15 Best Day Trips from Florence

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From indulging in exquisite wine tastings to wandering medieval villages, Florence makes a perfect base for exploring. In this guide, we’ve listed some of the best day trips from Florence to discover the Tuscan countryside, all within a few hours of the city.

San Gimignano Tuscany Italy

Florence is a vibrant city with loads of things to do, but it is also a convenient travel hub to explore some of the noteworthy areas outside the city.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up some of the best day trips from Florence and added tips for getting around by train, car or guided tour. Check out some of our recommendations for things to do in each location (spoiler alert: drinking wine is a top recommendation on nearly every list!).  

Day trips from Florence guide

For more tips and advice for traveling around Italy from Florence, jump to the following sections (or just keep scrolling so you don’t miss anything!).

Top recommended day trips from Florence

If you’re looking for the absolute best day trips from Florence, here are our top recommendations: 

  1. San Gimignano
  2. Cinque Terre
  3. Pisa
  4. Siena
  5. Val D’Orcia
  6. Lucca

Keep reading for detailed information on each of these destinations, plus more ideas for fun day trips from Florence. 

Before we get into the good stuff, I have a few helpful resources to share with you…

Taking the train to and from Florence

train in Italy

The main train station in Florence is called Santa Maria Novella (Firenze S.M. Novella) and is quite easy to navigate. Its proximity to the city center makes it the perfect hub for day trips from Florence. 

Three minor stations in Florence are Firenze Statuto, Campo di Marte, and Rifredi. 

If you’re confused about which train to take when planning your day trips from Florence, just remember that there are two main types of trains: high speed and commuter. 

train in Italy

As the name suggests, the high speed trains are, well, fast! While these trains are often more comfortable, they are also more expensive. But if you’re looking to travel quickly across Italy, this is a great choice.

The commuter or regional trains are best for local travel and run frequently between smaller towns. This is the best option when planning day trips from Florence. They are much cheaper in comparison to the high speed trains and make for more scenic, albeit lengthier trips.

If you’re using commuter trains, it isn’t necessary to book tickets in advance. Just show up a little early and purchase from the ticket office.

For high speed trains, booking tickets in advance is recommended (but not necessary). This can be done using the Trenitalia website or their app called Trenit! Both these options allow you to check travel times and fares quite easily. 

Note: You’ll have to search for the train stations using the Italian names of each of the stations. Florence is Firenze S.M. Novella. If you cannot find the station you are looking for, try Googling it to see the name in Italian.

Getting a rental car in Florence

rental car in Italy

Having your own vehicle when visiting Tuscany will give you a lot more freedom to explore the best day trips from Florence. 

We personally like using Discover Cars when we rent vehicles around the world, including my most recent trip in Italy. They gather options from all sorts of rental companies in one place. It makes it really easy to compare prices and vehicles so you can determine which is the best option for you.

Search & Compare Rental Car Prices

  • Discover Cars: We personally use this aggregate site to compare rental car prices from all the big name companies and get the best price possible. 
  • Booking.comWe’ve had good experiences finding rental cars with this site (formerly RentalCars.com) in the past. 

Insider Tip: If you’re renting a vehicle when you are already in Florence, the best option is to rent from the airport and take the tram there from the city center. The tram costs just €1.50 (~$1.63 USD), as opposed to a taxi ride, which will run you about €25 (~$27.21 USD).

Want to save time and energy on planning?

We’ve spent a collective 6+ months living in and traveling around Italy, and we’ve been able to explore a lot of what this country has to offer!

We’ve compiled our experience to create a classic Italy itinerary that hits the top destinations for first time visitors. Our itinerary is spread out over 10 days and includes the highlights of Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice.

We’ll send you our complete 10-day itinerary, filled with tips and advice. Just click below to get your classic Italy itinerary today!

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Now, let’s get to it shall we!

1. San Gimignano

San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
  • At a glance: an adorable medieval town with cobblestone streets and delicious wine
  • Distance from Florence: 59 km / 36 miles
  • Time: 1 hour and 20 minute train ride, 1 hour driving

A charming Tuscan town, San Gimignano is lined with cobblestone streets, historic churches and stunning landscapes. Due to its close proximity, it makes for a perfect day trip from Florence.

The village has been given the nickname ‘Medieval Manhattan,’ because of the skyline produced by the numerous towers in the center. Although quite touristy, San Gimignano still manages to offer visitors an authentic experience and a more local vibe.

Since the entire town is completely walkable, you’ll have the freedom to stroll about, visit local shops for wine (yes, please!), or check out one of the many museums. 

