The Best Day Trips from Florence

Looking for a fantastic day trip from Florence? Luckily, you’ve got lots of options. Whether you’re looking for a day in the Tuscan countryside or the chance to explore a medieval town, it’s all reachable from Florence.

Here are just a few of our favorite Tuscany day trips. You can easily spend the entire day exploring any of these day trip options. Or, if you want to see as much as you can, you can combine them for a full, rewarding day in Tuscany. (Just don’t forget to schedule yourself time to relax over a glass of local wine!).

Lucca, Florence’s graceful neighbor

Tuscan architecture of Lucca's churches

Lucca’s elaborate Duomo

Lovely Lucca offers up cobblestoned streets and elegant palaces, elaborate churches and a ring of Renaissance-era fortification walls that have been turned into biking and walking paths. For music aficionados, it also happens to be where the composer Giacomo Puccini was born.

To get to Lucca from Florence: The train takes 1 hour 20 minutes, and since the station is located right outside the city center and easily walkable, this is a very convenient option. By car, Lucca is located 1 hour 10 minutes west of Florence.

Pisa, home to much more than the Leaning Tower

Pisa, a great day trip from Florence

Lovely Pisa and its River Arno

If you want to get what must be the most iconic photo in Italy, Pisa’s your place. But there’s much more to Pisa than that. Yes, the Leaning Tower is spectacular—even more so in person than in pictures. But the medieval city also boasts an 11th-century Duomo chock-full of gorgeous art, the elaborate Baptistery, and beautiful palaces. The downside, of course, is all the crowds around the Leaning Tower here—which is why we recommend the below schedule. (And if you want to really experience the best of Pisa, our private Pisa tour explores the Square of Miracles and includes skip-the-line access to the Leaning Tower).

To get to Pisa from Florence: The direct, high-speed train to Pisa takes just 50 minutes from Florence. It’s then a 20-minute walk from the train station to the Leaning Tower, or a 10-minute bus ride. Driving, Pisa is located 1 hour 20 minutes from Florence.

How to visit Lucca + Pisa in one day trip from Florence

Beautiful Pisa, a day trip from Florence or Lucca

Plan to be in Pisa in the evening, when the crowds are gone—even around the Leaning Tower!

You want to avoid the tour-bus crush of crowds that take over Pisa during the day. To do this, leave Florence on the train by 9am, putting you in Lucca around 10:30am. Enjoy a relaxing walk on the city walls, explore the churches, and have a late lunch around 1:30.

From there, Pisa’s just a 25-minute train ride from Lucca, so if you leave Lucca around 3:45, you’ll be standing at the Leaning Tower by 4:30… just as the tour buses are all leaving. (Be aware that the tower closes at 5pm from November to February and has differing closing times throughout the year, so if you want to climb the tower, adjust your schedule accordingly!). Take as much time as you need to marvel at Pisa’s beauty by dusk. Then grab the direct, high-speed train back to Florence, which takes just one hour.

The Chianti wine country

Easy day trip from Florence

Vineyard in the Chianti countryside, a short drive from Florence

If you want to enjoy wine tastings and the Tuscan countryside, but without going too far from Florence, then the region of Chianti, just a 30 minutes’ drive south of Florence, is your best bet. (Of course, this convenience also makes it more crowded and touristy than, say, the Val d’Orcia, below). Small towns like San Casciano, Montespertoli, Gaiole, and Panzano, are lovely, and you’ll see signs for one vineyard after another.

To get to Chianti from Florence: This is definitely a day trip best done with a car! The SS22 heads south of Florence right through the heart of the Chianti region.

Siena, gem of a medieval city

Sienna Tuscany

Beautiful Siena, an easy day trip from Florence

Florence’s longtime rival, Siena is a gem of a medieval city. Just take its 13th-century duomo alone: One of the most stunning cathedrals in all of Italy, it boasts pieces by Michelangelo, Donatello, Pisano, and Bernini, not to mention an incredible, frescoed library that you have to see if you love the Sistine Chapel! But that’s not to mention the city’s unique, scallop-shaped main piazza, dominated by the 14th-century tower that’s taller even than the one in Florence. Or its important art, including Lorenzetti’s seminal frescoes of “Good and Bad Goverment.” Or its being the birthplace of St. Catherine of Siena, and the resting place of her head alone (which is on display!). Or its being the location of the famous, twice-yearly Palio horse races. And the list goes on! Here’s our guest post for Art Trav on more of what to see in Siena, and here’s information on our 3-hour experience of Siena with a local guide.

