Day Trips from Florence

Are you on the hunt for amazing day trips from Florence?

arezzo hilltop viewsThe incredible views from Arezzo are just one of the reasons to take a day trip here - keep reading for lots more Florence day trip suggestions

Whether you’re interested in ancient ruins, wine tastings, amazing food, or towering cathedrals, the picturesque towns surrounding the Tuscan capital offer something for everyone.

Everything you need to know about taking a day trip from Florence

If you want to make the most of your Italian vacation (or just fancy a change from Florence!), a day trip is the answer.

Italy's excellent rail network makes it easy to explore without worrying about hiring a rental car, so why not see a little more of this amazing country!

Florence is close to some truly incredible places, and you can easily travel, explore the area, and get back before the day is out.

siena back streetsWander the medieval streets of Siena before enjoying a long lunch, just one of the fun day trips you can take from Florence!

In this blog, we'll be talking about some of our top day trip suggestions, including:

Pisa day trip from Florence

Pisa boasts an incredible history that dates back to the Etruscan period as well as the famous leaning tower, so as a result, it’s one of the most popular places to visit from Florence.

leaning tower of pisaThe iconic leaning tower really does lean that much!

Known for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture and enormous art collections, Pisa is a paradise for culture lovers.

What to do

No trip to Pisa would be complete without visiting the iconic leaning tower.

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was initially built as a freestanding bell tower for the Pisa Cathedral.

These days, it’s an immensely popular photo spot!

Most people don't realise that the tower is part of a large complex with equally as impressive architecture, known as the Square of Miracles.

As part of your visit you should also head to the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the ornate Baptistery.

pisa tower complex and basilicaThe tower is just one building of many in the beautiful complex, so be sure to visit them all

Before leaving, take the time to wander the medieval streets of Pisa where you can walk along the river, see the fascinating Santa Maria della Spina church and Piazza dei Cavalieri.

You can take in the area’s more contemporary artistic side by visiting Keith Haring's huge mural Tuttomundo near the central train station.

If you can, try some of the Pisan traditional dishes for a taste of local flavors, which are distinctive from the Florentine cuisine.

No matter what season you visit Florence, here are 4 things never to leave at home:

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How to get there from Florence

The easiest way to get to Pisa from Florence is by getting on the train.

From Santa Maria Novella station direct trains to Pisa leave every 15 minutes or so, the journey takes around an hour.

leaning tower of pisa close upIf you're proactive about it, you can see the leaning tower of Pisa in only half a day, given how close it is to Florence

If you're really pressed for time, you can see Pisa in half a day.

Leave early in the morning and you can be back in Florence by mid-afternoon.

Siena day trip from Florence

Just 75 kilometers/46 miles from Florence, the hilltop town of Siena should be on everyone's bucket list.

siena central piazzaThe impressive central piazza of Siena is one of the highlights of a day trip here

Best known for its enormous square, medieval streets, and buzzing atmosphere, Siena is the perfect stop for an aperitif and an afternoon of people-watching high up in the Tuscan hills,

What to do

If you have one day in Siena, you’ll want to spend most of your time around Piazza del Campo (the central square).

siena central piazza and towerThe tall clock tower can be seen for miles around, and dates back to the 1300's!

Here you’ll find the Duomo di Siena, the Torre del Mangia, and the Basilica of San Domenico.

If you’re in town in July and August, you may even catch the famous Palio Horse Race that’s held twice a year.

Then, head over to the historic city center to stroll through the charming streets.

It’s packed with restaurants and cafes.

So, it’s a great place to grab local cured meats or ribollita (boiled twice soup!) before heading back to Florence.

How to get there from Florence

siena cathedral entranceSiena's cathedral is very easy to visit from Florence

You can take a shuttle bus directly from Florence Bus Station or head to the main Santa Maria Novella station to catch a train to Siena.

The 131 Bus to Siena-Via Tozzi takes around an hour and 35 minutes and the trains take a similar amount of time.

San Gimignano day trip

San Gimignano is one of the best day trips from Florence if you’re interested in wine tastings.

