Ten tips on day trips of Florence and its surroundings. Almost all of them can be reached in less than two hours. 

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If the destination of your trip includes the beautiful city of Florence, you will most likely have opted for a stay of several nights. For this reason, we have decided to recommend you ten possible one day trip from florence, a tour to make the most of your holiday. There are ten and they are all reachable and can be visited in a day, of course if you think it appropriate you can also consider staying for a night or more. Here, then, ten stops that can be visited in a day around Florence. Consider that you can use a car or trains to get around. 

If you are visiting Florence for a few days, don’t forget to use the Florence Pass: Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery and Brunelleschi Dome, all in one ticket. 

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10. One day trip from Florence: San Donato in Poggio


Taken from Wikipedia

About forty minutes drive from Florence, along the SS674, there is a small village located in the countryside, in the Chianti area. It is San Donato in Poggio. An ancient medieval settlement that today gives a special atmosphere. A village populated by about 800 people that will allow you to immerse yourself in small alleys and streets making you live as if you were in past centuries. In San Donato you can visit the ancient Pieve Romanica, a church built around the year 1000. You can get there passing through Porta Senese. Going up, then, you can visit Palazzo Malaspina, Palazzo Pretorio and the ancient Gothic church of Santa Maria della Neve. Entering the village you can also see the walls built in the twelfth century and what remains of the tower-houses: the bell tower. San Donato also offers magnificent views that can be admired in various parts of the village, being on a hill.

In San Donato, then, in June there is the Infiorata. A typical village festival of which we also talked in other articles. A tradition that has been carried on since the fifties. If you are passing through those days, do not miss it! To reach this village the only solution is the car. Also because from San Donato you can move and along a few kilometers you can reach other lovely villages such as: Castellina in Chianti, Greve, Panzano and Barberino Tavarnelle. 

9. One day trip from Florence: Monteriggioni and San Gimignano

San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy

View of San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy

Also along the SS674, you can reach the towns of Monteriggioni and San Gimignano. Being not too far apart, we decided to include them as a single stage. Again, the only way to get there is by car.

We start from Monteriggioni, which is located ten km from Siena and 45 km from Florence. A village famous for its medieval walls. As for San Donato in Poggio, Monteriggioni rises on the slopes of a hill. Entering the village you can visit the castle, built between 1210 and 1220 by the Republic of Siena. Monteriggioni is also known for being a stop of the Via Francigena. Both in June and July in Monteriggioni there are two important events worth attending. We are talking about the 'Disfida della Valdelsa' (scheduled on 24 and 25 June) and the Medieval Festival (on weekends from 7 to 9 July and 14 to 16 July).

If you decide to visit the pretty town of San Gimignano you can not help but notice the towers that stand out between the houses and the walls. Of the 72 towers that were built in medieval times, today, there are 13, but still characterize the panorama of the village. Do not miss the Piazza del Duomo with the 'Palazzo del Popolo'. The 'Palazzo Comunale' (or 'del Podestà') is located on the left of the square, between the 'Torre Grossa' and the 'Loggia del Comune'. We recommend you to use the San Gimignano Pass to visit the Civic Museums: it is valid for two days. Here you will find included: the entrance to Palazzo Comunale, Torre Grossa, the Archaeological Museum, the Pharmacy of the Hospital of Santa Fina and the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art Raffaele De Grada. In addition, the entrance to the Duomo and the Museum of Sacred Art and the Church of San Lorenzo.

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8. Siena

Siena, Tuscany, Italy

Staying on the highway 6674 in about an hour of travel from Florence you can get to Siena. One of the most important cities in Tuscany, definitely worth a visit and be included in your calendar regarding day trips from Florence. One day may not be enough, also consider staying overnight.

There are many things to see in Siena, we recommend first of all, to book the Pass that will allow you to visit with a single ticket: the Cathedral and the Piccolomini Library (when available). With free availability of an audio guide for your smartphone. 

But let’s focus on the most interesting points of the city those that should not be forgotten, starting with: Piazza del Campo. The most famous square of the city and one of the most famous in Italy is a very characteristic place, where the Palio takes place on 2 July and 16th August each year: the horse race that sees the various districts of the city. A very heartfelt event that also opens great rivalries between the Sienese. From Piazza del Campo you will also see the Palazzo Pubblico, which at a distance of centuries continues to house the office of the mayor and inside which there is the Civic Museum: open with a single ticket that also includes the 'Torre del Mangia'. The latter is another of the attractions worth visiting in Siena. It is a tower consisting of four hundred steps that once climbed lead to the top, at a height of 88 meters. From here you can admire the city from above.

