Most Epic Day Trips From Florence, Tuscany

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM FLORENCE – BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO VISIT NEAR FLORENCE

Florence is one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, so it’s no wonder so many people flock here each year. Florence has something for everyone – whether you are on a budget or splurging, whether you are an art enthusiast or a novice, whether you are a fan of the outdoors or prefer to stay in, you won’t be disappointed by Florence.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR DAY TRIPS FROM FLORENCE

There is so much to see and do. It would be easy to spend your entire trip in this city. However, you would then miss out on some of Florence’s amazing nearby towns and cities of Tuscany that are worth a visit. Taking day trips from Florence is a great way to spend your trip, as you are close to some of Italy’s most famous places – like Rome, Cinque Terre, and Porto Venere.

This post will let you know the best day tours from Florence. You won’t be disappointed with these fun, colorful, and historical villages and cities once you see them!

Pssst, also make sure to check out my Florence itinerary.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Where to Stay in Florence

If you make Florence your base, find the best accommodation for your trip!

So, enough talking, let us talk about the best day trips.

How to Get Around Florence

Italy has a pretty good public transportation system – especially in the Tuscany region. I have only had positive experiences using the trains in Italy.

Especially for the Florence day trip, I recommend using trains. The prices are very reasonable, reliable and clean. 

Driving in Tuscany is not too bad! The streets are mostly in good condition, and I have seen worse streets and drivers in Italy. However, parking will be a challenge – many town centers are car-free, and you might have to park quite far away. Also, parking prices will add up, and petrol is costly in Italy.

So, you will probably save money using public transportation – and there will be less headache if you do not drive yourself.

BEST FLORENCE DAY TOURS

Here are the best places to visit near Florence.

Florence Day Trip to Pisa

How could it be any different? Pisa is famous for its Leaning Tower, and you can’t visit Tuscany and skip the tower, and it is probably the most famous day tour from Florence.

You can get to Pisa from Florence by either train or car, but I don’t recommend going by car. Train tickets are quite cheap, and the trains run frequently. By train, you’ll be in Pisa within the hour. 

Day trip to Pisa, The leaning tower of Pisa
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Day trip to Pisa, stroll the river
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Once you arrive, your first stop should be the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is located in the Piazza del Duomo, and you can actually climb to the top (there are 400 steps) for 18 euros. It’s best to visit here between April and the end of September, even October. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance and get skip-the-line tickets.

There’s more to do, though. Visit Cattedrale di Pisa, an imposing church in front of the tower, with marble striping, Romanesque, bronzed doors, and carved pulpits. See Camposanto Monumentale – a cemetery located in the Piazza del Duomo, which you will also need tickets for.

The Pisa Baptistery is another great place to stop, with panels by the renowned sculptor Pisano. Also, see Santa Maria Della Spina, a little church with a unique exterior on the Arno River. Stroll the Arno banks, visit the night square, and see the Italian art in the Palazzo Blu museum, located by the river. 

Here is my full Pisa itinerary for one day.

Find out about guided tours from Florence to Pisa – here is the best-rated day tour to Pisa.

If you prefer a shorter trip to Pisa, check out this tour.

Florence Day Trip to Lucca

Lucca is a popular town that is easy to get to from Florence. Despite being situated between Florence and Pisa, it is not overly crowded with tourists. 

There are quite a few attractions for you to enjoy on your day trip to Lucca. First, you should see the huge Renaissance walls and walk atop them. They offer some amazing views. Then, head to the historic city center.

Secret places places in Italy, Lucca in Tuscany
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Most underrated places in Italy, Lucca in Tuscany
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Here you’ll find the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and its cafes and restaurants if you’d like to stop for a bite. After that, check out the Duomo di San Martino for 3 euros – you can climb the tower for another 3 euros if you like. The views are very nice.

If you’re in the mood for climbing, you can also go to the top of Guinigi Tower, where you will see centuries-old trees once you climb the steps – the cost is 4 euros. You can also visit the Basilica of San Frediano and St. Martin Cathedral, which has a unique and interesting exterior.

Take your time because, despite the number of attractions in Lucca, they are not that far apart and walkable, so you have time to linger.

For more information on a guided tour – combining Lucca and Pisa – check out the rates for this tour.

Florence Day Trip to Pistoia and Pescia

Pistoia and Pescia are two wonderful towns that you can combine for one day trip. They are easy to get to from Florence and slightly off the beaten path. In my opinion, both towns are underrated, beautiful Pistoia, which has an authentic medieval feel to it.

Tuscany, Pistoa baptiserary_
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 A river bisects Pistoia, so some of its attractions are on one side, like the Piazza Mazzini and City Hall, and some are on the other, like the Cathedral of San Zeno. You will see lots of gorgeous architecture here with none of the crowds of more popular cities.

Make sure you see the Spedale del Ceppo, the Piazza del Sala, the Basilica of Our Lady of Humility, and the church of Sant’Andrea. Then, stop for lunch and make your way to Pescia nearby.

The second half of your day will be in Pescia, another little town that is long on lovely buildings but short on crowds. You can visit the Gipsoteca Libero Andreotti museum and the Pescia Cathedral. Spend the rest of the day strolling through town, walking along the banks of the river, and enjoying a relaxing Tuscan evening. 

Florence Day Trip to Porto Venere

If you are staying in Florence, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Porto Venere. It is close to La Spezia. This beautiful town can be reached by taking a train or boat from La Spezia. You’ll be there from Florence in about 2-3,5 hours (depending on if you drive or take a train). It is quite a long way – I am aware of that. But since train travel in Italy is pleasant and Porto Venere is STUNNING, it is still worth it.

