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Best Day Trips from Florence

best day trips from florence

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Centrally located Florence makes a great base for day trips around Tuscany and further afield by train, car or organized tour. The best day trips from Florence can mean relaxing on the scenic Italian coast, exploring ancient Medieval towns and delving deeper into wine country. 

Whether you need inspiration for a single day trip from Florence or would like to make a number excursions during your stay, this guide takes you through our top picks. You can choose to explore independently by train or car, or save time and stress by booking an organized day trip like this tour to Siena and San Gimignano with a winery lunch included. 

Whichever you opt for, you will have some time to call your own and to do some sightseeing, as well as making a relaxed lunch stop along the way. This article takes you through all you need to know, whether you’d prefer to create your own day trip from Florence in Italy or join a guided group tour. 

 

Tuscany Day Trip from Florence ideas

tuscany day trip from florence

A Florence to Tuscany day trip is a must for many visitors to Italy. Heading into the fertile landscapes dotted with farms and vineyards makes a refreshing change from the crowded city. 

If you want to book a day trip to Tuscany from Florence but aren’t yet sure what to do or where to go, here is some inspiration.

Wine Tasting in Chianti 

This Tuscan wine tasting half day trip from Florence takes you to the Chianti Hills, where you’ll visit two wineries.  Explore the scenic vineyards, meet local producers and of course sample the fruits of their labours, including of course the famous local varieties during this very popular excursion. 

TOUR DETAILS: Wine tasting day trip from Florence

tuscany wine tasting day trip

Cooking Class at a Tuscan Farmhouse

Learn how to make perfect pizza and gelato the Italian way at a cooking class in an authentic Tuscan farmhouse. This culinary Florence day trip to Tuscany lasts for five hours and includes all instruction, ingredients and, to finish, a delicious lunch accompanied by beer or wine. Plus your new skills are the perfect souvenir to take home and share with your friends and family.

EXPERIENCE DETAILS: Tuscany cooking class

Vespa tour in the Tuscan countryside 

Want to hit the open road and soak up the gorgeous Tuscan scenery? Take a guided ride through Tuscany on a classic Italian Vespa tour. These fun day trips from Florence last 6 hours and include a freshly prepared lunch with wine on a Chianti Rufina organic farm. Guests will also enjoy a guided tour of the restaurant – or cantina. 

TOUR DETAILS: Vespa Tour of Tuscany

Take a Wander around Fiesole

You can reach Fiesole, one of the prettiest towns just outside Florence, on your own but if you’re curious about local art, history and culture, organize your visit with very own private local guide. Your itinerary can be personalized to match your interests, and takes guests for a wander through this beautiful hilltop village near Florence where you can admire glorious panoramic views over Tuscany. 

TOUR DETAILS: A Wander in Fiesole

Vintage Fiat 500 Tour

Get behind the wheel of a fully restored classic Fiat 500 from the 1960s while being led by a local guide on this 5 hour adventure through the Tuscan countryside

The day is packed with fabulous photo opportunities and includes tastings of local food and wine. It begins at the Fiat 500 Club house, where the vehicle is stored, and ends with relaxing at a private villa, with stupendous views over the Tuscan countryside, before you return to Florence.

EXPERIENCE DETAILS: Fiat 500 Tour

val dorcia day trip from florence

Visit the Val D’Orcia for Wine, Cheese and Views

For many, wine and cheese are a quintessential part of a vacation in Italy. This food and wine focused tour takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val D’Orcia. You can explore Montepulciano, Pienza and Montalcino, as well as savoring the local Pecorino cheese and enjoying two distinct wine tasting experiences. This experience lasts for 11-and-a-half hours and even then you’ll be yearning for more.

EXPERIENCE DETAILS: Val D'Orcia Tour

Tuscan city day trips from Florence

With a number of fascinating cities within easy reach of the Tuscan capital, taking day trips from Florence by train or car is popular with many visitors. Each of the following Tuscan cities is well worth visiting, offering a unique atmosphere and attractions of its own. Spending time in these smaller cities also makes a refreshing change from spending all your time in Florence.

Pisa

pisa day trip from florence

Famous for its leaning bell tower in the Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa is a pretty riverside city with a laid-back atmosphere. Due to its student population, it also has a lively feel and lots of good value places to eat, drink and shop.

There is plenty to discover in Pisa. The Old Town was born before Roman times, and still has many buildings from as far back as the 9th century. The Piazza Dei Cavalieri is particularly beautiful. With a mix of medieval fortresses, ancient bridges and elegant churches, there is an array of attractions to explore in the city.

The leaning tower took 200 years to complete, and began to slope sideways almost immediately because of the uneven and yielding ground beneath. Piazza dei Miracoli, where the tower is found, makes a pleasant place to relax during your day trip. If you want to, you can buy tickets to climb the tower.

The Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo is also worth a look for its art and sculpture collection, and don’t miss the chance to grab a snap of you ‘holding’ up the leaning tower. It may be a cliche, but everybody does it!

How to get to Pisa 

Train

The train trip from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station takes about one hour, and a pleasant level stroll across town, via the river, will take you to the Leaning Tower. Trains depart up to five times per hour and tickets cost around €18 return.

Bus

The journey from the Stazione Nazionale in Florence takes around an hour-and-a-half and costs about €16 return. It takes around 15 minutes to walk to the tower from the bus stop.

Car

It takes just over an hour on average to drive from Florence to Pisa via the A11. The car park on Via Andrea Pisano is a good bet as it’s close to the Piazza dei Miracoli.

TOUR SUGGESTION: Pisa and Lucca from Florence

Lucca

lucca day trip from florence

A little less touristy than Florence or Pisa, Lucca makes a great Italian day trip destination. The Old Town is surrounded by walls dating from the Renaissance era. Now, the walls are used as a promenade for locals and visitors to walk or cycle on. 

