Our selection of the best day trips from Florence! Check out this post if you’re planning to visit Florence and Tuscany this summer 🙂
Ok, unless you live under a rock, you’ll probably know by now that Florence is an amazing city – probably one of the most beautiful in Italy, if not the world.
Every year, millions of people visit the city – in 2019, the city registered 15 million arrivals, and numbers are set to increase further as tourism exceeds pre-pandemic levels.
The result? Florence is busy. Unless you are planning Italy in November or winter, you’re likely to encounter endless queues – especially at the main tourist sights such as the Florence Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and Accademia Gallery (aka David’s home).
Navigating crowded streets, joining lines to do pretty much anything might get tiresome – but guess what, you can always head out on a day trip from Florence! In case you weren’t aware, Florence is the largest city in Tuscany, and several towns and villages within this region are a convenient day trip away.
But there’s more to it – thanks to Italy’s excellent train system, you can also reach some further away destinations, like Cinque Terre, Bologna, or even Rome.
No time to read? Check out these day trips from Florence!
- Chianti Wineries with Food and Wine Tasting
- Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano Day Trip with Lunch
- Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour to Tuscany
- Cinque Terre Tour from Florence with Lunch and Hike
- Countryside Tour on a Vintage Vespa
Let’s have a look at the best day trips from Florence!
Day Trips from Florence to Tuscany
You probably know Chianti as one of the most famous Italian wines… made in Chianti!
Yes, Chianti is also an area located between Florence and Siena. If you want to get a glimpse of the typical Tuscany countryside, you really can’t miss a trip to Chianti – villages like Greve in Chianti, Castellina, and Gaiole are great places to check out on a Chianti day trip!
Characterized by tall hills and by the presence of 5 rivers, Chianti is truly a fascinating territory, where you can find plenty of wineries to try out the local products, and visit ancient fortresses like Montefioralle. In the village of Panzano in Chianti you can also have lunch at famous butcher Dario Cecchini’s restaurant – one of the best places to try the iconic fiorentina steak!
Getting to Chianti from Florence by car – Take the road SR222 which connects Florence to the Chianti region. Travel time about 45 minutes.
Getting to Chianti from Florence by train – There are no direct train connections. You’re better off opting for a Chianti day trip!
More Chianti Day Trips from Florence
- Chianti Wine Tasting Day Trip with Food
- Tuscany Day Trip with Optional Lunch and Wine
- Small Group Wine Tasting Experience in Tuscany
2) Val D’Orcia
Another famous area in Tuscany, Val D’Orcia is located between Siena and Grosseto. This Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reasons! The unique landscape will make you feel as you are part of a painting, in fact many Renaissance artists took inspiration from Val D’Orcia for their works.
Apart from the landscape, Val D’Orcia also offers plenty of ancient castles, abbeys and hamlets that you can visit. If you love wine tasting, you’ll be right at home in Val D’Orcia, home to the Brunello di Montalcino. San Quirico d’Orcia is a great place to check out, close to some of the nicest cypress-lined avenues in the whole of Tuscany!
A private tour of Val d’Orcia is a wonderful way to explore the area at your own pace! Otherwise follow the indications below to get there independently.
Getting to Val D’Orcia from Florence by car – Take the A1/E35 to Bettolle and then take the exit to Valdichiana. From there, keep going on the SP327 until you get to Val D’Orcia. Travel time about 1 hour and a half.
Getting to Val D’Orcia from Florence by train – There are no direct train connections.
Ok, so Pisa is a world-famous town, thanks to its Leaning Tower! Bustling with tourists and students alike, Pisa is actually a pretty lively city with a lot of things to see.
Of course, if you only have one day, you may want to visit Piazza dei Miracoli, the monumental complex where you can see the leaning tower, the Cathedral and the Camposanto. Another place worth visiting in Pisa is the Arno riverside, full of Renaissance and medieval buildings.
