Florence, the birthplace of Renaissance art and architecture, is known by many to be among the world’s most beautiful destinations. If you’ve soaked in the fashion, fine dining, and ambiance of the city and discovered its ins and outs, you’re ready to branch out and explore the surrounding areas. From the nearby seaside, rolling hills, or hiking around the Chianti region, this list highlights nine perfect day trips from Florence that are definitely worth a visit.
If you’re ready to venture outside of Florence but you don’t want to go too far away, hop on a bus and head out to the hilltop town of Fiesole. Or you could hike! This inconspicuous green oasis is one of the best-hidden gems around Florence. Well-preserved throughout the years, Fiesole provides its visitors with an amazing panoramic view of the majesty of Florence resting below. If you want to see where Leonardo da Vinci first tested his flying machine, make sure to add Fiesole to your to visit list!
If you love the seaside, Livorno is the perfect charming seaport city (located only 90km away from Florence!) that should not be missed. Whether you’d like to sunbathe, try some of its appetizing dishes or visit some of its landmarks, Livorno has it all. Walk through its Little Venice complete with canals reminiscent of the Venetian variety while visiting Livorno’s New and the Old Fortresses. If you’d like to get closer to the sea, take a stroll through Terrazza Mascagni or simply head straight to the beach. Don’t forget to check out Livorno’s Central Market, one of the biggest indoor markets in Europe, and then finish off your day with glorious views of the Chiesa Santa Caterina da Siena.
Passionate about wine and gourmet cuisine? If so, the Chianti Region in the heart of Tuscany is the ideal place for you! Get lost in the vineyards, discover the secrets of the regional wine, and learn a bit about the grapes in Chianti. If you are more of a foodie, we’ve got you covered. This region makes some of the best olive oil in Italy. Here you can find out more about the olive groves and learn about the olive oil making process.
One of the most beautiful medieval cities of Italy, Siena was founded by Remus’ son, Senio. While in Siena, be on the lookout for statues of Romulus and Remus all throughout the city. Make sure you stop to have a coffee in the Piazza del Campo, Siena’s main square, which is also the venue of the famous Palio di Siena. The ‘Palio’ horse races take place every summer during July and August and is an old traditional competition between the rivaling neighborhood contrade (districts) of the city.
On your way back to Florence from Siena, consider making a pit stop in San Gimignano! This small village enchants its visitors with its dazzling Medieval architecture and unique tower houses. Because of its towers, San Gimignano is also known as the ‘Manhattan of the Middle Ages’ and is surrounded by olive groves and hills of a green that you’ve never seen before.
This cute medieval Tuscan borgo is settled on a low hill of vineyards and olive groves in the Tuscan countryside. Monteriggioni was built by the Republic of Siena to defend it from its opponent, Florence. After resisting through time and countless attacks, today Monteriggioni is a calm and beautiful oasis in the heart of the region. Every July it hosts a medieval festival of music, dances, cultural traditions, and artisanal manufacture.
Interested in visiting Siena, San Gimignano, and Monteriggioni? Check out our Best of Tuscany tour that includes all three beautiful hilltop towns, a visit to a historic wine estate and cellar in a magnificent setting, and a delicious gourmet Tuscan lunch at an authentic ancient Tuscan wine estate.
If you would like to discover the region of Tuscany in its entirety, Lucca should not be forgotten. Lucca is one of the most popular and beautiful places in the area and it attracts many visitors every year – with good reason. Lucca’s 4km long city walls have been perfectly preserved and can even be walked on! See the restored Anfiteatro, a unique elliptical-shaped square where you can dream of the past as you enjoy an Italian coffee, as well as monuments from various eras – the Guinigi Tower, the Ducal Palace, and the exquisite churches. While Lucca may be a traditional city, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be fun! Organized yearly, the Lucca Summer Festival is perfect for music lovers looking for an Italian music festival, and in October the Lucca Comics & Games convention kicks off the largest comics and gaming festival in Europe.
Just across the mountains from Florence rests one of the most authentic Italian-spirited cities: Bologna. Walk under the portici and admire the colors of the buildings while wandering through the historical center. Bologna is the perfect place to have some tagliatelle al ragù and tortellini before taking in the beauty of the Piazza Maggiore. If you feel adventurous, walk up to the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca and admire the hills surrounding the city. You could also pay a visit to one of the biggest food villages in the world, FICO. Before leaving, be sure to climb up the Due Torrito enjoy the panoramic view overlooking this exquisite metropolitan city.
One of the most magical and beautiful places on the Mediterranean Sea, Cinque Terre is a must-visit day (or multi-day) trip from Florence. The Cinque Terre or (five lands) is made of a succession of small fishing villages, one right after the other – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Breathtaking views of harbors, olive groves, vineyards and of course, the blue blue sea connect all of them. A hiking and driving tour is one of the best ways of making the most out of Cinque Terre, so make sure that you pack a comfy pair of shoes with you for the walking path, Via dell’Amore. Last by certainly not least, this picturesque destination is also home to some of the most delicious fish and seafood-inspired Ligurian dishes. Buon appetito!