Top 5 Day Trips from Florence You Can’t Miss

Have you ever wondered what else to do in Tuscany after you’ve already seen all of Florence? You’ve got plenty of options—these day trips from Florence will help you fall in love with this beautiful region even more! 

Overhead shot of a medieval town in Tuscany, Italy
There’s so much to discover in Tuscany beyond Florence! Photo credit: Kai Pilger

If you’re running low on places to visit in Florence and you already know the Uffizi like the back of your hand, we’ve got you covered. These day trips from Florence will help you discover even more of beautiful Tuscany and beyond—complete with the most incredible local food. 

1. Pistoia 

Pistoia is a typical medieval Tuscan town. With its lovely Piazza del Duomo and the beautiful octagonal baptistery, its city center really projects you back in time. 

Having been the set of Italian rom com “I Love You in All the Languages in the World” and of the recent blockbuster “Medici: Masters of Florence,” Pistoia offers the genuine atmosphere of a small town with its union of quietness and modernity. If you’re an art lover, you can’t miss the Basilica of Our Lady of Humility, whose dome was commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici and designed by Vasari.  

If you’re traveling with children and are lucky enough to visit Tuscany early in the year, pay a visit to Pistoia on Epiphany (January 6). Pistoia’s Pro Loco organization and the local association of firefighters organize a delightful show for children and adults, with a regular Befana descending on Piazza del Duomo from the Cathedral’s bell tower, carrying sweets to children and adults. A delicious opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture! 

How to get to Pistoia from Florence: You can reach Pistoia either by train or by car. In the first case, you’ll need to take the regional train from the Santa Maria Novella train station and get there in about 35–50 minutes. For the latter option, just rent a car and enjoy the beautiful hour-long drive.  

Children riding bikes in a wide pedestrian street in Italy on a sunny day
Pistoia is bursting with Tuscan small-town charm. Photo credit: Herr Bohn

2. Empoli 

Empoli is a beautiful small town within the Metropolitan City of Florence. Its central square, Piazza Farinata degli Uberti, is one of the best examples of a medieval square in Italy, with its marble fountain and the Collegiata 

The church on the square features a wonderful green-and-white marble arcaded façade, typical of Tuscan medieval art. And if you like playing treasure hunt, you’ll absolutely need to enter the church and discover an elegant and fascinating terracotta by Luca della Robbia hidden inside. 

Before ending your time in Empoli, don’t miss the opportunity to admire a bit of the luxurious Tuscan countryside. In this regard, Empoli really offers visitors a slice of heaven! 

How to get to Empoli from Florence: Like Pistoia, Empoli is easily accessible by both car (45 minutes) and train (20–30 minutes). From Empoli, you can also easily reach Pisa or Siena by train, as the town lies on the railway line connecting Florence to Pisa. 

A medieval town square in Empoli, Italy
Empoli’s gorgeous Piazza Farinata degli Uberti. Photo credit: Piers Cañadas

3. Collodi 

Located in the Province of Lucca, Collodi is one of the most ideal day trips from Florence if you’re traveling with children… but we’re pretty confident that you’ll love it even as an adult! 

Collodi is a medieval village, and if its name rings a bell, we might know why. This small town was the onetime home of Carlo Collodi—born Carlo Lorenzini—author of “The Adventures of Pinocchio.” He spent part of his childhood in Collodi, his mother’s hometown, and took his pen name from this village. 

The town’s ancient fortress and the sumptuous Villa Garzoni, with its lush gardens, are definitely worth a visit. However, whether or not you’re traveling with children, you cannot by any means miss Pinocchio Park. Located near the village, this theme park covers the whole story of the Italian wooden puppet in a perfect combination of hedgerows and fountains, embellished by iron, mosaic and bronze statues, that will charm you in the magic of literature and fairy tales.  

How to get to Collodi from Florence: You can reach Collodi by car, by taxi or by train. Traveling by train takes more time than by car, because you’ll need to take more than one regional train. There are also some bus lines covering the path from Florence, such as Autolinee Lazzi-Blu Bus or Autolinee Vai Bus. No matter how you get there, your visit to Collodi is going to be unforgettable! 

Wide shot of gardens at an Italian villa
The beautiful garden at Villa Garzoni in Collodi. Photo credit: Eugene Gamble

4. Vinci 

If Florence’s Uffizi and the Museo del Bargello have piqued your curiosity concerning Leonardo da Vinci (and if you’ve always wondered what sort of surname “da Vinci” was…), then Vinci is your ideal destination for this day trip from Florence. 

The birthplace of the man himself, the whole village is small, but its concentration of points of interest is compact. Together with the Church of Santa Croce, built during the 13th century and restored in the neo-Renaissance style, you can also find the Museo Leonardiano, the museum par excellence dedicated to this genius of the Renaissance and of all times. 

Stroll through the rooms of the Museo, taking in the wooden reconstructions of some of Leonardo’s most famous inventions, such as the propeller and the tank. The visit to Museo Leonardiano will fascinate you anyway with its models, reconstructions and its view over the Tuscan countryside. It’s also a great option for visiting with kids. 

Since you’re here, why not complete your Leonardo-dedicated tour? Pay a visit to Anchiano, approximately three kilometers away from Vinci, and you’ll be able to see the house where Leonardo was born (where reproductions of his drawings can be admired), breathing the air of a genius and and discovering a wonderful part of Tuscany’s tranquil countryside. 

How to get to Vinci from Florence: You can reach this small village by car, by taxi or by bus. Just like Collodi, Vinci has some bus lines that connect it to the main cities and towns in Tuscany, including Florence. It is part of the Metropolitan City of Florence and some 36 kilometers separate it from the Medicis’ capital, making it possible to reach in just over an hour. 

Overhead view of the town of Vinci, Italy, with a bell tower in the foreground.
Vinci from above. Photo credit: Bart Hanlon

5. San Gimignano 

San Gimignano is one of the pearls in Tuscany’s crown, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Located in the province of Siena, San Gimignano dates back to the Middle Ages and its very structure bears witness to its history. No less than eight entrances will lead you inside the town, with the city walls embracing you in a huge, stone hug. 

Nicknamed the “Town of Fine Towers,” San Gimignano will offer you a privileged insight into the life of the Middle Ages. The beautiful Piazza del Duomo and, above all, the many towers build a modern and unforgettable skyline. 

How to get to San Gimignano from Florence: After just a one-hour car ride, or in just under two hours by train and bus, you’ll find yourself in San Gimignano. 

Medieval town square of San Gimignano with a large stone well in the center.
The central town square of San Gimignano is dominated by a large stone well. Photo credit: Ruben Hanssen

Visiting Rome from Florence 

If you’re still hungry for other places to visit from Florence, we must be honest and confess that that our list does not end here. 

There’s another place that many visitors to Florence also have on their bucket list. You can reach it in an hour by train, and while it’s not located in Tuscany, you’ve probably heard of it anyway. We’re talking about Rome! 

However, to visit Rome you’ll probably need far more than one day. Keep this in mind when planning your travels—a place as grandiose as the Eternal City deserves to be savored! Leave the day trips from Florence for smaller destinations nearby.