But you’ll also find UNESCO-rated buildings, medieval streets, and priceless artwork around the historic city center.

What to do

If you want the best views of the Tuscan countryside, climb the gorgeous medieval towers (Torre Grossa and Torre Salvucci Maggiore) that dominate the center.

You can also head to the Palazzo Communale at the heart of the medieval town and marvel at the murals depicting the Old and New Testaments.

It’s a great idea to book a Chianti wine tour or a Florence vespa tour that travels through the San Gimignano.

Just FYI, this area is well-known for its Vernaccia (a white wine)!

Many wine tastings pass through Siena and Monteriggioni.

This should give you glorious views of the green rolling hills under the Tuscan sun.

How to get there from Florence

You can drive to San Gimignano in about an hour from Florence via the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze.

But if you don’t want to struggle for parking, you can catch regional trains to Poggibonsi and hop on a bus to the main town center.

Lucca day trip

Lucca is a picturesque town that’s built for artists and culture lovers. 

It boasts enormous bastions, world-famous city walls, and fine architecture (in the form of historic villas!).

Plus, it’s one of the more peaceful and quiet Tuscan towns, giving you a break from Florence’s hustle and bustle.

streets of lucca in summerWandering the calm streets of Lucca is a great way to relax and escape the crowds in Florence

What to do

You can start by strolling along the gigantic walls on a 4 km trail that takes you all the way around the city.

As you head further in, you’ll find the numerous religious buildings like the Cathedral of St. Martin and St. Michael’s Church.

lucca cathedral and bell towerThe ornate facade of the cathedral and the neighboring bell tower is absolutely stunning in person

If you’d rather get views of the local oaks, climb the 45-meter-high Torre Guinigi!

Piazza dell’Anfiteatro by the Roman Amphitheater is the jewel in the crown with its yellow and green shuttered buildings (it’s also perfect for people-watching!).

How to get there from Florence

The drive from Florence is about 95 km and takes a relatively straightforward route along the A11 and E76.

garden in luccaBy far the easiest way to get to the gardens and streets of Lucca from Florence is to get the train

But it’s incredibly cheap, easy, and quick to hop on a direct train to Lucca from Florence (you’ll also get panoramic views as you chug along!).

Arezzo day trip

Arezzo is just over an hour from Florence and this city genuinely makes you feel as though you’re stepping back in time.

arezzo streets at sunsetThe streets of Arezzo are narrow and winding, with a particular charm

Not only will you find countless museums, churches, and medieval buildings, but you’ll even spot Roman ruins here.

Oh, and don’t forget the rows of antique shops selling unique souvenirs!

What to do

On the first Sunday of every month, Arezzo holds an Antiques Fair in the Piazza Grande.

Even if you don’t buy anything, the atmosphere created by the 500+ stalls isn’t something you want to miss.

arezzo cathedralArezzo cathedral is well worth a visit

While you’re here make sure you also check out the Gothic Cathedral of Santi Donato e Pietro, the Medici Fortress, and the San Francesco Basilica.

Before heading back to Florence, explore the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater that dates back to the 2nd century.

arezzo roman theatre entranceThe ancient Roman amphitheater is in an ideal position for you to include it in your day trip plans

How to get there from Florence

The easiest way to get to Arezzo is by taking the train straight from Florence.

It takes between an hour and 1.5 hours (depending on how fast the train is).

You can also drive an hour and 15 minutes from Florence and pay the hourly parking fees, which are usually quite reasonable.

Cinque Terre day trip

Cinque Terre is something special, made up of 5 picturesque towns tucked between the rugged coast and the glittering Mediterranean.

Boasting colorful houses, gorgeous little harbors, and beautiful hikes around the waterfront, it's one of the best day trips from Florence for decompressing.

What to do

Although you’ll struggle to cover all 5 towns in a single day, the Blue Trail Hikes offer a chance to cover excellent ground (while taking in the area’s scenery).

You’ll get Instagram-worthy snaps from Riomaggiore and Manarola, but you can also take a dip in the sea at Monterosso!

