Looking for day trip ideas from 5 major cities in Italy - we've got you covered - ouritalianjourney.com

We often get asked about easy day trips from Lucca and other major cities throughout Italy. When Shari, a faithful, long-time subscriber of this blog suggested this for a post, we thought we’d do it. I will always recommend that you investigate nearby towns before you depart for your trip. A little background research will help you decide on your itinerary and frankly, not every town is worth a full day’s exploration. I know what you’re thinking… but yes, it’s true.

It’s just good travel planning to do all your prior to leaving home. Check out various websites for suggestions once you know what towns you might like to visit. There might be a local offering a tour that might be of interest to you. A local will always be your best bet. Some are quite reasonable. When we visited Matera, we had the best 2.5-hour walking tour from a local gal for €25,00! It was enlightening and amazing. We would have never appreciated the town on our own.

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Day Trips In Italy

So let’s discuss and enlighten you on day trips in Italy that would be worth your while if you are using one of these major cities as a “home base.” Most of all, this is strictly my opinion and just a starting point for you when staying in Lucca, Rome, Naples, Milan, and Bologna.

Perhaps we will do another post and include five additional cities. I’ve already got some ideas!

Any of the cities listed below with a link (blue) will take you directly to a post we have written previously about the town. But there might be others so don’t forget to “search” using the search bar for more specific information!

Good Websites to Check for Easy Day Trips

The Internet has made it easy to research information about vacations and day trips in Italy. The benefit is that you also can look at ratings for each of these possibilities. Some of these you might already be familiar with, some perhaps not. But choosing easy day trips is only a click away. Let’s look at some of these sites and what they have to offer.

  • Viator is a Tripadvisor company and has a lot to offer. You enter your destination and day and a bunch of options populate. Price along with excursion duration is clearly labeled. Everything from cooking classes, bicycle tours, busses, and private cars. Important cancelation information is clearly labeled too.
  • Tourradar is a company for Europe and you can choose your departure date and excursion length. I’ve heard from a few people who have used this company and had good experiences.
  • Tripadvisor has been around since 2000 and has a good reputation for finding experiences and reviews.

Day Trips in Italy – From Lucca

  • Cinque Terre
  • Carrara
  • Pietrasanta
Lucca, Italy
Lucca, page 229 in our book, Our Italian Journey

Tour Companies in Lucca

  • First of all, when it comes to Lucca, we obviously have lots of great recommendations. Our favorite company will take you to/from the airport – but also will design custom day trips for you and/or a group of family and friends. We mention this company in our book When Your Heart Finds Its Home, The Tuscan Wanderers. Giovanni and Loreal couldn’t be nicer or more helpful. We highly recommend them as a first choice. You won’t be disappointed!
  • An excellent choice would also be 2Italia. They were the company we used to see Andrea Bocelli at the Teatro del Silenzio. The day first began with an amazing walking tour in Lucca and then transportation to/from the Bocelli concert in Lajatico. The special touch of a cute cooler, filled with prosecco, water, fruit, focaccia bread, goodies, and a blanket was over the top amazing. We also mentioned this company in our same book and highly recommend Kristin and Kare. We actually have welcomed this company as a new sponsor of Our Italian Journey. You can find their logo with direct access to their website on our sidebar.

Another Choice…

  • Another choice is Tau Touring. We’ve used them on transportation to events such as to see Puccini’s Madam Butterfly in Torre del Lago. It was a large tour bus but they picked us up in a small van and took us to the location outside Lucca’s wall. Another company that can take you to/from the airport.
DestinationTravel Time (One-Way)Transportation
FlorenceTrain1.5 hours
ViareggioTrain20 minutes
Cinque TerreTrain1.5 – 2 hours
PietrasantaTrain45 minutes
MontecarloTaxi (train is possible)30 minutes
PisaTrain30 minutes
Montecatini TermeTrain + Taxi30 minutes

Although we use the Trenitalia app ourselves, there is also a very good website to give you an idea of travel time and costs. The company Trainline will be able to provide more in-depth information.

Find out more about the different regions in Italy here

Easy Day Trips From Rome

  • Appian Way
  • Anzio
DestinationTravel Time (One-Way)Transportation
TivoliTrain45 minutes – 1 hour
OrvietoTrain + Funicular1 hour 15 minutes
Genzano di RomaTrain1 hour 40 minutes
AnzioTrain1 hour
The Colosseum is amazing to visit in Rome, Italy. It has amazing history and archecture.
The Colosseum
Fun 14-day travel planners and notebooks designed by Ilene Modica are available on Amazon.com - ouritalianjourney.com

Day Trips From Naples

  • Paestum
  • Ischia
  • Herculaneum
DestinationTravel Time (One-Way)Transportation
PompeiiTrain40 minutes
CapriBoat1-1.5 hours
HerculaneumTrain20 minutes
Royal Palace of CasertaTrain45 minutes

Let’s continue with day trips in Italy… If you are concerned about staying in Naples (which is not as horrible as everyone says, in my opinion) consider staying in Sorrento. Day trips from Sorrento are faster to Capri and the Amalfi Coast. In fact, you can take a boat tour from Sorrento to the towns on the Amalfi Coast easily during the season. I would not recommend driving to the Amalfi Coast – especially since a new law will be enforced starting in the summer of 2023 restricting vehicle traffic.