Top things to do in San Gimignano

San Gimignano gelato Tuscany Italy
Gelato from Gelateria Dondoli: mango sticky rice & grapefruit sparking wine and berries & cream with mixed berry.
  • Taste world-famous gelato. Gelateria Dondoli has been crowned the World Champion of Gelato multiple years in a row. And I have to admit, it was hands-down my favorite gelato on my most recent trip to Italy.
  • Visit the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta. If you’re into architecture (or just have a thing for pretty buildings!), you’ll find this church absolutely stunning. With detailed frescoes and structures dating back to the 14th century, this is a must-see.
  • Go wine tasting. It’s Italy. Need I say more?
  • Explore the towers. San Gimignano is famous for some pretty incredible medieval towers that offer stunning views of the countryside.  
  • Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets for a lovely budget-friendly adventure. 

How to get there

By train: One of the easiest ways to reach San Gimignano from Florence for your day trip is by taking a train from the Santa Maria Novella station to Poggibonsi station. From here, take a bus (a very short distance) into town. The whole trip takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. 

By car: If you opt to rent a car, you’ll travel about an hour down the Florence-Siena highway and take the San Gimignano exit.

By tour: This top-rated tour from Get Your Guide offers a visit to both San Gimignano and Volterra. Although tours can be restrictive sometimes, they also allow you the freedom to really kick back and relax. I mean, who wants to fuss with maps or timetables when you have a trusted guide to do all the heavy lifting!?

2. Cinque Terre

Manarola Cinque Terre Italy 2
  • At a glance: an adorable collection of fishing villages resting on the coast of the Italian Riviera 
  • Distance from Florence: 200 km / 124 miles
  • Time: 2-3 hour rain ride, 2 hours and 40 minutes driving

If you’re looking for a relaxed coastal area to visit, Cinque Terre National Park is your best bet. With a network of 5 colorful villages to explore (Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia, and Riomaggiore), you definitely won’t run out of things to do. 

If you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll likely want to explore the Cinque Terre Trail, which winds and connects each town together. You can complete the entire trail in about 6 hours, but can easily shorten this depending on your preferences.

If hiking isn’t your thing or you’re strapped for time, other options include taking a quick ferry or train between the villages. 

You’ll definitely want to grab some fresh seafood (or at least a glass of vino) from any of the local eateries.

Speaking of fresh seafood… whether they are spiced, diced, or iced, anchovies are a particular specialty in this region, so prepare your palette!

Top things to do in Cinque Terre

Vernazza Cinque Terre Hike Italy
  • Hike the Cinque Terre Blue Trail. This 11km / 6.9 mile trail connects all 5 local villages together and offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Tour the coastline by boat. Viewing the colorful cliffside villages from the water is magical!
  • Have a beach day. Fegina beach in Monterosso is a particularly popular spot, but you can find other, less-crowded beaches peppered all around Cinque Terre. 
  • Indulge in some local seafood and wine. From pesto pasta and fresh mussels to salted anchovies and crispy flatbread, you won’t leave Cinque Terre hungry. 
  • Take a stroll. You don’t need much of an agenda to enjoy yourself. Go with the flow and take it all in.

How to get there

By train: When planning your day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre, hop on the train for the most convenient route. Starting at the Santa Maria Novella station, depart at La Spezia. From there, make a transfer to the Cinque Terre Express train, which makes stops at each village. 

By car: From Florence, it will take you nearly 3 hours to reach Cinque Terre. This is doable, of course, but be careful as the roads are quite narrow on the journey and there isn’t a lot of parking available. Overall, this is not a recommended option.

By tour: This popular tour through Get Your Guide is perfect for a day trip adventure. With an expert guide, lunch, and round-trip transportation, you’ll have the opportunity to explore all five villages in Cinque Terre. With that being said, seeing every village is a lot to pack into a single day so don’t expect a ton of down time on this tour. 

3. Pisa

Pisa Italy
  • At a glance: home to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and other historic relics
  • Distance from Florence: 98.1 km / 61 miles
  • Time: 1 hour train ride, 1 hour and 20 minutes driving

Pisa is somewhat of a household name considering it is home to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. And since it’s only an hour from Florence, this is a perfect day trip destination. 

This charming city has numerous historic landmarks, cathedrals, and locals who value preserving the history of their city. This is what makes Pisa stand out as both genuine and charming. 

Similar to almost every city you visit in Italy, Pisa offers spectacular cuisine and tasty wines.

Fun Fact: Pisa is also a university town. Established in 1343, this university has an incredible  history.

