The stunning historic city of Florence is one of my favorite cities in Italy to explore. This central Italy hub is known for its historic center, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, delicious food, Renaissance art, and the many famous artists and scientists who have called the city home. Its central location in the country and large train station makes Florence a fantastic base to explore the Tuscan countryside and beyond.
Regional trains run regularly from Florence to the smaller towns of Tuscany. There are also highspeed trains that can easily connect you to more of Italy’s other famous big cities like chic Milan and medieval Bologna. If you don’t feel like being tied to a local train schedule, you can easily join an organized tour to go wine tasting or explore the rolling hills of Tuscany on your own by renting a car.
We’ve compiled a list of the absolute best day trips from Florence that you should add to your travel itinerary. Some of these Florence day trips will be all-day excursions, but most places only require a half-day visit to get in all the must-do activities, so you’re still left with plenty of time to explore Florence. Grab a glass of Chianti and get ready to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Italy!
Best Day Trips From Florence, Italy
One of the most popular day trips from Florence by train is to Pisa, home of the world-famous Leaning Tower. It takes less than an hour to get there and can be reached by local trains that run every twenty to thirty minutes. The picturesque Tuscan city sits near the mouth of the Arno River and is surrounded by wineries.
Start your visit at the Piazza del Duomo, where you’ll find the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This skip-the-line ticket grants visitors access to both the leaning tower and the Cathedral. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy the gorgeous Romanesque architecture of the cathedral. Don’t miss a chance to also stop by the Pisa Baptistery – the acoustics are absolutely superb.
The beauty of Pisa doesn’t end at the Piazza del Duomo. After trekking up the steps of the leaning tower, make your way down to the old town. Pisa has stunning colorful buildings, impressive Renaissance palaces, and wonderful restaurants.
During your half-day trip, you can opt for a golf cart tour to maximize your time in the city while seeing its most magnificent sights, or you can enjoy a Pisa food tour. This food tour takes you around the Pisa city center while sampling some of the region’s most delicious culinary offerings, including cured meats, Tuscan soup, focaccia, and wine.
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2. San Gimignano
Located in the province of Siena, the hilltop town of San Gimignano is a tiny medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful Tuscan town is surrounded by rolling hills, olive groves, and intact city walls that date back to the 13th century. San Gimignano is the best day trip from Florence if you want to get out of the bigger cities and explore one of Italy’s most stunning medieval towns.
San Gimignano is known for its unique skyline, comprised of several incredible medieval towers. While there were believed to be around 72 towers at one point, only 14 are still standing today. During the middle ages, wealthy families built these towers to symbolize wealth. Visitors can enjoy Italian works of art from the 14th and 15h centuries through the town’s cathedrals and religious buildings.
San Gimignano is easily accessible from Florence by public transport. Several direct trains run between the two towns; the journey is just under two hours each way. If you plan to drive, I highly recommend booking this dreamy lunch set in the middle of a stunning wine estate. Otherwise, if you don’t want to drive or take a train, this guided tour will transport you from Florence to San Gimignano as you admire Siena and the Chianti hills.
See Related: Where to Stay in Florence, Italy: Best Areas & Neighborhoods
Siena is a large province within the Tuscan countryside, and it’s also one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. If you enjoy Florence but want to explore somewhere with fewer people, this is the place for you. Siena’s main square, Piazza del Campo, features many of the city’s top attractions, including the Torre del Mangia and the Gothic town hall.
This Florence day trip destination is famous for its annual horse race event. Each summer, Siena hosts the famous Palio horse race, once on July 2nd and again on August 16th. The Siena horse race dates back to the 17th century. Ten riders (and horses) ride bareback and represent each of Siena’s ten city wards. Each ward hosts their own festivities around the time of the race, creating quite a buzz in the city.
If you’re not visiting Siena in July or August, don’t worry, there’s still much more to see and do here. Siena’s main cathedral, the Duomo di Siena, is just as gorgeous as the one in Florence. The interior is adorned with stunning frescoes. The most stunning part of the Duomo di Siena is the Piccolomini Library. If you’re searching for a more unique experience, enjoy a wine tasting in a medieval cave near the San Domenico Basilica.
