Do you want to explore more of the gorgeous Tuscany region? Find the best day trips from Florence to discover cities like Pisa, Siena, medieval towns like Lucca, Vinci and San Gimignano. Or get to cities like Perugia, Arezzo, Orvieto, Orvieto, Bologna to explore more of central and northern Italy with great day tours from Florence.
While Florence is pretty much always included in a classic Italy itinerary, most of these places are not. However, if you can stretch some more time and visit any of them, they will certainly add to the adventure, art, and culture of your Italian holiday.
The best day trips from Florence
Pisa, one of the first day trips from Florence
With a short train ride, a day trip from Florence to Pisa is great to discover another side of Tuscany. Set off from Florence early in the morning so you have more time to explore Pisa, which is not a small town, so transferring from one place to another can be time-consuming.
If you only have in mind to visit the main sights such as the Duomo, the Leaning Tower, and the Baptistery, it’s pretty easy as they are all in Piazza dei Miracoli and can be done all by visiting Pisa in one day.
You can decide to reach Pisa by train or by car. If you go by train, check out the timetable and prices here. If you prefer renting your own car, Discover Cars is a good option for affordable rates.
Alternatively, you can book a guided tour, which is usually with a private vehicle, so the transport is sorted.
A beautiful medieval town, a day trip from Florence to Siena is another favorite by foreign and national tourists. The main train station is not far from the old town. With a short walk, you will reach the historic center and the main landmarks.
In Siena in a day, don’t miss the stunning cathedral, Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico and climbing the Tower of Mangia.
By train is probably the easiest solution, but you can also rent a car in Florence or book a private tour.
San Gimignano, a fascinating day trip from Florence
A beautiful medieval town, San Gimignano is one of the top day trips from Florence. The town is worth an early rising to be there not long after the sunrise. This way, you will enjoy the light inside the historical buildings and the churches built to make the most of the first sun glare.
When you arrive, stroll around the picturesque alleys to view medieval architecture and visit places such as Piazza della Cisterna, Sant’Agostino Church, Palazzo Comunale and the Museum of the Vernaccia wine. If you have a strong stomach, you can also visit the Museum of Torture and Death Penalty that displays torture instruments used in history showing the worst side of human nature.
From Florence Santa Maria Novella station, take the bus to Poggibonsi and there you take a local bus to San Gimignano. You can also take the train to Poggibonsi and the local bus, but if you do the whole route by bus, timings are better coordinated. Check out the timetable here.
If you don’t feel like relying on public transport, you can either rent a car or book a private tour.
Tuscany countryside and Chianti region
Alongside its capital, Tuscany is pretty famous for its countryside. Soft rolling hills, beautiful views, nice agriturismos, small villages to discover the local traditions, great food and wine are only some of the reasons travelers from the world over hit the Tuscan green side.
To visit the Tuscan countryside and the Chianti region, famous for its wineries, you only have two options, renting a car or booking a private tour. If you like to travel independently, check out the rates of the car rental on Discover Cars. If you prefer to have a relaxing day and just enjoy without thinking about route and driving, then a private tour is your best bet.
Lucca is one of the most popular and best day trips from Florence.
Once there, walk along the 16th-century walls to enjoy a beautiful view of the city. Lucca is known to house several churches, so don’t miss to visit some of the most important, first among all being the Duomo or St. Martin Cathedral.
If you want to visit more of the local sacred places, enter San Frediano Basilica, only 10 minutes walk from the Duomo, and San Michele Church, some 5 minutes walk from the Duomo.
Stroll around the historic centre and before getting back to Florence make sure you see the Guinigi Tower, Piazza Napoleone and 17th-century Palazzo Mansi that hosts the city’s National Museum (Pinacoteca Nazionale).
You can easily get to Lucca from Florence by train and explore the city by yourself or you can book a tour and relax all day while a local guide takes care of the logistics.
For sure, it’s pretty hard to explore Rome in a day, but if you have limited time and can’t spend more time in the capital, then you do what you can.
The best way to travel to Rome for a day trip from Florence is by train as you won’t have to waste time looking for a parking spot. You will arrive at Termini Station and from there you can easily reach all the places you want to visit with public transport. Check out here train prices and timetables.
From Termini, I suggest you take the bus 64 and get directly to St. Peter’s Square to visit the Basilica. You will likely find a long queue but they are pretty fast. In only one day, you won’t be able to enter the Vatican Museums unless you buy a skip-the-line ticket to avoid the long line.
From St. Peter’s Square, walk your way up to Castel Sant’Angelo via Via della Conciliazione and cross Ponte Sant’Angelo Bridge to get to the historic center where you will visit places like Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
If you know you will arrive in Rome early in the morning, you can book an 8-hour day tour that will take you to visit all the most famous sights such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain. With this tour, you will also visit the Vatican Museums.
