communal assemblies used to take place back in the day.

Top sights include a multi-domed Cathedral with a beautiful Annunciation by Titian, and the Church of San Nicolò where you can see the first pair of spectacles ever depicted in a work of art!

It’s also worth popping into Treviso fish market, which is picturesquely located on an islet right in the town centre.

How to get from Venice to Treviso by train: the train journey is about 30 minutes with either Trenitalia (Regionale Veloce or Regionale) or Italo.

Tip: if there’s one in place in Italy where you should feast on Tiramisù and glasses of chilled Prosecco, that’s Treviso. This is where the famous Italian dessert was born in the 1970’s (the restaurant that invented it is still there – Le Beccherie) while Prosecco is produced in the hills right outside town.

Vicenza and its architectural treasures

Vicenza’s main draw is undoubtedly for architecture lovers. This is where 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio – the guy who influenced architectural standards worldwide for centuries – designed beautiful villas and palaces that earned the town a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

the palladian villa la rotonda in vicenzaAs a result of Palladio’s work, Vicenza is an incredible open-air museum of architectural wonders. The most impressive pieces include La Rotonda, which inspired the design for the White House, and the Olympic Theatre with the oldest surviving stage set in the world still in use.

The town is also renowned for its jewelry-making tradition, so make sure to include also a visit to the Jewellery Museum, the first of its kind in Italy.

How to get from Venice to Vicenza by train: it’s a 45-minute journey with either Trenitalia (Frecciarossa or Regionale Veloce trains) or Italo.

Tip: if you’re planning your day trip to Vicenza between April and September, make sure to include aperitivo at Terrazza della Basilica. It’s a fabulous panoramic cafè housed at the top of the Basilica Palladiana!

Bassano del Grappa and its historic distilleries

For a change of scenery, you can head to Bassano del Grappa, a charming little town nestled in the Venetian Pre-Alps. 

Palladio left his mark here too, precisely on the town’s most iconic sight, the Alpini Bridge. It’s a wooden covered bridge over the river Brenta, which the Renaissance architect rebuilt in the 16th century after it was destroyed several times.

the wooden bridge in bassano del grappa, crossing the river brentaBassano is also where Italy’s strong alcoholic drink – grappa – is produced. Great places to learn about this famous Italian distillate are Grapperia Nardini, Italy’s oldest distillery, and the Poli Grappa Museum.

Fans of grappa include Ernest Hemingway, who was in Bassano during World War I in 1918 serving as a voluntary driver for the American Red Cross housed in Ca’ Erizzo. This villa is now a museum dedicated to the writer.

How to get from Venice to Bassano del Grappa by train: the journey is about 1 hour and 15 minutes with the Regional trains provided by Trenitalia.

Tip: when in Bassano del Grappa, make sure to stop at the Grapperia Nardini by the Alpini Bridge and order a “Mezzo Mezzo”, the local aperitivo.

Brescia, the town with two cathedrals

Often overshadowed by its bigger sister Milan, Brescia is a beautiful town in Lombardy that you can easily visit on a day trip from Venice.

Brescia and its province are home to 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which speak volumes about the town’s incredible heritage.

The Roman Capitolium in BresciaFor a start, in Brescia you’ll find one of the largest archeological sites in northern Italy. Trust me, as soon as you see the Roman Forum, you’ll think you’re in Rome.

More surprises await you at the stunning Santa Giulia museum complex, with an outstanding array of attractions that cover more than 2,000 years of history. One of them is the famous Cross of Desiderius decorated with 211 gemstones.

Brescia also boasts elegant historic squares, a splendid opera house, a large medieval castle, and two fabulous cathedrals, all of which make it one of the best day trips from Venice.

How to get from Venice to Brescia by train: the journey time is about 1 hour and 50 minutes with Trenitalia (Frecciarossa trains) and Italo.

Tip: if you visit in June, you might see the Mille Miglia, the world’s most famous vintage car race. Crews come from all over the world and the itinerary covers seven Italian regions, from Brescia to Rome and back. 