Cinque Terre is also huge for foodies, with Monteresso selling truly incredible Focaccia Genovese (head to Il Fornaio di Monterosso for the best bread!).

You should also try seafood from any local trattoria as they’ll be made with fresh catches straight from the Ligurian Sea.

To cover more of the area, hop on a boat tour that’ll take you past the quaint houses and rugged cliffs that characterize this spot.

How to get there from Florence

I highly recommend taking the train to Cinque Terre as driving here is difficult.

If you want to take the train, you’ll need to change at La Spezia Centrale before getting the regional train to Monterosso.

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Rome day trip

If you’re taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, Rome absolutely needs to be on your bucket list.

With its iconic ancient ruins, wine tasting experiences, the Vatican City, manicured gardens, and architectural marvels, this place truly has it all.

pantheon front at nightThe iconic Pantheon in Rome is just one of the many attractions of the Eternal City

What to do

Ideally, you’d have more than a day in Rome as there’s just so much to cover.

But if you’re on a day trip from Florence, prioritize the major attractions like the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona.

All of these spots are relatively close to one another.

So, you can also see Piazza Venezia, the Altare della Patria and lots more along the way.

st peters square in the summerVisiting the Vatican is a must-do on any trip to Rome

You can then stop at the Vatican City before heading back to Florence.

The Sistine Chapel, breathtaking museums, and important religious sites here are unmissable.

If you’re worried about covering everything in time, an organized tour is a great idea.

How to get there from Florence

You’ll want to leave EARLY to get to Rome, and the easiest way to get there is by getting the train.

roman forum at sunsetThe trains run regularly between Rome and Florence so you can see the Forum at sunset and then head to the train station!

You can head to Rome from Santa Maria Novella train station, Rifredi, or Campo di Marte (depending on where you’re based).

You can technically drive, but the high-speed train service takes under 1.5 hours and is by far the quickest option.

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Bologna day trip

portico in bologna centerI love the architecture in Bologna, as well as the fantastic food!

Bologna sometimes flies under the radar, but it’s one of my all-time favorite day trips from Florence.

It’s just 40 minutes away by train and is a beautiful place to walk around, grab Italian cuisine, and admire some medieval architecture.

What to do

Food is genuinely one of the main things you’ll want to prioritize in Bologna (as it’s the foodie capital of Italy!).

Not only can you get amazing Parma ham, Parmesan, and tortellini here, but it’s the home of the hearty Bolognese sauce! 

If you arrive early enough, you can even book a cooking class.

pasta bolognese in bolognaThere truly is nothing so tasty as a plate of traditional bolognese pasta

Once you’ve filled up, walk around the water canals, check out Piazza Maggiore, and head to the Saint Petronius Basilica.

If you have more time, explore the former Jewish Ghetto and check out the shopping streets on Via Rizzoli.

bologna towerYou can climb the bell tower but be warned, it is narrow inside the staircase

How to get there from Florence

You should take the fast train from Florence to Bologna as it’s incredibly efficient.

I don’t recommend driving as parking is difficult and the journey takes far longer.

Check out our top tips for making the most of your time in Florence:

Milan day trip

It’s no secret that Milan is up there with the most popular day trips from Florence.

Known as Italy’s fashion capital, it’s THE place to grab new designer threads.

But it’s also home to jaw-dropping architecture, stunning streets, and impressive art galleries.

What to do

Every trip to Milan should include a visit to the enormous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

It’s the oldest (and most beautiful!) shopping mall in the world and houses retail stores like Gucci, Chanel, Dior, and Prada.

Before you stock up on designer goods, you’ll want to see the incredible Duomo.

This towering cathedral is packed with decorative figures, gargoyles, and statues.

And hey, the Gothic exterior doesn’t hurt either!

If you have time, visit the Sforzesco Castle and Sempione Park before grabbing Milan’s signature dish, risotto alla Milanese.

How to get there from Florence

The quickest and easiest way to get to Milan from Florence is by getting the train. 

You may need to change at Bologna to get a connecting train to Milan, but direct trains do run throughout the day.

I really don’t recommend driving as it’s a long way.

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