Due to its vicinity and the ease of getting there, Pisa is probably the most popular destination for a day trip from Florence. Make sure you book a skip-the-line Leaning Tower ticket to prevent waiting!
Getting to Pisa from Florence by car – Take the SGC road Firenze – Pisa – Livorno and then follow the directions for Pisa. Travel time 1 hour 15.
Getting to Pisa from Florence by train – Probably the easiest way, there is a train every 10 minutes. The trip will take approximately 1 hour.
More Pisa Day Trips from Florence
- Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano Day Trip with Lunch
- Pisa Half Day Trip with Cathedral and Leaning Tower
One of the few medieval Italian towns still encircled by walls, Lucca is one of Tuscany’s jewels. The historical center is easy to navigate and also pretty small, perfect to take a walk and visit places of interest such as Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and the magnificent Cathedral.
Take a stroll on the walls and enjoy some good food in one of the many restaurants in town. In November, Lucca hosts one of the biggest conventions for comics, board games, and videogames aficionados – Lucca Comics. The town gets literally assaulted by fans and cosplayers, which roam the small streets of the city. It’s a colourful and joyful event, but also very crowded, so keep this in mind if you are planning a visit at that time of the year.
Getting to Lucca from Florence by car – Take highway A11 and then follow the directions to Lucca. Travel time 1 hour 15.
Getting to Lucca from Florence by train – Take a train to Pisa and then connect to a Lucca-bound train. The trip will take about 1 hour and a half.
More Lucca Day Trips from Florence
Every year in July and August, Siena hosts a historical horse race, named Palio di Siena. Each city district (named after an animal or creature) has its own horses and jockeys. The competition takes place in the wonderful Piazza del Campo and it is quite a sight. The race is fierce, and it rekindles some old rivalries between districts, with supporters and fans like in a football match.
Of course, Siena is a beautiful town on its own, for the aforementioned Piazza del Campo and for many other monumental buildings, as well as the small streets filled with shops and restaurants.
Getting to Siena from Florence by car – Just take the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze – Siena – Lucca and then exit at Siena Ovest. Travel time 1 hour 10 approx.
Getting to Siena from Florence by train – There are departures approximately every hour from Santa Maria Novella station. Travel time is 1 hour 20.
More Siena Day Trips from Florence
Arezzo is often ignored by tourists, which are mainly attracted by Florence, Siena and Pisa. But that’s a good thing, because Arezzo is a really nice town which you can visit without getting through crowds of people.
A city of art, Arezzo has a fantastic Cathedral that hosts one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance: “The History of the True Cross”, painted by Piero della Francesca.
I recommend planning a trip from Florence to Arezzo, especially if you love art and are looking for a more relaxed scene. This is also the city where “La Vita è Bella” was filmed, the Oscar-winning movie by Roberto Benigni. Don’t miss visiting Arezzo if you love this movie!
Getting to Arezzo from Florence by car – Take the A1/E35 to Arezzo, exit to Arezzo and then keep driving on the SS679 until you reach the city. Travel time 1 hour.
Getting to Arezzo from Florence by train – Arezzo-bound trains depart from Santa Maria Novella station every 10/15 minutes. Travel time is 1 hour.
7) San Gimignano
During the medieval age, plenty of towns in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna were filled with towers, built by the most powerful families. Most of those towers were taken down for various reasons, but San Gimignano is the exception to the rule.
In fact, San Gimignano is the only town that preserves the “looks” it had in the past. Of course, in the past it used to have 72 towers, while now only 13 remain, but it’s still a sight to behold. Being a small town, and San Gimignano gets crowded fast, so I suggest you plan your visit to avoid the weekend – or better still, join a guided tour to make sure you won’t have to fight for parking!
Getting to San Gimignano from Florence by car – Drive on the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze – Siena – Lucca until you get to Poggibonsi Nord. From there, take the road SR429 and then the SP1 for San Gimignano. Travel time 1 hour.