Top things to do in Pisa

Pisa Italy
  • Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Sure it’s touristy, but you kind of have to do it, right? And it is beautiful! Be sure to purchase tickets in advance. 
  • Wander through the Piazza dei Miracoli. Not only is this piazza home to the Leaning Tower, but also many other notable landmarks. 
  • Check out the unique Santa Maria Della Spina church. The gothic exterior of this church, adorned with refined statues and stone faces, looks completely out of place on the bank of the Arno River. However, it intrigues anyone passing by.
  • Try the gelato at Gelateria De’ Coltelli. This was one of my favorite gelato stops of my whole trip!
  • Catch a sunset. Before heading back to Florence, head to the riverfront and check out the vivid colors across the sky as the sun sets. 

How to get there

We have an entire article on how to get from Florence to Pisa that details each method and covers all your bases.

By train: Since 40 trains leave Florence for Pisa per day, this is the most convenient option when planning your day trip. The center of Pisa is also within walking distance from the train station, so you can start exploring almost instantly. 

By car: The trip from Florence to Pisa takes about an hour down the A11 and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views from start to finish. You can easily pair this with other stops along the way — there are loads!

By tour: This half-day tour is a perfect way to spend the day in Pisa. Transportation is taken care of and you’ll be paired with a guide who can answer questions and offer information about the area. Although this tour is really focused on the monumental Leaning Tower, you’ll still have some freedom to explore the rest of the city on your own before heading back to your hotel in Florence. 

4. Siena

Siena Italy
Image by Alessandro Rossi via Unsplash
  • At a glance: a lively, yet peaceful city that boasts Gothic architecture and historical sites 
  • Distance from Florence: 78 km / 48 miles
  • Time: 1 hour and 30 minute train ride, 1 hour 10 minutes driving

Siena is a place that has the ability to literally take your breath away. Although still quite busy, Siena has a more peaceful vibe than you’ll experience in Florence, making this a perfect day trip if you’re looking for something a bit more low-key.

Surrounded by a gorgeous medieval wall (that’s still intact!), it’s hard not to wish the walls could speak and spill some of the city’s best-kept secrets.

Most people flock to Siena to check out the ancient architecture in the city center of Piazza del Campo and there is a particular draw to the cathedrals here. In addition to sightseeing, you can pop into an art museum, indulge in heaps of pasta, or explore a quaint, local cafe. 

Top things to do in Siena

Siena Italy
Image by Get Your Guide
  • Explore the Piazza del Campo. Meander through the winding streets and ancient walls to experience the real charm of this city. 
  • Check out the Duomo. Dating back to the 13th century, this building is a true spectacle. 
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth. You cannot leave Siena without trying Panforte di Siena! It’s a mix between bread and cake that includes nuts, honey, and a little kick. I’m drooling as I write this…
  • Climb the Torre Del Mangia. With no elevator, prepare for a booty workout as you climb around 400 stairs to reach the top, which offers sweeping views of Siena. 

How to get there

By train: The trip from Florence to Siena takes about an hour and a half. This is one of the most convenient and cheapest ways to reach the city, not to mention it’s a beautifully scenic journey. From Santa Maria Novella, trains leave every hour to Siena, making your day trip to the city super flexible. It’s also a very cheap option, with tickets costing around 11 euro (~$12 USD). 

By car: Driving from Florence to Siena is a pretty straightforward route and will take you a little over an hour. You’ll follow the SR222, which is a famous roadway in Tuscany. There are many noteworthy stops along the way, so leave early from Florence and allow yourself some detours. 

By tour: This top-rated tour from Get Your Guide will have you traveling to Siena like a true local. Without a jam-packed schedule, this tour allows you to visit Siena at your own pace. And with a local guide, you’ll be rewarded with interesting stories and bits of history. You’ll end the tour at a family-owned winery to enjoy some local wine and divine food.

5. Val d’Orcia

Val d'Orcia Tuscany Italy
  • At a glance: this region is filled with sweeping hills, stunning farmhouses and acres of vineyards 
  • Distance from Florence: 119 km / 74 miles
  • Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes driving

When you picture the rolling hills of Tuscany, you’re likely thinking of images of Val d’Orcia.

About 2 hours south of Florence, Val d’Orcia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that looks like an actual screensaver. 

Little compares to the gorgeous landscapes in this picturesque valley. With roads edged by cypress trees, olive groves and bronzy hues blanketing the vineyards at sunset, this region has a poetic quality that is hard to put into words.

Val d’Orcia is a region that encompasses adorable towns such as Pienza, Montepulacino, and Montelacio (more on those below!), so there is plenty to explore and discover.

