florence to tuscany guide

Exploring the Tuscan Countryside – How to Get From Florence to Tuscany ’s Top Destinations



If you’re searching for ways to go from Florence to Tuscany, it likely means you want to get outside of the capital city and explore the surrounding region. Let this guide help you understand the top options, both in terms of beautiful cities, towns, and countryside to visit, as well as how to get there.

Florence is world-famous for art and the birthplace of the Renaissance. But Tuscany offers more beyond the city. A short day trip away are rolling vineyards, old medieval towns, forests, winding alleys with flowers, and great wine and typical food.

Getting into the Tuscan countryside lets you experience the best of Italy. You’ll find awesome views, locals drinking espresso at cafes, and historic piazzas to explore. Use this guide to choose destinations you’ll like and plan how to reach them easily. Whether you love cities, hiking, food, or history, Tuscany’s treasures will enchant you.

Florence to Tuscany DestinationsCity/TownHow to Get ThereAv. Time from FlorenceBest For
1SienaCityTrain or car1-1.5 hrsHistory and architecture lovers
2LuccaCityTrain or car1.5 hrsCyclists, families
3San GimignanoTownTrain or car1.5 hrsWine, medieval charm
4MontepulcianoTownCar1.5 hrsWine tasting, views
5PisaCityTrain or car1 hrFamilies, sightseeing
6VolterraTownCar1.5 hrsHistory, alabaster shops
7ArezzoCityTrain or car1 hrArt lovers, jousting fans
8LivornoCityTrain or car1.5 hrsSeaside, seafood fans
9PratoCityTrain or car30 minsTextile history, budget travelers
10PistoiaCityTrain or car50 minsOffbeat charm, families
11CertaldoTownTrain45 minsBoccaccio fans, wine
12MontefioralleVillageCar30 minsChianti views, Da Vinci lovers
13BargaTownCar2.5 hrsMountain views, crafts
14PienzaTownCar1.5 hrsVal d’Orcia views, cheese
15CortonaTownCar1 hrArt, antiques, views
16Chianciano TermeTownCar1.5 hrsSpa getaways
17PitiglianoTownCar2.5 hrsDramatic cliff setting
18MassaCityCar2 hrsMarble history, seafood
19Giglio PortoVillageCar + ferry3.5 hrsBeaches, seafood
20Isola d’ElbaIslandCar + ferry4 hrsBeaches, nature
Florence to Tuscany Top Destinations Overview

Florence is the capital of Tuscany – the latter being one of the twenty regions of Italy. As one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, millions flock to Florence every year to admire its history, art, architecture, and cuisine. However, there is much more to discover in Tuscany beyond its famous capital.

Here are some of the most popular cities and towns to visit in Tuscany along with the easiest ways to reach them from Florence:


Siena is one of Tuscany’s most enchanting medieval towns. Famous for its Palio horse race, Gothic architecture, and the iconic shell-shaped main square Piazza del Campo, Siena is a must-see on any Tuscan itinerary.

To get to Siena from Florence, the quickest and easiest option is to take the direct train which takes just 1.5 hours. Trains run regularly throughout the day from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station. The drive from Florence to Siena takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes via the RA3 and S2 highways.


Enclosed within impressively intact 16th-century Renaissance walls, Lucca is known for its cobbled streets, Romanesque churches, cafes, and atmospheric piazzas. Walking or cycling atop the tree-lined walls offers spectacular views over the terracotta rooftops and surrounding countryside.

Reaching Lucca from Florence is straightforward. There are direct trains every hour taking 1.5 hours. You can also drive which takes around 1 hour 20 minutes via the FI-PI-LI or A11 highways.

Fun Activity in Lucca
If you opt for a day trip to Lucca, I suggest you rent a quadricycle and take a ride across the beautiful Park. It’s a fun activity for families with kids but also couples, and it helps you rest your feet while still enjoying those lovely surroundings on the move.

We rented ours for €15/hr at 43 Via Veneto Lucca. There are plenty more spots you can rent these from throughout the city, especially along the walls.

