They’re also such small cities that you can experience them fully in just a few hours.
There is so much to see, eat, and do in Florence that no amount of time is enough to experience it all. However, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Florence for an extended visit, taking a few day trips to these beautiful nearby cities will give you an even deeper love for Italy. These smaller towns, with their rich histories, stunning architecture and landscapes, and authentic cuisine, should not be overlooked when planning a trip to Northern Italy. With very few tourists in many of these locations, you can feel the quintessentially relaxed vibe of the local people, which will bring a new dimension to your Italian visit. And with Florence as your home base, these are perfect day trip locations that you can reach in no more than a few hours by train or car. They’re also such small cities that you can experience them fully in just a few hours—but I guarantee you’ll never want to leave.
Just over an hour south of Florence by car, this beautiful Tuscan city is a wonderful place to spend the day eating and sightseeing. Wander the streets and admire the medieval architecture, visit the incredible Siena Cathedral, and check out the Piazza del Campo, the location of the famous Palio di Siena, a horse race held twice each year.
2. San Gimignano
This is the perfect place to visit on your way back to Florence after a day in Siena, because this little walled hilltop town doesn’t take much time to see, but is definitely worth seeing. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time as you stroll through the medieval streets. This is also the location of the must-visit award winning gelato shop Gelateria Dondoli—this was the best gelato I ever had while in Italy, and that’s saying something!
It’s no wonder we’ve all heard of Pisa, because this iconic Tuscan city is the home of impressive architecture that you’ll really want to see for yourself. It is just about one hour away from Florence, and you only need to spend a few hours here to see the main landmarks. Of course, make sure you get a photo of yourself holding up the Leaning Tower!
You don’t want to miss this Tuscan gem, so stop by quaint little Lucca while traveling back to Florence from Pisa. Spend some time exploring the fantastic local markets and eating delicious authentic food, away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.
About two hours south of Florence, in Italy’s Umbria region, Assisi is an awe-inspiring town that you won’t regret visiting. With spectacular panoramic views and the overwhelmingly beautiful Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, you’ll never forget the magnificence of this town
Only about an hour and a half south of Florence, Cortona is a lovely place to spend the day. Known for being the setting of the film Under the Tuscan Sun, this town has everything you expect to find in Tuscany: views of lush green vineyards, Renaissance architecture, and great food and wine.