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When thinking of big Italian cities, Rome and Milan are usually the first ones to come to mind. But Bologna is one lesser-known city you must see on a day trip from Florence! It’s home to the oldest continuously operated university in the world and some of Italy’s most famous dishes, like ragu (bolognese sauce), tortellini, and mortadella.
This culturally-rich city is an easy day trip from Florence and takes just over 30 minutes on the high-speed train. Start your tour of Bologna off at Piazza Maggiore, the city’s main square. It’s great for people watching or admiring the surrounding Medieval and Renaissance buildings from a cafe.
The Basilica di San Petronio stands out in the middle of the square with its half-brick and half-marble facade. If you want to be mind-blown by some seriously old architecture, walk a few blocks to Le Tre Frecce “The Three Arrows”. The oak beams date back to the 1200s and are truly impressive.
As I mentioned earlier, Bologna has given us some of Italy’s most famous (and delicious) dishes, so I highly recommend joining a food tour while in the city. If you’d rather take your time eating through the city on your own, you can still enjoy a walking tour to learn all about the city’s long and fascinating history.
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Lucca is an adorable old city known for its charming cobblestone streets and tree-lined walkways. It’s the only city in Tuscany where you can walk the entire length of its fortified walls! Lucca is easily accessible by hourly trains from Florence’s central train station, making it one of the most accessible Florence day trips.
The vibe of Lucca can be described as somewhere between the bustling city of Florence and the medieval town of San Gimignano. One of the top attractions to visit in Lucca is the Guinigi Tower. Visitors can climb its 232 steps to the top to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city.
There are many large pedestrian piazzas throughout the city, like Piazza San Michele, which are perfect for relaxing in between visiting landmarks like the Mura di Lucca, St. Martin Cathedral, and the Puccini Museum. Lucca is also surrounded by the picturesque Tuscan countryside filled with many wineries and beautiful olive groves.
To see the city in the best way, take this guided tour on e-bikes of Lucca and the surrounding countryside. The tour also includes a wine tasting of local wines with accompaniments including bruschetta, cheese, and charcuterie.
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The picturesque hilltop town of Fiesole was once a popular weekend escape for wealthy families from Florence. Being just outside of Florence’s metropolitan area, it still remains a perfect day trip from the city today. It’s just a twenty-minute drive from Florence to Fiesole, or you can take a local bus.
Fiesole is known for its ample ancient Etruscan and Roman ruins, along with centuries-old holiday villas belonging to wealthy families from Florence. Fiesole’s beautiful cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Romulus of Fiesole, has been around since 1028 and features two large frescoes.
There are several other old and stunning cathedrals and convents throughout the medieval village that can easily be explored on a half-day excursion. The town is surrounded by archaeological sites, including Etruscan gates and Roman baths. If you love seeing parts of history up close and personal, this is the perfect little village for you to visit.
See Related: Top Day Trips from Rome, Italy
7. Cinque Terre National Park
One of the most scenic places to visit on a Florence day trip is Cinque Terre National Park, located in the Liguria region of Italy. Cinque Terre is comprised of five tiny fishing villages filled with colorful houses and stunning vistas. Between the villages are gorgeous hiking trails that connect each village.
If you plan to hike these trails, I highly recommend spending at least two or three days of your trip here. Additionally, these are true hiking trails, so you’ll certainly need to come prepared with comfortable hiking shoes, walking sticks, and sun protection.
If you’re short on time, don’t worry, you can still easily enjoy the beauty of Cinque Terre in a single day. This full-day guided tour will take you from Florence to four of the five fishing villages that will leave you breathless. The tour also includes lunch and a scenic boat ride.
A day trip to Cinque Terre can easily be done on your own as well. Parking is extremely limited, so it’s best to go between the towns by train. Trains are frequent and take less than five minutes to travel between each village. My favorite Cinque Terre villages are Manarola and Vernazza. If you visit in the summer, Monterosso al Mare has a stunning beach dotted with colorful umbrellas.
As for food, make sure to download Nessun Dorma Cinque Terre’s app and make a reservation about an hour before you’d like to eat. If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal, there are tons of little restaurants serving up focaccia and fried seafood to-go.
See Related: Best Places to Stay in Cinque Terre
8. Borgo San Lorenzo
Tucked away in the Mugello Valley is a quiet little town called Borgo San Lorenzo. This hidden gem has been a favorite escape of Italian artists throughout the centuries. This small but beautiful town is surrounded by old churches and many incredible villas.
