Planning to spend a few days in Florence, you definitely have to visit the historical center. Listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its beauty, it has thirteen million visitors every year. Moreover, to enrich your Tuscan holiday with more exciting experiences, you may think to include in your itinerary some day trips to take from Florence.
Thanks to its central position, you easily reach many destinations, famous or unusual, by train or by car. Here is my personal list of the ten best 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. The town has been one the favourite places of many foreigners since the end of the 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, 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.
In less than one hour you enter the valley of Mugello. Rich in beautiful landscapes and nature, many are opportunities for 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. But the main reason why Mugello is known worldwide is the MotoGP motorcycle racing. It takes place every year and attracts fans of stars such as Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo from all over the world. Moreover, if you like do shopping, in Barberino del Mugello there is a big outlet where you can make great deals and bring home with you nice clothes Made in Italy.
The fairytale landscape of Chianti is one of the most visited rural areas of the whole world and if you come to Tuscany, you cannot miss it. The car is the best way to explore Chianti, slowly driving along the Chiantigiana Road or the Via Cassia. Foodies must not miss to taste a delicious Bistecca alla Fiorentina served with a bottle of Chianti Red DOC. There are so many wonderful views that you would stop every minute to take amazing pics of this unique countryside where everyone would like to live.
San Gimignano and Certaldo
San Gimignano does not need too much introduction being visited every year by more than three million tourists. Thanks to its intact fourteen towers, this enchanting village along the pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena and example of a 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, which 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 of 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.
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 in town. 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 highly recommend stopping also in the splendid fortified village of Monteriggioni, one of my favorites in Tuscany.
Day trips to take from Florence: the wonderful town of Arezzo
Arezzo is a beautiful city of Etruscan-Roman origin situated at the junction of four Tuscan valleys. It became famous to the world with the touching movie La vita è Bella by Roberto Benigni.
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 the inestimable value of the Golden Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca.
Pisa and the Square of Miracles
Head to Pisa to visit one of the most known squares in the world, the Square of Miracles. Pisa is easy to reach both by car or by direct train, just one hour outside Florence. Do not stop only in front of the leaning tower. Go beyond and explore the rest of the center. Unmissable spots are the Lungarno, Piazza dei Cavalieri, and the portico of Borgo Stretto.
The walled city of Lucca
In Lucca, enjoy a walk, a run, or a bike ride along the four km circle of the walls. Perfectly preserved, they date back to the Middle Ages. Lucca is known also to have more than a hundred churches and for the unique rounded Piazza Anfiteatro. At the end of October, the center hosts Lucca Comics, the second biggest comic festival in 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.
Day Trips to Take from Florence to escape from the summer heat: the coast of Versilia
During the summertime, if you feel like a swim in the sea, head to Versilia and Viareggio. They are just one hour away from Florence. You can take the train or drive your car. The city is famous to host in February one of the biggest Carnival in Europe. There are beach clubs for all budgets. Choose between the most luxurious ones with big cabanas and a swimming pool and the simple ones with the traditional colored sun umbrellas. Looking for something wild, away from the crowd, the beautiful beach of La Lecciona is the place for you. If you are into art, visit the close town Pietrasanta and its many marble and bronze workshops and galleries.
Bolgheri and the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia
The most distant of the day trips to take from Florence that I suggest to you is Bolgheri Wine Region. Bolgheri is famous worldwide for the Super Tuscan Wines Sassicaia and Ornellaia. Set on the coast of the Etruscan Riviera, you can both visit a vineyard and dive in the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Keep in mind that the end of August/September is the harvest period and not all wineries will be open. Once in Bolgheri, you can drive a bit further and reach the Gulf of Baratti. It is one of the best beaches in Tuscany and you also find 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, it totally worth it. Have you got any other ideas to add to this list?
Day Trips to Take From Florence. Pin It for Later
(Updated the 7 of August 2022)