For lunch or an early dinner, before heading back to Firenze, consider Ristorante San Colombano Lucca – located right on the famous walls.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is famous for its historic medieval “towers” that dominate the Tuscan skyline. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it offers visitors the chance to step back in time and stroll cobbled lanes dotted with enchanting artisan boutiques, cafes, and wine-tasting rooms.

To get to San Gimignano, take the direct train from Florence to Poggibonsi, and then a 25-minute bus ride to Piazzale Montemaggio, for a total 1.5-hour journey time from the main city. Alternatively, the drive takes just over 1 hour via the FI-RA highway. Guided day tours are also available which take the hassle out of travel.


Perched atop a hill and surrounded by vineyards, Montepulciano is the jewel of southern Tuscany. Wander narrow Renaissance streets, sample the famous Vino Nobile wine, and take in panoramic views over the Val d’Orcia countryside.

It takes between 2.5 and 3 hours to reach Montepulciano from Florence by train, changing at Chiusi. By car, it’s around 1 hour 20 minutes via the A1 and E35 highways. Many visitors choose to visit Montepulciano on a guided tour from Florence. This one of those destinations best reached by car.

Stop in Chiusi
If you want to take a break in between trains or driving on your way to Montepulciano, consider stopping at Chiusi.

You could walk from the charming Piazza to the emerald-green Lake Chiusi, and then enjoy the underground museum after a tasty lunch at Osteria La Solita Zuppa. The crostini Toscani and Pici al ragu d’anatra sound delicious.

Florence to Tuscany Pisa


While more than just its famous Leaning Tower, Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli is certainly an unmissable highlight to photograph. The city itself is lively with vibrant street life, markets, and history including its roots as a former maritime power.

Direct trains from Florence to Pisa take only 1 hour making it an easy and one of the most popular Tuscany day trip. By car, the drive takes just under 1 hour 30 minutes using the FI-PI-LI and A12 highways.


Volterra is an ancient hilltop settlement rich in Etruscan history and artifacts. Today, it offers incredible views over the countryside and Tuscan hot springs, alabaster workshops, museums, and medieval ruins to explore. Don’t miss a visit to its impressive Roman amphitheater dating back to the 1st century BCE.

Reaching Volterra independently takes around 2.5 hours by train with a stop in Pontedera, where you will need to change to a bus.

If you opt for the train + bus..
Once you get off the bus you just need to walk 3 minutes to Pontedera Bus Station. Go to Corsia 4 and take the bus 500 towards Volterra. By car, the drive takes just under 1.5 hours via the FI-RA highway.

The train + bus route is fairly straightforward but you must time your bus carefully, as there aren’t many ones departing. In Summer, the bus departing Pontedera at 9:25 is a good option but you’ll need to take the train from Florence at 7:00 am which arrives at Pontedera Station at 7:36 am. 

You can download the Summer bus schedule here, and the Winter one here. Make sure you look at the direction (it must end with Volterra for your way there, and going towards Pontedera as you return to Florence).

That route is early enough to enjoy half a day in Volterra and give you plenty of time to have breakfast in Pontedera, buy tickets, and make it on time for the bus. You should be able to purchase the bus tickets from the nearest Tabaccheria, in Corso G. Matteotti. That one is open from 8 am, Monday to Saturday.

Other Larger Cities in Tuscany for a Day Trip From Florence + Way to Travel There


Arezzo is famous for the Piero della Francesca frescoes inside the Basilica of San Francesco and the Cimabue crucifix inside the Church of San Domenico. It’s also known for the important Giostra del Saracino horse race, which divides the city into 4 districts.

To get to Arezzo, direct trains from Florence take around 1 hour 10 minutes. Driving takes just over an hour via the RA highway.

Top attractions include Piazza Grande, the medieval Eremo Le Celle hermitage, La Verna Franciscan Sanctuary, Poppi Castle, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Donatus, and the Church of San Francesco. Visitors love Arezzo for its medieval character, Renaissance art treasures, and exciting twice-yearly jousting competition.

Make sure to try the local specialty Scottiglia, a hearty stew with mixed meats like beef, pheasant, chicken, rabbit, duck, lamb, and pigeon.