Borgo San Lorenzo is known for its tradition of ceramics and pottery-making. One of the best places to learn more about this is the Chini Manufacturing Museum, located inside the Pecori Giraldi villa. Galileo Chini was a famous artist from Florence known for his paintings and pottery. He also created remarkable frescoes in the town’s church.
Every year in May, the town hosts a festival called Mugello da Fiaba on the first two Sundays of the month. This festival revolves around kiddos as they learn about literature, theater, and music through various activities like storytelling, playtime, and workshops. It’s certainly a fun and unique activity that the whole family can enjoy!
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Between Florence and Perugia lies the incredible town of Arezzo. The town was once famous for its gold and silver and is an awesome day trip from Florence for those who love to go antique shopping. You’ll definitely find some hidden treasures when it comes to things like clothing, art, furniture, and decor pieces.
Shopping is not the only thing to be enjoyed about Arezzo. The Piazza Grande is located in the center of town and has been since the 1500s. It’s still a main hub for gatherings and is lined with many cafes, wine bars, and shops. It’s in the Piazza Grande where you’ll also find the Museo Palazzo di Fraternita, a museum that showcases artistic, scientific, and archaeological finds from around Tuscany and features a stunning clock tower.
To get the full experience of this historical city, take a private tour to learn about Arezzo’s most important sites and landmarks. The city was an important symbol of Roman expansion, so it’s full of history and fascinating stories.
See Related: Where to Stay in Tuscany: Best Places & Areas
The Tuscan countryside is most famous for its iconic rolling hills, endless vineyards, and olive groves. Livorno offers a bit of Tuscany that many visitors seem to forget about: its beautiful coastline. This beautiful coastal town is home to the main port of Tuscany and features those hallmark colorful buildings that so many Italian seaside cities are known for.
There are many family-friendly activities to enjoy while visiting Livorno. You can explore the Aquarium of Livorno, stroll down the Terrazza Mascagni seaside promenade, and eat your way through Livorno’s Mercato Centrale, one of the largest markets in Europe.
There are so many more things to see and do in Livorno – from its numerous statues and monuments to its intricate and beautiful canal system. The easiest way to see all of these attractions on a single day trip is by utilizing the hop-on hop-off bus.
The bus will take you to all of Livorno’s top landmarks, and you can get on and off as much as you’d like. If you want a quick tour, the full route without getting off takes just about one hour.
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11. Greve in Chianti
Located in the heart of the Chianti region, Greve is a charming town surrounded by some of the most amazing vineyards in the country. It’s located less than 20 miles away from Florence, making it one of the best day trips if you’re looking to do a bunch of wine tastings in one day. In fact, going on a wine tour is the most popular activity that visitors enjoy in Greve.
In regards to the actual town, though it is small, it’s very lively with great restaurants and shops. You can’t go wrong with a stop at Trattoria D’ì Borgo, which specializes in traditional Tuscan cuisine, including dishes like Florentine steak, pici pasta, and local wines and cheese. And don’t forget to save room for their delicious homemade desserts!
Greve is known as the gateway into the picturesque Chianti countryside and is located on the SR222 provincial road, nicknamed the “Strada del Vino” or “Road of Wine.” This half-day guided tour from Florence takes all the worry about planning a road trip. Instead, relax as you traverse the Strada del Vino trying fine wines and eventually ending your tour in Greve.
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One of the most famous Roman Catholic towns in Italy is Assisi, located in the Umbria region. This city has been an important pilgrimage destination for centuries and was the birthplace of Saint Francis, one of the most well-known patron saints of Italy.
If you love learning about history, especially in regard to religion and culture, you definitely have to add this town to your list of places to visit while in Florence. The most popular place to visit in Assisi is the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This grand church was built in 1228 and is actually comprised of two churches and a crypt, where Saint Francis was laid to rest. Within the upper and lower churches are gorgeous frescoes created by several famous Italian painters. Another important religious site is the Temple of Minerva, a Roman temple located in the historic center of the town.
With all of the incredible religious sites and history to see and learn about, it’s highly recommended to take a guided tour of the town. This three-hour tour will take you around Assisi’s historic center and into some of its cathedrals, including the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi.
