Top Day Trips From Florence Italy - Best Side excursions and one day tours from Florence
Top Day Trips From Florence Italy - Best Side excursions and one day tours from Florence

Top Day Trips From Florence:


Florence the most accessible city in Tuscany which makes it the perfect base camp for a number of amazing day trips.  Within an hour of town some of the best day trips from Florence include the enchanting city of Siena, a magical village filled with medieval towers, a number of storybook castles, and the best wineries under the Tuscan sun.  Most of the best side excursions and one day tours from Florence can be reached quickly by bus from the central station, but renting a car will really let you cover a lot more ground at your own pace!  Thanks to high-speed trains to a few towns you can even reach places like Rome, Bologna, and Venice within just two hours from Florence.  We hope you enjoy our tips for visiting the top day trips from Florence!

Transportation Tips:

While we prefer to rent a car when exploring Tuscany, almost all of our top day trips from Florence can be seen using either the train or public bus.  The advantages of renting a car is that they are cheap at around $25 a day, they let you visit more of the hilltop wineries, allows you to combine stops, ads schedule flexibility, opens up the chance to stay in a rural castle hotel.

One downside to renting a car is that is you have it for multiple days driving and parking inside Florence can be a real pain.  Also, most auto and credit card insurance perks for rental cars exclude Italy so you will have to buy the additional coverage from the rental company.  Lastly, many places from Florence can be reached quicker with high-speed rail than by driving so make sure you really need a car before renting.

Below we explain how to reach each destination from Florence by both with and without a car.  If a train or bus looks like the best option for your day trip from Florence, make sure you look up the schedules and times on the Italian Train & Bus website (here).

1. Siena (75 Minutes Away):

Top Day Trips From Florence Italy - Best Side excursions and one day tours from Florence - Siena Campo
Top Day Trips From Florence Italy - Best Side excursions and one day tours from Florence - Siena Duomo Cathedral

About Siena: While Florence is the center of the Italian Renaissance, it’s Siena that is truly the heart of Tuscany you must visit.  Through the Middle Ages, Siena and Florence were powerful revival city-states.  The two influential towns push each other to be better than the other with sometimes bloody conflicts.  Eventually, Florence and the Medici family conquered Siena and left it left it frozen in Medieval times while their own city entered the Renaissance.

Visiting Siena from Florence gives you the chance to not only feel like you are stepping back into further back in time to the 1300s.  Touring the fascinating sights you will learn about the opposite side of the history behind the two cities’ famous competitive nature.  From the grandest Medieval square in Italy to the most beautiful church interior in Tuscany, you make to make time for a day trip to Siena from Florence.

Getting Here: It will take you about 1 hour to drive, 1 hour and 15 minutes by express bus, or 1.5-2 hours by train.  The express buses run late into the evening and are much closer than the train station which makes it a great option.  Rating As A Day Trip From Siena: 10 out of 10.

Read More:  Our Siena Travel Guide







2. Southern Chianti Wineries (90 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Chianti Castle Wineries Tour
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Chianti Castle Wineries Tour

About Southern Chianti: The Southern half of the Chianti region is the real heart of the Classico area and has a number of great castle wineries.  The main highlight is a tour of the sprawling Castle of Brolio which the famous style of wine got its start.  We didn’t like Chianti much until we came here and had their reserve bottles directly from the wineries.  You really need a car to fully see the main castle wineries, but the traffic is low, and the driving is pretty easy.

We like to drive right to Castle of Brolio (90 minutes) for a guided tour first thing after an early breakfast.  From there you work North back through Florence with a tasting at Castle Meleto, then a tour of Badia a Coltibuono monastery winery, and lastly the rest of the afternoon in Radda in Chianti.  Depending on your preferences you could also stop in Greve or a Northern Chianti winery later in the afternoon, but the four stops are usually enough for one side trip from Florence.

Getting Here From Florence By Train/Bus: There really isn’t much for viable options to get here by public transportation as most of the routes come from Siena and even then a car is better. Getting Here By Car: We like to drive right to Castle of Brolio (90 minutes) for a guided tour first thing after an early breakfast.  From there you work North back through Florence with a tasting at Castle Meleto, then a tour of Badia a Coltibuono monastery winery, and lastly the rest of the afternoon in Radda in Chianti.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 9 out of 10 (Pretty much need a car or an expensive group tour).

3. San Gimignano (90 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - San Gimignano medieval tower city
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - San Gimignano medieval tower city

About San Gimignano: The tightly packed hilltop wonder of San Gimignano gives you a great peek into what cities like Florence looked like before the Renaissance.  The village was once packed with Medieval skyscrapers and still has 15 of its original 72 tower house very well preserves.

