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Ravenna & San Marino

Spending three nights in Bologna (with car) and planning a day trip to Ravenna. We like to move at moderate pace but see as much as reasonably possible (at 68 not as much as it used to be!). As a day trip would it be reasonable to try and visit Ravenna and San Marino with an automobile?
Have one full day in Bologna, a day trip to Ravenna, and then another day trip to possibly Ferra or Modena (opposite directions I know), or possibly visit FICO although I see mixed opinions on this.

Leisurely departure to Verona the next day where we will deposit the car.

Posted by
7731 posts

Ravenna deserves an entire day. And FWIW, I've yet to hear anything positive about visiting San Marino. Perhaps others will weigh in.

Posted by
16123 posts

I agree that Ravenna deserves the full day. There are seven mosaic sites--all beautiful, and one of them a few miles outside the town. And the historic center of Ravenna is beautiful itself, very much worth time to wander around.

Adding a stop in San Marino just about doubles Via Michelin's estimated driving time, from over 2 hours to over 4 hours.

Be very careful with your car in Bologna. You don't want to be gifted with a fistful of ZTL-violation tickets when you get home. Bologna's historic center is very large, so I'm guessing you'll need to avoid a good part of the city when you're using the car.

Posted by
98 posts

I agree with the others that Ravenna deserves a whole day. But I would lump Ravenna and Ferra together in the same day because they are more or less in the same direction.

I went to San Marino in my last trip to Italy. I always want to go there since I learned about this country since elementary school so it is in my bucket list. And yes there are not much to do there except to walk from the First tower to the second then to the third. In fact, the top half of the first tower is fairly recent, an "add-on" from about 50-60 years ago. I have to say that while it is an interesting place (To me, at least.) it is difficult to find a reason to visit it a second time.

Posted by
1856 posts

Both are worthwhile but I would not do both in one day. Ravenna for sure is good for a full day.

Posted by
119 posts

San Marino the country should be on a microcountry bucket list. It’s got outdoor athletic activities like skiing and hiking, beautiful scenery and an awesome fortress that clings to a mountain top. The piadina sandwich is tasty too. I got great prices on Italian leather belts and a wallet there. Check out trip advisor for suggestions on guided day trips. Mountain driving there is tricky and a lot of roads are closed off-season. There is a small city also named San Marino in a Italy near there which isn’t worth making an effort to see. Make sure your GPS knows which one you want.

Posted by
7731 posts

Don't add Rimini to your list. You've got enough destinations as it is.

Posted by
644 posts

I can only speak to Ravenna. We spent a full day plus saw a few more sites the next morning. We loved Ravenna (stayed 2 nights). You could save a little time if you had a car to see the church a few miles out of town. We skipped the museum at that church due to time concerns. I would give Ravenna at least a day. Trains go directly between Bologna and Ravenna.

Posted by
11108 posts

I assume by "Ferra" you mean Ferrara. I really liked both Ravenna and Ferrara, so I definitely recommend visiting them both. I don't know that I'd try to do them in one day, although you could if you rushed.

Posted by
188 posts

Definitely devote a full day to Ravenna! Depending on your timing, you can dine at the hotel next to Sant'Apollinare in Classe. We had a delicious, reasonably-priced lunch there.

Posted by
266 posts

Outside of Bologna is a very small village, Dozza, with painted walls. We have not been there as we ended up not getting a car when we stayed in Bologna and took the train to Ravenna. I say Ravenna can be done in 1/2 day since you have a car and the majority of sites are pretty close together. We walked from the train station and that took a while. Recently we drove to San Marino and took the funicular up to the top. It was somewhat fogged in but on a clear day I can see the views would be fantastic. We stayed 2 hours. Got sandwiches to go to eat in the car. Got our passport stamp as well.

FICO was really fun the day we went, which was the first weekend they were open in 2017. If you do go, take the English tour. We learned a lot about the back stories of the owners of some of the shops. Good for 1/2 day. Skip Rimini since you only have 3 days.

Posted by
186 posts

I’m not sure a car makes the visit to Ravenna so much faster, as it is a small town and the sites ( other than those in Classe) are pretty close together. The roads are narrow and surely ZTL. You’d need to park almost as far from the big sites as the train station is anyway and then walk most places.

We spent a great day in San Marino, but I wouldn’t short change Ravenna to see it. If you only have one day for this trip, I would limit yourself to Ravenna.

Another city to consider for your other day trip from Bologna is Parma. We did Modena, Ferrera and Parma as day trips from Bologna, and the one I want to visit again Is Parma.