With its canals and walls, Livorno is a classic example of an ideal Renaissance city. The symbol of Livorno is cacciucco, a seafood stew originating from the fish market. As Tuscany’s prime seaside city, Livorno transformed from a fishing village to a strategic port under the Medicis.

To reach Livorno, direct trains from Florence take around 1.5 hours. Driving takes just over 1.5 hours via highways.

Top attractions include Terrazza Mascagni, Montenero Sanctuary, Livorno Aquarium, Calafuria Coastline, Mercato Centrale, Venezia Nuova district, Scogli Piatti rocks, and the Giovanni Fattori Civic Museum. Visitors adore Livorno for its canals, seafood, and ambiance as an authentic historic port city.


Prato is Tuscany’s second-largest city by population after Florence. Top sights include Piazza del Comune, Fontana del Bacchino, Palazzo Pretorio, Prato Cathedral, Church and Convent of San Domenico, San Vincenzo Monastery, and the contemporary art museum Centro Pecci.

As the historic textile capital of Italy, Prato is known for its factory outlet shopping, a great way to pick up quality Italian pieces at a bargain. It’s also where the famous biscotti di Prato or cantucci originated, so make sure to buy some. 

Visitors enjoy strolling its charming medieval streets and sampling local specialties like sedani ripieni, stuffed pasta with minced meat, mortadella, egg, and parmesan.

The Regional trains from Florence take just 20 minutes to reach the city, while driving there will take you about 50 minutes.

Florence to Pistoia


According to local lore, Pistoia got its name from those who kneaded bread dough (from the Latin pistores, meaning miller).

Top attractions include the Pistoia Zoo, Piazza del Duomo, Ospedale del Ceppo, Cathedral of San Zeno, Pieve Sant’Andrea Apostolo, Piazza della Sala, Baptistery of San Giovanni in Corte, and San Giovanni Fuoricivitas.

Pistoia charms visitors with its quaint medieval ambiance, Roman ruins, and relatively untouristed authentic Italian charm. The city comes alive during its Blues Festival each July.

For a unique local taste, try the soup Carcerato made with veal offal and stale bread, originally made and served in the old city prison. If you love your outdoor decor, make sure to pick up one of the local artisan copper pots. Pistoia is the top producer in Europe.

PS: Many call Pistoia the small Florence. It could be because of the resembling Battistero di San Giovanni in Corte to the famous St. John Baptistery in Florence’s Duomo.

Day Trips by Car

Having your transport opens up the most possibilities for exploring lesser-known gems, so consider hiring a car to explore the Tuscany region and get outside Florence. While roads are winding, driving times are generally an hour to two hours allowing you to reach most places within Tuscany for day adventures. For navigating the region of Tuscany, notable highways include the A1/E35, the FI-PI-LI, and the SGC. Don’t miss spectacular countryside routes like the Chiantigiana Road (SS222) between Florence and Siena.

Day Trips by Train

Italy’s rail network is extensive, reliable, and fast. From Florence’s main Santa Maria Novella station there are regular direct connections south to Arezzo, Siena, and Volterra as well as west to Pisa, Livorno, and Lucca. While certain destinations like Montepulciano and Volterra might require a longer journey, with the tips in this guide you should be able to easily plan your travel itinerary. Keep in mind that journey times average 1-3 hours making day returns easy. Book tickets via Trenitalia ahead of time for the best fares and seat reservations where possible.

PS: In lower peak seasons like Spring and Fall, you’ll be able to purchase the tickets at the train station right before your departure. However, you should allow an extra 20 minutes before the departing time to wait in line. That’s what I did when I visited both Lucca and Certaldo last October.

Lesser-Known Towns in the Tuscan Countryside & Sea Worth a Visit

While icons like Florence and Pisa are on most itineraries, some lesser-known towns also offer authentic charm and fewer tourists. Here are the best-kept secrets worth adding to your itinerary.


Certaldo, writer Boccaccio’s birthplace, offers wine tastings, museums, and pretty medieval lanes for wandering in the afternoon. It’s just 50 minutes from Florence by train. It reminds me of the fortified city of Mdina in Malta, although smaller and with rolling countryside around.

