Best Day Trips from Florence
Assuming you have chosen Florence as the base for your holiday in Tuscany, which makes sense especially if you are not going to rent a car, here you’ll find a suggested itinerary to explore the main sights and attractions to visit near Florence and its enchanting surroundings.
Staying in the historic center of Firenze, will give you the possibility to visit most of Florence’s countless sights and treasures while enjoying its lovely atmosphere.
At the same time, considering the central location of Florence in Tuscany, that’s also the ideal starting point to make a lot of day trips to some of Tuscany’s most beautiful destinations.
Florence is well served by public transport; the main train station, Santa Maria Novella, as well as the bus companies leaving to reach nearby areas of Florence, have a central location in the town. The Autostazione – bus station of the SITA bus company, serving Chianti, Siena, Casentino area, and the Mugello, is adjacent the train station, in Via Santa Caterina da Siena.
If you are wondering what to visit near Florence, be it the suggestive Tuscan countryside or the many medieval hill villages, here is a list to of the main sights to discover outside Florence. You will also find some tips on the best way to get to each of these destinations using public transport, bus or train, from Florence. You can check all train timetables online on Trenitalia, the official website of Italian Railway network.
What to visit near Florence
1. Fiesole, charming town with view over Florence
This lovely and characteristic hill town, just few kilometers away from Florence, is home to a beautiful Roman theatre and baths, and the beautiful Villa Medici. Fiesole is a pleasant and more peaceful retreat from the crowds of the city and enjoys a wonderful view over Florence.
How to reach Fiesole from Florence: The number 7 of ATAF bus runs from Santa Maria Novella train station every 30 minutes.
2. Chianti region, the scenic landscape home to a fine wine
The Chianti area, known mainly for its famous Chianti wine, is one of the most scenic and typical landscape of Tuscany! Its curving roads amid a sensational landscape are a sight in itself, not to mention the beautiful castles rising here and there up in the hills and the charming Chianti hill towns and villages.
How to get to Chianti from Florence: You can get to the Chianti area from Florence by bus. SITA buses leave directly from Florence’s central Santa Maria Novella station and stop in almost all nice villages of Chianti, you can check here for bus timetables: http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf
3. Pisa, the city of the Miracles and the Leaning Tower
Its renowned and famous Leaning Tower is a Unesco world Heritage Site, along with the Duomo, the Baptistery, and the monumental Cemetery; Piazza dei Miracoli is a unique complex of art and beauty on one of the most beautiful lawns in the world!
However, Pisa, is not just the Leaning Tower! Take a walk along the Arno river to have pleasant views, or cross the Ponte di Mezzo to walk the charming Borgo Stretto, climb up the Cittadella for a great panorama, or visit the museum dedicated to the ancient Roman ships discovered in the area.
How to get to Pisa from Florence: Pisa is only an hour and half train ride away. Direct fast trains from Florence to Pisa will take just one hour’s ride. Pisa train station is located in the town’s center. You can reach Piazza dei Miracoli on foot or by bus if you prefer.
4. Lucca, the city with imposing medieval walls
Lucca is a perfect medieval town, made unique by its spectacular 16th walls and bastions around the old town! The walk all along its thick walls is enchanting and extremely relaxing, its historical center is then lovely, full of many churches, squares, and towers. Lucca is also the perfect place to have a great Tuscan lunch, with delicious local products.
How to get to Lucca from Florence: the train from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station takes about an hour and half.
5. San Gimignano, medieval town with 14 scenic towers
The medieval town in the beautiful countryside of the Elsa valley, is famed for its extraordinary towers and makes for a delightful day out. San Gimignano is a must visit in Tuscany and not just for its towers! Here is a useful guide to discover San Gimignano’s Top attractions and museums.
How to get to San Gimignano from Florence: Catch a bus at Florence’s Autostazione Sita to Poggibonsi and then change for San Gimignano. You can check online for bus routes from Florence here.
6. Siena, the wonderful medieval town of the Palio
Another World Heritage site, Siena’s magnificent Duomo, marvelous Piazza del Campo, and the Palazzo Pubblico are among the sights not to be missed in Tuscany and Italy as well. Rising on a hill and surrounded by a beautiful scenic countryside, that’s one of the most beautiful art towns in the world! Find a useful guide to Siena’s top sights.
How to get to Siena from Florence: Siena is about an hour and a half train ride from Florence Santa Maria Novella Station. In case you take the train to Siena, consider that Siena’s train station is not located in the town’s center, so you will have to take a local bus. You can reach Siena by bus as well, there’s a direct bus of the SITA company taking around 1 hour and 10 minutes, you can check for bus timetables here.
7. Cortona, the village under the Tuscan Sun
One of the most enchanting Tuscan hill towns also enjoying one of the best and more vast views extending up to the beautiful Trasimeno Lake in Umbria. Cortona is a very intriguing hill town with an irresistible countryside all around, that has received a lot of attention after the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” from the American novelist Frances Mayes. The place has a lot to offer its visitor, read our nice post on Cortona.
How to get to Cortona from Florence:
You can conveniently reach Cortona by train from Florence Santa Maria Novella station to the station of Cortona – Camucia, and from here reach Cortona’s histotc center, just 5 km away, by bus.
8. Arezzo, where La Vita è Bella!
Less visited and less mentioned Tuscan town, Arezzo is a real jewel of Tuscany! the perfect medieval town, with a lovely piazza with loggias, setting for filming some scenes of “La Vita è Bella” by Roberto Benigni.
How to get to Arezzo from Florence:
From Florence SMN train station you can reach Arezzo in little more than one hour. The train station of Arezzo is located in the city center.