Tuscany is a very popular region for tourists to Italy thanks to its diverse range of activities and sights.
From vineyards and culinary attractions to classic art and ancient architecture, Tuscany is one of the most varied regions in the world for tourists.
Despite this eclectic range of attractions, it is also known for having a very laid-back lifestyle, even in the larger cities of Florence and Pisa.
Whether you are interested in the most famous attractions, or some off the beaten path sights, there are plenty of great opportunities for day trips within the region and in the surrounding areas to keep your itinerary exciting.
Here are the 15 best day trips either within Tuscany itself or within easy travelling distance from the most popular cities.
The largest city in the Tuscany region, Florence, is a very popular destination for tourists from across the world.
Beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine and world-class museums and art galleries make this a great city to explore as part of a day trip.
Famous attractions include the Duomo di Firenze, Ponte Vecchio and the Accademia Museum where you can look at Michelangelo’s David.
Outside of the usual attractions, Florence also has a bustling independent arts scene and the cuisine, much like the rest of Italy, is excellent.
Tuscany is famous across Italy for steak, and Florence is the perfect city to try some.
Montepulciano is well known across the country for its wines, particularly the red wine known as Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano.
There are a number of vineyards and wineries in the town where you can indulge in some wine tasting.
A couple of them also allow you to take a look at the wine production process and try your hand at some of the processes yourself.
Aside from the wine attractions, Montepulciano has some interesting historical sites including the Piazza Grande, San Biagio church and civic museum.
There is also a 15th-century villa open to tourists just a short drive from the town called La Foce.
3. San Gimignano
Located in the heart of the beautiful Tuscan countryside, San Gimignano has a lot of authentic Italian charm and oozes history.
The town traces its origins back to the medieval era, and the ancient walls of the original town are still standing to this day.
There are a few medieval towers scattered across the town, with the largest being Torre Grossa.
You can also check out some art galleries: Collegiata Duomo is the best for religious art, and Pinacoteca Civica is great for smaller, more contemporary pieces.
If you want to learn more about Italy’s medieval history, San Gimignano1300 is your best option in Tuscany.
Located in the Chianti wine region, Reggello is another excellent place to sample local Italian wine and learn more about the production processes.
The town is also famous for producing extra virgin olive oil, and you can take tours of some of the farms and distilleries in the surrounding area.
The town itself has some interesting architecture, including the Abbey of Vallombrosa.
The abbey still functions as a monastery to this day, after being established in the 11th century.
The forest surrounding the abbey is also well worth exploring.
You can also learn about stone cutting in the town at Sottili’s Stone Cutting Workshop.
Another very famous city in Tuscany, Pisa is the most well-known internationally for the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The history around why the tower leans and efforts to make sure it does not fall down is interesting, but the town also has a lot more to offer travellers visiting on a day trip.
The city centre is located a ten-minute walk away from the tower but has some very charming streets and great restaurants serving famous Tuscan steaks.
The Museo Di San Matteo contains the best collection of Tuscan artworks in the region, and the Tuttomundo is a large mural of Pisa painted by Keith Haring as an homage to the city’s beauty.
Carrara is the site of the famous Carrara Marble Quarries.
The area has a 2,000-year history of providing marble for Italy, and you can still check out functional quarries to this day.
You can listen to the fascinating history of the region from one of the many licensed tours that are run in the area, as well as witness some of the best-hidden viewpoints in the country.
Afterwards, visit a restaurant in one of the nearby villages to try Lardo di Colonnata.
This salami-like meat is produced using marble slabs from Carrara.
7. Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a collection of five villages along the Italian Riviera which have seen massive increases in tourism over the past decade.
It is easy to see why, thanks to the charming streets of the villages and the outstanding views over the Mediterranean Sea.
The five villages each have their own unique characteristics for different experiences as part of your day trip – from food and coffee to swimming in the sea.
The nearby town of La Spezia is also packed with historic UNESCO world heritage sites from a variety of eras.
