Spending time in Florence, Italy? Did you know that you can plan a number of wonderful Florence day trips via train or by car? What are the best day trips in Florence? Which foods should you be eating in each city?
If you’re looking for something to do other than explore the city of Florence, you’re in luck. Not only is the city of Renaissance one of the best destinations in Italy, but Florence also makes for an ideal home base.
Florence is centrally located in Tuscany and there are a number of day trips that can be taken from the city. And in each and every city, there are some delicious local food choices that you should try to find when you’re there.
Don’t get me wrong, we always tend to eat lots of pizza and pasta while in Italy. It all differs from region to region, and also city to city. It’s nice to mix it up and taste dishes that are locally known.
On our second trip to Florence, Italy, we made the city our home away from home. And on days we weren’t exploring Florence, we were taking day trips from Florence to some of the best cities nearby and beyond: San Gimignano, Siena, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Venice…
We have returned to Florence as well as other parts of Tuscany since. But we still cherish the memories of our first time in Northern Italy. We only wish to share and hope that you plan and have a fabulous time in Italy as well.
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How many days do you need in Florence?
So, if you’re planning your Tuscany vacation with the idea of staying in Florence, but also journeying out on day trips… give yourself at least 3 to 4 days to explore Florence.
You can check out our guide of things to do in Florence or our 3 itinerary options for a day in Florence that you can easily turn into a 3 day Florence itinerary.
Where can I go by train from Florence?
By train, you can visit many of the cities near Florence: Lucca, Siena, Pisa, and more. You can even take a 2-hour train ride to Rome for the day if you would like to explore the Eternal City.
Travel Tip: Book one of the earliest and most direct train tickets to your destination. Also, book your return train ticket back to Florence, ideally the last train of the day, so you can maximize your Florence day trip.
Where is the main train station in Florence?
Any Florence day trips by train will depart from or arrive at Florence’s main train station, Stazione di Santa Maria Novella.
You can check the outbound and inbound times, book your train tickets and start planning your trips: here.
Tip: If you plan on making 3 or more journeys during your trip, you may want to consider a TreniItalian Pass.
Is Tuscany a day trip from Florence?
Tuscany is a large region and it would be impossible to see everything in just one day. However, you can day trip to some of the most popular destinations in Tuscany from Florence.
Day Trips From Florence
To help you plan your day trips from Florence, we outline 10 of the best day trips from Florence. From visits to charming medieval hill towns to exploring famous landmarks. We list the easiest and shortest day trips from Florence by train and drive times.
Sometimes renting a car has its pros, two of them being: shorter travel time and freedom to explore during your journey there.
Note: Some of the travel times for the trains are for high-speed trains, which make a difference when planning and booking.
You can absolutely turn any of the Florence day trips into weekend trips from Florence.
Train: 38 mins
Drive: 1 hr 25 mins
Bologna is a beautiful city in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is about 40 minutes away from Florence to Bologna Centrale by high-speed train. This city is known as the “food capital” of Italy with its delicious cuisine, so I suggest visiting with an empty stomach. It is also known as the “City of Porticoes”.
During your day trip to Bologna, make sure to explore the historic center. Start in Piazza Maggiore, the main square of Bologna which is surrounded by incredible architecture like the Palazzo d’Accursio and the Basilica di San Petronio.
Then, walk through the Quadrilatero district, one of the oldest parts of Bologna. Here you’ll find markets, cafes, restaurants, and shops where you’ll find your best meals in Bologna.
What foods to eat in Bologna? Make sure to try dishes like tagliatelle al ragù, a type of pasta from the Emilia-Romagna region with meat sauce. You may have guessed by now that the beloved bolognese we love to serve over pasta originates from Bologna.
Train: 51 mins
Drive: 1 hr 19 mins
A Florence to Pisa day trip is just 51 minutes away by high-speed train. This Tuscan city is a popular Florence day trip because of its proximity and its also known for its famous leaning tower of Pisa.
In Pisa, you can explore the main square, Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This stunning square is home to the Duomo, Baptistery, and of course the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Don’t forget to capture fun (and appropriate) photographs with the Leaning Tower.
If this is your first time visiting Pisa, you might consider climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower is 56 meters high and closer to 300 steps. But, the views from the top are incredible! However, if you are not fit to climb those stairs or come down from them, we suggest skipping the climb. You will not find an elevator service here.
In my humble opinion, Pisa is one of the half day trips from Florence you can plan. Once you see the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa and climb up to the top of it, you’ve seen all you need to see in Pisa.
What food in Pisa you should look out for? Cecina also called farinata, which is basically a flavorful pancake made out of chickpea flour. It’s usually served as is or with antipasto or as a sandwich.