Getting to San Gimignano from Florence by train – There is no station in San Gimignano.
Montepulciano is a town in Tuscany worth discovering on a Florence day trip. Located on a hill, it offers a great view of the Tuscany countryside.
Montepulciano is also famous for the wine of the same name, and for the main square which hosts theatrical shows in the summer, as well as events tied to tradition and folklore. It is also very pleasant to walk the town’s streets and admire the historical architecture of the buildings.
Another one for cinema lovers – Montepulciano was one of the filming locations of the famous Twilight series, even though in the movie the town was referred to as Volterra. Incidentally, Volterra is also a great day trip from Florence!
Getting to Montepulciano from Florence by car – Take the A1/E35 to Bettolle, until you get to the SP327. From there, keep on driving until you get to Montepulciano. Travel time 1 hour 20.
Getting to Montepulciano from Florence by train – You can reach Montepulciano with a combo of bus and train, but it takes over 3 hours, making it unsuitable for a day trip from Florence.
If you are planning to go to continue onwards after having visited Siena from Florence, you can plan to stop by Pienza. It’s a typical Italian medieval town with narrow streets, so it’s perfect to take a relaxed walk and to try some local food – pecorino (sheep cheese) from Pienza is very good, and many shops around the historic center will give you a taste if you’d like to try some!
If you are into historical buildings, be sure not to miss the Cathedral, Palazzo Civico and Palazzo Piccolomini, made by Reinassance architect Bernardo Rossellino.
Getting to Pienza from Florence by car – Take the A1/E35 for SP327 and then take the Valdichiana exit. From there, keep driving on the SP327, SP15 and SP146 to Pienza. The trip will take you 1 hour and 40 minutes approx.
Getting to Pienza from Florence by train – There are no direct train connections.
A seaside town in Tuscany, famous for its pretty villas and pleasant architecture, Viareggio also hosts one of the most famous carnivals in Italy. The carnival of Viareggio is a spectacular event, made of papier-mâché figures which parade on the promenade. These figures are often satirical, mocking Italian politicians and VIPs.
If you are visiting Tuscany during the carnival period (February – March) be sure to take a trip to Viareggio. During the summer, Viareggio and nearby Pietrasanta are great destinations for a beach day trip from Florence!
Getting to Viareggio from Florence by car – You can get there by car in a hour and a half by taking the A11/E76.
Getting to Viareggio from Florence by train – There are direct trains every hour, taking an hour and a half to reach Viareggio.
Among the smaller towns in Tuscany, Volterra is particularly interesting for its Etruscan and Roman heritage. Don’t miss the walls built by the Etruscan civilization and maintained intact by various renovations and works done during the centuries.
You can also visit the Etruscan acropolis on top of the hill, a site where you can see Etruscan, Romans and medieval ruins. If you want to see more Etruscan relics, you can also visit the Guarnacci Museum. Another building worth checking out is Palazzo dei Priori in the square of the same name, said to be the model for Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.
Getting to Volterra from Florence by car – Take the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze – Siena and then the SS68. The last part of the road is very twisty, since Volterra is located on top of a hill.
Getting to Volterra from Florence by train – You can travel by train from Florence Santa Maria Novella to Volterra Saline – Pomarance, but keep in mind that you may have to change once or twice.
Many places in Italy become famous after becoming the set for movies. This is also the case of Cortona, a place made famous by the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” with Diane Lane.
Of course, fans of the movie fill the streets, but Cortona is a nice town on its own, with a small, yet pleasant old square with the town hall. Cortona is set on a hilltop, and worth visiting for the stunning views you can enjoy from Piazza Garibaldi and Piazza del Duomo, as well as the Fortezza del Girifalco. It’s also worth hiking outside the centre to see the Neo-Gothic Basilica of Santa Margherita, which is often full of local devotees and worshippers.