Top things to do in Val d’Orcia

Val d'Orcia Tuscany Italy
  • Take a road trip. I highly recommend throwing your agenda out the window (figuratively, of course — be kind to the planet!) and allow yourself the freedom to stop and explore areas of this region organically — especially Love Road (Via dell’Amore).
  • Drink all the wine. Awaken the sommelier in you by visiting one (or more!) of the wineries in the Val d’Orcia area. 
  • Visit an abbey. From the monks chanting to the location in the middle of the woods, the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore is truly magical.  
  • Hike through the Val d’Orcia nature park. Take in the stunning views and crisp air as you hike along one of the numerous nature trails in the area. 
  • Take a soak in the Bagno Vignoni hot springs. This historic experience will have you living (or – er – soaking) like the Romans did.

How to get there

By car: The easiest way to access Val d’Orcia is by car and you’ll be grateful to have the freedom of your own set of wheels to explore the area at your leisure. The drive is incredibly gorgeous so be prepared to pull over for photo-ops along the way. 

By tour: Since this region is somewhat difficult to get to (especially if you’re not comfortable driving on your own) you might consider booking a wine and cheese tasting tour from Florence. From the pick-up point, you’ll be able to enjoy the views of the Tuscan countryside on your way to the Val d’Orcia region. Learn about the vivid history of this area from your guide as you stroll through wine cellars. The best part? You’ll be back to your accommodation in Florence the very same night, full to the brim with wine and cheese. 

6. Lucca

Lucca Italy
  • At a glance: a quaint city bursting with history that will have you feeling and eating like a true local
  • Distance from Florence: 94.9 km / 60 miles
  • Time: 1 hour and 30 minute train ride, 1 hour and 11 minutes driving

This list of day trips from Florence wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Lucca. The nearby town really shines due to its close proximity and condensed size.

Lucca is small enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of things to do or have to make difficult choices. If relaxation is what you’re after, this city is for you.

The ancient walls encircling the historic center of Lucca offer visitors a glimpse into the past. You’ll love wandering through the streets, sipping local wine, and savoring a perfect slice of pizza.

Lucca is also known for its art scene and you’ll have the opportunity to witness glassblowers in action or browse some gorgeous pieces at local shops. 

Top things to do in Lucca

Lucca Italy
  • Walk the ancient city walls. Once a walled city, you can still walk on (most) parts of the ancient city walls surrounding Lucca and get some great views.
  • Climb the Clock Tower for sweeping views of the entire city.
  • Take a cooking class. One of the best ways to learn about a new place is through its food scene. Extra Virgin Cooking Class, in particular, sources local ingredients and has rave reviews. 
  • Wander through the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Despite its dark history of gladiator fighting, this ancient, yet attractive arena is the epicenter of Lucca. Check out the gorgeous architecture or catch some live music.   
  • Check out the art scene. From murals to glass blowing tours and ceramic classes, Lucca will bring out the artist in you. Not super creative? Pop by one of the museums!
  • Rent a bike. Make use of the well-constructed bike paths that surround the city and pedal your way around Lucca. 
  • Explore the (many!) churches. There is an impressive number of churches in Lucca, each as jaw-dropping as the next. You can start with the Lucca church, which dates back to the 11th century. If you’re near the train station, you can’t miss it. 

How to get there

By train: Considering the incredibly efficient train system in Italy, it isn’t a surprise that Lucca is easily accessible from Florence. Trains depart from Florence via the Santa Maria Novella station nearly every hour. There is no need to book tickets in advance, just show up a bit before you want to depart. Once you arrive in the city, you can explore by bike or on foot. 

By car: A small road trip to Lucca is a lovely choice since it’s a relatively short distance and there are a lot of great places to stop along the way. In fact, you could easily pair some other recommendations from this list with your trip to Lucca. If you decide to travel by car, be aware that you cannot drive directly into the city, so you’ll need to find parking just outside. 

7. Montepulciano

Montepulciano Italy
  • At a glance: seas of vineyards, rolling hills, and world-class wineries make this town well-loved by tourists and locals alike 
  • Distance from Florence: 109 km / 68 miles
  • Time: Around 3 hour and 10 minute train ride (but can vary), 1 hour and 20 minutes driving

If you’re a wine lover like me, you’ll likely find Montepulciano difficult to leave. It’s one of the top wine regions in Tuscany, and there are no shortage of places to stop in for a tasting.

Surrounded by vineyards, Montepulciano is most famous for its red wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and the town has a variety of wineries to explore. 

Montepulciano Italy

Set atop a hill, walking through this town can get your heart pumping, but Montepulciano offers a hop-on-hop-off bus, making this a really accessible place for everyone who visits. 