If you traveled to Pisa by car, then I recommend heading out after your time in Pisa to Parco San Rossore nearby.
Tip: Book entrance tickets to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in advance.
Why Visit Italy
Italy will steal your heart with its delicious food and amazing cities. There are so many reasons to visit this beautiful land, but we’ve narrowed down 10 of the most compelling ones for you!
3. San Gimignano
Drive: 57 mins
Day trips from Florence to San Gimignano, this medieval hill town is one of the most popular. It is also known as the “Medieval Manhattan.” It’s just a short drive away in the Tuscan countryside. San Gimignano is known for its 72 tower houses and stunning views.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is small and oh so charming enough to explore in a half-day or with a tour stop.
Start at the main piazza, Piazza della Cisterna, in the center of town. Then explore the cobblestone streets lined with shops selling local goods like beautiful handpainted ceramics and bottles of Vernaccia wine.
Make sure to visit some of the town’s churches like the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta which houses some incredible Renaissance art.
You’ll also find some beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside from San Gimignano.
What food is San Gimignano known for? Sip and savor some of Vernaccia di Gimignano wine. Then don’t forget to try the delicious made with Vernaccia wine gelato at Gelataria Dondoli!
San Gimignano, Pisa and Siena from Florence [book tour]
Train: 1 hr 15 mins
Drive: 1 hr 8 mins
If you love Florence, you’ll love Lucca.
One of our favorite day trips from Florence is the city of Lucca. Lucca is a charming walled city located just an hour and fifteen minutes away from Florence by train. This medieval town is well-preserved and a favorite among day-trippers. Once you arrive, you can explore the streets on foot or by bike.
Lucca is reminiscent of Florence with its renaissance-style buildings and piazzas. But it’s much smaller in scale which makes it the perfect day trip from Florence.
Make sure to climb to the top of Guinigi Tower for sweeping views of the city. Eat some of the best focaccia bread from a bakery near the tower. Bike the city walls and explore its underground tunnels.
We actually visited Lucca during our one and only Western Meditteranean cruise. We rented a car from the port of Livorno, however, you can easily take a train from Florence to Lucca. Read more on our Easy Day Trip to Lucca article.
Train: 1 hr 30 mins
Drive: 3 hr 14 mins
Rome is Italy’s capital and if you haven’t been to Rome, you can absolutely plan an early day trip from Florence to Rome. It is about a two-hour train ride away from Florence.
Rome is such an immense city with so much to offer, that it would be impossible to see everything in just one day. But, what makes this city special is that it’s an outdoor museum that you can explore on foot. Inside the city walls, the historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is the list of the must-see sites in Rome.
Start your day trip in Rome by visiting the Colosseum, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Then, walk over to the Roman Forum which is a large plaza that was once used for public speeches and markets.
After exploring the Roman Forum, make your way to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved buildings from ancient Rome.
End your day trip in Rome with a visit to the Trevi Fountain and make sure to toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain. Legend has it that if you do, you will return to Rome one day.
What dish should you have in Rome? Cacio e Pepe is a delicious pasta tossed with tons of cheese and pepper. It’s one of the four popular kinds of pasta you’ll find in Rome: cacio e pepe, carbonara, amatriciana, and gricia.
Wonders of Rome Walking Tour [book here]
Train: 1 hr 35 mins
Drive: 1 hr 7 mins
Siena is one of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany and is only an hour and thirty-five minutes away from Florence by train. This medieval city is famous for its shell-shaped main piazza, Piazza del Campo. Siena is also home to the Palio horse race which takes place twice a year in July and August.
During your Florence day trip to Siena, we recommend exploring the main piazza, Il Campo where you’ll find the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia. Then, walk through the historic center of Siena taking in its medieval architecture. As you do, you’ll fall in love with the charming streets of Siena.
Then make your way up to the Duomo di Siena, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy with its gothic-style exterior and striped marble interior.
If you love art, make sure to visit some of Siena’s incredible art museums such as the Museo dell Opera Metropolitana.
For sweeping views of the city, hike up to Fortezza Medicea.
What foodie treat to enjoy in Siena? Stop at a local bakery and try some of Siena’s famous ricciarelli almond cookies!
Train: 1 hr 43 mins
Drive: 2 hr 18 mins
Parma is a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is about an hour away from Florence by train. It is s a great day trip if you’re looking to eat your way through Italy and explore historical landmarks.
You probably guessed by now by the name of the city, Parma is the home of the beloved Parmigiano Reggiano as well as prosciutto di parma.