To get to Siena from Florence: By car, Siena is 1 hour 15 minutes south of Florence. The direct SITA bus from Florence takes 1 hour 15 minutes; you can look up the timetables here. By train, Siena is located 1 hour 30 minutes from Florence, but be aware that the train station is almost 1.5 miles outside the city center and requires either a half-hour walk or taking the local bus).

How to visit the Chianti countryside + Siena in one day trip from Florence

The main piazza or town square of Siena, Italy, with Palazzo Pubblico

Stay in Siena into the evening to see the main square lit up

To do this, you need to rent a car. And be aware that you could also easily spend a whole day exploring Chianti’s vineyards and small towns or a whole day exploring Siena, so this should be a combined day trip only for the energetic!

We’d recommend leaving Florence by 9 or 9:30am, making it to Chianti’s small towns and vineyards just as they “wake up” (and open), generally between 10am and noon. Enjoy wine and food tastings, and a relaxing lunch, before heading onto Siena by about 1:30pm. You’ll be there by mid-afternoon, which will give you time for two or three of Siena’s main sites (don’t miss the Duomo!), and perhaps dinner, before taking the 1 hour 15 minute drive back to Florence.

The Val d’Orcia, where all of those postcards of the Tuscan countryside come from

Orcia Valley Tuscany

The Val d’Orcia, one of the most beautiful regions of Italy

Dreaming of cypress-lined roads, rolling hills, and rambling farms and vineyards? Then make your day trip from Florence one to the Val d’Orcia. Possibly the most stunning countryside in Italy (…if not the world!), it’s even been added to UNESCO’s list of World Cultural Landscapes. You could easily spend the day just rambling around here, exploring back streets and perhaps paying a visit to Montalcino, Pienza, or, just outside the valley, Montepulciano. But what we love doing in this region is visiting local farms and vineyards, getting home-cooked meals and enjoying wine, cheese and meat tastings (all included on our day-long “Tuscany in a Day” experience of the region!).

To get to the Val d’Orcia from Florence: Public transport is tough: There’s no train station right near the Val d’Orcia, and while the bus goes from Florence to Montalcino (with a switch at Siena), you can’t then explore the rest of the countryside. So the best way to visit the Val d’Orcia is either to rent a car (the area is located a 2-hour drive south of Florence) or hire a private driver, included in our “Tuscany in a Day” experience.

Montepulciano or Montalcino, perfect for wine lovers

Montepulciano, a beautiful Tuscan town known for its Vino Nobile

Montepulciano… and its wine

Both sleepy, medieval towns (Montalcino being smaller, less touristy, and more tranquil than Montepulciano), these are two places to check out if you’re a big wine lover. Montalcino produces Brunello di Montalcino, often considered to be Italy’s best wine, while Montepulciano makes Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a DOCG-rated wine that’s been consumed since the Middle Ages and is considered one of Italy’s best. At either town, you can easily spend two or three hours wandering the medieval streets, gazing at the scenery, and, of course, sampling wines, meats, and cheeses.

To get to Montalcino or Montepulciano from Florence: Don’t be fooled by the “Montepulciano” listing on the Trenitalia site, as the train station of Montepulciano is actually a 20-minute drive from the medieval town itself! Instead, for either town, you can take the bus from Florence (switching at Siena). Or, especially if you want to explore both towns or other areas around, the best option is to rent a car or use a private driver, as on our “Medieval Towns and Tuscan Countryside” day trip.

How to visit the Val d’Orcia + Montepulciano or Montalcino in one day trip from Florence

Want to discover hidden gems like this cheese farm? One way is with our day-long Tuscan experience!

You might have gathered this by now, but in all honesty… we’d say the best way is by enjoying one of our day-long Tuscany excursions, like “Tuscany in a Day”. That’s because finding truly authentic experiences—i.e. vineyard tours or home-cooked lunches at a farm that aren’t visited by the tour buses—takes a lot of local know-how and digging. And the places can be tough to find on your own in more ways than one: Assuming you can find out where to go that’s really off-the-beaten-path, that very fact means that actually navigating your way to your destination can be pretty tough (and no, Google maps or a GPS alone won’t solve the problem!). This way, you have a local, English-speaking driver who picks you up right from Florence and helps you shape the day around what you want to do.

