Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and is also its most populous. The city of Florence boasts a rich history, with it being once referred to as “the Athens of the Middle Ages”. In 1982, Florence was declared as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
This city is rich in culture, history, architecture, and Renaissance art, clearly shown by the abundance of museums and galleries it is home to. It was noted for its rich culture and heritage when it was ranked one of the most beautiful cities in the world by Forbes. It is also noted for being an important city for Italian fashion when it was ranked in the top 51 fashion capitals of the world. There are many beautiful sights in Florence that makes it one of the top tourist destinations in the world. From churches to buildings and monuments, there’s sure to be something to marvel at. Here are some of the best day trips that will enable you to experience the best that Florence has to offer:
Cinque Terre is located in the Liguria region of Italy and consists of five authentic fishing villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The terraces that you see on the steep and rugged landscapes of the cliffs were built over the centuries. Although its unique and beautiful architecture makes it a popular tourist spot, Cinque Terre is not convenient in terms of accessibility; there are walking paths, trains, and boats connecting the villages but only cars can reach the area from the outside. However, over the years, there were roads built in a few areas, such as Vernazza.
With this tour, you can explore the five villages though hiking. There are many walking trails that connect the villages and in this tour you’ll start off by hiking from the hills above Manarola, heading towards Corniglia. The trail ends with a steep 382-step climb. There are no safety rails along the paths as the area has kept its charm natural and untouched. You’ll enjoy a sumptuous Mediterranean seafood meal with pasta once you arrive at Corniglia. After your meal, you’ll continue with the hike towards Vernazza, where you may visit some of the bars and cafes.
You’ll continue with a train ride to Monterosso, where you can expect to see its gorgeous beach and shops that it is known for. Wine sampling opportunities are also offered there. After that, you’ll take a boat ride or if the weather’s poor, a train ride to Riomaggiore before continuing on the last portion of your hike towards Manarola.
Florence to Cinque Terre Hiking Day Trip with Boat Ride
Duration: 13 hours
This full day tour will bring you to two of the most gorgeous hilltop towns of Italy, Assisi and Cortona. Your journey will begin on a coach, where you will stop by the beautiful town of Assisi, known for its rich history. This town was also the birthplace of San Francesco d'Assisi or better known as St. Francis, the man who founded the town’s Franciscan religious order in 1208. St. Clare, the founder of the Poor Sisters, was also born here. She was also one of the first followers of St. Francis.
The tour includes a visit to The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi Church. Construction began right after his canonisation in 1228 and was completed in 1253. The several mural paintings or frescoes found in the church were believed to be made by artists Cimabue, Pietro Cavallini, and Giotto. The frescoes depict scenes from the life of St. Francis. You will also visit the Convent of Santa Chiara, which was built in 1257, in dedication of St. Clare. It has a Gothic interior, with rose windows and 13th-century frescoes and paintings. You will then head to Santa Maria degli Angeli, which is a 9th-century church.
You will then proceed to the town of Cortona, which is said to be the second main cultural and artistic center of the Val di Chiana after Arezzo. It was also the setting for the popular film, Under the Tuscan Sun. At Cortona, you can opt to have lunch or explore the Pelazzo Comunale and Santa Margherita Sanctuary, which were built in honour of the patron saint of Cortonna.
Assisi and Cortona Full-Day Tour from Florence
Duration: 11 hours
For the wine lovers, here’s the perfect tour for you. Chianti is an Italian city known for having the same name as a red wine. It is home to several wineries that host tours and tasting tours, and some even offer accommodation services. Other than its wineries, Chianti also boasts beautiful countryside, gorgeous settlements, such as Montefioralle and Volpaia, and the towns of Greve, Panzano, Radda, and Castellina. On the last Sunday of May, the wineries take part in the festival or Cantine Aperte, where tastings are free of charge, without having to make any reservations.
This tour will bring you to this beautiful city in a 4x4 minibus. You’ll get to experience wine tasting of three wines, paired with cheese and two olive oils. You’ll also be taken on a guided tour of the wine cellars and the olive mill, where you’ll have to go through underground tunnels to the garden of the villa. You will then proceed to a Tuscan restaurant where you’ll enjoy a 3-course meal consisting of specialities such as fresh pasta and grilled meats, paired with two glasses of fine Chianti wine.
The tour will end at a small, award-winning winery that is known for producing the famous Chianti Classico wine.
Tuscany Cheese and Wine-Tasting Tour with Lunch from Florence
Duration: 10 hours
How does exploring the beautiful city of Tuscany on a vintage Vespa sound? Tuscany is home to historic landscapes, rich traditions, artistic legacy, culture, and history. One of the most popular locations in Italy and having many tourist destinations, such as Florence and Pisa, it’s no wonder that this area is one of the most sought-after spots amongst travellers. With seven designated World Heritage Sites, Tuscany welcomes millions of tourists every year.
