Home » 9 easy day trips from Venice by train you can’t miss

9 easy day trips from Venice by train you can’t miss

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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.

Colorful houses overlooking a little canal in Venice

Ah, 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 places near Venice that are well worth a visit, each a treasure trove of unique experiences. From the artistic wonders of Padova to the gastronomic 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 only features destinations within a two-hour train ride from Venice (except for the last one). After all, you don’t want to spend most of your day trip traveling, right? 

At the end of the page, you’ll find a link to my guide to train travel in Italy, which 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.

Artistic marvels in Padua

Frescoes inside the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua

Padua 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 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.

Other highlights include the world’s very first 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.

Val’s tip: Caffé Pedrocchi may be the most famous historic venue in Padua but there are many other spots to explore: try gelato at Gelato da Ruggero and stock up on food souvenirs at Drogheria ai Due Catini d’Oro.

Read more: 1 day itinerary in Padua

Verona between romance and history

If chasing your inner Romeo and Juliet fantasies has always been your secret dream, then you should visit Verona.

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, hidden in a 13th-century convent.

Verona offers also a wealth of fascinating attractions to explore, all reflecting the city’s vibrant history. For instance, Castelvecchio is the city’s medieval heart, featuring a museum and panoramic ramparts, while the Scaligeri Tombs are considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in northern Italy.

A must-see in Verona is the Arena, built before Rome’s Colosseum and now 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 visit the Giardino dei Giusti, 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.

Val’s tip: one of my favorite things to do in Verona is visiting Juliet’s Club, where I can be 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 charming town often overshadowed by more renowned cities in Veneto, yet it boasts a wealth of attractions. It’s an excellent choice if you’re seeking a change of pace after the bustling crowds of Venice.

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

Start 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 took place back in the day.

Key highlights of your visit include a multi-domed Cathedral featuring 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. And don’t miss the Treviso fish market, charmingly located on an islet in the town center.

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.

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

Vicenza and its architectural treasures

Vicenza’s primary appeal lies undoubtedly in its architectural wonders. This is the city where the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio – the guy who influenced architectural standards worldwide for the past 500 years – crafted exquisite villas and palaces, earning Vicenza a coveted spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

Thanks to Palladio’s influential work, Vicenza stands as an extraordinary open-air museum. The most impressive sites include La Rotonda, whose design inspired the White House, and the Olympic Theatre, where you can see the world’s oldest surviving stage set 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.

Val’s tip: if your day trip to Vicenza falls between April and September, be sure to enjoy an aperitivo at  Terrazza della Basilica, a fabulous panoramic café at the top of the Basilica Palladiana!

Bassano del Grappa and its historic distilleries

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

Palladio also left his mark here, specifically on the town’s most iconic sight – the Alpini Bridge. This wooden covered bridge spans the river Brenta and was reconstructed by the Renaissance architect in the 16th century after being destroyed multiple times.

Bassano is renowned for producing Italy’s strong alcoholic drink, grappa. Two excellent places to delve into the world of this famous Italian distillate are Grapperia Nardini, the country’s oldest distillery, and the Poli Grappa Museum.

Fans of grappa include Ernest Hemingway, who served as a voluntary driver for the American Red Cross here during World War I in 1918. 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.

Val’s tip: don’t leave without trying a“Mezzo Mezzo”, the local aperitivo.

Brescia, the town with tho 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, a testament to the town’s rich cultural heritage. 

To begin with, Brescia boasts one of the largest archaeological 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, featuring a remarkable array of attractions spanning over 2,000 years of history. A highlight is the famous Cross of Desiderius decorated with 211 gemstones.

Brescia also boasts elegant historic squares with lots of lovely cafés, a splendid opera house, a large medieval castle, and two fabulous cathedrals, all of which make it an ideal day trip destination 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.

Val’s 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 globe and the itinerary covers seven Italian regions, from Brescia to Rome and back.  

Read more: A day trip to Brescia

Ferrara, the Renaissance gem

Ferrara medieval alley at night

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

The history of this town is closely tied to the powerful Este family, who ruled it between the 13th and 15th centuries. They transformed Ferrara into a thriving cultural center that attracted artists such as Piero Della Francesco, Jacopo Bellini, and Andrea Mantegna, making sightseeing here particularly fascinating. 

Its historic center is just adorable, surrounded by ancient defensive walls and filled with charming cafes and captivating streets like Via delle Volte and Corso Ercole I d’Este, considered Europe’s longest street without shops.

Notable attractions in Ferrara include Castello Estense (one of the few castles in Europe still surrounded by a water-filled moat), 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 residing nuns to see the chapel, where you can find some wonderful frescoes from 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.

Val’s tips: Ferrara is extremely bike-friendly, offering numerous interesting cycle paths to explore. Consider renting a bike for your day trip.

Read more: Things to do in Ferrara, Europe’s first modern city

Bologna, the ultimate foodie escape

Since we are talking about Emilia Romagna, how about treating yourself to a full day of food and wine experiences in Italy’s culinary capital? 

Bologna boasts numerous sights that can’t be explored in a single day, from Europe’s oldest university to 40 km of UNESCO-listed porticos. Therefore, why not plan your day trip around one of the town’s best assets – food! 

Start by exploring the 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. 

For a more hands-on experience, consider trying your hand at making tortellini and tagliatelle by participating in a cooking class 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 bus 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.

Val’s 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 many of you are interested in day trips from Venice to Florence, so here’s an idea.

But first, let me just say that while it’s technically possible to organize a day trip from Venice to Florence by train, I wouldn’t recommend it. The Tuscan capital has so much to offer that it rightly deserves a dedicated trip. 

Nevertheless, if you decide to go for it, you might want to focus on the Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo’s David, and the complex of Florence Cathedral (including the fabulous views from Brunelleschi’s dome). Don’t forget to indulge in a schiacciata from L’Antico Vinaio and a gelato from Gelateria della Passera 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.


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