Florence / Tuscany excursions

Tuscany excursions from Florence

The 10 best Florence excursions and tours in Tuscany (Italy)

Florence excursions

All information about tours, activities, day trips and excursions in the Florence area. Here are tips for fun activities and things to do in Tuscany:

10 Tips for excursions from Florence

If you are in the capital of Tuscany for a longer period of time, it is an absolute must to experience more of the unique Tuscan landscape. Drive through the Tuscan hills or take an excursion or day trip. Visit the wine regions of the region. Let yourself be enchanted by the many cypress and olive trees along the way. Besides Florence, there are a number of cities to visit in Tuscany that should be on your list, like Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Arezzo. But also Venice can be visited from Florence, using the various high-speed trains in the direction of Trieste. The smaller town in the area of Florence, such as Fiesole, San Gimignano and Certaldo are also more than worth a visit.

1. Fiesole (10 km)

Excursions around FlorenceFiesole
Florence toursAmphitheater of Fiesole

Fiesole is a town about ten kilometers from Firenze. It is located in the typical Tuscan hilly landscape. Fiesole was founded by the Etruscans in the seventh century BC. Until the rise of Florence, it was a prosperous and powerful city. The Duomo of Fiesole was built in 1028 with its impressive bell tower. The interior is quite austere, but behind the church you will find an archaeological site. There are remains of a Roman theater, Etruscan walls and a Bronze Age museum. You will also find a Franciscan monastery and a neoclassical church in Fiesole. If you drive to the small town of San Domenico, you can visit the church of the same name for frescoes by Fra Angelico Mary with angels and saints and The Crucifixion. Also nearby is the Romanesque church of Badia Fiesolana with a striped marble wall and an interior consisting of local gray sandstone, the so-called pietra serena.

Would you like to visit Fiesole? If you do not have your own transport, the hop-on-hop-off bus is by far the best option. Line B of this tourist bus will stop at a number of places in Fiesole.

Info bus to Fiesole

2. Pisa (83 km)

The Leaning Tower of PisaThe Leaning Tower of Pisa
Pisa TuscanyPisa is not far from Florence

Pisa is approximately 83 kilometers from Florence, known of course for the famous leaning tower of Pisa. In the Middle Ages, Pisa dominated the Mediterranean. The Duomo, Baptistery and Campanile were built in the twelfth century, thanks to the wealth gained. After the defeat by Genoa, Pisa's decline began. The Campo dei Miracoli is currently Pisa's most famous square, as it is home to both the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Duomo plus Baptistery. Also visit Campostano, the cemetery, where you can see famous frescoes and where you can walk in one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe. A little more towards the Arno you will find a museum in the former San Matteo monastery, which has also served as a prison. The museum displays a collection of Pisan and Florentine art from the twelfth to seventeenth century. Also visit the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, home of an institute of the University of Pisa. Finally, the Santa Maria della Spina is recommended. This church is full of gothic pinnacles and spiers.

More about Pisa

3. Tuscany excursion: visit the Chianti region

excursions florence

On the way to Siena from Florence you will see all kinds of vines blooming along the Tuscan hills. These are the vines of the Chianti region. This famous Italian wine region has produced several good wines such as the Isole e Olena Chianti Classico. The Chianti region is a landscape rich in relief. In the west is part of the Apennines, namely the Monte dei Chianti. Furthermore you will find gently rolling hills characterized by olive groves, vineyards, forests and medieval villages. An example of such a village is Greve di Chianti, where you can visit the yellow Basilica Santa Croce, a statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano and a bronze statue by Igor Mitoraj. The village is famous for its strangely shaped piazzas and the market square. Also visit the most famous town in the region: Panzano. Here you will find a twelfth-century castle that played an important role in the fighting between Florence and Siena.

4. Certaldo (40 km)

CertaldoThe medieval Certaldo
Florence day tripsThe small town of Certaldo in Tuscany

Certaldo is a place approximately forty kilometers from Florence. It is the birthplace of Boccacio and famous for it's onions. Certaldo is close to San Gimignano, but is much more quiet than the medieval town. But no less beautiful. It is recommended to visit the old part of the city, Certaldo Alto. This is a medieval fortress located on a hill, which you can reach by funicolare or on foot. You will find Boccacio all over the city. Boccacio was a poet, author and renowned humanist who lived in the fourteenth century. He is buried in the church of Certaldo and here is a bust of the writer. Other sights include the Palazzo Pretorio from which the city was ruled for a long time, the Chiesa dei Santi Tomasso e Prospero where you can admire frescoes by Gozzoli and the museums Casa di Boccacio and the Museo di Arte Sacra.

5. Best excursion from Florence: Siena (72 km)

Tuscany excursionsSiena, one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany
Excursion Siena from FlorenceSiena Cathedral

The city of Siena is located about eighty kilometers from Florence and is best known for its annual Il Palio, the horse races that have been held since 1287 in Siena's most famous Piazza: Piazza del Campo. On this shell-shaped square you will also find the Palazzo Publico with the Torre del Mangia. You will also find the famous fountain Gaia here. When you say Siena, you also think of Siena’s Duomo and the Campanile that shape the skyline. The Santa Maria Assunta dates back to the twelfth century and is a sparkling example of Italian Gothic with its richly decorated façade. The Campanile is 77 meters high. When visiting Siena, check out the Basilica di San Domenico from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. The neo-gothic palace Palazzo Salimbeni, which now houses a bank, is also a sight in Siena, as is the national museum for works of art from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.