Just one word of advice – pack comfy shoes, as Cortona’s roads are really steep!
Getting to Cortona from Florence by car – Driving to Cortona takes 2 hours. You’ll have to take the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze – Siena and then the SS715 road.
Getting to Cortona from Florence by train – There are hourly departures and travel time is 1 hour 40. You can alight at two stations – Camucia-Cortona and Terontola-Cortona, where you can hop on a bus to the hilltop town.
Fiesole is a small town in Tuscany very close to Florence, which was used as a setting for the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio and many other literary works.
It’s probably the easiest day trip from Florence, being located just a bus ride away, and it’s known for its scenic views over the city – there’s a panoramic terrace most day-trippers flock to, alternatively you can head to the Convento and Belvedere di San Francesco, located a little further up.
The city is also visited for the archaeological sites, so I absolutely recommend a visit if you are a history buff. In the archaeological area you can see the ruins of an Etruscan temple, a Roman theatre, a bathhouse, and a necropolis.
Getting to Fiesole from Florence by car – The two cities are only 7 km away. Fiesole is located on the hills just north of Florence – follow directions to the Stadio then to Fiesole. However, it’s a lot easier to go there by bus!
Getting to Fiesole from Florence by bus – Hop on bus number 7 from Santa Maria Novella station. Travel time is approx 20 minutes, depending on traffic.
The second most populated city in Tuscany (Florence being the first) Prato has a lot to offer to tourists. The city is still protected by the walls built during the medieval age. In Piazza del Duomo, you can admire the wonderful Prato Cathedral, built with white and green marble.
In the same square, you can see pulpit of the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, decorated by Donatello. Apart from Renaissance buildings, Prato is home to a castle, built by order of Federico II.
The city is also home to the largest Chinese community in Italy, and you’ll find some excellent Chinese restaurants, mainly around Via Pistoiese and Via Fabio Filzi. Ravioli di Liu and Summer Palace are two of the best rated – a great idea if you’re over Italian food!
Getting to Prato from Florence by car – Prato is about 45 minutes drive from Florence, you can get there by taking the A11 highway.
Getting to Prato from Florence by train – By train, the trip is even shorter. There are frequent trains from Santa Maria Novella Station to Prato Centrale, and travel time is just 32 minutes, or 19 minutes with the high speed rail trains.
Day Trips from Florence outside Tuscany
15) Cinque Terre
If you have time, you can get out of Tuscany for a visit to Cinque Terre in Liguria.
This coastal area is famous for its breathtaking, unique landscape, with steep cliffs and colourful towns built on top of them. Cinque Terre refers to five villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, from west to east.
On a day trip from Florence, you can easily visit all five villages – start in Monterosso, then move on to Vernazza to see its castle, Corniglia to appreciate its chilled atmosphere, and spend sunset in either Manarola or Riomaggiore. This article offers more info on how to visit Cinque Terre by train and what to see in each village.
The coastline is quite rocky, but four of the five Cinque Terre are home to small bays and beaches, where you can lay down and enjoy the sunshine. The largest beach is in Monterosso – Manarola, Vernazza and Riomaggiore only have small coves, so it might be a challenge to find a spot in summer. The beaches are a mix of rocks and cobbles, there’s no white sand in this area I’m afraid!
Getting to Cinque Terre from Florence by car – Take the A1/E35, A11/E76 and A12/E80 to SP566dir, then exit to A12/E80 and keep driving on SP5666dir. Take the SP38 to Monterosso al Mare. The trip will take you 2 hours and a half. PLEASE DO NOT move between the Cinque Terre by car, instead find a parking spot and travel between the towns by train.
Getting to Cinque Terre from Florence by train – It’s possible, but it requires changing in either Pisa or La Spezia (or both). Travel time is 2 and a half/3 hours each way. You’re better off booking a Cinque Terre tour.
