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13 Brilliant Day Trips from Florence

13 Brilliant Day Trips from Florence

Discover the best day trips from Florence with this handy guide. Read on for 13 brilliant destinations you can see in a day.

Trust me when I say that Florence, or more accurately put, the Jewel of the Renaissance, is one Italian city you do not want to miss. Thanks to its glorious architecture, Tuscan vineyards, and impeccable food, it’s a destination I’m dying to return to.

That said, one reason I love Florence so much is because it’s ideally located. So, after exploring the best things to do in Florence, it’s time to hit up some of the incredible towns and attractions nearby.

These day trips from Florence may help you fall in love with Chianti or Bologna.

Ready to explore?

The Best Day Trips From Florence, Italy

Venice 

Gondolier in Venice

Oh, Venice. This is a city amongst turquoise waters and quaint cafes that will forever be calling your name. It’s a place for the true romantics, as your gondola guides you under the famous Venice bridges like the Rialto.

When you’re not cruising down the Grand Canal, wander through Cannareggio’s narrow and vibey streets. It’s not over just yet. How about exploring the Piazza San Marco, where you’ll find architectural wonders like the Basilica San Marco?

And after exploring the top sites of Venice, try out some authentic Venetian cuisine. Something like the risotto al nero di seppia, a creamy risotto made with cuttlefish ink.

How to Get There: The quickest mode of transportation is by train from Florence Santa Maria Novella to Venice Santa Lucia. Alternatively, you can take the bus from Piazzale Montelungo to the Tronchetto bus station.

Average journey duration: 2 hours – 4 hours 40 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Guided Venice Tour

Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

This city will always have a Pisa my heart. Sorry for the cringe, but it is a goldmine of great activities, from seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa to shopping at Borgo Stretto.

Aside from the iconic and slightly skew building, you can also discover sites like the Santa Maria Della Spina, take a stroll through the curated cemetery of Camposanto or admire nature in Orto Botanico.

You can even explore the Museum of Human Anatomy – now that’s unique. It’s a classic city with hidden gems you’ll adore during a day trip to Pisa from Florence.

How to Get There: Take the train from Santa Maria Novella to Pisa Centrale. Alternatively, take the Viale Degli Astronauti 40 bus to Pisa Airport.

Average journey duration: 51 minutes – 1 hour 20 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Multi-City Tour 

Siena 

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Ready for one of the best Tuscany day trips from Florence? I don’t think you are because Siena is a stunner. Jump back in time to the mediaeval Piazza del Campo, where you’ll find the iconic Palazzo Republico and Torre del Mangia sitting pretty.

The Siena Cathedral is yet another astonishing piece of architecture, as its baptistery and colourful Biblioteca Piccolomini are must-sees. But it’s not just architecture and history on offer – meals at Ristorante TarTufo are to die for.

Got some extra time to play with? Visit the Siena National Gallery to see impressive Sienese works by the likes of Simone Martini. 

How to Get There: You can take the train from Santa Maria Novella to Siena Station. Alternatively, take the Villa Costanza Tram T1 bus to Stazione Fs.

Average journey duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Multi-City Tour 

Lucca 

Cathedral of St. Martin Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

One thing you can expect from Lucca is lots of history and plenty of architectural beauty. I know this seems like a no-brainer in Italy, but seriously, Lucca still has Renaissance walls encircling the historic centre.

It’s a stunning city and the Guinigi Tower is the jewel in its crown, with holm oaks growing from its top to the breathtaking facade of San Michele in Foro. Pay a visit to the unique Anfiteatro Romano, an old amphitheatre-turned-central hub where you’ll find plenty of quaint cafes to sit and watch the world go by.

The San Frediano church is another magnificent site with a huge fresco on its facade. Even a gentle stroll along the town walls is a lovely pastime.

How to Get There: Take the train from Santa Maria Novella to Lucca Station. Alternatively, take the Via Delle Porte Nuove 10 bus to Piazzale Verdi.