In the heart of the town is the famous Piazza Grande. This charming square is perfect if you’re looking to grab a bite to eat or catch some live music. 

Since this small town can easily be explored in a few hours, Montepulciano makes an ideal day trip from Florence.

Fun Fact: Parts of the Hollywood hit, Twilight, were filmed in this stunning location.

Top things to do in Montepulciano

Montepulciano Italy
Montepulciano Italy
  • Climb the tower atop the Comune di Montepulciano. For stunning bird’s eye views of the entire town and surrounding landscapes, climb the to the top of the tower at the City Hall. 
  • Tour a wine cellar. There are many to choose from, but De’Ricci Winery really stands out due to its rich history and underground tunnels. Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time. Contucci is another option, a family-owned winery with onsite production and free tastings, that doesn’t require a reservation.
  • Stroll through the Piazza Grande. Here, you’ll be able to admire the Renaissance architecture, taste some local cuisine, and savor a glass of wine. 
  • Have an aperitivo with a view at Romantico. This cute bar serves drinks and snacks on an outdoor patio with incredible views. Stop by for a pre-dinner drink and if you’re really into it, stay through sunset.
  • Cool down with some gelato. A visit to Montepulciano includes plenty of uphill walking, so plan to cool down with some mouthwatering gelato. 
  • Go wine tasting in a medieval fortress. The Fortezza Medicea was built in 1206 as a working military building. Today, it houses a bar where you can sip wine with views overlooking the landscape.

How to get there

By train: There are no direct routes from Florence to Montepulciano, so you’ll have to make a stop and change trains in Siena. On average, the trip takes about 3 hours (one-way). Despite the somewhat lengthy travel time, Montepulciano is quite small, making this totally doable as a day trip. It is worth noting that the train station in Montepulciano is about 15 km / 9.3 miles from the historic center, so you’ll have to walk, hop on a bus, or grab a taxi once you arrive.

By car: Most people opt to drive to Montepulciano from Florence due to the short travel time (1.5 hours) and the stunning views along the route. Consider combining your day trip to Montepulciano with Val d’Orcia (#5 on this list).

By tour: If you’re a wine-lover, it’s hard to visit Montepulciano and not want to indulge in some vino. This is where booking a top-rated tour from Get Your Guide can come in handy. With a professional DD, you can drink all the wine without having to worry about driving. This tour is unique in that you can combine two trips together — both Montepulciano and Pienza (#9 on this list!).

8. Chianti Hills

Chianti Hills Tuscany Italy
  • At a glance: nestled between Florence and Siena, this enchanting region boasts gorgeous landscapes and delicious wine 
  • Distance from Florence: ~35 km / 22 miles
  • Time: 1 hour train ride, 30 minutes driving

The Chianti region is best known for its endless vineyards, ancient castles, and rolling hills. It spans from Florence to Siena and makes for a perfect hub if you’re looking to explore the Tuscany area. 

As the name implies, this famous wine region is best known for its red wine, Chianti. And, as Tuscany’s main wine region, you can expect a lot of sipping and tasting no matter which town you visit.

Every corner of this region offers golden landscapes, quaint towns, and charming castles. Less than an hour from Florence, this is an ideal day trip destination. 

Top things to do in Chianti

Wine tasting Florence Italy
  • Go on a wine tour. From luxurious to quirky, there is a winery to suit you in Chianti. Taste local wines while learning about the history and winemaking process.
  • Explore Greve. Often known as the starting point of Chianti, don’t rush through this adorable town. 
  • Visit the Castello di Brolio. It isn’t uncommon to feel a little ‘castled-out’ in Italy, but this estate established in 1141 is a true gem. 
  • Take a bike tour. There are countless tours available that allow you to experience the beauty of Chianti on two wheels. Many tours offer e-bikes, which make the inclines of this hilltop region a bit more manageable. 
  • Go for a hike. Take advantage of one of the many hiking trails that begin in Greve. The Greve to Montefioralle Loop looks especially gorgeous. 

How to get there

By car: Driving to this region from Florence is a great option for a day trip. It takes less than an hour to reach Greve (the ‘starting point’) via the SR222. From there you have the freedom to explore the nearby towns at your leisure. Although the roadways are beautiful, they are winding and you may have to maneuver through hilltops. 

By tour: If you want the logistics taken care of, this tour from Get Your Guide is an excellent choice. The tour includes wine tastings, a visit to the town of Radda, and a detailed explanation on the region and wine production. This trip starts and ends in Florence, making it a perfect little day trip for couples. 