Siena, like much of Tuscany, is packed with art and history and will provide a unique day trip that will give you a great insight into typical Italian culture.
The city dates back to the Middle Ages and is packed with old architecture and quaint streets.
Piazza Del Campo is located in the centre of the city and, shaped like a shell, is one of the most famous piazzas in the country.
You can also take a look at the famous frescos of Palazzo Pubblico, visit Etruscan tombs and try your hand at traditional Tuscan cooking with some of the many classes on offer.
Wish you could check out the canals of Venice but don’t have the time? Livorno’s Quartiere La Venezia is named after the city because of its network of canals that locals say are reminiscent of Venice itself.
There are also plenty of canal-side bars and restaurants for you to enjoy local coffee, beer and wine.
The Piazza Della Repubblica is the center point of the area and features the Dominican Church.
There are also some natural Italian spas on the outskirts of the town if you want to take some time to unwind after exploring the canals of Livorno.
Lucca is an ancient city that is older than the Roman Empire, dating back to the Etruscan period.
Lucca is like an open-air museum for some of Europe’s most well known architectural styles: from Roman to Gothic to Renaissance, this is a wonderland for architecture lovers.
You can still visit the city walls which were built in 1650 when it was an independent city-state.
Lucca is also a popular city for glasswork and jewellery design, and you can take short courses on both of these crafts while visiting the city, even if just as part of a day trip.
Being the food capital of Italy, Bologna is a brilliant place to experience some of the best cuisine the country has to offer.
The world-famous Spaghetti Bolognesa is of course from Bologna, and you will notice it has a much meatier flavour than foreign equivalents.
It is also a popular student city, with the oldest university in the world, so has a very youthful atmosphere and plenty of bars to experience alongside the restaurants.
Bologna is not as well known with international visitors so most tourists will be Italian, making it a much more authentic city than some of Italy’s bigger hits.
12. San Marino
Want to tick off another country while in Italy? San Marino is the third smallest country in the world, is located entirely within Italy and is easily accessible from Tuscany.
Claiming to be the oldest nation in the world, San Marino was founded in 301AD and is filled with charming, ancient streets.
Located on top of a hill, San Marino also provides gorgeous views of the Marche region, and towards the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The capital city has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Status, and the surrounding villages provide an interesting insight into how the small country functions.
Due to being outside of the EU, consumer goods can also be bought slightly cheaper in the country.
Cecina is a small region near Livorno where you can visit ruins from the Neolithic period.
The most famous ruins are in the village of San Vincenzino, and there is a museum dedicated to the archeological finds from the area at Guerrazzi Civic Archaeological Museum.
Cecina also contains some beautiful, seemingly endless beaches which are untouched by the main tourist routes and have a much more secluded feel than other Italian beaches.
You can also discover some native Italian wildlife in the shrub areas next to the beaches, including wild rabbits, foxes and porcupines.
The best place to find all this is the Tomboli Biogenetic Nature Reserve in the village of Cecina itself.
Located just past Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera coast, Genoa is a beautiful city that is often overlooked by tourists, making it a great place to experience a slower and more authentic lifestyle.
The city is filled with cute alleyways and ancient streets, as well as some great seafood restaurants and hidden gem-style bars.
One of the largest aquariums in Europe is located in Genoa, and you can also try out some diving with the boat tours which leave from the port.
The brightly colored streets are also known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, and the seafaring culture of the city is still very apparent to this day.
15. Lago Trasimeno
Another beautiful location off the regular tourist trail, Lake Trasimeno, is Italy’s largest lake outside of the Alps.
Despite being unknown to most international tourists, Italians often flock to the region during the summer to enjoy the relaxed pace of life and beautiful views over the lake.
The surrounding villages can be an interesting experience of rural Italian culture.
You can visit the medieval walls of Passignano, the Etruscan architecture of Panicale or the leaning tower of Vernazzano, which actually leans at a greater angle than Italy’s more famous leaning tower.
The lake itself is quite shallow and great for bathing in during the summer.