5 Day Trips From Florence

Florence is the capital of Tuscany, a region that is well known for its art and renaissance history as well as spectacular scenery. Day trips from Florence to the surrounding towns and cities are very doable with your Eurail Pass, and there’s a lot to see. The city is well connected to the rest of Italy by high-speed trains, but Santa Maria Novella Station is also a hub for regional journeys. For this reason, it’s a great base for exploring everything else that beautiful Tuscany has to offer.

Here are 5 of our favourite towns and cities that are just a short train ride away.

The best day trips from Florence

Siena

Day trips from Florence | view of Siena

First of all, It’s impossible to talk about Florence’s history without mentioning its historic rival Siena. Just a short and very pretty train ride away, the city boasts its own colorful history. Siena sits on top of three hills and is crowned by the Torre del Mangia, which rises above the iconic Piazza del Campo in the city’s medieval heart.

On a day trip from Florence, you’ll have no shortage of sites to visit. Explore the old hospital complex of Santa Maria della Scala, then visit a few of the contrada museums. These are local museums dedicated to each of the city’s 17 distinct neighborhoods or contrade. While wandering the city streets, make sure to stop for gelato at Kopakabana, a local favorite in Via dei Rossi.

Must do:

Siena’s cathedral (Duomo di Siena) is one of the most stunning in all of Tuscany. Buy an Opa Si Pass for access to the interior of the cathedral, the Museo dell’Opera, the baptistry and the crypt. It also covers access to the Facciatone viewing platform, where you can see the whole city spread about all around you.

How to get there:

Regional trains regularly make the 90-minute journey from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Siena. From there, it’s an elevator ride up the hill and a 20-minute walk to the historic center of the city. If you’re not up to the walk, you can catch a local bus.

Pisa

Day trips from Florence | View of Pisa

Pisa is a bustling university city known across the world for the wonders to be found at the Campo dei Miracoli, home of the famous Leaning Tower. After getting off at Pisa Centrale from Florence, start your day trip by walking across this student town towards the river. Don’t miss Keith Haring’s public mural ‘Tuttomondo’ on the side of the Church of Sant Antonio.

For stunning views, cross the Ponte de Mezzo and stroll along the colorful banks of the river Arno. On the other side of the river, take in the historical Piazza De Cavalieri and the botanical gardens before arriving at the Campo dei Miracoli.

Must do:

Get your picture with Pisa’s famous Leaning Tower, but don’t forget to also check out the impressive striped Duomo and the distinctive Baptistery, which is famous for its astounding acoustics.

How to get there:

Regional trains frequently travel between Firenze Santa Maria Novella and Pisa Centrale and take about an hour.

Lucca

Day trips from Florence | View of Lucca

One of the highlights of the surprisingly flat Tuscan town of Lucca is its characteristic 16th century city walls. Wide enough for walking and biking, the walls measure 4 kilometers in total and are surrounded by greenery. Walking the walls is an extremely popular activity for locals and tourists alike, so take some time to stroll the full circuit.

Explore within the walls and stop by the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza Napoleone. Visit the many cathedrals and basilicas and stop off at Piazza Anfiteatro, a square on the site of a Roman amphitheater. There are hints of the amphitheater in the way the piazza curves, and you can see fragments of ancient walls in front of the Piazza Scalpellini.

Must do:

Sharp eyed visitors will spot the oak-tree-topped Tower of Guinigi, one of the few remaining tower houses in the city. If you’re interested in a bird’s eye view of the city and it famous walls, climb the 230 stairs and visit this curious rooftop garden.

How to get there:

Trains leave from Firenze Santa Maria Novella for Lucca approximately twice per hour. The journey takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Montecatini Terme

Day trips from Florence | Montecatini Terme

Montecatini Terme is the place to go in Tuscany if you are in need of some rest and relaxation. Less than an hour away from Florence, the town is the perfect day trip destination to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Montecatini Terme’s thermal springs have been drawing people to the city since Etruscan times, and spa complexes such those at Terme di Tettuccio cater to those who have come to enjoy the waters. Walk the main street, Viale Verdi, beside Montecatini’s central park while taking in the many fountains and the Liberty-style architecture that characterizes this Tuscan spa town.

Must do:

In between taking the waters, take the funicular up the hill to the neighboring medieval village of Montecatini Alto. Great views of the countryside will greet you, as well as several churches and a small castle.

How to get there:

Regional trains from Firenze Santa Maria Novella can get you to Montecatini Centro in 50 minutes.

Viareggio

Day trips from Florence | View of Viareggio

Do all the inland hill towns have you longing for the sea? Do as the Florentines do and take a day trip to the Tuscan seaside resort of Viareggio.

Famous for its annual carnival celebrations, Viareggio continues to delight visitors all year round with its sandy beaches, cafés and nature parks. Walk up and down the boardwalk, gelato in hand, taking in the sights of the Italian Art Nouveau architecture. Then visit the Maritime Museum to brush up on your Tuscan seafaring history.

Must do:

Viareggio is a beach town, and 10km of sandy beaches are its main draw. Like many Italian beaches, you can pay a fee to relax in a lounge chair and make use of the facilities along the promenade. Or, if you’d rather sunbathe for free, walk down to end of the beach for public access.

How to get there:

Regional trains from Firenze Santa Maria Novella regularly make the 90 minute to Viareggio.


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