Bologna’s central position makes it an ideal base to make day trips in the region. Several cities with Unesco-listed sites are within an hour by train. Below you can find some ideas for day trips. The list starts with Ravenna, and will be expanded with other cities in January. We’ll publish more information about Ravenna itself a bit later.
At each BP Translation Conference we’ve had organized day trips, and these proved to be very popular among conference attendees, offering a fun environment to deepen newly built friendships, and see some cultural heritage along the way. Due to various reasons, I decided not to have such organized day trips after BP19.
The single most important reason is price. An organized trip would cost about four times as much as buying your own tickets. For example, you can buy a return train ticket to Ravennna for under 15€, and entrance fees would set you back another 10€ or so. In contrast, for an organized trip I would have to charge at least 90€ plus VAT (and that doesn’t even include lunch).
On the positive side, this year we’ll have an event app (more about this soon), which will facilitate forming impromptu groups among conference attendees. This means you can easily bring together people with similar interests even before the conference itself.
Ravenna had its heyday 15 centuries ago, in the final decades of the Roman Empire and in the century that followed. During this brief period of time, late Romans, Ostrogoths, and Byzantians left their mark in the form of architectural wonders that still define the town.
Today, Ravenna may seem a bit sleepy when walking on the streets, but the interiors of basicilias, baptisteries, churches and mausolea compensate for this with their rioutous colours of fine mosaic. In fact, the city earned its moniker as the ‘Capital of Mosaic’. It’s also the westernmost city with Byzantian heritage, and probably the only place where you can see built heritage of Arianism. Ravenna is a cherished destination for another reason too, as the resting place of Dante.
The town is compact, with short walking distances between sights, and a combined ticket offers great value for the casual visitor.
Getting there: Hourly trains (6 minutes past the hour) take 69 minutes to reach Ravenna, return trains leave hourly 45 minutes past the hour. The return fare costs 14.70€. Get on the train early, as there are no reserved seats on regional trains. Allow 15 minutes to queue for tickets or buy them a day or two in advance.
Entrance tickets: A combined ticket for almost all sights costs 8.50€ and is available at all sights. The first recommended stop is Basilica di Sant’Appolinare Nuovo, a 5-minute walk from the station. It’s a good idea to pick up a pictorial guide for Ravenna’s beauties here for 5€. You’ll need a separate ticket for Battistero degli Ariani and Theodoric’s tomb, slightly outside the old town. These cost 2-3€ each.
Lunch stop: The best place to stop for lunch is the town’s main square, Piazza del Popolo, offering a few options with good fare.