While we spent as much time traveling to and back from Certaldo as we spent visiting the town, both my husband and I enjoyed getting out of the city and exploring a new place. This was easy and relaxing. The town was quiet, and the cable car ride to the top was very scenic. For half of the time, it felt like we were the only ones in town. The weather was warm but comfortable (it was the second week of October just after 3 pm), the sun was preparing to go down, and the inner parts were nicely shaded.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting such a gorgeous little Borgo on top. I can see this spot being perfect for people who want to wind down, and maybe work on a creative project, whether it’s just for a day or an entire week. I couldn’t stop taking pictures, and that means the place must be a good one.

If you go around lunchtime and dinner, you’ll find three to four options where to have a snack or a bigger meal. Most of them have a gorgeous view.

Steal My Itinerary

Morning in Florence

Afternoon in Certaldo

Relaxed Evening around Ponte Vecchio

Please keep in mind that except for Massa, the towns and cities that will follow are best reached by car from Florence. Another option could be taking a bus or train from a nearby city/town, rather than Florence.


Montefioralle was the first religious-administrative site the Etruscans had in Valdigreve. Its origins are truly ancient and the town could represent the oldest settlement in Chianti, even before the Etruscans. 

For lovers of historical remains and medieval buildings, Montefioralle is one of the most beautiful villages in Chianti with some gorgeous churches, like the famous Pieve di San Cresci nearby. Larger than Certaldo, it’s perfect for wandering the countryside, sipping local wine, and getting lost in this charming village. For a fairytale lunch, head to Il Desio. 

Montefioralle is located just 9 km from Greve in Chianti. Reach it by car via the Chiantigiana Road (SS222) in around 15 minutes, or take a 30-minute bus from Greve.

Florence to Barga


Barga is one of the most historic and art-dense villages in the whole Serchio Valley. Top sights include the Romanesque Cathedral, the Church of Cristo Risorto, and the fresco-filled Church of San Francesco. 

Visitors adore Barga for its mountain views, medieval ambiance, and local crafts. Make time for lunch on the terrace at La Loggia Del Capretz Bistrot.

You can easily reach it by car in under 2 hours via the A11/E76 highway.


Pienza is a small village in southern Tuscany, in the famous Val d’Orcia, absolutely worth a visit. It’s about 20 km east of Montalcino and a few km west of Montepulciano in the beautiful Val d’Orcia region south of Siena, among soft, poetic hills and fabulous views.

Known as the “ideal” Renaissance city, thanks to Pope Pius II, who transformed his birth village of Corsignano into his version of an ideal city, which still communicates Renaissance ideals today. Don’t miss a taste of the local bread and pecorino salad. Enjoy an aperitif at La Taverna di Re Artù.

Pienza is located just off the A1 highway between Montepulciano and Montalcino in southern Tuscany. By car, it’s around 1.5 hours from Florence via the A1 and SP146. 


Pitigliano is a village carved into the tufa rock of southern Maremma. It sits on a 313-meter-high promontory surrounded by deep green valleys and the Lente and Meleta rivers. 

Known as Little Jerusalem for its historic Jewish community and synagogue, it’s one of the most characteristic monuments in the historic center. Try the local stew tegamata if you can find it, or dine at Trattoria Il Grillo.

Driving to Pitigliano from Florence will require a 2.5-hour road trip via the AI/E35 motorways.

Florence to Cortona


Cortona is a small, welcoming town in the Valdichiana valley in Arezzo province. The town sits on a hill reaching around 600 meters high, surrounded by Etruscan and Roman walls still visible today.

Top sights include Piazza della Repubblica, the Etruscan Academy Museum, San Francesco Convent, the Cathedral of Cortona, Basilica of Santa Margherita, the Church of San Benedetto, and the Sodo archaeological site.

Visitors love Cortona for its charm, art, Tuscan cuisine, and stunning valley views. Try pappa al pomodoro or ribollita soup, and dine at Taverna Il Gozzoviglio or Osteria Le Rughe.