If that’s not a possibility for you, you can still enjoy a fantastic day in the Val d’Orcia! We’d recommend renting a car, leaving Florence by 9am at the latest, and driving the 2 hours straight down to the valley. Have lunch at Pienza, Montepulciano, or Montalcino, and spend the afternoon exploring the towns and roads and tasting the local wines. Just make sure that you bring a lot of patience (along with your GPS), as you will probably get lost. But, of course, that’s half the fun!

(Explore Tuscany with us in this fun, and beautiful, #TakeWalks video below!).

For more day trip ideas from Florence, don’t miss our post on the top 10 towns of Tuscany.

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32 Responses to The Best Day Trips from Florence

  1. Ahmed Ali June 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    i always dreamed about travelling to italy especially after watching godfather 1 and 2 ;) and the city did meet my expectations. the views in tuscan were just amazzing and the medieval city of Siena was just like going back in time. my kindle book really helped me aswel to communicate with the locals, you guys should check out their website http://www.eton-phrasebooks.com/
    they have phrasebooks for upto 17 languages

  2. abhishek soni August 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    would it be a good idea to visit tuscany in decmber first week? would wine tasting and places like montalcino be operational?

    • walksofitaly August 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      Hi there,
      Yes—except for Dec. 8 (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception), everything should be open! Enjoy your trip!

  3. Bhaw May 27, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Can we do a day trip from Florence to Pisa and take a train to Naples from Pisa ?

    Where do we leave our luggage once we arrive in Pisa from Florence by train for the day as we go around the city?

    • Walks of Italy June 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Hi Bhaw,
      Yes, you can take a day trip easily by train from Florence to Pisa. There is a left luggage area in the Pisa train station where you can pay a nominal fee to leave your bags for the day. From Pisa, you can go on to Naples, as well, although you’ll be switching trains in Florence anyway—so we would recommend leaving your bags at the *Florence* left luggage department at the Florence train station, instead, and picking them up at the end of the day to head on to Naples.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  4. Robyn July 31, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Can you recommend a driver in Lucca?

    • Walks of Italy August 7, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      Hi Robyn,
      Someone on our team will be emailing you shortly with recommendations.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Shannon Bryce August 5, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    I am visiting Florence in early April next year.

    As per your blog, I am planning a day trip to Pisa and Lucca but was going to do the opposite by visiting Pisa first.

    Is there any merit in this? I thought if I got there early right on 8:30am when it opens we could take in the main attractions and then have the rest of the day to enjoy Lucca.

    Would this work out as well as your suggestion?

    • Walks of Italy August 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      Hi Shannon,
      That sounds like a plan to us! In Pisa, what you have to watch out for (and what causes the lines and crowds around the Tower) are the tour buses that come in for the day; most tend to arrive by mid-morning. So the earlier, the better. And Lucca, in our opinion, definitely deserves at least a half-day to explore.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  6. Marie-Helene September 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Hi, I’m leaving for florence and tuscany in 2 weeks. I’d like to know if it’s possible to make a day trip to Venice?

    Is it realistic or should we put more time in Tuscany?

    For now we are spending 3 days in Florence, we rent a car for 3 other days and then head to rome for 5.

    thank you

    • Walks of Italy September 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Hi Marie-Helene,
      We’re happy to help. From Florence, you can do a day trip to Venice; the fast train from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station to Venice’s Santa Lucia station takes 2 hours. It will be a long day, but doable if you want to make sure you don’t miss getting a glimpse of Venice on your trip.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  7. Marie-Helene September 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    and is there any vineyards that have white wine? (good ones)

    • Walks of Italy September 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Hi Marie-Helene, we’re happy to help! There are plenty, of course, but one of our favorites is Felsina, in the Chianti area.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  8. Tracy October 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    So excited just booked a trip for us to Venice, Florence and then Rome for 11 days the end of next March. We don’t care for lines, crowds and love to go off the beaten path. What are your recommendations for us to see on such a short trip. I do think we want to see Lucca
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions

    • Walks of Italy October 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      Hi Tracy,
      That sounds like a lovely trip! Remember that you could easily spend all 11 days in just those three cities, especially as you’ll need to transfer between them, so at most you’ll want to do 2, maybe 3 day trips, maximum. Lucca is a good idea; we’d also recommend checking out Verona and Orvieto. If you want to go even more off the beaten path, you might consider renting a car for your trip from Florence to Rome or Venice to Florence, which will afford you the flexibility to visit some smaller towns in the countryside of Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, or Umbria.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  9. chloe October 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Hello!