More about Siena

6. Day trip to San Gimignano (56 km)

Tuscany ToursCenter of San Gimignano
Excursion San GimignanoTown of San Gimignano in Tuscany

The medieval town San Gimignano is located about sixty kilometers from Florence and is characterized by the thirteen towers that adorn the town. These towers date back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. They were founded by the noble families at the time when San Gimignano was quite prosperous due to the constant flow of pilgrims who passed through the town on their way to Rome. The plague epidemic and the diversion of the pilgrimage route put an end to this success. The old city has been preserved, but of the thirteen towers, only the Torre Grossa can be visited. You enter the tower through the Museo Civico. This museum is worth a visit anyway, as there are a number of famous frescoes on display and an inscription by the writer Dante, who once visited the town. Other places of interest are:

  • The Collegiata church, where you can admire frescoe
  • HThe Palazzo del Popolo
  • Via San Giovanni with shops full of local products
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Piazza della Cisterna with the famous stone well

7. Lucca (81 km)

LuccaLucca's striking square
Florence day tripsThe ramparts of Lucca

The town of Lucca is about 81 kilometers from Florence. It is a pleasant place, which was founded as a Roman settlement in 180 BC. You can walk quietly on the original city walls. There are also quite a few churches that are worth a visit. Where once the Roman forum was, now stands for example the San Michele in Foro, a Pisan Romanesque church. Or visit Lucca's eleventh-century Duomo, the San Martino. This is another good example of the Pisan Romanesque style, which dominates Lucca. The Museo dell'Opera del Duomo is located next to the Duomo and displays Lucca's religious art treasures. Or go along the San Frediano, where the facade is decorated with a beautiful mosaic depicting the Ascension. Another attraction is the Amfiteatro. This is a well-known square in the shape of an amphitheater, where all kinds of nice restaurants and shops are now located.

More about Lucca

8. Monteriggioni (56 km)

MonteriggioniThe walled city of Monteriggioni
MonteriggioniMedieval center of Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni, about 55 kilometers from Florence, is one of Italy's best preserved medieval fortifications. It was founded in the thirteenth century by order of the podesta of Siena as a protection against the Florentine threat. It was intended to protect the pilgrimage route from Western Europe to Rome. Monteriggioni is located on a hill and even today the city is surrounded by high city walls, two city gates and fourteen fortified towers. Places of interest are the large piazza with the Romanesque church, the Chiesa di Santa Maria, beautiful houses and shops where you can buy Castello di Monteriggioni wine. Today, the town is featured in the hit games Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood and Revelations. In July there are the medieval festivals in which the city is decorated by hundreds of knights and princesses. There are knight fights and medieval dances to watch. The feast is accompanied by medieval culinary dishes.

9. Arezzo (76 km)

Omgeving FlorenceSkyline of Arezzo
ArezzoThe city center of the Tuscan Arezzo

Arezzo is a city in Tuscany almost eighty kilometers from Florence and can also be easily reached in one hour by high-speed train. Founded by the Etruscans, Arezzo became the city of pottery and metalworking in Roman times. Arezzo is a city with many attractions, such as the joust of the Saracens on two Sundays a year. You can also visit a number of churches:

  • The Santa Maria della Pieve, a 12th century Romanesque church
  • The San Domenico a gothic church with a famous crucifix from Cimabue
  • Basilica di San Francesco with an important cycle of frescoes by Piero della Francesca
  • The Cathedral of Saint Donatius

You must also have seen the Piazza Grande and there are also two interesting museums: the Museo Archeologico and Museo d’Arte medievale e moderna. Names like Giorgio Vasari and Petrarca have produced this city.

10. Venice (2 hours by train)

VeniceGondolas on the Grand Canal of Venice
Day tripsVenice's Rialto Bridge

Did you know that you can also take a day trip to Venice from Florence? The high-speed train departing from Santa Maria Novella will take you to the Venetian lagoon in just over two hours (official website Trenitalia). Go through the Venetian water streets in the famous gondolas. Buy a Venetian mask from one of the many handicraft stores. Visit Venice's most famous square, San Marco, with the famous San Marco basilica with its Byzantine appearance and marble and mosaic interior. San Marco is also home to the Palazzo Ducale, the palace of the Venetian doges. The Gothic Doge's Palace is one of the most important buildings in Venice that fulfilled a non-religious function. In San Marco's Square, you can also enter the campanile for a beautiful view over the lagoon. Don't worry: you can take the elevator up. Another well-known attraction is the Rialto bridge over the main canal of Venice where you can enjoy the beauty of Venice but also do some shopping in the shops on the bridge. But also visit the islands of Murano and Burano, which form a miniature Venice with their own many waterways.

Florence tours
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