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In just under two hours on the high-speed train, you can reach one of Europe’s most romantic cities from Florence. Milan is an easy day trip from Florence with different sights, foods, and sounds to be explored. Europe’s fashion capital is known for its incredible architecture, the towering Duomo di Milano, and, of course, world-class shopping.
The heart of Milan is Cathedral Square. Surrounding Cathedral Square, you’ll find the famous Duomo di Milano, the Royal Palace of Milan, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and countless bars and restaurants. Be sure to book your ticket for the Duomo in advance to avoid the long lines.
Another thing you’ll want to see in Milan is The Last Supper in the Santa Maria delle Grazie. It gave me chills to see it in real life, so I think it’s well worth the hassle of having to purchase date-specific tickets months in advance.
When you visit Milan, you have to indulge in a little bit of shopping. Via Monte Napoleone is where you’ll find a high concentration of high-end shops, including brands like Chanel, Goyard, and Hermès. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a stunning work of art in and of itself and features even more luxury brands.
Other must-see places in Milan include Teatro alla Scala, Sforzesco Castle, and Sempione Park. And while Italy is known for its amazing cafes, there is a Starbucks Reserve in Milan if you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up (or just a place to chill for a bit).
See Related: Best Day Trips from Milan, Italy
I hope you’re not getting tired of these amazing small villages because there are so many that can be easily explored from Florence. One of my favorite underrated nearby towns is Orvieto. Driving to Orvieto from Florence will take just under two hours, but if you take a high-speed train, you’ll save thirty minutes.
This charming medieval town features a famous cathedral, the Duomo di Orvieto. Construction on the cathedral began in 1290 to commemorate a miracle witnessed by a priest in 1263. Construction was completed in 1591 and is celebrated for its ornate Gothic architecture. One of the most intriguing parts of the cathedral is its system of underground tunnels, which can be accessed on this tour.
There’s so much more to see and do in this charming Italian town, from visiting the Teatro Mancinelli to the enormous Pozzo della Cava well. If you want to enjoy a more exciting activity, sign up for this traditional cooking class or enjoy a half-day of truffle hunting.
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The stunning hilltop town of Volterra is one of the most well-known Etruscan settlements that’s still around today. It’s the home of amazingly well-preserved ancient art, medieval fortresses, and a Roman Theater complex. With a travel time of under two hours, it’s an easy day trip from Florence for anyone who enjoys learning about ancient civilizations.
The walls of the city date back to the third and fourth centuries and features two gateways and a tomb dating back to the Etruscan civilization. The Roman Theater complex, which dates back to the first century BC, is touted as one of the best-preserved Roman theaters in Italy and remains one of Volterra’s most popular attractions. To learn more about Volterra’s vast history, I highly recommend booking this private walking tour of the city and its cathedral.
Other places to visit in Volterra to learn about history include the Mario Guarnacci Museum, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, the Palace of the Priors (city hall), and the Volterra City Museum and Art Gallery. If you’d like to experience life as a noble family during medieval times, visit the Palazzo Incontri Viti. Your admission ticket even includes a wine tasting!
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16. Montecatini Terme
If you love to add a bit of rest and relaxation to a trip full of exploration, add Montecatini Terme to your list of must-visit day trips from Florence. This town is famous for its relaxing Parco delle Terme spa complex. It’s often referred to as the biggest spa town in Italy, so be prepared for a lot of pampering and relaxation!
These spas are fueled by natural hot springs and have been a true Tuscan countryside secret for centuries. Mineral-rich water rises from deep in the earth, is naturally warm in temperature, collects in pools, and is thought to have healing properties within them.
While Romans knew about this centuries ago, today’s visitors can still enjoy the thermal baths at Parco delle Terme. There are three main complexes with water and treatments claiming to help with diabetes, kidney issues, and stomach conditions.
The thermal baths aren’t the only reason to visit Montecatini Terme. Throughout this small town are beautiful gardens, meticulous frescoes, and stunning marble buildings. A drive from Florence to Montecatini Terme takes around one hour, or you can take a direct train, which will take about the same amount of time.
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Cortona is one of the prettiest towns you’ll find under the Tuscan sun. Like many other towns throughout the Tuscan countryside, it was once a large settlement for the ancient Etruscans. With a less than two-hour drive or train ride, Cortona is one of the easiest day trips from Florence to take if you want to learn more about Tuscany’s history.
