As one of the most beloved and frequently visited cities in the world, Florence is a dream holiday destination for many. Beautiful architecture, amazing food, the beautiful Tuscan surroundings and scrumptious Italian food – what more could you want? However sometimes, the hustle and bustle of the city can become a bit overwhelming and you might find yourself craving some time away from it.
Don’t fret! With its superb location in the heart of Tuscany, there’s many easy day trips to take from Florence. Italy’s excellent high-speed trains (La Frecce) are very affordable when booked in advance and make travelling an absolute dream. You’re surrounded by a plethora of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beautiful views, and ancient cities to explore.
Here are the best day trips from Florence:
A short trip away on the Frecciarossa and you find yourself in Bologna, which many believe to be one of the most beautiful cities in Italy altogether.
Home to the oldest University in the world and of the much beloved Bolognese, the city has much to offer.
Beautiful colonnades frame the streets, offering an easy and relaxing trip throughout the city center.
The two towers on the main square, framing the Fountain of Neptune are great for photo ops.
With hundreds of little streets, hidden churches and indoor markets, Bologna is an easy and cheap destination for a great day trip.
Suggested tour: From Florence: 2-Hour Private Guided Bologna Tour
For many, Pisa is only known as the home of the Leaning Tower, where you can go, snap a photo pretending you’re supporting it from toppling over, and then leave.
But if you take the time to stroll around the streets of Pisa, you’ll find its unexplored beauty.
Pisa is home of an 11th century cathedral (Duomo), beautiful views alongside the Arno shore, and an elaborate, picturesque baptistery.
Pisa is a popular choice because it’s so accessible from Florence – only a 50-minute train ride takes you there.
If you have time, make sure to spend a few hours marvelling at the beautiful art, housed in the Duomo and take a leisurely stroll along the riverside streets by the Arno.
Another popular choice for a day trip, Lucca is an hour and 20 minutes away from Florence by train.
Referred to by many as the hidden pearl of Tuscany, Lucca boasts beautiful Romanesque churches, charming cobbled streets, and a plethora of history scattered around the streets.
Another bonus is that Lucca has, allegedly, the finest food in Tuscany.
Cuccina lucchese (cuisine from Lucca) is renowned among tourists and locals alike and, with it being more of an off-the-beaten-track destination, prices in Lucca are much better than the ones in Florence and Pisa.
If you have the time, make sure to visit the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a popular concert venue, and the home of famous composer Giacomo Puccini.
With its bountiful history and gorgeous medieval architecture, Siena is a worthy rival of Florence in terms of beauty.
Easily reachable by bus from Florence, Siena’s Duomo is an absolute stunner.
It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy and its library, along with the Sistine Chapel, is one of the best frescoed spaces in Italy.
Visit the Duomo to enjoy stunning art by Michelangelo, Bernini, Donatello, Pisano, and many others.
Another must-go location in Siena is the stunning roomy main piazza.
Its 14th century tower, even taller than the one in Florence, is definitely jaw-dropping.
Siena is a perfect destination for tourists and art enthusiasts alike, and an ideal place for a day trip.
You can’t visit Tuscany without trying out some of its world-famous wine.
There are plenty of locations to do that in the region, but the most convenient to Florence is by far the wonderful Chianti.
Chianti is a 30-minute drive away from Florence and, because it’s so remote, you would need to hire a car.
But once you’ve had a taste of the amazing Chianti wine, you’ll see why it’s worth it! Driving through Chianti, you’ll see small picturesque towns like San Casciano, Montespertoli, Gaiole, and Panzano, as well as signpost for vineyards every five miles or so.
For a great experience, enjoy a wine-filled afternoon with a great lunch in one of the may vineyards around.
6. Val d’Orcia
You know all these postcards of beautiful landscapes and rolling hills that say Tuscany in a fancy italicized font? Chances are these all came from Val d’Orcia.
It is possible to get there via public transport, but the easiest way to reach this fairytale land is to hire a car or a private driver.
Val d’Orcia boasts gorgeous cypress-lined roads, stunning vineyards and little, huddled villages, all ready for you to explore.
The landscape is so beautiful that it’s actually been included as a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape and is, by popular opinion, the most beautiful piece of land in Italy and, possibly, the world.
A true treat for the nature lover, don’t miss Val D’Orcia on your trip to Florence!
Available tour: Val D’Orcia: Cheese and Wine Tasting Tour
7. Montepulciano and Montalcino
Another one for wine lovers who want to explore Tuscany’s rich winemaking tradition, Montepulciano and Montalcino are two small towns you don’t want to miss.