9. Pienza

Pienza Italy
Image by Arianna Baldi via Unsplash
  • At a glance: an authentic Renaissance town with adorable eateries, gorgeous countryside, and, most importantly, cheese! 
  • Distance from Florence: 116 km / 72 miles
  • Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes driving

Another charming Italian town, packed with history and ancient architecture. After a stroll through Pope Pius II’s hometown, you’ll understand why Pienza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pienza has numerous restaurants and shops with a focus on locally-sourced products. It’s a perfect place to meander around without a set plan, sipping and tasting as you go.

There are plenty of fun things to do to keep you busy on a day trip, but definitely don’t leave without sampling some cheese! Pienza is nicknamed ‘the city of cheese’ and specializes in pecorino (a popular Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk). 

Top things to do in Pienza

Pienza Italy
Image by Kristof van Rentergem via Unsplash
  • Sample the cheese. Whether you’re pairing it with homemade pasta or a fine wine, trying the local pecorino is a must. 
  • Visit Palazzo Piccolomini. Formerly used as a summer home for Pope Pius II, this is a terrific place to explore genuine Renaissance architecture. Check out the roof garden, too. 
  • Hike the Gladiator trail. You’ll weave throughout the scenic valleys of Pienza where some of the 2000 film Gladiator was filmed.
    • Pro tip: This hike gets hot in the summer. 
  • Take a cooking class. From creating your own homemade pizza to mastering the art of tiramisu, there is a cooking class in Pienza that caters to your favorite Italian dishes. 

How to get there

By car: As with much of the Tuscany area, driving is the most convenient way to reach Pienza. Despite the winding roads, the journey is quite straightforward from Florence and the views are incredible. Check out the directions ahead of time so you feel comfortable before heading out.

By tour: Sometimes it feels nice to skip the hassle of planning and driving. This top-rated tour takes care of all the logistics and provides you with an unforgettable experience through both Pienza and Montepulciano (#6 on this list), where you’ll indulge in wine and cheese tastings alongside picturesque landscapes. 

10. Bologna

Bologna Italy
Image by Felix M Dorn via Unsplash
  • At a glance: a lively and vibrant city known far and wide for its culinary delights 
  • Distance from Florence: 118 km / 73 miles
  • Time: 40 minute train ride, 2 hours driving

While Bologna has a lot to offer, it is most popular for its culinary highlights. It truly is a foodie’s heaven. No matter what type of food you prefer, you need to try the town’s bolognese (nicknamed ragu).

For food-lovers visiting Italy, this is the ultimate day-trip destination from Florence. With friendly locals to greet you and an array of mouthwatering food choices, you’ll struggle to make room for everything you’ll want to taste.

Aside from the rich food culture, Bologna is also a university town (housing the oldest university in Europe). So while it is quite touristy, it has a very welcoming, local vibe.

Similar to many Italian cities in Tuscany, Bologna is in close proximity to Florence, making this a quick and stress-free addition to your itinerary. 

Top things to do in Bologna

Bologna Italy
Image by Rita Michelon via Pixabay
  • Learn to make pasta from scratch. Take a cooking class and become a pro. 
  • Book a food tour. Led by a local, this is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the delicious food culture. 
  • Climb the Torre degli Asinelli for gorgeous views of the city, but be prepared for quite the workout. 
  • Go to an art museum. The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna is one of the most famous art museums in all of Italy. 
  • Return to… school? The University of Bologna is the oldest university in the world. Take a stroll through the campus or book a tour to explore more of the history. 

How to get there

By train: Bologna is one of the easiest destinations to visit from Florence by train. In less than 40 minutes on the high speed train, you’ll be sipping and snacking on everything Bologna has to offer.

By car: While you can reach Bologna from Florence by car, it isn’t the ideal method. It takes longer than the train and it isn’t a very exciting drive. There is often traffic and you’ll experience many tunnels and tollways. If you do choose to drive, you’ll take the A1 highway. 

11. Cortona

Cortona Italy
Image by Achim Ruhnau via Unsplash
  • At a glance: an alluring and magical town nestled in the hilltops of Tuscany
  • Distance from Florence: 116 km / 72 miles
  • Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes driving

Famous for inspiring the memoir (and later the film), Under the Tuscan Sun, this hilltop town is well worth a visit. And due to its close proximity to Florence, it’s perfect for a relaxed day trip.

With friendly locals, winding streets peppered with historic landmarks, and excellent landscapes, you’ll get delightfully lost exploring this gem.

If you’re a lover of history, architecture or, well, gorgeous and delicious things, Cortona will more than deliver. 