Getting Here From Florence By Train/Bus: Take the train to Poggibonsi which takes 1 hour, then with a 5-minute layover take Bus 130 from Piazza Mazzini next to the train station for 20 minutes right to town. Getting Here By Car: By Car it is a very easy 90-minute drive with the option to stop at Castello di Gabbiano Winery or Ristorante Albergaccio on the way or as you return.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 8.5 out of 10 (10 out of 10 with a car).

4. Rome (80 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - rome colosseum
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - rome sistine chaple adam painting vatican city

About Rome: To see all of Rome it would take a lifetime, but you can check off many of the highlights with a quick day trip from Florence using high-speed rail.  What was in the fast almost a 3-hour ride has been cut by more than half.  You can get into Rome early in the morning and have a solid 12 hours to explore.

Over 8-12 hours you will have plenty of time to tour the Coliseum, Roman Forum, and the Vatican which are directly connected to the train station by subway.  You will want to book any tours for this attractions ahead of time, especially the Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel to avoid waiting forever in line during your day trip from Florence.
We recommend that you choose either the Vatican or Coliseum area for your morning activity, followed by the other then spend your remaining time in the real core of Rome.  From the subway stop near the Spanish Steps you will be able to work your way past the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Novona, and down to Campo de’ Fiori for dinner.  With more time in Rome, you can slow down the pace over a couple days and add in things like the Castel Sant’Angelo, Palazzo Borghese Museum, Ceasar Augustus’ House, and ancient catacombs, but even the quick tour can be amazing.

Getting Here From Florence: Multiple train departures leave Florence to Rome every hour starting before 7am, getting you by 8:30am, and you have high-speed return options all the way until 9pm most days.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 8.5 out of 10 (10 out of 10 if you stay longer than a day).

5. Northern Chianti Wineries (50 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Chianti Castle Wineries Tour
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Chianti Castle Wineries Tour

About Northern Chianti: Can do an excellent look with a car including the Ristorante Albergaccio inside the famous part of Villa Machiavellì where the author wrote The Prince while working the farm.  Castello di Gabbiano, Greve in Chianti, and Vignamaggio Wine Estate.

Getting Here From Florence By Bus: You can take Bus 365 right to Greve In Chianti from Florence in about 53 minutes.  When taking the bus we ride an extra 5 minutes past town to the Greve Tirassegn Bus Stop and walk 15 minutes up to the Vignamaggio Wine Estate.  Those are the only two things you can see by bus.  Getting Here By Car: By car it is 50 minutes to the Vignamaggio Wine Estate, then you can stop in Greve for lunch, followed by a tasting at Castello di Gabbiano Winery, and dinner at Ristorante Albergaccio on the way or as you return.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 8 out of 10 (7 out of 10 without a car).

6. Venice (2 Hours Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Venice Gondola Rides
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Venice Gondola Rides

About Venice: Thanks to Italian high-speed rail you can get to Venice comfortably in just 2 hours making it a very doable day trip from Florence.  While we recommend spending 2-3 days in Venice you can get a great peek at the floating city in just one day.  You can stroll the Rialto Bridge, take a gondola ride on the Grand Canal, relax in Saint Mark’s Square, eating amazing seafood, and explore the back alleys while you shop.

Getting Here From Florence: Trains leave frequently from Florence to Venice starting at 7am, getting you in around 9am and you have many return options all the way until 7:20pm most days.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 8 out of 10 (10 out of 10 if you stay longer than a day).

7. Verona (1.5-2 Hours Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Verona Bridge Juliet Balcony
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Verona Bridge Juliet Balcony

About Verona: While the city of Verona is most popular for being the home of Shakespeare’s Juliet, it was also the setting for some of Dante’s writings and has wonderful architecture.  The gorgeous Medieval bridges spanning the river, an ancient gladiator coliseum, and post-card-perfect squares, all strengthen the strong romantic vibe that starts with Juliet.

Tourists from around the world flock to the balcony to profess their love and leave written notes.  The balcony in Verona doesn’t really have any association with the real story of Romeo & Juliet, but had it is about as ideal fit as you could imagine.  We also love the Villa Della Torre Allegrini castle outside of town which has wine tastings, cooking classes, and serves as a hotel.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: High-Speed rail only takes 90 minutes to get to Verona.  Getting Here by Car: It is 3 hours to drive to Verona from Florence.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 7.5 out of 10 (9 out of 10 for huge Shakespeare fans).

8. Pisa (60-90 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Pisa Duomo Cathedral Inside
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Leaning Tower Of Pisa

About Pisa: We really struggled on where to rank Pisa as a day trip from Florence as most people come here just to take a quick photo with the Leaning Tower then leave.  While you visit can be a quick as just an hour including the round-trip city bus ride from the train station to the tower, you should explore Pisa more.