In this 4-hour tour, you’ll meet in central Florence, where you will be briefed on the safety measures as well as doing a practice ride before starting your adventure. You’ll ride the original Vintage PK Vespa, which is a really popular and classic model that is no longer being produced. Expect to see amazing views of the city of Florence from the Church of San Miniato al Monte, where you can see gorgeous artwork inside. You will then head towards the Tuscan Hills, where you can make multiple stops to take photos of the beautiful poppy fields and vineyards. You’ll stop by the very famous Piazzale Michelangelo too, where you can enjoy views of the Arno River and the iconic Duomo.
At the end of the tour, you’ll enjoy a traditional Tuscan meal that includes delicious delights such as burrata cheese, bruschetta, or meat cuts.
Florence and Tuscan Hills Vespa Tour with Italian Cuisine Meal
Duration: 5 hours
On this day trip, you’ll get to discover the three best cities that Tuscany is home to: Siena, San Gimignano, and Pisa. This 14-hour day trip will start with the group making their way to the city of Siena. Siena is home to one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, the historic centre of Siena. In 2008, it welcomed over 160,000 visitors, making it one of the nation’s most-visited tourist destinations. Siena Cathedral has a history dating back to the 12th century, while Siena Cathedral’s Pulpit, an octagonal structure built by Nicola Pisano in the 13th century, is also a tourist favourite. It is known for its lion pedestals, biblical bas-relief panels, and inlaid marble mosaic floor. Siena also hosts the Palio, which is a very famous horse race held twice a year.
You will then enjoy a 3-course lunch at either a local restaurant or a winery, where menu items include bruschetta and pasta paired with Italian wine. After lunch, head towards San Gimignano, known as a medieval hill town located in the province of Siena. This city is filled with vibrant medieval architecture that can easily be spotted from its secular buildings and many churches. The “Historic Centre of San Gimignano” is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will be thrilled with the many shops and shopping streets where you can buy souvenirs and gifts at your own pace.
You will then head to Pisa where you will have some free time to explore the city at your own expense. Pisa, as many will know, is home to the very famous Leaning Tower. Many tourists can be spotted posing with the UNESCO-listed tower that is known for its unintended tilt. However, this city that is located in Central Italy boasts over 20 historical churches, medieval palaces, and bridges. There are interesting sights all over the city. Additionally, the University of Pisa is also a well-known tourist destination, with a history dating back to the 12th century. Other places that you can explore include the Pisa Baptistery.
Siena, Pisa, and San Gimignano Tour with Lunch from Florence
Duration: 12 hours
The city of Venice is located in northeastern Italy and is situated across 117 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges. The city is known for its unique setting, which requires a boat as transportation, and also its artwork. The lagoon and some parts of the city are also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venice is rich in history and culture that dates back to as early as the 10th century! This city is also one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, with an estimated 50,000 tourists a day. In 2006, it was ranked as the 28th most internationally visited city. Tourists spots such as St Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, and the Piazza San Marco are places that you definitely shouldn’t miss when you visit. The Lido di Venezia is also frequently visited, but mostly by people from the cinematic industry, such as actors and celebrities.
This laid-back and easy daily trip includes round-trip high-speed train tickets. You first meet a representative at Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence where he’ll hand you your tickets and information on the train times. After a 2-hour train ride, explore the wonderful city of Venice at your own pace and leisure. You can use the Vessel ticket provided to get around the city. You can also sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee at the many cafes located around the city. If you would like to marvel at Italian art, visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection or the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth Century Art (admission costs apply).
Venice Independent Day Trip by Train from Florence
Duration: 11 hours
You can also choose to explore the very attractive city of Florence in a Vintage Fiat 500! The Fiat 500 was introduced in the 1950s and easily became one of Italy’s most desired car models. Today, it still remains a vintage favourite amongst car lovers due to its retro-chic look. In this trip, you’ll meet at the private garage in Florence where you’ll find your Fiat 500. You will then proceed to a briefing from the guide on the main safety measures, followed by a practice drive to get you comfortable with the manual gears. Once the guide is certain that you’re confident enough to drive, you’re ready to head off to explore the city. Your guide will lead you to the very scenic Tuscan Hills where you’ll listen to an insightful commentary about the wine region.
You will then proceed to the 15th-century winery after your 2-hour drive through the Chianti region. There, you’ll have a 1.5-hour tour of the wine estate, where your guide will tell you the history about the vineyards and cellars. You will also experience a wine tasting session, and a light lunch of crostini, meats, and cheeses. After that, you can explore the remaining places in the wine estate at your own pace.
Tuscan Wine Experience, Vintage Fiat 500 Tour from Florence
Duration: 4 hours
Attractive, romantic, and busy Florence
With a rich history and gorgeous landscapes, there’s nothing you wouldn’t want to miss out on in Florence. The capital of Tuscany will leave you coming back for more, guaranteed to offer you a different mood, view, and atmosphere each time!
Get Trip101 in your inbox