Top things to do in Cortona

Cortona Italy
Image by Gabriella Clare Marino via Unsplash
  • Wander through Piazza della Repubblica. Like most Italian towns, this bustling square is the perfect place to sip on some wine and relish in the lively atmosphere. 
  • Stroll through the narrow streets and explore the medieval-style houses. 
  • Visit the Etruscan Museum. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the array of ancient artifacts. 
  • Take a trip to Celle Hermitage. About 3km (~1.8 miles) outside of the city center is a soothing monastery visited by St. Francis of Assisi. 
  • Have a glass of wine. Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo yet…

How to get there

By train: While you can reach Cortona by train, it requires an additional bus trip and a bit of walking. If this doesn’t bother you, board the local train from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station for Camucia-Cortona train station. 

By car: From Florence, take the A1 highway and get off at Bettolle to Perugia. From there, merge onto the E45 to Cortona. Easy peasy!

By tour: Want to avoid the hassle of planning your trip? Book this top-rated tour from Get Your Guide that will take care of all the details and offer you a stress-free trip to both Cortona and Assisi.  

12. Portofino

Portofino Italy
Image by Jonas Fink via Unsplash
  • At a glance: a tiny coastal town surrounded by nature 
  • Distance from Florence: 229.8 km / 143 miles
  • Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes driving

This tiny resort village provides visitors the opportunity to check out the coast, splurge on some pretty expensive food, and spend some time amongst nature.

In the summer, Portofino is bursting with activity due to the cruise ships that spend the day in the port. Divers and nature enthusiasts will enjoy the clear waters and surrounding national park.

There isn’t a ton to do in Portofino and it’s pretty expensive, but it is gorgeous! 

Top things to do in Portofino

Portofino Italy
Image by haskamonika via Pixabay
  • Go diving. The diverse array of marine life in the area makes this a diver’s paradise. 
  • Explore the national park. Take advantage of the national park surrounding Portofino and go for a hike. 
  • Browse the local boutiques. There are some high-end shops in Portofino that are fun for window-shopping. 
  • Hike to Chiesa di San Georgio where you’ll get the best views.

How to get there

By car: You can reach Portofino from Florence in around 3 hours (one way). Be aware that the roads are quite narrow and the town is only accessible to residents, so you’ll have to park outside of the city (which is quite expensive). To get there, you’ll travel on both the A11 and A12 roadways toward Santa Margherita Ligure. 

13. Rome

Rome Italy
  • At a glance: capital city with historic landmarks around every corner
  • Distance from Florence: 273 km / 169 miles
  • Time: 1 hour and 30 minute train ride, 3 hours and 3 minutes driving

Rome is a bucket-list item for many people visiting Italy and if you’re based out of Florence, this is a totally doable day trip. 

In less than 2 hours by train, you can explore this world-renowned city and be back to your Florence hotel by dinnertime.

This capital city is truly dripping in history, from its iconic landmarks like the Colosseum, Vatican, and Sistine Chapel to the numerous ancient ruins surrounding the city.

Foodies will delight in the culinary options in this colorful city, from Rigatoni Carbonara to delectable homemade pizzas paired with award-winning wines.

Naturally, Rome is bustling with tourists and activities, so expect a vibrant and exciting atmosphere when you visit. In addition, be sure to book reservations ahead of time for popular attractions or you might miss out on seeing them.

Top things to do in Rome

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy

We have a huge list of the best things to do in Rome on your first trip, but here are a few ideas:

  • Visit the Colosseum. Is it touristy? Sure. But when in Rome… (I know, I know, sorry!). On a serious note, this ancient landmark isn’t something to be missed, but be sure to book a reservation well in advance. 
  • Eat, drink, and repeat. Pizza? Suppli? Merlot? Maritozzi? Gelato? Pecorino? Where do I begin!?
  • Throw two coins in the Trevi Fountain. Over your left shoulder, the tradition is to throw one coin for love, and one coin to return to Rome.
  • Wander the Trastevere neighborhood. A part of Rome that feels a bit more local is across the Tiber River from the main tourist attractions. This neighborhood is known for it’s food and nightlife scene.
  • Tour the Vatican Museums. History and art enthusiasts will relish in the museums that are part of the Vatican City.

How to get there

By train: The high speed train is definitely the easiest way to get to Rome from Florence. With a plethora of trains leaving each day, you can be flexible with your travel times to suit your needs. 

By car: It takes quite a bit longer to get to Rome via car from Florence, but it is possible. You’ll take the A1 highway and pass through quite a few tollways. Be prepared for a considerable amount of traffic as you near the city. Parking can be a bit of a headache, too, so parking outside the city center is your best option.