Moreover, Siena offers the opportunity to taste excellent local cuisine (as in the other countries mentioned in this article), with meat, meats, cheeses and truffles. Without forgetting, of course, the wine: since you are in the heart of Chianti. The Cathedral of Siena, the so-called Cathedral of the Assumption, is one of the places to be marked on the map. In addition to the striking white façade, inside, the Duomo offers magnificent domes, vaults and arches. In addition to an inlaid floor that will be on display again in July and October 2023. An opportunity not to be missed!

You can also get to Siena by train, as Trenitalia offers a service from Florence Santa Maria Novella Station to Siena Station in about an hour and thirty minutes. A good alternative if you want to avoid driving, but remember that this way you will not be free to choose your schedules, the last return train is in fact scheduled around 09:30 p.m.

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7. Certaldo

Certaldo, Tuscany, Italy

Certaldo is another of the small medieval villages that you can consider for a trip around Florence. In one day you can visit it walking through the streets of the village, as if you were in 1300. Certaldo Alta is the heart of the town and here you can visit: the house of the poet Boccaccio, the Church of SS. Michele and Jacopo and the Palazzo Pretorio. The best way to reach it is by car, about an hour from Florence along the super road that connects the Tuscan capital with Siena. In addition, there is a funicular service to get to Certaldo Alta, starting from the town below.

The best time to visit Certaldo is July, when the International Street Theatre Festival, 'Mercantia', takes place. Five days during which the village comes alive and comes to life with shows, music and artistic crafts. If you want to go trekking or long walks, around Certaldo there is the Collinare Canonica Park where you can practice hiking and jogging, trekking and Nordic walking.

6. Versilia

Versilia, Tuscany, Italy

One of the places within easy reach around Florence is the coast. In Tuscany the coast is varied and offers a lot of places to spend one or more days in total relaxation. We have chosen to report some. Among these there is definitely Versilia. And Versilia means Viareggio, Lido di Camaiore, Forte Dei Marmi, Pietrasanta. They are holiday places where many Florentines decide to spend a few days of their holidays. Along the coast you can stop at one of the locations listed above. Otherwise it is a good idea to visit the hinterland, perhaps going a few hundred meters above sea level.

Going with order, if you are a lover of the sun and the sea you should visit the Versilia in the summer months and book in one of the beaches of which the coast is rich. You can spend a whole day between the sand and the Mediterranean Sea, replenishing yourself in one of the many restaurants or clubs that you will find numerous. For this solution you can choose to arrive by car via the A11 motorway, or by train, about an hour from Santa Maria Novella Station, with many trains that leave towards Viareggio.

If your idea is to visit the inland of Versilia we recommend the many villages of medieval origin and not only. Among these is certainly Pietrasanta, also known as the Little Athens of Versilia thanks to the great tradition of marble processing. It is located along the Via Francigena. Still, you can choose to visit Monteriggiori (not to be confused with Monteriggioni, mentioned in point 9), Levigliani di Stazzema where there is the largest cave in Europe. If you are fascinated by nature you must go to the village of Pruno, from here you can leave for many paths surrounded by greenery, to conquer the nearby peaks. If you have decided to come for a day to visit these places surrounded by nature from Florence, we recommend you do it with a car.

5. Pisa

Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

A city that certainly can not miss in your itinerary is Pisa. A bit like for Siena, Pisa also deserves much more space, here we will mark the main attractions. Famous especially for its 'Torre Pendente', the town also offers other places of interest that are worth visiting. You can get there via the Florence-Pisa-Livorno highway or by train, about an hour in both cases of travel.

Here we are to advise you what to see in Pisa in a day. Once you arrive in Piazza dei Miracoli to see the Leaning Tower that you can also visit climbing the steps to the top, we suggest you also visit the Duomo, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the monumental holy field, which are next to it. Three monuments can be visited with a single ticket. Afterwards, you can stop at one of the local restaurants that offer excellent and varied cuisine. (In Tuscany you always eat well!).

As we have suggested in other towns, also in this case you can book the Pass that will allow you to have quick access to the Leaning Tower and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Also, a digital audio guide of the Leaning Tower.

In the afternoon you can stop in Piazza dei Cavalieri, where there is the famous Scuola Normale Superiore, next to it there is the small, but enchanting church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri: to see. Still, do not miss to take a walk along the banks, a bit like you were in Florence. In your itinerary you can also enter the Blue Palace, where there are often interesting exhibitions. Do not forget to walk in Borgo Stretto, one of the main streets of the historic center, all lined with arcades.