Start your visit off at the Accademia Etrusca, which houses a large collection of Etruscan artifacts, including bronze and ceramic items. They also have quite a few works of art, including paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Tickets are fairly priced, and you can even get a combination ticket to the nearby Archaeological Park. Afterward, visit the Basilica of Saint Margaret of Cortona, Diocesan Museum, and stroll through the Piazza della Repubblica.
Take advantage of being in the countryside by enjoying a traditional Tuscan cooking class at a lovely Tuscan farmhouse. This cooking class can accommodate vegans and vegetarians and includes making fresh pasta from scratch! After preparing your meal, you can enjoy the incredible panoramic views from the house as you sip on local wines.
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18. Monsummano Terme
Just like its sister town of Montecatini Terme, Monsummano Terme is another popular spa resort town tucked away in the hills of Tuscany. Along with its natural thermal waters, Monsummano Terme is also known for its collection of works of art at its two main museums: the Museum of the City and Territory of Monsummano Terme and Museo di Arte Contemporanea e del Novecento.
Monsummano Terme is a worthy day trip destination if you’re looking for a day of relaxation. The most popular place to experience the warm thermal waters of Monsummano Terme is Grotta Giusti Thermal Spa Resort. It’s also one of my favorite resorts of all time!
You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to enjoy the spa and large thermal pool; day passes are offered. There’s a large outdoor thermal pool as well as an indoor thermal spa circuit. If you’re feeling adventurous (and are scuba-certified and insured), there’s also a thermal water cave on the property – one of the very few caves in the world that you can dive in.
Combine your spa day with a quick stop in the nearby town of Vinci, the birthplace of one of the most famous artists of all time – Leonardo da Vinci. The town is tiny, but you can visit the home he was born in, and they also have a great Leonardo da Vinci Museum.
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Saturnia was one of those Instagram-famous places that had been on my bucket list for years. When I finally saw it in real life, it far exceeded my expectations! Its milky blue water and calm cascades made for a perfect early morning activity. Legend has it that the baths were formed by lightning bolts thrown by Jupiter!
If you’re renting a car and driving yourself to Saturnia, I highly recommend getting an early start. Large tour buses arrive around 8:30 am, so you’ll want to get in ahead of them. Besides the Cascate del Mulino, you can also visit several day spas around the area. If you aren’t renting a car, there are several guided tours just like this one that will take you to the Cascate del Mulino, pictured above.
Saturnia is about three hours away from Florence, making this one of the longer travel times for day trips from Florence. However, I think Saturnia is well worth the drive. It’s gorgeous, relaxing, and just so surreal to see up close.
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Venice may look quite far from Florence on the map, but with the help of high-speed trains, you can visit this romantic Italian city in just two hours. Venice is famous for its stunning network of canals, glasswork, Venetian masks, and, of course, gondolas! There are lots of famous landmarks and wondrous sights to see in Venice, but it can definitely be done all in one day.
Things you won’t want to miss in Venice include St. Marks Basilica and Doge’s Palace. I don’t recommend eating or drinking anywhere in St. Mark’s Square – it’s way overpriced, and you can find better hole-in-the-wall cafes and restaurants further into the city.
One pricey thing I do recommend doing is going on a gondola ride through the canals. Is it touristy? For sure. But it’s fun and definitely beats the one in Vegas.
Cross the Grand Canal on the Rialto Bridge, there are tons of little shops where you can find souvenirs, and it’s also a great place for a photo op. Along this canal are many restaurants and gelato shops. End your day enjoying this live classical music concert.
Can you do day trips to Tuscany from Florence?
Florence is the largest city in Tuscany and, therefore, the most well-connected. This makes it the ideal base for exploring the rolling hills and old towns of the Tuscan countryside.
How many days is ideal for Florence?
If you’re just looking to see the main sights in Florence, two to three days is certainly enough time. However, if you’d like to venture out of this Tuscan city, whether it be on a regional train or with a tour guide, you’ll want to spend at least four to five days in Florence.
Which month is best in Florence?
Florence makes a great destination to visit year-round, but if you want to enjoy the Tuscan countryside without the crowds, the best month is September. It’s still warm, and you can still tour vineyards and do some wine tasting, but there are fewer tourists. You can also often get a better deal on flights and accommodation in September compared to the high season.
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