As one of the most popular tourist towns in Italy, Florence has plenty to offer in terms of history and culture. However, its prime location in the heart of the country also makes it a great jumping-off point for exploring the area around Tuscany. From romantic villages to stunning villas, there are a seemingly endless number of places to visit on a day trip from Florence.
What are the Best Day Trips from Florence?
If you’re interested in exploring other towns and villages, you can’t go wrong with Pisa, Lucca, Siena, or Bologna, all of which are located one to two hours from Florence. Architecture lovers may also choose to visit Villa Poggio a Caiano or Monteriggioni, two fascinating sights with a history that dates back multiple centuries.
Other popular day trips from Florence include the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre and the rolling vineyards of Monti del Chianti.
Home to one of the most recognizable landmarks in Italy, Pisa is a great day trip from Florence (it’s only 50 minutes away by train!). Here, you’ll find the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Piazza dei Miracoli, which was built from 1173 to 1372.
A few other notable sites are located nearby, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery, and Campo Santo. Together, these monuments are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After exploring the main sights (which can all be seen in a few hours), head to Borgo Stretto for some shopping. This street, along with many of the alleys nearby, is lined with charming Italian buildings, cafes, and restaurants.
There are numerous towns to visit near Florence, but Lucca is arguably one of the most scenic. This Renaissance-aged walled city encompasses awe-inspiring churches, lively public squares, and world-renowned museums.
At the heart of the city is the Guinigi Tower, which you can ascend for some of the best views over the landscape.
Before heading back to Florence, grab a drink or bite to eat at one of the cafes or restaurants on Piazza dell Anfiteatro. This piazza was once a Roman amphitheater (which you can tell by the round shape of the square) and is considered to be one of the best places for people watching.
Although it’s only 2.5 hours away from Florence, Cinque Terre feels like an entire world away. Located on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, each of Cinque Terre’s picturesque five villages has something to offer.
Between the colorful buildings, rocky cliffs, and numerous museums and churches, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is easily one of the most photographed places in Italy.
Relax on the beach in Monterosso, hang out in the harbor of Vernazza, or indulge in a seafood dinner in Manarola. You can also visit the Cinque Terra National Park in Corniglia or admire the colored houses of Riomaggiore.
If you have more time, you can walk the Cinque Terre trail, which travels between each of the villages. However, the entire journey takes around 6-hours, so it’s better suited for those who are spending at least two or three days in the area.
Ideal for a day trip or even a long weekend, Bologna is a fascinating city located half an hour from Florence. While most people come for the mouthwatering cuisine (Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese and Mortadella both originated here), the city is packed with a number of notable sights and attractions.
Visit Piazza Maggiore, the central square home to Pallazo d’Accursio, the Palazzo del Podesta, the Basilica di San Petronio, and the Palazzo Comunale.
You can also visit Bologna’s two leaning towers, Asinelli and Garisenda, for sweeping views of the city. It’s also worth walking around the University of Bologna, which is the oldest continuously operating university in the entire world.
Villa Poggio a Caiano
Built in 1485, Villa Poggio a Caiano was originally constructed for the Grand Duke of Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent.
However, it was later used as a summer residence of the legendary Medici family before being handed over to the state and turned into a museum. During your visit, you can walk through the decorated royal residences or visit the Museum of Still life on the second floor.
Make sure you leave time to stroll through the villa grounds after.
The classic Italian-style gardens are dotted with winding passageways, cascading fountains, and romantic tree groves. From Florence, you can reach Villa Poggio a Caiano by train in just 30 minutes.
Monti del Chianti
When it comes to stunning Tuscan views, nothing beats a day trip through Monti del Chianti, otherwise known as the Chianti Hills.
Located between Florence and Siena, this sprawling landscape of rolling vineyards and olive groves is best explored by car (or by bike if you’re feeling extra adventurous). As you wind along Route 22, you can stop at one of the little villages to take pictures or enjoy an authentic lunch and glass of wine.
And speaking of wine, you can’t visit Monti del Chianti without sampling the local harvest. As home to the Chianti Classico, this region has plenty of wineries and wine shops where you can go wine tasting.
Siena is one of the most popular day trips for people visiting Florence, and for a good reason! Walking through the city is like walking through a medieval museum.
Everywhere you turn sits a magnificent work of architecture, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico, and the Porta Pispini.
In addition, Siena is also known for its extraordinary museums. Admire the frescoes in Museo Civico, see real Sienese art in Pinacoteca Nazionale, or explore ancient relics at the Santa Maria della Scala Museum. Although Siena is a compact and walkable city, there’s so much to see that we recommend staying overnight! Getting to Siena from Florence is easy and takes just over an hour.
Guaranteed to be a highlight of your Tuscan tour, Monteriggioni is a hidden gem not far from Florence (approximately 1 hour by train or car). This medieval walled village is perched on top of Monte Ala, overlooking the lush valley and vineyards nearby. Monteriggioni dates back to the early 1200s when it was built as a fortress to protect the Sienese army. As such, the town has many historic buildings, including 14 individual defense towers.
As with many Italian towns, you can expect to find a number of beautiful churches, cozy cafes, and charming public squares inside. If you’re visiting in July, you won’t want to miss the Festival of Monteriggioni, a costumed medieval fair full of music, games, and live performances.
Florence is considered to be one of the biggest artistic and cultural capitals of Italy, with numerous museums, art galleries, and monuments to discover. But once you tick off all the sights on your bucket list, make sure to dedicate a day or two to explore the many villages, villas, and landscapes on the outskirts of the city.
But don’t worry if you don’t have time to see everything on this list. As one of the most beautiful places in the world, we’re confident that this won’t be your last time in Tuscany!