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4. Vinci

Vinci, Tuscany, Italy

Taken from Wikipedia Italy

Driving along the Florence-Pisa-Livorno highway and exiting at Empoli Est, in about an hour from Florence you will arrive in the beautiful town of Vinci. Another stop for your day trips from Florence. Maybe you will know it to be the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci. And, in fact, within the fortified walls of this town there are many places of interest that refer to the life and works of the genius, born in 1452 in Vinci.

Entering the village you should visit the Castle of the Guidi Counts, better known as the Castle of the Ship because of its elongated shape. Inside the Castle there is the Museo Leonardiano: a very vast site where you can admire the projects, prototypes and architectural works of Leonardo Da Vinci. Climbing to the top you will arrive at a terrace from where you can admire the panorama of the Tuscan countryside: images that we can also find in the paintings of Leonardo himself. Another place worth visiting is Leonardo’s house. It is located in Anchiano, 3km outside Vinci, the can be reached both by car and on foot. The advice is to devote time to a walk in the green of nature. In this house Leonardo lived the first years of his life.

As you will have understood Vinci is a medieval village that bases its tourism on the enhancement and sharing of the Genius Leonardo Da Vinci. If you still have time, you can also visit the Church of Santa Croce, where he is said to have been baptized. If you decide to visit Vinci in April you’ve done bingo! In fact, April is the month in which Leonardo was born and there are many events dedicated to him. In particular, on the 14th (the day of his birth) a real Festival is held with the exhibition of his works. All of these are called Leonardian Celebrations.

In case you are still not satisfied to admire all the works of the Genius Leonardesco we remind you that in Florence there is a museum dedicated to him. 

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3. Arezzo

Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

Arezzo is one of the largest cities in Tuscany and often remains outside the classic sightseeing. For this reason, if you have a day to spend in the surroundings of Florence for a trip out of town, we recommend that you include it in your itinerary. In Arezzo you can visit, first of all, Piazza Duomo. An elevated square compared to the others of the city that will allow you to admire a beautiful view. Of course we suggest you enter inside the Duomo, to admire the wonderful windows. Arezzo bears the name, among others, of two great artists of the Renaissance: Giorgio Vasari and Francesco Petrarca. The first room is dedicated to the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, located next to the Duomo, inside the Bishop’s Palace.

As for the writer Francesco Petrarca there is his home, where he would spend the years of his childhood. Arezzo is also famous for its markets and these take place in Piazza Grande. A very suggestive place that can not miss in your itinerary. Here you will also see a sixteenth century clock that is still operated manually! The markets are full of all kinds of objects and on the first Sunday of the month the antique dealers gather: you can try to make some good deals.

Also, in Arezzo you should visit the Palazzo delle Logge and the Vasari Theatre. To reach Arezzo you can use the trains that leave from Santa Maria Novella Station, or by car along the Autostrada del Sole, the main Italian road.

2. The hills around Florence

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

If you don’t want to go too many miles, you can take a day trip from Florence walking through the hills that surround it. Just look around and you’ll be spoilt for choice. You can opt for the hills around Fiesole, up to Olmo, Vincigliata or Settignano. From all these points you can admire the city below. Also, if you want to spend time walking in nature, surrounded by silence, you can visit the Sanctuary of Montesenario. A charming place that will allow you to walk various paths going up and down the hill. Montesenario can be reached easily by car, from Florence are about thirty minutes.

You can also decide, for a trip outside Florence, to visit the hills above Bagno a Ripoli. Going up a little above, in fact, you can get to Vallombrosa. A place, also in this case, rich in nature that offers various paths and walkways. The highest point is La Secchieta, where even in summer the temperature is cool.

1. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy

After having recommended the Versilia, in one day, as a trip around Florence, you can also evaluate the Cinque Terre. We have to warn you right away that there are many people in the summer, and the waiting times for travel could be very long. But let’s see what you can see in the Cinque Terre.

As the name suggests, the Cinque Terre, include as many small villages that rise along the coast, on the border between Liguria and Tuscany, within a radius of ten km. The advice is to reach La Spezia or Viareggio by car and then move with the train that is planned to visit these five gems. An alternative is also the boat trip, always from the ports of Viareggio and La Spezia. Assuming that your itinerary starts from La Spezia, we suggest you take the train to the station (La Spezia Centrale) and get off at every stage. You will see Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. all with a single ticket at a single rate.

These five villages are overlooking the sea, along the rugged coastline, the creeks and the hills. A unique landscape that will allow you to walk through the 'Sentiero Azzurro': the most famous and most feasible. The sandy and pebble beaches are located near Monterosso, where you find the beach of Fegina and Monterosso vecchio, Corniglia where the beach of Guvano and the beach of Corniglia, Riomaggiore.

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