Average journey duration: 1 hour 20 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Lucca Day Tour 

Cinque Terre 

Vernazza

No guide to Italy is complete without a mention of Cinque Terre. And, luckily, it makes for an epic day trip from Florence. In case you didn’t know (or spend any time on social media), this coastal region has five colourful towns that will have your camera working overtime.

Now, 5 towns in one day might be a little bit tricky. But let me tell you about my faves (and the ones I recommend making time for).

Monterosso is a lovely place to learn about Italy’s rich anchovy and lemon preservation history. It’s also the town in Cinque Terre with the best swimming beach. 

If you want to impress on your Insta feed, Manarolla and Vernazza are the most photogenic towns in the region, with colourful buildings popping against the Riviera coastline.

Visiting Italy’s Cinque Terre is worth the journey, as each town offers unique charms. Besides, who doesn’t want to see some picturesque coastal villages?

How to Get There: Take the train from Santa Maria Novella to Corniglia Station.

Average journey duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Cinque Terre Day Tour 

San Gimignano

Piazza del Duomo in San Gimignano at sunset, Tuscany, Italy

A day trip from Florence to San Gimignano is a must-do, as it’s a Tuscan city that ebbs a mediaeval vibe. Don’t let the plain exterior of Piazza del Duomo fool you, as the church has loads of colourful frescoes by Benozo Gozzoli throughout its interior.

When you’re not admiring the Piazza Della Cisterna and its unmissable towers, explore the city walls and gates of Centro Storico. There are also plenty of museums to explore, the most unique being the Museums of Torture and the Death Penalty. Fascinating but very, very macabre.

And when you’ve got the chance, opt for a gelato at Gelateria Dondoli. Because, in Italy, a gelato a day keeps the doctor away*.

*I have zero evidence to back up this claim.

How to Get There: Take bus 131 from Firenze Autostazione to Poggibonsi Fs. From there, board bus 130 to Porta San Giovanni.

Average journey duration: 1 hour 20 minutes – 2 hours

Hassle-free option: Book This Multi-City Tour

Montepulciano 

Montepulciano

Epic day trips from Florence to Tuscany just keep coming, and Montepulciano is one of the best. It nestles amongst a forest of cypress trees and has plenty of treasures worth exploring. 

At Piazza Grande, you’ll find the Palazzo Comunale with its rising tower, while the Palazzo Contucci contains frescoes by Andrea Pozzo. 

The San Biagio is a breathtaking church at the end of a cypress-lined avenue outside the city. Its gold-coloured travertine marks it as one of the best renaissance buildings, and rightly so.

Simply put, it’s an unmissable place to visit in Tuscany, with a rich history and an equally beautiful setting. 

How to Get There: Take the 4099 train from Santa Maria Novella to Chiusi-Chianciano T. From there, board the FT4 bus to P.Ta Delle Farine Opp.

Average journey duration: 2 hours 40 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Montepulciano Wine Tour 

Arezzo 

Arezzo

All aboard! Hop on a train for a lovely day trip from Florence in Arezzo. Like other Italian cities, the Palazzo Grande is the central hub. Here, you’ll find an arched entrance with flowers, the Grand Art Gallery, and picturesque cafes perfect for sipping an espresso.

For a bespoke view of the entire city, visit the Fortezza Medicea, an old battlement from the 17th century. And to marvel at some hella impressive frescoes by Piero Della Francesca, visit the Arezzo Cathedral and Basilica di San Francesco.

Feeling hungry? Head to Brasserie Del Vicolo for authentic Italian cuisine that’ll leave you wanting more.

How to Get There: Take a direct train from Santa Maria Novella to Arezzo Station.

Average journey duration: 30 minutes – 1 hour 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Arezzo Walking Tour 

Rome

Trevi Fountain Rome

Where do I even begin? A day trip to Rome from Florence is a no-brainer, with the Vatican City and iconic landmarks to boot. For all I know, you may decide to spend 3 days in Rome.