The capital of the Umbria region, Perugia is a lovely city and one of the best day trips from Florence. Perugia is the city of walls and staircases, so to walk around get ready for some exercise. With a famous foreign university, the city is packed with students, giving a very young atmosphere.
Among the most important places to visit in one day in Perugia is the medieval fountain Fontana Maggiore, Palazzo dei Priori Palace, the National Gallery and the 16th-century fortress Rocca Paolina.
Perugia is some 2 hours train from Florence, you can find different options, some without change (usually Frecciarossa) and some with one or two changes. Obviously the most convenient is the one without changes. Check here for the timetable and prices.
If you want to stop somewhere to admire the Umbrian countryside or some other local villages, your best bet is to rent your own car.
Assisi is famous for being the birthplace of St. Francis and it’s one of the best day trips from Florence. The train from Florence to Assisi takes less than 3 hours and once there you can relax in a lovely historic Umbrian town all day.
The very first thing to visit in Assisi is St. Francis Basilica and its crypt with the tomb of the saints. Another basilica you shouldn’t miss in Assisi before going back to Florence is the one devoted to Saint Clare, the woman who left her wealthy family to join St. Francis and found the order of the Poor Clares.
Some other places to visit are the beautifully kept pagan Temple of Minerva in Piazza del Comune, the city’s main square surrounded by historical palaces.
Arezzo is a lovely and easy day trip from Florence. The train from Florence to Arezzo takes about an hour and it’s probably a handier solution than driving if you want to travel independently. Check out the train timetable and prices.
Enjoy the picturesque alleys, the restaurants and the important archaeological sites such as the Roman Amphitheatre, the Archaeological Museum, the Duomo and the Medici Fortress.
One of the best day trips from Florence and not even too far is Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci. This is the Tuscan town where the genius of Mona Lisa and many other masterpieces and inventions spent his childhood.
In Vinci, don’t miss the Museum of Leonardo to see a large display of his scientific and engineering works, inventions and models. Vinci is a lovely destination to spend a day far from the city hustle, stroll around its quaint streets and also enjoy the delicious local cuisine.
Vinci is about an hour drive from Florence and the best way to reach is by renting a car.
Located only 7 km from Florence, you can reach Fiesole by bus or even on foot for the most adventurous and when it is nice weather. This is a town to explore the Etruscan origins of the region. Here, in fact, you can visit the Etruscan museum and the Etruscan and Roman archaeological site.
Plus, Fiesole is great to spend a day trekking in nature and for some historical and artistic sightseeing visiting its noble villas, parks, museums, churches and monasteries.
If you are travelling with your family, your kids will love a day trip from Florence to Collodi. Here you can spend a lovely day immersed in the world of Pinocchio, the fairytale written by Florentine writer Carlo Collodi.
It really is an enchanted place, an open-air park where you will meet all the characters of Pinocchio from Geppetto to the Fairy, the Cricket, Mangiafuoco, the Cat and the Fox.
If you have more time, you can visit the Garzoni Gardens, one of Italy’s most beautiful parks, and the House of the Butterflies, a greenhouse that hosts around 1000 colorful butterflies.
Located in Pistoia province, Montecatini Terme is a perfect day trip from Florence if you are looking to relax and spoil yourself. The beautiful town is very famous for its thermal baths and on your trip, you can have several experiences.
Take the cable railway to Montecatini Alto to reach the town’s highest point and enjoy a beautiful view, stroll around the town, visit the Parco delle Terme gardens that have a lovely area also for the kids, and obviously soak in the waters of the local thermal baths.
You can easily reach Montecatini from Florence by train in about an hour, so if you only want to visit this town and then back to the city, there’s probably no point in renting a car.
Tuscany Hot Springs
If you are a fan of thermal baths and want a relaxing holiday, Tuscany is a great region for you. From Florence, you can take several day trips to Tuscany’s hot springs.
Some of the most popular are Bagni San Filippo, the ones in Saturnia and those in Asmana.
The best way to reach all these towns and places is for sure by car. Use Discover Cars to rent your own vehicle from Florence.
Perched on a tuff cliff, Orvieto offers truly scenic views. If you don’t have the time to spend in Orvieto a couple of days, on your day trip from Florence you can visit some of its beautiful landmarks such as the Gothic-style Duomo and St. Patrick Well. Obviously, even if you stay only a day, don’t miss to try their delicious food.
