Italy is a bucket list destination for travelers around the world, and many people either start or end their journeys in the amazing city of Florence. While you could easily spend your whole vacation right here in Florence with its array of top-rated attractions, there are also lots of other destinations nearby that you can easily visit in just a day. So, if you find yourself in town with a little time to spare, here are the best day trips from Florence.
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Siena (Hotel Prices & Photos)
If you only have time to make one day trip from Florence, then Siena is a great option. One of the best destinations in Tuscany, the town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and packed with architectural wonders to marvel at. Siena is also an important destination for horse racing, as the Palio race takes place in the Piazza del Campo in July and August of each year. There are a lot of rules and traditions that go into this race event, which is fascinating to learn about and attend if you can! Siena can be reached in about 80 minutes by either bus or car, and it’s often worth an overnight stay if you can spare the time.
Pisa (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Everyone has heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but there’s much more to do in this area than just see the tower. You can reach Pisa by train from the main station (Santa Maria Novella) in Florence, and that ride will take about an hour. Get tickets well in advance if you want to climb the tower, walk along the Arno, and see the Piazza Dei Cavaleri. While you’re here, you can also check out the nearby town of Lucca, which is charming, artsy, and perfect for wandering around aimlessly.
Arezzo (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Italian town of Arezzo has a history in the gold-smithing industry and plenty of impressive architecture to prove it. Make sure to see the Duomo and the Church of San Francesco while you are here. Other historic sites are the Medici Fortress, local art museum, and the Roman amphitheater. You can reach Arezzo in about 45 to 60 minutes by train or about 70 minutes by car.
Bologna (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Bologna isn’t just a type of meat; it’s an awesome city for foodies to visit on a day trip from Florence. The city of Bologna is known for its food tours to experience local favorites, such as prosciutto, balsamic vinegar, tortellini, and much more. Here you can experience a less touristy vibe than in Florence, take a cooking class, and climb to the top of the Torre Asinelli for city views.
Livorno (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Livorno is a great day trip destination by the Tyrrhenian Sea and a seaside town you’ll fall in love with. It has lots of history, art, and culture to explore, as well as charming fortresses and terraces to see. This is a modern port city that is a melting pot of cultures and a top spot for enjoying seafood meals. Also check out the aquarium and Piccola Venezia neighborhood once you arrive from Florence, which is about a 1.5-hour train ride.
San Gimignano (Hotel Prices & Photos)
You can get to San Gimignano in about an hour by car from Florence. This is a lovely place to come for vineyards, olives, medieval towers, cobblestone streets, and rolling hills. San Gimignano is sometimes called the “Manhattan of Tuscany” because of its towers, and you’ll get the best views by climbing to the top of the tallest tower in town, the Torre Grossa. While you’re here, try the local wild boar for a meal called cinghiale. The quickest way to get here from Florence is to drive, which takes about 60-75 minutes.
Cinque Terre (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Cinque Terre is one of the most popular trips from Florence and reachable in about two hours by either car or bus. While this is another trip that could easily be a two or three-day excursion, you can squeeze it into a day if you travel efficiently! Bring your best camera because the area is amazingly photogenic, then tick off Cinque Terre’s best things to do, including taking a boat tour from La Spezia. Consider a group tour to see as much as possible in a short time.
Val D'Orcia, Montalcino (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Also located in the Tuscany area of Italy, Val d’Orcia is about a two-hour drive from Florence and filled with castles, hamlets, villages, and natural parks. Pienza is a UNESCO site that offers lovely views and impressive architecture. Other towns you can see when visiting this region are Montalcino and Montepulciano. Wine lovers enjoy coming here to sample the fine wines that are produced in Val d’Orcia. You can rent a car to check out the region or join an organized tour group to avoid the hassles of public transportation on this route from Florence.
Volterra (Hotel Prices & Photos)
We also love the charming town of Volterra as a day trip from Venice to see the Roman architecture and open spaces. Fans of the Twilight series will definitely want to visit Volterra since it’s the setting of some of the scenes in the books and movies. Otherwise, you can check out the medieval festivals here in August, see the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and perhaps squeeze in a visit to nearby San Gimignano as well.
Chianti (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Wine lovers will likely be familiar with the Chianti region of Tuscany because of its amazing wines. This popular day trip from Florence is also packed with gourmet food, quaint towns, and rolling vineyard landscapes. It’s easiest to reach this area from Florence by car, but you may want to book a private tour so that someone else can do the driving while you sample all of the delicious wines at the local vineyards!
Venice (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The city of Venice is worth a trip all its own, but if you’re pressed for time, you can also make it a day trip from Florence. It’s about two-hour away on a high-speed train to see the canals, gondoliers, art, culture, and romance of the city. Although a bit pricey, taking a gondola ride is a must for first-timers in Venice, as well as getting city views at the top of the Campanile, trying some cichetti for a snack, and wandering around away from the busy areas for a break from the tourist scene.