Read more: A day trip to Brescia  

Ferrara, the City of the Renaissance

Your day trips from Venice could also take you to the Emilia Romagna region and more precisely to the charming town of Ferrara.

The history of this town is largely linked to the powerful Este family, who ruled it between the 14th and the 15th centuries. They turned Ferrara into a thriving cultural centre that attracted artists like Piero Della Francesco, Leon Battista Alberti, and Andrea Mantegna, so sightseeing today could not be more interesting.

a red-brick castle surrounded by a moat full of water in ferraraIts historic centre is adorable, encircled by perfectly preserved defensive walls and full of cute cafés and fascinating streets like Corso Ercole I d’Este (one of the world’s most beautiful streets according to UNESCO).

Things to see in Ferrara include Castello Estense (one of the few castles in Europe still surrounded by a moat full of water), the superb Palazzo Diamanti, and the San Giorgio Cathedral with its stunning marbled facade.

For a hidden gem, pay a visit to the Monastery of Sant’Antonio in Polesine and ask the nuns who live there to see the chapel. You’ll find some wonderful frescoes of Giotto’s school. 

How to get from Venice to Ferrara by train: Italo makes it easy to get to Ferrara in 1 hour. Alternatively, you could also take the Frecciarossa (1h) or Regionale Veloce (1h30min) trains from Trenitalia.

Tip: Ferrara is extremely bike-friendly and has a lot of interesting cycle paths to explore, so you might want to hire a bike for your day trip. Click here for some options.

Bologna, the ultimate foodie escape

How about treating yourself to a full day of food and wine experiences in Italy’s culinary capital?

Bologna offers a lot of sights you can’t see in one day, from Europe’s oldest university to 40 km of UNESCO-listed porticos. As such, why not plan your day trip around one of the town’s best assets – food!

a display of tortellini in bolognaSpend the morning stocking up on local specialties at Bologna’s ancient food markets – Quadrilatero and Mercato di Mezzo. Then take a seat at one of the communal tables of L’Osteria del Sole, the world’s oldest tavern dating back to 1465. They don’t serve food, just drinks, so your market shopping will come in handy. It’s surely a unique experience!

This day trip from Venice could also be a great opportunity to try your hand at making tortellini and tagliatelle. My advice is to book a cooking class directly at the home of a local sfoglina (that’s what they call the past-making ladies in Bologna).

If you are travelling with kids, a gelato-making class at the Carpigiani Gelato Museum is also a great idea (it’s a 30-minute us drive from Bologna train station).

How to get from Venice to Bologna by train: it takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes with Trenitalia (Frecciarossa or Regionale Veloce trains) and Italo.

Tip: every October, Bologna hosts the Tortellino Festival, an excellent opportunity to sample all the different varieties of the town’s famous food.

An art tour of Florence

I know there are lots of you interested in day trips from Venice to Florence, so here’s an idea.

But first, let me tell you that though it’s technically possible to organise a day trip from Venice to Florence by train, I wouldn’t recommend it. The Tuscan capital has so much to see that it rightly deserves a trip of its own.

the cathedral of florenceIf you decide to visit Florence in a day, you could focus on the Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo’s David, and the complex of Florence Cathedral (including the fabulous views from Brunelleschi’s dome), with a schiacciata from L’Antico Vinaio and a gelato from Gelateria della Passera in between sights.

How to get from Venice to Florence by train: it takes 2 hours and 15 minutes on the Trenitalia Frecciarossa or Italo trains, so better leave Venice at dawn to make the most of your day trip

Tip: carefully choose which parts of Florence you want to see and pre-book all the tickets and arrival time slots to avoid spending most of your day trip standing in line.

 

I hope you found some good ideas for your day trips from Venice. Now check out my GUIDE TO TRAIN TRAVEL IN ITALY and start booking the train tickets for your sightseeing adventures!

 


Pssst… Pin this article for future reference and get in touch if you have any questions about your day trips from Venice!


Ciao for now,

 

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Ciao! I'm Val, an Italian blogger with a huge passion for my country, its culture and traditions. My Italian Diaries is the online space where I share itineraries, activities and off-the-beaten path places to help you experience the best of Italy like a local!

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