Cortona is located in southern Tuscany off the A1 highway. Reach it by direct train from Florence in under 2 hours. By car, Cortona is just over a 1-hour drive from Florence via the A1.

Chianciano Terme

The thermal baths of Chianciano Terme are renowned for their beneficial effects on liver and intestinal health. Mix visiting the historic center with time at the local spas. 

The traditional dish is pici, a handmade fresh thick pasta similar to spaghetti, served with various ragu and pesto sauces. Enjoy pici at La Torretta or L’Assassino restaurants.

By car, you can reach it in about 1.5 hours via the AI/E35 motorways.

Florence to Massa


Don’t miss Massa’s fairy tale atmosphere of sea and marble. Massa is a city rich in history and culture on the border between Liguria and Tuscany, nestled between the Apuan Alps and the sea. Beautiful squares, churches, fountains, castles, and ancient stele statues represent an ancient civilization. And if you like me, love marble, you’ll appreciate a guided tour of the famous Carrara Caves nearby.

The rice cake torta di riso is the symbol of Massa cuisine, once made at Easter and for San Vitale on April 28. Also try testaroli pasta served with pesto, and frittini di Lunigiana made with cornmeal, beans, kale, and olive oil. For a lighter and very typical meal, enjoy an aperitivo at Crudi e Bollicine Marina di Massa.

From Florence, take the direct train to Massa Centro station in around 2 hours. Massa is also located just north of Pisa, about a 1.5-hour drive from Florence via highways.

Giglio Porto

Giglio Porto’s harbor is protected by two jetties enclosing the dock where ferries and boats moor. Top attractions include Caletta del Saraceno, Torre del Saraceno, and Spiaggia Dello Scalettino beach. No Giglio vacation is complete without trying Cacciucco, a flavorful Tuscan seafood soup. Enjoy lunch at L’Archetto overlooking the sea.

Reach Giglio Porto by ferry from Porto Santo Stefano on the Tuscan coast, a 2.5-hour drive from Florence. The ferry crossing takes around 1 hour. Book ahead in peak season.

PS: Considering that getting there will take at least 3.5 hours, I suggest you spend the night or take the day trip from Grosseto rather than Florence.

Isola d’Elba

The largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago (223.5 km2), Elba is 10 km from the mainland, separated by the Piombino Channel. It has a mountainous terrain (Monte Capanne, 1018 m), with a very jagged coastline (stretching 118 km), rich in gulfs and headlands.

Elba is beloved for its wild, pristine nature, crystal clear sea, and gorgeous beaches. Napoleon specifically chose it for exile because of its good weather and defenses. He resided in a Medici villa with harbor views. Sample the local stew Gurguglione with eggplant and peppers, and dine at Bitta 20.

Elba Island is accessible by ferry from Piombino on the Tuscan coast but will require a 4-hour drive from Florence. The ferry crossing takes around 1 hour. Arrive early to park and line up in peak season. Limited flights also connect Pisa or Florence Airport to Elba. However, prices are on the higher end. The easiest and most affordable way to get here is to drive from Pisa.

wine tasting in Tuscany countryside

Wine Tour Destinations in Tuscany other than Chianti

In addition to its iconic capital Florence, Tuscany is equally famous as one of the world’s great wine regions. From full-bodied reds to crisp whites and sweet dessert wines, tasting your way through vineyards makes a delicious accompaniment to your explorations. Here are some key regions and cellars to visit beyond the classic Chianti zone.

Greve in Chianti for the Classic Chianti DOCG & Vin Santo DOC

Head to the heart of the original Chianti Classico area around Greve for tastings of these famous Tuscan wines. Top picks include:

  1. Wine Trekking & Tasting at Torraccia di Presura
  2. Light Lunch at Savignola Paolina
  3. Wine Tasting at Tenuta degli Dei
  4. Wine Tasting & Relax by the pool at Corte di Valle

Montalcino for its Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

The prestigious red Brunello di Montalcino DOCG is a Tuscan icon. Head to wineries like Tiezzi, Il Poggione, or Donatella Cinelli Colombini for sensational cellar tours and tastings.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG

The handsome town of Montepulciano produces the elegant Vino Nobile using the Prugnolo Gentile grape. Le Berne – voted the best in the region, and Tenuta Sant’Agnese both offer wonderful vineyard visits and wine-tasting experiences.

wine tasting in Tuscany countryside

San Gimignano and its Vernaccia DOCG

San Gimignano is renowned for its white Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG. Since it happens to also be a popular destination for many other reasons, if you opt to visit consider one of these wine tasting spots.