Also, a tip about visiting Pompeii… make the most of your time by considering a combination tour of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. There are plenty of 2-in-1 tours available for this destination combination.

Another tip about visiting the island of Capri… it is a shorter boat ride from Sorrento than from Naples. Daytrippers will go early in the morning and return in the evening.

Naples, Italy
Naples, page 123 in our book, Our Italian Journey

Day Trip Possibilities From Milan

  • Cinque Terre
  • Portofino
  • Brescia
  • Turin
DestinationTravel Time (One-Way)Transportation
Lake GardaTrain1 hour
Lake ComoTrain + Bus40 minutes
Cinque TerreTrain2 hours
PortofinoTrain2.5 hours
VeronaTrain1 hour 15 minutes
Milan cathedral ceiling
the roof of the Milan Cathedral

Day Trips From Bologna

  • Faenza
  • Ravenna
  • Padua
DestinationTravel Time (One-Way)Transportation
FlorenceTrain1 hour
VeronaTrain1.5 hours
VeniceTrain1.5 hours
ParmaTrain50 minutes
ModenaTrain1 hour
RiminiTrain1 hour
San MarinoTrain + Bus2+ hours

San Marino is a small country that lies within the Italian borders. It’s enchanting and up high on a mountain. We stayed overnight in Rimini to visit this country, making it much easier. There is a bus that takes you from Rimini up to San Marino.

When visiting Maranello, there is no direct train from Bologna. It’s about an hour’s taxi ride or, you can take the train to Modena and just take a taxi from there to Maranello.

Bologna canals are amazing - ouritalianjourney.com
the secret canals of Bologna

Modica books about Italy
We hope you will consider joining our journey. It started in 2019 with “Our Italian Journey,” and this part of the adventure has concluded with “When Your Heart Finds Its Home.” Both are available wherever books are sold.
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In Conclusion

Most noteworthy, by no means am I suggesting these are the only places to visit when in one of these major towns. Day trips in Italy are easy to find and one of the best ways to find one is to ask a friend or inquire in a Facebook group. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, do your research prior to getting on the plane. Find out what might be a good city to explore when using a major city as your home base. Italy has so much to offer – enjoy as much as you can!

Ilene from Our Italian Journey, ouritalianjourney.com


Editor’s Note:  This post was initially published in February 2017, and was updated in April 2024 for accuracy and additional information.

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Easy day trips from 5 major cities in Italy - ouritalianjourney.com

12 Comments

  1. I just love reading Ilene and Gary’s adventures about their lives while now living in Italy. From their initial trips as they search for a home to finding their real home in Lucca, they make you feel like you are there with them. My husband and I are on a similar journey and have SO much in common with them, I hope we can meet up some day!

  2. Thanks for the useful tip to check out “The Tuscan Wanderers” for our trip in August this year. I’ll be contacting them to see if they can collect my daughters and I from the hotel in Forte dei Marmi to bring us to Lucca and then return us to Pisa Airport after our stay. Nothing like a recommendation for the locals!

  3. Thank you for the summary of good ideas. We have a trip to both Bologna and Lucca this coming fall and were looking for places to branch out. I appreciate the links and recommendations!

  4. I am planning a 2-week Italy trip to Rome, Naples, Florence, and Venice. Capri from Naples and I am thinking of going to Verona from Venice. Don’t know how much I can cover in two weeks.

    1. Please feel free to email us Christina for more details we can provide there. I would say it depends on what airport you are flying into and out of. That would make all the difference. You are covering a lot of ground with those cities alone. Verona to Venice is an easy train trip. Lets chat via email for more info. Is that okay?

  5. Hi Ilene
    I have watched your interview on U Tube, found it very interesting.
    Loved Lucca and we plan on visiting perhaps this late August.
    How do we get to Lucca if we are flying into Rome.
    Any reasonably priced accommodations and tips for visiting.
    We are trying out many places to see what best suits us.

    Your thoughts
    Thank you
    Sharon Mary anne

    1. Ciao Sharon! You have several options from Rome to Lucca. The train is the easiest and fastest. You can go up the coast for a pretty ride along the sea to Pisa and change trains (it’s easy) from Pisa to Lucca. It, go through Florence (SMN train station- Santa Maria) and from there to Lucca. You will need to change trains there too. A much busier station in Firenze, that’s for sure. Email us any questions.

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