We’re including them together, because it’s easy enough to get from one to the other and their size makes them perfect for a dual day trip from Florence.
There is technically a train to Montepulciano, but as the train station is very far from the city itself, the best option is perhaps to take a bus or a car.
Both towns are medieval and boast beautiful scenery and small, charming streets.
Montepulciano makes Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a DOCG-rated wine that’s been popular ever since the middle ages.
A must-see for all wine connoisseurs.
A very short and convenient 45-minute train ride from the south of Florence, Arezzo is a city that’s full of surprises.
it’s one a lot of visitors might discard in favor of more popular places like Siena and Pisa, but if you’re looking for a break from all the hustle and bustle, Arezzo is the perfect choice for you.
Its small, winding streets are filled with wonderful restaurants and cafes, as well as specialty shops where you can find any aspect of Italian cuisine that you might possibly be interested in.
Arezzo is rich in historical monuments as well, most spectacularly the Medici Fortress, art museum and churches.
9. San Gimignano
A small village between Florence and Siena, San Gimignano is very easily accessible by bus and car.
A beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site, the village boasts impressive towers and 14 tower-houses that hint to San Gimignano’s feudal past.
At the height of its glory, the families in San Gimignano had over 70 tower houses.
A trek up one of the surviving ones will reveal beautiful views across Tuscany or, if you’re not very keen on climbing up, you can always walk among the beautiful medieval streets.
Astonishing natural beauty and characteristic little towns and villages are on the books for anyone adventurous enough to venture to Mugello.
As it’s a very rural area, driving there is a must – it’s also really the best way to explore all the area has to offer.
Mugello is a wide green valley, crossed by the Sieve river, which then flows into the Arno.
The natural landscapes offer a beautiful escape from the city and its naturally diverse landscape is a treat to any seasoned adventurer.
Ever wanted to feel like you’re in an episode of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings? Then Casentino sounds like the perfect place for you.
The beautiful city is accessible by bus, but if you decide to drive there, you can enjoy the beauty of the Pontassieve just before entering Casentino.
Once you’ve entered the city, the towering Poppi Castle will make you want to grab a sword and immerse yourself in knightly adventures.
Furthermore, Casentino is proud to have authentic Tuscan food you can enjoy for a filling, relaxing lunch, and some of the friendliest locals around.
So, if you feel like taking a gander among the medieval streets, then you’ll certainly have a very warm welcome.
12. Cinque Terre
This is probably cheating, because it is a bit far away from Florence as day trips go – it’s a two-hour bus or drive away – but it’s undoubtedly worth it for the marvel you’ll experience.
Cinque Terre is a famous coastal region, where there are cliff-hanging villages and breathtaking seaside views.
It’a UNESCO-listed region, so more and more reasons to visit make this a daunting yet exciting day trip to take from Florence.
If you have the time, make sure to take a picturesque boat ride from Manarola to Vernazza, where you can see the beauty of Cinque Terre in full.
Let’s be honest, with it being the world’s most visited tourist city, a day trip would probably not be enough to explore Venice in full.
But if you’re feeling up for it and just want a taster of the great city, then a handy high-speed train from Florence can take you straight there.
Explore the romantic city and take a trip on the famous vaporetto transport system.
If you’re there for a short time, make sure to marvel at St. Mark’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge and Doge’s Palace in classic Venetian Gothic style.
It will only leave you with a desire to come back for more some other time!
14. Assisi and Cortona
Both small towns are easily accessible by bus from Florence and offer a unique opportunity for a peak into Italy’s religious life.
In Assisi, visit the Convent of Santa Chiara, the Basilica of San Francesco and perhaps take a peak in the Santa Maria degli Angeli church, where allegedly St. Francis loved to reside.
Then afterwards, head over to Cortona for a well-deserved break and a tasty lunch.
Both hilltop towns offer amazing views over Tuscany’s rolling hills and are definitely close enough for a long day trip.
15. Emilia-Romagna and the Ferrari Museum
Got a taste for the more sophisticated life and fast cars? Then the Ferrari Museum is a must-visit for any auto enthusiast.
Easily accessible by coach, you can see the rolling hills of Tuscany fly past you as you enter the not less picturesque region of Emilia-Romagna.
If you’re travelling by car, feel free to stop by the small villages and towns on the way for a taste of the best parmigiana in all of Italy.
Then, head off to the Ferrari Museum to check out a stunning collection of new models and experience life in the fast lane.
For an extra cost, perhaps take a Ferrari or a Lamborghini out for a test drive – it’ll certainly be an experience that’ll stay with you forever.