What foods to eat in Parma? Parmigiano Reggiano is this hard, salty, and nutty cheese that is used commonly all around the world. Proscuitto di Parmis is a type of ham that is dry-aged and cured with salt.
During your day trip to Parma, you’ll definitely want to consider taking a food tour that focuses on the Prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano. But, of course, that’s not all Parma has to offer – even though we can probably spend it eating cheese all day, too.
The historic center of Parma, Piazza Garibaldi, is a great place to start your explorations. The Cathedral and Baptistery stand as beautiful reminders that date back centuries ago.
Teatro Farnese, a Baroque-style theatre, is an incredible must-see, it’s considered among the most well-preserved theatres of its time.
Things to do in Florence, Italy
Looking for the best things to do in Florence, Italy? We’ve got your back. Visit attractions like The Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. From eating gelato at every opportunity. Read all the things you should not miss when traveling to the beautiful city of Florence.
Train: 2 hr 14 mins
You wouldn’t think that it’s possible to do a Florence to Venice day trip, but it is. We’ve done it before. It’s about a two-hour train ride away from Florence and you can easily spend a day exploring this beautiful city and getting a taste of what makes this city so popular.
Venice is a unique city built entirely on the water with canals. There are no cars, only boats. The main mode of transportation is walking or taking a boat ride.
After you visit St. Mark’s Square and see Doge’s Palace, make sure to walk around and get lost in the narrow streets. There are so many hidden gems in Venice just waiting to be discovered. You’ll be charmed after every corner.
When in Venice, you can choose to take a gondola ride through the canals or just watch as others go by. It’s a bit touristy, but it’s something you may have always wanted to do when in Venice.
You can also arrive via train and have a walking tour booked, so you get the most out of your day there.
What dish should you have while in Venice? Venetian-style risotto with seafood is one of the many foods served in Venice.
8. Cinque Terre
Drive: 2 hr 34 min
Is Cinque Terre a day trip from Florence? Is it the ultimate experience of Cinque Terre, probably not, is it doable. YES. Cinque Terre is about a 3-hour train ride away from Florence and slightly less by car.
This is why we recommend taking a group day tour with transporation or a private day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre as you will get to maximize a full day there- this is what we did once and it was fantastic day we still talk about.
Cinque Terre translates to “Five Lands” and it’s made up of five small villages along the coast of the Italian Riviera. These villages are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its colorful houses, dramatic coastline, and hiking trails. One of the best ways to experience Cinque Terre is by taking a day hike from one village to the next.
What food to try in Cinque Terre? Part of the Liguria region of Italy, you can imagine that there are more than a few typical foods to try in Cinque Terre. Anchovies (YES, they are nothing like what we have in the states), Farinata, pesto, and fried seafood… are a few of the things you can keep a lookout for in Cinque Terre. The seafood here is so fresh and delicious.
After reading this, you may also decide that you just want to plan a few days in Cinque Terre, which is a fantastic idea too. Just know it is possible to experience it as a Florence day trip and one you will never forget.
Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence with Optional Hiking [book here]
10. Tuscan Countryside
A Tuscan Countryside Florence day trip is not #1 simply because you can’t easily take a train to explore it. But you can’t leave Florence without touring Val D’orcia, the rolling hills of Tuscany.
This is one of the top day trips from Florence by car that is definitely a must-do. A car rental from Florence will be ideal to fully explore it on your own. Exploring by train is nearly impossible as the trains are only connecting you from one city to another. You can also book a guided tour of the Tuscan countryside if you do not feel comfortable driving.
The Val D’orcia is known for its rolling hills, vineyards, and picturesque villages. It’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking to relax and escape the city life for a day. Honestly, it’s more than just taking a city break.
Once you see those rolling hills and cypress trees… you’ll feel the magic and what makes the Tuscan countryside so special. The views can be breathtaking! Sometimes you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a work of art.
And, going on your own wine tasting tour of the Chianti region is an experience you won’t want to miss. You can spend all day exploring the wine and olive roads of Tuscany.
What food to try in the Tuscan Countryside? The list of food is endless as it encompasses many of the local foods found in the Tuscany region. From olive oil, truffles, wild boar, ribollita, bistecca alla Fiorentina, pecorino cheese, and Chianti wine – your taste buds will be in for a treat. It’s some of our favorite cuisines in the world.
There are many day trips you can take from Florence, as there are so many small towns in Northern Italy to explore. For now, these are our top ten and perhaps later on we’ll add a few more to the list.
Have you been to any of these day trips from Florence? What Florence day trips are you planning for your future trip? What is the local dish you’re looking forward to trying?
Let us know in the comments below.
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