You simply have to explore the historic district, with the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Roman Forum all within walking distance. Then you’ve got the Vatican, with St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel, to name a few sights.

Admire Trevi fountain or explore Castel Sant’Angelo. No matter what you do in Rome in a day, it’ll be an unforgettable experience.

How to Get There: Take the train from Santa Maria Novella to Rome Termini. Alternatively, you can take the N520 bus from Piazzale Montelungo to Rome Tiburtina Bus Station.

Average journey duration: 1 hour 30 minutes – 3 hours 

Hassle-free option: Book This Rome Sightseeing Tour 

Chianti

Chianti

For the best wine-based day trip from Florence, visit the nearby Chianti region. The main town of Greve is a great place to start the day, with its lively square full of cafes and restaurants. Oh, and of course, the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano.

But the main event is just outside the town limits, with vineyards such as Marchesi Antinori and Castello di Verrazzano. You can spend the day walking through the grapevines or tasting delicious wines made from Sangiovese grapes.

It’s a breathtaking part of the country and one you can get lost in through taste. Saluti!

How to Get There: Travel on the 365 A bus from Montelungo to Greve Piazza Trento.

Average journey duration: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Hassle-free option: Book This Chianti Wineries Tour 

Bologna 

Bologna Fountain of Neptune

The terracotta-tiled city of Bologna is another breathtaking day trip from Florence without a car. It’s a foodie’s dream spot, where you can learn to roll tortellini in Quadrilatero – it’s not as easy as they make it look.

Catch a glimpse of the iconic terracotta roofs from the top of Asinelli Tower or discover Neptune’s Fountain near Piazza Maggiore. And to escape the crowds, find the hidden canals of the city. P.S. Finestrella di Via Piella has a fantastic view of the canals.

How to Get There: Take the train from Santa Maria Novella to Bologna Centrale. Alternatively, the bus from Villa Costanza to Bologna Autostazione.

Average journey duration: 40 minutes – 1 hour 40 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Bologna Walking Tour 

Cortona 

Cortona

Another one of the best day trips from Florence by train is to the hilltop town of Cortona. Visit the Monastery of Saint Francis to take in unforgettable views of Chiana Valley.

For more architectural wonders, allow the vibrant interior of Santa Margherita to brighten your mood. Or visit Villa Bramasole for a stroll around the picturesque gardens and take in the beautiful views of Cortona down below.

And when you’ve got the chance, grab a bite to eat at Ristorante la Loggetta while admiring the city’s historic centre.

How to Get There: Take the train from Santa Maria Novella to Camucia Cortona. 

Average journey duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Cortona Day Tour 

Fiesole

Fiesole, Florence, Italy

Last but certainly not least, visit the quintessential Etruscan town of Fiesole. Trust me on this one, pals – one site you have to see is the Etruscan-Roman Archeological Area. It’s where you’ll find an ancient amphitheatre and the Antiquarium Costantini, a museum section with over 150 ceramic artefacts.

You can explore the town’s main square, which has the cathedral of Fiesole. And if you find the right spot – FYI atop the Monastery of San Francesco – you’ll find stunning views of nearby Florence.

And if you want a romantic meal with those gorgeous views, head to Ristorante La Reggia Degli Etruschi. Thank me later.

How to Get There: Take bus 7 from Stazione Nazionale to Fiesole Piazza Mino.

Average journey duration: 30 minutes

Hassle-free option: Book This Fiesole Day Tour 

Practical Tips for Easy Day Trips From Florence 

Florence
  • Many churches, cathedrals and monasteries won’t allow access if you show too much skin, so bring along a light jacket or shawl, even in the blistering summer heat.
  • Although the bus system in Italy is efficient, it’s best to travel by train as this is the fastest way to get around.
  • Wondering where to stay in Florence? Read my handy guide.

Map of Day Tours from Florence

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