Best hidden gems in Italy, Porto Venere
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View from St. Peter in Porto Venere_
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Small and pretty, Porto Venere is a little port town overshadowed by its popular neighbors – Cinque Terre’s villages. But it is definitely worth a day trip from Florence to see because it is really quite beautiful.

Because of its size, you can see all of the town’s sights in less than four hours. If you like, you can even take a guided tour. But if you prefer to wander at your own pace, here are some of the highlights that you should see while here.

Visit the medieval Church of Saint Peter and San Lorenzo Church. To get amazing views, go up to the clifftop Castello Doria, a fortress that gives you an overview of the town. Or stroll the streets and promenades, taking in the colorful houses and fun atmosphere.

If you like outdoor activities, make your way to the Porto Venere Regional Natural Park. This protected land has enough beach areas, dive sites, and hiking trails to satisfy any lover of the outdoors. 

Here are more travel tips for Porto Venere.

Florence Day Trip to Siena

Here is an easier day trip from Florence: Siena.

Siena is a beautifully maintained, medieval town and an homage to Gothic architecture. Its historical center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tuscany, Siena cathedral
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Siena tower, looking up
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 You can reach this town that sits upon three hills by taking the train or bus from Florence. Once you arrive, head to the central piazza – the Piazza del Campo – where the town’s most important events take place. It is a fun and lively square, and if you happen to be visiting in the summer, specifically July 2 or August 16, Siena’s twice-annual horse race will be going on.

Besides that, though, there are a few other great sights to take in. Within the piazza is the Tower of Mangia, where you can climb 400 steps to the top. It was closed during my visit, but it supposedly provides some amazing views. Visit the Duomo die, Siena – you’ll notice it by its pinkish exterior. This Gothic cathedral has some gorgeous mosaics.

Stop by the town hall building – the Pubblico Palace – another example of Gothic architecture in the piazza. After that, you can wander through the old town. Adorable houses are lining the streets, and it’s the perfect way to end your day in Siena.

If you prefer a guided tour, check out this trip – a day where you will Siena, San Gimignano, and Chianti in one day (with lunch and wine tasting).

Florence Day Trip to San Gimignano

Traveling from Florence to San Gimignano only takes about an hour, but you will have to transfer to Poggibonsi if you travel by bus or train. If you arrive via car, then no worries, but keep in mind that these are narrow, mountain streets that can be challenging to drive (though if I can do it, you can do it, too!.

So, of course, San Gimignano is very popular so that it can be busy at times.

landscapes of Italy. medieval San Gimignano - Tuscany cutest towns in Italy
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But regardless of how you get here, San Gimignano is a great day trip from Florence. It offers stunning views and some fascinating attractions. And everyone knows it. This walled, medieval town is a trendy tourist destination in Tuscany. It can get jam-packed, especially in the summer months.

While you’re here, stop at Porto San Giovanni to see a door created in the 13th century and the town’s pride. If you are looking for a great view, try Torre Grossa. Climbing this 13th-century tower, which is 54 meters high, will give you an amazing look out over your surroundings. Entry is 5 euros. (I actually missed this because it was raining during my visit.) 

The center of San Gimignano is the Piazza del Duomo. Here you will find the Palazzo del Podesta and the Palazzo del Popola, two beautiful cathedrals, and other amazing pieces of architecture.

Read my Tuscany itinerary – with the best places to visit in 5-10 days in Tuscany.

Guided Tour: Check out this trip – a day where you will Siena, San Gimignano, and Chianti in one day (with lunch and wine tasting).

Florence Day Trip to Arezzo

This town is something different – and unique – from the other medieval towns found in Tuscany. Because of this, it became one of my very favorites. I am talking about Arezzo.

Trains frequently run from Florence to Arezzo, making your day trip an easy one. So, hop on, and you will be here within 30-60 minutes. 

Tuscany, Arezzo market square one of the best places to visit in Tuscany
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Tuscany, Arezzo view from above, one of the best places to visit in Tuscany
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Like most of Tuscany, the town square is on a hill, though the rest of the town is not. There are a variety of attractions to see, from the historical to the natural to the picturesque. I’m pretty sure that you will fall in love with this town. 

Visit the Arezzo Cathedral and make sure you check out the beautiful, 15th-century fresco there. The Piazza Grande is also a good place to see the interesting buildings and maybe stop for something to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants. The Fraternity dei Laici, a museum located on the Piazza Grande, is another place you should see – not just for what’s inside, but because you can have access to the panoramic terrace and its views for only 3 euros.

Florence Day Trip to Rome

How could you miss this city? Rome is just 90 minutes from Florence by train, so you have no excuse not to go. Train tickets are a little more expensive, though.

Vatican City seen from Rome
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Tourists places in Rome in two days
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For your day trip to Rome, I suggest starting early. This is going to be a full day with lots of amazing things to see and do. Normally, I’d suggest 2-3 days for Rome, but with just one, you’ll have to pick and choose what best works for you.

Let’s start with some of the most famous landmarks in Rome. While here, I would suggest seeing the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Roman Hills and Palatine Hills, the Spanish Steps, Castello del Angelo, and Monumento Nazionale a Vittoria Emanuele.

Within Rome is Vatican City, the smallest country in the world and home to the Pope (it’s effortless to cross borders). There are some breathtaking sights here that absolutely made my Rome trip, so don’t skip this part. 

Some of the best things to see in Vatican City are St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Spiral Staircase, and Raphael‘s Rooms. 

With only one day, you won’t fit this all in, but maybe that will give you an incentive to come back to see the rest.

Final Thoughts on the Best Day Trips From Florence

Tuscany is a beautiful region in Italy, and Florence is no exception. However, there are so many interesting and beautiful places nearby. It would be a crime not to explore Italy further with a few day trips from Florence.

These towns and cities are well worth the (short) commute, and I know you won’t be disappointed once you see them. 

Safe Travels, Arzo
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