Assisi is a town in Umbria, famous worldwide as it is the birthplace of Francis of Assisi, the friar who founded the Order of St. Francis.
Assisi houses many churches, among which I suggest visiting the stunning Cathedral built in honour of Saint Francis, with spectacular frescoes by Giotto.
The town also has the remains of a Roman Temple dedicated to the Goddess Minerva, which is incredibly well preserved.
Getting from Florence to Assisi by car – The trip can take 3 hours, as you have to take the road E45, which is very busy due to constant maintenance.
Getting from Florence to Assisi by train – The train is a much better option. The trip will take between 2 and a half/3 hours, with departures every couple of hours.
The capital city of Umbria is 2 hours and 45 minutes from Florence, but if you are planning a trip between Tuscany and Umbria, you really don’t want to miss this beautiful town.
The university of Perugia attracts students from Italy and Europe, making it a lively city full of youth and culture. Take a stroll along the ancient aqueduct and then rest by the Fontana Maggiore, before visiting the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
Perugia is also home to one of the most important museums in the region, the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria. Here you can see the masterpieces of many renaissance artists, such as Piero della Francesca and Pinturicchio. If you have a sweet tooth, you can also plan a visit to the Perugina factory, to taste the famous Baci!
Getting from Florence to Perugia by car – The trip can take 2 hours 45 along the E45, so be ready for delays.
Getting from Florence to Perugia by train – There are trains every two hours between the two cities, and travel time is about 2 hours 15.
Bologna, the largest town in Emilia-Romagna, is an easy day trip from Florence thanks to high-speed trains (Frecciarossa and Italo), connecting the two cities in less than one hour.
Don’t miss visiting Bologna if you’re into food – you can taste the best tagliatelle alla bolognese of your life at Ristorante Cesari, and enjoy mortadella, tortellini, balsamic vinegar and many other delicacies in restaurants all over town.
The best-known sights in Bologna are the Basilica of San Petronio in Piazza Maggiore, and the two towers – Asinelli and Garisenda towers, located just a short distance away. You can also climb to the top of Asinelli Tower for views over the city.
Bologna is a bustling tourist city, known all over Italy for having an irreverent, alternative spirit, which is probably hard to grasp on a day trip from Florence. To check out a different side of the city, have a look at this post – 12 non-touristy things to do in Bologna.
Getting from Florence to Bologna by car – Take A1 following signs for ‘variante di valico’. Travel time is approx 1 hour and a half.
Getting from Florence to Bologna by train – There are frequent high-speed departures, taking as little as 38 minutes. Just don’t forget to book your tickets in advance, as buying them may be pricey!
In theory, a day trip between Florence and Rome *is* possible – but you won’t get to see much, as Rome is a huge town that deserves at least 3/4 days.
We recommend opting for a day trip if there’s something specific in Rome you want to visit, like a show or an exhibition, or if it’s your only chance to visit the city. If this is the case, opt for only one or two sights to prevent having to rush around.
For instance, you could visit the Colosseum and Vatican Museums, but don’t forget to book tickets in advance to make the most of your day!
Getting from Florence to Rome by car – Travel time is approx 2 and a half hours along the A1, but the train is a much better option!
Getting from Florence to Rome by train – There are frequent Frecciarossa and Italo trains, taking about 1 hour and a half to reach Rome.
What we said above about Rome can also be applied to Milan. Italy’s second-largest city deserves more than just a day trip from Florence, but if you can’t spare any more time, by all means go for it!
If you want to visit the Milan Duomo or Last Supper, be sure to book tickets in advance. Otherwise, you may want to go shopping in Via Montenapoleone or Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, but you’ll find the same shops also in Florence!
Getting from Florence to Milan by car – The trip along the A1 takes over 3 hours, plus Milan is a nightmare to navigate by car, so it’s not really doable as a day trip.
Getting from Florence to Milan by train – Book in advance a Frecciarossa or Italo train, reaching Milan in under 2 hours.