    Mi and my partner are visiting florence on 22-26 dec. Would like to knoe whether train n bus transportation are available on christmas. Is day tours out of e question?

    • Walks of Italy October 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Hi Chloe,
      Trains and buses will still run, but on more limited schedules. Check the trenitalia.com site for exact scheduling.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  10. bill December 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    I wonder in vinyard opens for tasting and business in janurary in Chanti / Tuscany area?
    Is drving in winter there safe?

    • Walks of Italy December 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      Hi Bill,
      Some, but not all, vineyards should be open for tastings. In the towns, wine bars and shops where you can do tastings should almost all be open. If there’s a particular place you’re interested in, make sure to call in advance for hours (especially when it comes to vineyards).

      The area can get snow, and is hilly, so follow the same precautions you would driving in similar weather elsewhere and you should be fine. Also be aware that more off the beaten path destinations (like vineyards and farms) often have narrow or dirt roads.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  11. bill December 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    any good recommendation for mid January visit regarding where to go around florence?

    • Walks of Italy December 28, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

      Hi Bill,
      Of course! It will be quite cold, so we’d recommend places with lots of attractions you can duck in to—or, at least, trattorias and wine bars where you can warm up! We especially like Volterra, Siena, Lucca, and Pisa.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  12. Brenda January 21, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    I sent a question asking for the best way to travel in Italy stating the areas & the number of days that I will be staying in each place as well as the most cost effective a eurail pass or regular daily train but need to know where to look for answer.

    • Walks of Italy February 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      Hi Brenda,
      Usually, buying train tickets individually is the most cost effective, and much better than a Eurail pass, particularly if you book online in advance to take advantage of special fares.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  13. suzanne March 6, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    Hi, I am looking for road trip ideas. We are renting a car in Florence and spending two days driving to Naples. Most of our 16 days in Italy are going to be very touristy so we would like this part to be off the beaten path! Any ideas on where to stay? Maybe family owned places? We could stay one night between Florence and Rome and one night between Rome and Naples. Thanks!!

    • Walks of Italy March 13, 2014 at 1:04 am #

      Hi Suzanne, we’d like to suggest visiting and staying at agriturismi (family owned farmhouses) when traveling off the beaten path! Between Florence and Rome, we’d suggest Montepulciano and Orvieto, and Caserta and Latina for between Rome and Naples! Do let us know if you have any further questions.

  14. Gina Bailey March 31, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    We are planning a trip for. 7 days in June staying in Florence and want to do day trips if possibly stay 2 nights elsewhere! Tell us what you would do if you were planning this trip!!

    • Walks of Italy March 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      Ciao Gina! Any of the day trips we mentioned would be great for an overnight trip, too. Do let us know what you’re looking for (a larger or smaller city, countryside, sea, etc.) and we can help you pick the perfect place!

  15. Michael April 2, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Hi
    My girlfriend and I will be visiting Italy from April 14 – April 25, We are spending our first 4 nights in Rome, and are looking at booking the rest of our time in Florence and doing day trips….
    We are really keen on doing a quiet little wine region though stain over for one night perhaps??? Any suggestions on the best area/region to visit from Florence?

    Thanks heaps
    Michael

  16. Pamela Caruthers April 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi,
    We are interested in visiting Assisi. We will be coming from Sorrento and heading towards Florence. Would it be best to stop there first? Can you recommend other sites to visit along the way. Which is better, train or bus for this destination?
    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Walks of Italy April 15, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      Hi Pam, we think it would be best to visit Assisi on your way from Sorrento to Florence. Have you considered stopping in Rome? It is quite easy to get to the Assisi from there from both train and bus. Let us know if you have any questions!

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