If you are planning to spend few days of your next Italian holiday in Florence, you will definitely have to visit the historical centre, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as thirteen millions of visitors do every year. Moreover, you can even think to include in your itinerary some day trips to take from Florence.
Thanks to its central position, you can easily reach many destinations, famous or unusual, by train or by car, and discover all the beauties of Tuscany. Here is my personal list with 10 “ day trips to take from Florence “.
10 Day Trips to take from Florence
Take a bus and climb the hill overlooking Florence to reach the town of Fiesole, one the favourite places of many foreigners since the end of 1700s. Of Etruscan origins, Fiesole was an important city of the Roman Age. Today we can still admire the well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre and the ruins of the Necropolis, of a Thermal bath and other imperial palaces. Another interesting attraction is the Medici Villa, built during the fifth teen century, but we can only the gardens (free entry) reserving in advance.
Landscape of Mugello – Photo Credits: Valentina Dainelli, Too Much Tuscany
In less than one hour you can reach the valley of Mugello, rich in beautiful landscapes, nature and opportunities of hiking and biking along a system of tracks in sync with its surroundings. Two of the fourteen Medici Villas included in the UNESCO World Heritage List are in Mugello, known worldwide even for hosting every year the MotoGP motorcycle racing with stars as Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Moreover, being Italy famous for fashion and clothes, if you like shopping, in Barberino del Mugello there is a big outlet where you make great deals.
The fairytale landscapes of Chianti are one of the most visited things of the whole world and if you come to Tuscany, you cannot miss it. The best way to explore Chianti is renting a car, and then slowly drive along the Chiantigiana Road or along the Via Cassia. Stop wherever you prefer to taste a delicious Bistecca alla Fiorentina served with a bottle of Chianti Red DOC, and to take amazing pics on a unique area where everyone would like to live.
4. San Gimignano and Certaldo
San Gimignano does not need too much introduction being visited every year by more than three millions of tourists. Thanks to its intact fourteen towers, this enchanting village along the pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena and example of well-preserved medieval hamlet, has been nicknamed “the Medieval Manhattan of Tuscany”. To step out of the crowd follow this unconventional tour of San Gimignano we personally experienced.
Along the way from Florence to San Gimignano, that takes you about 90 minutes by car, you can even think to stop in Certaldo, another nice medieval village, known as the birthplace of the Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio author of the Decameron. The historical center, the central Via Boccaccio and the Palazzo Pretorio, are in the old part called Certaldo Alto, on top a hill that you can reach directly by car along a panoramic path or by a funicular from the lower and more modern part of the town.
5. Siena and Monteriggioni
Siena, the wonderful city famous for the Palio, is only one hour and a half from Florence, and you can reach it both by car and by train. Enjoy the walk along the narrow alleys of the historical center, and rest in the marvelous Piazza del Campo where every 2 July and 16 August the horse race takes place. The complex of the gothic Cathedral, with the Dome and its wonderful decorated floor, the Piccolomini Library and the “Facciatone”, is another must-see of the city. Do not forget to try some deliciousness as Pici pasta with meat ragout or the traditional Christmas cakes.
If you are driving the car, I suggest you to stop also in the splendid fortified village of Monteriggioni, one of my favorite of the region.
Piazza Grande of Arezzo – Photo Credits: Frammenti di Toscana
Became famous to the world with the touching movie “La vita è Bella” by Roberto Benigni (look at this post to see the 25 movies set of Tuscany), Arezzo is a beautiful city of Etruscan-Roman origin situated at the junction of four Tuscan valleys. Start the tour from the leaning Piazza Grande, surrounded by medieval and baroque buildings, and do not miss to visit the exhibit of the frescoes of inestimable value of the Golden Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca.
7. Pisa and the Square of Miracles
Head to Pisa, just one hour outside Florence (by car or by direct train), to visit one of the most known square of world, the Square of Miracles. I suggest you to do not stop only at the leaning tower, but to visit even the rest of the center, which has nice spots as the Lungarno, Piazza dei Cavalieri and the portico of Borgo Stretto.
8. The walled city of Lucca
Head to Lucca if you want to enjoy a walk, a run or a ride along the four km circle of the walls, perfectly preserved as they were in the Middle Age. Lucca is known also to have more than hundred churches and for the unique rounded Piazza Anfiteatro. Every end of October, the center hosts “Lucca Comics”, the second biggest comic festival of the world attracting thousands of fans of cartoons, video games, manga, and movies. From Florence, it takes about one hour by car and 90 minutes by direct train.
9. Relax along the coast of Versilia
If during the summer time, you feel like a swim in the sea, you just need to get your car or the train and head to Versilia and Viareggio, the city famous to hosts in February one of the biggest Carnival of Europe. Here you can choose between many beach clubs for all budgets, from the most luxurious with big cabanas and swimming pool to the simple ones with the traditional colored sun umbrellas. If you interested in art, visit Pietrasanta and its many marble and bronze workshops and galleries.
10. Bolgheri and the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia
The most distant of the day trips to take from Florence that I suggest you (but it is only two hours driving) is the coastal area of Etruscan Riviera and Bolgheri, famous worldwide for the Super Tuscan Wines Sassicaia and Ornellaia. You can plan an itinerary that includes a visit to a vineyard (remember that end of August/September is the harvest period and not all wineries are open), a dive in the blue waters of Mediterranean Sea and a cultural trail at the Archaeological park of Baratti and Populonia.
I hope this list of day trips to take from Florence makes you curious to explore the region, even if only for a day or an afternoon. Have you got any other idea to add to this list?