Lucca is where the composer Puccini hails from and there is an annual opera festival. Visitors can also explore Casa di Puccini, which was once his home. 

Piazza dell’Anfiteatro also stands on the site of an ancient amphitheater dating from Roman times. Lucca’s collection of former aristocratic palaces are also well worth exploring: the best include  Villa Garzoni and Pallazo Pfanner. Other Lucca highlights include the views from Torre Guinigi and San Michele in Foro church.

How to get to Lucca 

Train

It takes under two hours to travel from Florence to Lucca, via Pisa. The fare is around €20 return.

Bus

The bus journey time is around an hour and 30 minutes by bus and is costs around €16 return.

Car

Via the A11 toll road, the trip typically takes under an hour. You will need to park outside the city walls, and lots of parking is available.

Siena

siena tour from florence

Siena’s city center is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. The cathedral is a must – it’s a fine example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture and there is lots of Renaissance sculpture and art inside the duomo.

The Piazza del Campo is used twice per year for the Palio di Siena, a bareback horse race dating back to medieval times. 

Other Siena highlights include the vista from the Torre del Mangia and architect Baldassarre Peruzzi’s stately villas. 

How to get to Siena

Train 

Traveling by train isn’t the easiest option in Siena as the station is quite a way out of town.

Bus 

The bus trip from Florence to Siena takes about an hour-and-a-quarter, and tickets cost about €10 return. 

Car 

You can drive to Siena, but bear in mind that Parking S. Caterina Siena charges around €35 per day. The trip takes about an hour. 

TOUR SUGGESTION: Siena, San Gimignano and winery lunch

Arezzo

arezzo tuscany

Arezzo’s history is ancient, dating back to Etruscan times. Today, it is a pretty city packed with architecture from the Renaissance, medieval and Romanesque eras. The destination is also known for its cosy bars, the place to be during aperitivo hour.

The main square hosts a medieval festival annually. During the Saracen Joust, most residents  dress in medieval costume. Arezzo also hosts a number of other events and food festivals throughout the year.

How to get to Arezzo

Train 

The train trip from Florence to Arezzo takes about an hour-and-a-half and tickets cost from €12 return. 

Car

You also can reach Arezzo by car, and the trip takes about an hour.

Pistoia

pistoia

The Tuscan city of Pistoia huddles around the Piazza del Duomo in the centre. The city cathedral has an octagonal baptistery and a silver altar. The 11th century Palazzo dei Vescovi is also on the square and there are museums based here. 

Some refer to the region Pistoia is located in as the ‘Chocolate Valley’. It is also known for cultivating and growing flowering plants in greenhouses, and because of this is sometimes called the ‘city of green’.

How to get to Pistoia

Train

Pistoia is close to Florence, so the train journey takes about 50 minutes.

Car

By car, it takes only about half an hour to reach Pistoia from Florence.

Longer Day Trips from Florence

Day trips from Florence to the Cinque Terre or other notable places are another attractive possibility. For those with limited time to spend in Italy, they allow visitors to get a real flavour of the country outside of Florence. 

Cinque Terre

cinque terre day trip from florence

The Cinque Terre comprises five scenic and very colorful seaside villages that make a great day trip destination. Located on the Ligurian coast, they take some time to reach, but are well worth the effort. 

It takes around 2 hours by car or you can catch the train to La Spezia with the journey taking up to 3 hours each way depending on the service. From there you can travel between the villages by local boat or train. Another option is to join a group tour to transfer from Florence to the Cinque Terre

Viareggio 

Spending time at an Italian beach resort makes a popular day trip. Viareggio has an attractive promenade, plus a long stretch of white sandy beach. Again you can drive here or take the train. Bagno Nettuno is our pick of the town’s beach clubs (for which a fee is payable). It has a restaurant, sporting facilities and a saltwater pool. 

Bologna

bologna day trip from florence

Foodies flock to lively Bologna for its gourmet scene, and the fact that the city can be reached in just 40 minutes from Florence’s main train station is an added bonus. There are also plenty of historic and cultural features to discover, including the Renaissance buildings of the Piazza Maggiore and several medieval towers. Book your rail tickets on Omio and you’ll be there in around 40 minutes. We recommend joining a food tour of Bologna so you can learn about and enjoy the city’s rich culinary history.

Milan

Milan is a popular destination with visitors from all over the globe, and is renowned for its designer fashion stores, including those found at the landmark Galleria Emmanuele II. The trip from Florence by train takes about two hours.

The city’s cathedral is Italy’s largest duomo and it took around 600 years to complete. Milan is also famous for Da Vinci’s Last Supper, which is on display in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Make sure you book tickets for the Last Supper well in advance as they sell out quickly.

Orvieto 

orvieto cathedral umbria

Orvieto is a beautiful hilltop town in Umbria that takes a little over two hours to reach by train, or about half an hour less by car. This compact city has a spectacular location, as it is perched atop a rock. 

The city’s duomo dates back to 1290, and boasts a marble Pietà sculpture and an intricate mosaic frontage. Another star attraction is the 16th century twin spiral staircase found at the Pozzo di San Patrizio, a well shaft. 

This Italian city is also known for its extensive network of underground caves that hark back to the Etruscan era.

Summary – Best Florence Day Trips

tuscany

As you can see, there are plenty of appealing day trips to take from Florence – it’s simply a matter of deciding which are the best Florence day trips for you. 

Will you opt for foodie fun in Bologna or a Tuscan farmhouse, seeing the pretty Cinque Terre villages, exploring stylish Milan or try taking a tour by Vespa or a 1960s Fiat 500? 

Whichever you pick, getting out of Florence will allow you to discover an entirely new side to the beautiful Italian countryside.  

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