Located on the banks of the River Arno, Florence is the capital of Tuscany. The city is a maze of narrow streets, where to get lost among incredible works of art. Art and history are everywhere; in its dozens churches, museums, squares, palaces, doors… Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a real gem to visit!
Thanks to its location in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is the Tuscan city with more connections, both with the other Italian regions, and for internal destinations, thus making it a strategic spot for all those wanting to explore Tuscany and Italy. Making Florence your home base in Tuscany makes sense especially when you’re not renting a car to move around.
There are lots of fantastic trips around Florence, not just to Tuscany most popular destinations but also to amazing off the beaten track places.
Trips from Florence
Which are the best day tours from Florence? Which sights can be visited near Florence? these are among the most common questions I am asked by tourists.
The most popular tours out of Florence will take you visiting famous Tuscan sights, like Chianti, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Cortona, and the lovely village of Fiesole.
Click the link to discover a more detailed list, together with practical tips on how to reach each destination from Florence. All these amazing destinations can, in fact, be easily reached using public transportation from Florence’s historic center.
2. Side Trips from Florence
But there are lots more day trips to enjoy around Florence, and I’m listing them here 🙂 I thought this is helpful for all wishing to discover more beyond Tuscany landmarks! Venture with us to discover some intriguing places near Florence 🙂
Rising on a hill top amid olive groves in the south of Florence is the Certosa del Galluzzo, an impressive ancient monastery resembling the form of a castle. The monks will guide you visit this huge monastic complex made by various buildings.
The Palazzo Acciaiuoli, with the aspect of a fortress, has an art gallery displaying various works of art amongst which frescoes by Pontormo dating from 1523. The visit continue to the Church, the cloister, and the refectory. I suggest you try the liquors made by the monks from herbs and flowers, obtained using ancient methods.
During the government of the powerful Medici family from Florence, between the 15th and the first half of the 18th century, many beautiful villas were built all across Tuscany. These magnificent residences, immersed in a scenic countryside and surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens, are today a Unesco World Heritage site, being among the most important examples of Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
The first Medici villas are those of Trebbio and Cafaggiolo in the Mugello area north of Florence.
Villa La Petraia, that belonged to the Brunelleschi family since 1364, is one of the most beautiful to visit. Inside the villa are beautiful paintings, frescoes, furnishings, tapestries, statues and musical instruments. Villa la Petraia’s Italian garden is wonderful and offers splendid views.
Northwest Florence is the splendid Villa Medicea of Poggio a Caiano featuring a beautiful park; here Lorenzo il Magnifico dè Medici hosted illustrious personalities.
Near Poggio a Caiano is the amazing Villa la Ferdinanda, known with the name of Villa di Artimino, made peculiar by its many chimneys.
Other enchanting Medici Villas are Villa Medicea di Castello, Villa Medici, the Villa of Cerreto Guidi, Villa Medicea di Careggi, Villa La Magia in Quarrata, and Villa di Poggio Imperiale in Florence.
The name immediately brings to mind the great Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. This little lovely hill town is in fact the birthplace of Leonardo, a symbol of the Florentine Renaissance and a universal genius, here is the interesting museum of Leonardo, which contains a large collection of the artist’s writings and models of its most famous and fantastic inventions.
The museum is located inside Palazzo Guidi, that also houses the Museo Ideale di Leonardo with more than 200 objects and works. Just two miles away, in Anchiano, is the birthplace of the artist, a typical peasant’s house immersed in a quiet atmosphere that has not changed for centuries.
4. Certaldo, suggestive medieval village
Certaldo is one of the most charming and suggestive villages in Tuscany, though one of the less visited. The Italian novelist Giovanni Boccaccio had his residence here. Certaldo lies at the top of a hill in the Val d’Elsa Valley, and enjoys a stunning panorama extending up to San Gimignano and its towers.
The village is typically medieval, with narrow alleys, and beautiful buildings and churches. The Palazzo Pretorio in particular, with its many coat-of-arms, is a real gem! Every corner of the town looks like a little perfect picture.
5. Mugello, scenic landscape north of Florence
Only a few kilometers from Florence is the beautiful Mugello area, birthplace of great artists like Giotto and Beato Angelico. Here is a picturesque landscape ranging from verdant mountains, pine forests and chestnut trees of the Alto Mugello to the terraced vineyards and plains of the Val di Sieve. The place is rich in typical products like tortelli mugellani, mushrooms, chestnuts, bread, and many are the festivals dedicated to food and wine.
There are a lot of interesting things to see in Mugello, as its picturesque villages like the lovely Scarperia, and the Villas and the Castles of the Medici family.
We recommend a visit to the Villa Medicea of Cafaggiolo, to Villa Demidoff and its Park, and to Palazzo dei Vicari in Scarperia.