The riverfront of the city along the Arno is beautiful and the water is what made Pisa a major naval power in Medieval times.  Even if you forego the city and focus on the area around the Leaning Tower, remember that it was built as a bell tower and there is more to the complex.  The neighboring Duomo Cathedral is stunning inside and the carved pulpit (done by the same guy as the pulpit in Siena) is what sparked the Renaissance.  The interior of the massive Baptistry build is also impressive.  Keep in mind that if you want to climb to the top of the Leaning Tower while on your side trip from Florence, you need to book your time in advance to avoid long lines.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: The train takes 1 hour from Florence.  At the station, you then take Bus 70 for 5 minutes to the Leaning Tower and Duomo complex which.  Getting Here by Car: Takes the same time as the train/bus option at 120 minutes to drive from Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 7 out of 10 (can also be great on your way to Lucca or Cinque Terre).



9. Bologna (35 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Bologna Square
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Bologna Medieval Towers

About Bologna: With high-speed rail making the journey to Bologna only a little over 30 minutes, visiting this picturesque town is now a whole lot easier.  As you walk through Bologna you will see that the entire town feels like the best preserved Medieval areas of Florence but without the hoards of tourists.  We love the main square and Neptune Fountain but the main thing you have to see are the Two Towers.

All of the cities in Tuscany had tall tower houses springing up from wealthy homes for protection like Medieval Skyscrapers.  The village of San Gimignano has the most preserved towers still standing, but Bologna has the two most impressive ones standing side-by-side.  The taller of the towers is over almost 200-feet-tall (60 meters) and the twins were built all the way back in the 1100s.

While many people associate Bologna with the cheap process lunch meat popular in America, there is a lot more to their culinary legacy.  Maybe the biggest impact they have had is being famous for introducing pasta Bolognese (meaning with meat sauce).  It is authentic Ragu Bolognese that has become almost a national dish and eatballs and you will be hard pressed to find “traditional” spaghetti and meatballs anywhere in Italy.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: Only 35-46 minutes by high-speed rail.  Getting Here by Car: Takes 90 minutes to 2 hours by car.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 7 out of 10 (bonus point added to how close it is).

10. Volterra (1.5-2 Hours Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Volterra Twilight Town Etruscan Village
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Volterra Twilight Town Etruscan Village

About Volterra: Going back to Etruscan times, quaint Volterra was actually a powerhouse thanks to its rich sources.  Know as the city of alabaster the residents got wealthy in the Middle Ages supply royals like the Medicis with delicately carved stones for decorations and materials used to dye their fabrics.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: Take the train toward Pisa and get out at Pontedera – Casciana where you then take Bus 500 South to Volterra for a total trip to 2.5 hours.  Getting Here by Car: Car is by far the best option from Florence to Volterra as it only takes 90 minutes.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 7 out of 10 (8 out of 10 with a car).

11. Lucca (80 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Lucca Main Square
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Lucca Tower and Devils Bridge

About Lucca: Sitting just North of Pisa there is actually much more to do here in Lucca but for some reason, it gets overshadowed by the Leaning Tower.  Our favorite thing about visiting Lucca from Florence is the intact Medieval city wall still ringing the town.  The former moat and top of the wide wall have been preserved as a park and offer a great opportunity to do some biking.  The city center itself is beautiful with a quaint market square and a famous watchtower that has had trees growing on top of it for hundreds of years.  Especially if you have a car you can combo Lucca with Pisa from Florence and also see the famous Devil’s Bridge a bit North of town.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: It takes two hours by train whether you go directly from Florence to Lucca or connect through Pisa.  Getting Here by Car: It is only 60-80 minutes by car which drastically cuts down your travel time.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 5.5 out of 10 (7 out of 10 with a car).

12. Arezzo (35-70 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Arezzo Medieval Village
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Arezzo Medieval Village

About Arezzo: This little village to the Southeast of Florence can be extremely boring, but it bursts to life multiple times a year with amazing Medieval festivals.  These festivals center on the main square in town which is one of the most beautiful spaces from the Middle Ages in Tuscany.  Overall we would much rather add a day elsewhere in our trip than visit Arezzo, however, during its many festivals is one of the best day trips from Florence.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: Trains to Arezzo from Florence are pretty quick only taking 35-45 minutes.  Getting Here by Car: It is 80 minutes by car which is twice as slow.  You would only really want to drive here if you are staying nearby or going to Assisi by car otherwise take the train.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 5 out of 10 (8 out of 10 during a Medieval festival).

13. Montepulciano (1.5-2.5 Hours Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Montepulciano Wine Town
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Montepulciano Wine Town

About Montepulciano: If the main purpose of your Tuscan vacation is drink get the best wine, then you need to highly consider adding Montepulciano as a day trip from Florence.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: Trains leave often taking 1 hour to reach Chiusi-Chianciano Terme where after a layover you transfer to Bus FT4 towards Montepulciano for a total travel time of 2.5 hours.  Getting Here by Car: While you will have to drink in moderation, a rental car cuts the trip to from Florence to Montepulciano down to 90 minutes.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 5 out of 10 (8 out of 10 if you have a car and a wine focus to your vacation).

