If you’re planning a holiday in Tuscany without a car, and you are based in Florence, here’s our advice. Pick a hotel in the city centre not too far from the station, and alternate your busy city sightseeing with some great day trips from Florence.
Easy day trips from Florence by public transport
1. Siena – The most popular day trip from Florence
Siena is easily explored on foot, and a day will give the opportunity to have a walk around the city centre and admire the famous Piazza del Campo which is one of the top sights in Tuscany. If you start early, you can also visit the Cathedral. It’s a very pleasant way to spend a day in this marvellous Gothic town. If you’re travelling in high season bear in mind that Siena gets quite crowded, so it’s best to leave early to make the most of your day –
Getting there: 1 hour and 20 minutes by SITA bus. The SITA bus station is in via Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, a few steps from Santa Maria Novella train station.
2. Arezzo – Get off the beaten track
It’s a short walk from the Arezzo train station to Piazza Grande, the handsome main square. The surrounding streets are filled with beautiful Medieval buildings. There’s an enchanting Romanesque church and lots of shops to visit. The scenic Piazza Grande is the perfect place to have lunch: choose one of the outside tables under the loggia. After lunch, take a relaxing walk to the Cathedral area and the green park ‘Il Prato’.
Getting there: around 1 hour and 30 minutes by train, depending on how direct the train is.
3. Fiesole – A little haven overlooking Florence
Fiesole is a charming small town perched on a hill overlooking Florence. It’s a 7 km. uphill walk from Florence. You’ll find remains of a Roman theatre and there’s a couple of churches to visit, all with beautiful views.
Getting there: around 25 minutes by ATAF bus. Bus number 7 leaves from Piazza San Marco every 20 minutes – the last stop is in Piazza Mino in Fiesole.
4. Greve in Chianti – The gateway to the Chianti wine region
If you want to do some wine tasting, Greve is the best of the day trips from Florence in the Chianti region. You can spend the day browsing around the ceramic shops in the main square, and do some food shopping at the renowned butcher Macelleria Falorni. Wine tasting at the Chianti Enoteca Falorni is well-organised and easy to do. Or if you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the hill to the fortified hamlet of Montefioralle.
Getting to Greve: 1 hour and 20 minutes by SITA bus.
5. Pisa – See the impressive leaning tower
See one of the symbol of Tuscany, the famous Leaning Tower, It’s a short walk from the station (Pisa San Rossore) to Piazza dei Miracoli. If you get off at Pisa Centrale it will take 30 minutes to reach the Tower, but it’s an opportunity to cross the city centre and see what else Pisa has to offer.
Getting there: 1 hour from Florence via train.
6. Pistoia – Discover the Medieval city centre
Pistoia is a pleasant and tranquil city off the main tourist trail. Discover authentic Tuscan city life, the splendid Piazza Duomo and some contemporary art. The town will be the Capital of Italian Culture in 2017 and it’s easy to see why.
Getting there: Less than an hour by train, an easy 20 minutes walk from the station to the city centre.
7. San Casciano Val di Pesa – Authentic Tuscany 30 minutes from Florence
This is one of the easiest day trips from Florence city centre. San Casciano is a pleasant small town on the way to the Chianti region, surrounded by green hills. It has a nice range of shops and restaurants for lunch. And it’s the perfect to escape the crowds for a few hours.
Getting there: 40 minutes by SITA bus.
8. Lucca – Experience the many delights of this walled town
The delightful churches and squares of Lucca deserve more than a few hours of your time. A day will give you time for a walk around the city centre, a visit to one church or a stroll along the famous walls.
Getting there: 1 hour and 20 minutes by train. It’s a 20 minute walk from Lucca train station to the city centre.