14. Venice

Venice Italy
  • At a glance: nicknamed the ‘Floating City’ for its magical network of canals.
  • Distance from Florence: 269 km / 167 miles
  • Time: 2 hour and 15 minute train ride, 2 hours and 45 minutes driving

It’s hard to find a more unique place in Italy than Venice. With its network of winding canals, alleyways, and ancient architecture, it’s a lovely choice for a day trip from Florence.

Built on more than 100 small islands, Venice has a rich history that dates back to the 5th century, making it seriously old, but seriously amazing.

Aside from taking a gondola ride through the waterways (which is highly recommended, FYI), you can explore some of the ancient landmarks and indulge in some delicious food and wine. 

Top things to do in Venice

Venice Italy
  • Take a gondola tour. This is definitely one of the coolest ways to explore the city.
  • Tour Doge’s Palace. You’ll be blown away by the artifacts and history in this impressive historic monument. 
  • Create your own mask. Take a mask-making class to learn about the role masks played in Venice’s history and take one home as a souvenir. 
  • Try Fegato alla Veneziana. This classic Venetian dish is packed with fresh onions and tender veal.  

Did you know… Although it’s happening at a very slow pace, Venice is currently sinking. Visit while you still can!

How to get there

By train: Venice is a quick hop away from Florence, taking around 2 hours by high-speed train. You’ll depart at the Santa Maria Novella station and take the Venezia Santa Lucia route. 

By car: If you choose to drive, take the A1 and A13 highways to reach Venice. While this is a longer journey to the city, there are a few noteworthy stops along the way, so you might wish to check out the route ahead of time if you want to double up on any stops.  

By tour: This top-rated tour from Get Your Guide takes care of all the details so you don’t have to worry about a thing. As a guest, you’ll visit Venice, embark on a walking tour, and take a famous gondola ride. 

15. Portoferraio

Portoferraio Italy
Image by Bjorn Agerbeek via Unsplash
  • At a glance: perched on the coast of the Mediterranean, this coastal town is filled with rich history and stunning landscapes 
  • Distance from Florence: 204.5 km / 127 miles
  • Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes driving

Portoferraio is an adorable seaside town with a seriously interesting history. In fact, Napoleon was exiled to this town (hmm … not the worst place to be exiled!) and a lot of the architecture in the town can be attributed to his work.

The city is surrounded by ancient walls (Medici Fortress), which protected the city from pirates and other invaders. Today, you can stroll through the city center and check these out since they are still quite well preserved. 

Aside from immersing yourself in the history of Portoferraio, enjoy the stunning beaches, local shops, and delicious food options. 

From Florence, it takes about 3 and a half hours to reach Portoferraio (including a short ferry ride), so if you’re planning to visit for a day trip, leave the city early to make the most of your day. 

Top things to do in Portoferraio

Spiaggia la Biodola Portoferraio Italy
Spiaggia la Biodola Portoferraio via Visit Italy
  • Have a beach day. Head to the beaches on the southern part of the island as they are less rocky.
  • Explore the historic walls. Originally built as a fortification against enemies, the walls surrounding the city are well preserved. 
  • Visit the Villa dei Mulini where Napoleon lived. 

How to get there

By car: From Florence, you can reach Portoferraio by taking the SGC Firenze roadway and eventually merge onto the E80. You’ll need to board a ferry at Piombino Marittima in order to reach the island. Since parking can be a hassle (and expensive), you might choose to leave your car and take advantage of public transportation, bicycles, or electric scooters when you arrive in Portoferraio. 

What to pack for your trip to Italy

We know it can be overwhelming packing for a trip to a new destination. That’s why we spent hours creating this super helpful PDF just for you.

In this free Italy packing list PDF download, we’ve provided packing checklists for everything from clothing and toiletries (for both women and men!) to what shoes to pack and extra medicines you may want to have on-hand just in case.

Plus, we’re sharing tons of packing hacks and tips for traveling in Italy that you won’t find anywhere else!

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Round up of the best day trips from Florence

Here’s a recap of all the best day trips from Florence so you can see everything in one place.

  1. San Gimignano
  2. Cinque Terre
  3. Pisa
  4. Siena
  5. Val D’Orcia
  6. Lucca
  7. Montepulciano
  8. Chianti Hills
  9. Pienza
  10. Bologna
  11. Cortona
  12. Portofino
  13. Rome
  14. Venice
  15. Portoferraio

Are you planning a trip to Italy?

We have lots of resources on travel in Italy and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Italy Homepage for everything you need to know, or start by reading some of our favorite Italy articles here:

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We want to hear from you!

Which of these day trips from Florence are going to the top of your bucket list? Have you been to any of these unique Tuscan towns? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

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