14. Castello di Sammezzano (50 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Castello di Sammezzano peacock room
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Castello di Sammezzano peacock room

About Castello di Sammezzano: As the fashion capital of Italy, Milan is an extremely popular place for tourist.  The main attractions are going to be the massive Milam Duomo Cathedral which a spired roof you can walk along and the famous Last Supper Painting by Leonardo da Vinci (reservations required far in advance).  Overall we find Milan to be extremely overrated as unless you are passing through anyway, but due to popularity and a connect by high-speed rail had to include it on this list.

Getting Here From Florence by Car: It only takes 50 minutes to get here by car.  Closure: While the Italian government auctions the property off as part of the bankruptcy proceeding the castle is currently closed with only a handful of days where it opens to the public on very short notice.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 5 out of 10 (10 out of 10 on days the interior is open).

15. Cinque Terre (2.5-3 Hours Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Cinque Terre Vernazza
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Cinque Terre Manarola

About Cinque Terre: The five ocean-front villages making up the Cinque Terre are pure magic.  One of the central villages, Vernazza, is our favorite place in Italy but it requires an overnight stay to really get the full experience.  Yes you can visit Cinque Terre as a day trip from Florence, but it requires 6 hours of round-trip travel and you are missing out on what makes the villages special.

During the day they can be jam-packed with tour groups but in the mornings and evenings, you often have the colorful villages to yourself along with the locals.  The pace of life slows down when the tourist hoards level and you instantly realize that the Cinque Terre are your happy place.  Excellent food, stunning ocean sunsets, bright multi-colored homes clinging to the wine-terraced cliffs, it is perfect.

Getting Here From Florence by Train: It takes around 3 hours with 2-3 transfers.  Getting Here By Car: It takes around 2.5 hours to drive here by car, and some people stop in Pisa or Lucca on the way.  The villages are mainly pedestrian-only with very limited parking.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 4.5 out of 10 (10 out of 10 on with an overnight stay).

16. Milan (100 Minutes Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Milan Duomo Cathedral
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Milan Last Supper Painting

About Milan: As the fashion capital of Italy, Milan is an extremely popular place for tourist.  The main attractions are going to be the massive Milam Duomo Cathedral which a spired roof you can walk along and the famous Last Supper Painting by Leonardo da Vinci (reservations required far in advance).  Overall we find Milan to be extremely overrated as unless you are passing through anyway, but due to popularity and a connect by high-speed rail had to include it on this list.

Getting Here From Florence by Train: High-speed trains leave Florence for Milan multiple times an hour and only take 100 minutes.  Consider the Airport: Because of the connection time, you always want to double check the flight cost into Milan for your Florence vacation as sometimes it can save you $100s of dollars and even get you into town quicker after the train ride than with the connecting flight.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 4 out of 10 (6 out of 10 if you already passing through).

17. Assisi (2.5-3 Hours Away):

Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Saint Francis of Assisi
Top day trips from Florence Italy best side trips without a car - Saint Francis of Assisi

About Assisi: Assisi is home to medieval lanes and a complex dedicated to Saint Francis who was born here.  Saint Francis founded the Franciscan order of monks here in 1208 and pilgrim tourism is the main draw to visiting Assisi.  One of Saint Francis’ early followers was local Saint Clare who went on to found the convent of Poor Clares which grew to have branches all through Medieval Europe.  Today the village is still one of the jewels of the Umbria region even if you aren’t religious, it is just a bit of a long journey from Florence.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: You ride the train for 2.5 hours to the Assisi Station then transfer by bus up to the village for a total time of just under 3 hours.  Getting Here By Car: It takes around 2.5 hours by car.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 4 out of 10 (7 out of 10 if you are very religious).

18. Ravenna (2 Hours Away):

About Ravenna: Ravenna is one of the most overlooked cities in Italy as it has a lot of hidden gems and easy access to the beach.  Some of the main attractions are the numerous Byzantine-style churches built here in the 400s after the capital of the Western Roman Empire was moved here (402 until that empire collapsed in 476) from Rome.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: A 2 hours and 20-minute train ride with a transfer in Bologna.  Getting Here By Car: It takes around 2.5 hours by car.  Rating As A Day Trip From Florence: 3.5 out of 10.

19. Livorno (1.5-2 Hours Away):

About Livorno: The port town of Livorno has close access to some pristine beaches and is well known for its seafood.

Getting Here From Florence by Train/Bus: With a connection through Pisa, it takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to Livorno from Florence by train.  Getting Here By Car: It takes around 90 minutes by car.  Rating As A Side Trip From Florence: 3.5 out of 10 (7 out of 10 if you are very religious).