Florence is the heart of the Tuscany region, making it a good base to visit other nearby Tuscan cities. Here are 5 day trips from Florence that you can do easily do by train. You can buy regional train tickets right at the station for these towns but you may need to validate your train ticket before you get on the train.
- Visit 4 Tuscany towns in one day in this tour to Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and San Gimignano that includes transportation from Florence and lunch at a villa with Chianti wine.
Siena is a large hill town famous for its horse race known as Il Palio di Siena, run twice in summer in its fan-shaped main square, Piazza del Campo, originally the Roman Forum. Around the main square are cafes, shops, and medieval monuments including the town hall and Torre del Mangia, one of Italy’s tallest bell towers, that you can climb for views of the city and countryside. Siena’s magnificent duomo has many art works and you can take a tour of the upper parts to see it from above. Other monuments to see in the complex include the Baptistery, crypt, and museum.
To get to Siena, take a regional train from Florence, then a bus from Siena’s train station into town.
- Siena Visitor Information and What to See
- Read about Siena’s Cathedral
- Follow this self-guided Siena walking itinerary
- Take a walking tour of Siena’s masterpieces
Most people visit Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower but there’s much more to see in this pleasant town. Stunning Romanesque monuments on Piazza dei Miracoli include the Leaning Tower, the 11th century Duomo, Baptistery, and the Camposanto, the old cemetery with funerary monuments. Leaving most of the tourists behind, you can walk through the city’s interesting medieval center, stroll along the river, and visit Piazza delle Vettovaglie, the market square.
You can get to Pisa from Florence in 45 minutes on one of the fast trains while the less expensive regional trains take a little longer.
- Pisa Visitor Information and What to See
- Take a small group excursion to Pisa, Lucca, and Forte dei Marmi with transportation from Florence.
Lucca is has a compact historic center enclosed by walls, the top of which has been turned into a walking and biking path that circles the city center. Inside the walls are many churches, medieval towers (a couple that you can climb up for views), shops, restaurants, cafes, and even Roman ruins. Lucca’s Romanesque cathedral holds the Jacopo della Quercia tomb of Ilaria del Carretto and you can go underground to see Roman ruins. One of the top churches to see is San Michele in a large square that was once the Roman Forum. Another lively piazza is Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro, the site of the Roman amphitheater, ringed with cafes and restaurants where you can site outside in the square.
To get to Lucca, take the regional train that runs between Florence and Viareggio (on the coast). The station is right outside the walls so it’s an easy walk into the center.
Pistoia is a small city with a concentration of medieval architecture, art, and museums in its center, including 7 museums right on the main square with the cathedral. Ceppo Hospital, one of the world’s oldest continuously operating hospitals, has an anatomical theater, collection of old surgical tools, and an underground tour. Pistoia sees fewer tourists than the more famous Tuscan towns so it’s a nice place to wander through town and have a good meal in a local restaurant. Pistoia is the 2017 Italian Capital of Culture.
Pistoia is a short train ride from Florence, on the Florence to Viareggio regional rail line, and the station is walking distance to the center.
Montecatini Terme is an old-fashioned style spa town, set up as a place to relax, shop, and take the waters. In addition to its historic spas, such as the Liberty style Terme Tettuccio, there are more modern spas where you can take health and beauty treatments or go in the thermal pools. Take the little funicular railway up the hill to Montecatini Alto, the original town of Montecatini that dates from the middle ages.
Montecatini Terme is about halfway between Florence and Lucca, on the same train line. Get off at the Montecatini Centro station (the second Montecatini station coming from Florence).
More Day Trips: 5 Places to Go by Train from Rome