Even though packed with great sites to explore, Bologna is often left out of the classic tours to Italy, while Florence is pretty much always included. This is why, if you still want to visit “La Dotta” (The Savant), a day trip from Florence is a great option. What to do in Bologna? Stroll around its city center, visit Piazza Maggiore and view the famous towers Torre degli Asinelli and Torre della Garisenda.
It takes only half an hour train ride with Frecciargento or Frecciarossa, and an hour and a half with the Intercity train. So if you leave Florence early morning, you will still have time to visit Bologna city center and enjoy its famous cuisine even in only one day. Check out the train timetable and price.
Renting your own car is also an option, but since you are traveling to a big city well-served with public transport, it’s probably more of a headache as you will have to look for parking.
You can also opt for a tour, which will give you peace of mind for the transfer from Florence and also for the places to visit.
One of the best day trips from Florence is to Ravenna, in my opinion. The city is not too big and yet it’s very important artistically and historically. For three times in its history, it was the capital of an empire, the Western Roman Empire, of the Goths and the Byzantine Empire in Europe.
Home to eight UNESCO sites, If you do manage to go to Ravenna, some of the places you can’t miss are the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, San Vitale Basilica, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Basilica and the tomb of famous Italian writer Dante Alighieri.
The easiest way to reach Ravenna on your day trip from Florence is by train in around 2 hours (one change of train in Bologna) as you won’t have to worry about parking.
Located in the neighboring Liguria region, the Cinque Terre is one of the most popular day trips from Florence. In each of the five towns, you will have a different experience, from street art to local food, walking around their small alleys and enjoying great sea views. In summer, you will also enjoy the beach and possibly a boat tour.
To get to the Cinque Terre you will need to take a train to La Spezia and from there another regional train to the small villages. I suggest you go take the train instead of going with your own car as in much of the area cars are not allowed
From village to village, you can take a regional train or take a hike. It depends on how much time you have, on your travel style and more importantly, on the season and weather. Some hiking routes are closed in winter, so enquire before starting your trek.
While Genoa definitely deserves a couple of days, if you can’t afford it and you still want to visit, you can organize a day trip from Florence. It’s not an easy one because only by train it will take you more than 3 hours. But you will arrive in the city center so close to many of the places of interest.
As soon as you arrive in Genoa main station, Principe, head to its historic center, declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006, stroll around its alleys (carrugi) and visit important places such as San Lorenzo Cathedral, the old Port and the very fascinating Sea Museum (Museo del Mare).
Locally known as the “steel city” because of its many iron and steel factories, Terni is also the city of love. In its cathedral, in fact, are kept the relics of St. Valentine, protector of world’s lovers and saint patron of the city.
But Terni is most famous for another beautiful site, the Marmore Waterfalls. Easy to reach by bus from Terni train station, the falls are man-made and surrounded by nature. There are several trekking routes you can take, each with different views and different difficulty levels. When you buy the ticket you will be given a detailed brochure of the location.
Terni is not very close for a day trip from Florence, but if you don’t mind waking up early and are a fan of natural places, you will love their waterfalls. You can reach Terni from Florence by train (some 4 hours and a half and one change) or by renting a car. Both are easy options, but by car, it would take much less, some 2 hours and a half.
A bit like Rome, I would suggest a Florence to Venice day trip only if you really don’t have time to spend a couple of days in the beautiful lagoon city. Venice has plenty of important landmarks and things to see and do, so in one day you can really only visit a handful of these. Also, as Venice is truly packed with tourists in the high season, for a one-day trip from Florence, I suggest you go on a low season. It’s more sustainable for the city and will be a much richer experience for you.
If you happen in February, don’t miss the frenzy of Venice Carnival or in any season, make sure you visit Piazza San Marco, the Doge Palace, and the Jewish Ghetto.
From Florence to Venice, I suggest you take the train because from the station you can then take the boat to Piazza San Marco. In Venice, cars are not allowed so you would have to leave yours far from the sights. The Freccia trains (either Frecciarossa or Frecciargento) from Florence to Venice are direct and take about 2 hours. Click here for the timetable and to buy your ticket.
If you take the Frecciarossa train, in 2 hours you get to Milan, making for a great day trip from Florence.
Some of the top places you can visit in Milan in 1 day are its majestic Duomo outside, inside and on the terraces on the top if you can make it, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele right across Piazza Duomo and the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci in the former refectory adjacent to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Trendy and vibrant, you will always find something you like to do in Milan, be it shopping for exclusive fashion brands, enjoying an aperitif on a rooftop with a great view or visiting a historical landmark.
READ MORE: Planning a perfect trip to Florence
READ IT LATER? PIN IT TO YOUR BOARD!
Rome-based travel writer, blogger and photographer.