  1. Cesani Wine & Oil Tour + Wine Tasting on the Terrace with snacks after exploring the vineyards and olive groves
  2. Panizzi with its spectacular location – wine & oil tasting
  3. Wine Tasting Lunch at San Quirico

Pitigliano for its White DOC

The picturesque cliffside town of Pitigliano is surrounded by vineyards producing its refreshing DOC-designated white wines. Consider Cantina Roccaccia – voted among the best 100 Italian wines in 2019, and Cantina di Pitigliano for tastings and lunch.

Montecarlo di Toscana DOC

Overlooked by tourists, the Montecarlo di Lucca wine region crafts noteworthy reds and whites. Book visits to small wineries like Tenuta del Buonamico and Tenuta San Beda.

Florence to Tuscany wine towns

Castagneto Carducci for the Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC

The village of Castagneto Carducci lies within the Bolgheri appellation known for Sassicaia, one of Italy’s most prestigious reds. I have two perfect spots, each with a wonderful plan, for you to spend your time here.

  1. Afternoon wine Tour plus dinner on the spectacular terrace at Tenuta Guarda al Tasso
  2. Estate Visit + Picnica at Tenuta L’Ornellaia

Carmignano DOCG near Prato

The small winemaking area of Carmignano lies just northwest of Prato in Tuscany. Historically it was the first region in the world to obtain DOC designation in 1980. Today it produces notable reds from Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Top wineries to visit include Tenuta di Capezzana, an elegant estate offering tastings and vineyard tours since the 1920s. For a more rural, family-style experience, visit Fattoria di Bacchereto set amidst olive groves and oak woods. The charming village of Carmignano itself also rewards exploration with its hilltop medieval castle.

Wherever you go, booking tasting tours ahead of time ensures a spot. For couples and groups, private wine tours with a dedicated driver/guide are a fantastic option for hassle-free travel between vineyards and towns.

where to stay in Tuscany

Where to Stay in Tuscany Other Than Florence & Why You Should

While Florence boasts many excellent hotel and Airbnb options, basing yourself elsewhere allows you to fully immerse in Tuscan life and easier access to its countryside. Here are some top alternatives for accommodations along with the benefits.


Siena has a wide variety of lodging from boutique hotels to budget options. Staying here allows easy exploration on foot and puts you steps from sights like the Campo, Palazzo Pubblico, and the Duomo. Come evening, soak up the local ambiance in neighborhood osterias. The famous and breathtaking Crete Senesi is easily reachable by car from here.


This compact city is perfect for walking and cycling. Stay in the heart of the action within the historic walls where you can roll out of bed and directly into the city’s idyllic maze of stone streets.

TownTypePopulationHighlightsWhy Stay Here
SienaCity54,000Gothic architecture, Palio horse race, Piazza del CampoWalkable area, vibrant nightlife
LuccaCity84,000Romanesque churches, cobbled streets, tree-lined wallsEasy to explore by foot and bike
San GimignanoTown7,800Towers, boutique shops, historic ambianceImmerse in village life
VolterraTown10,500Etruscan ruins, alabaster workshops, wine tastingCar-free access, beautiful setting
MontepulcianoTown14,000Vino Nobile, Renaissance palaces, viewsCharming hill town, wine region access
Places to Stay in Tuscany other than Florence

San Gimignano

Immerse yourself in history, views, and village life by staying in San Gimignano itself. Spend the days having breakfast overlooking the countryside, taking hikes and wine tours, and in the afternoons sit back, relax and take in those magic sunsets. Accommodations range from plush villa escapes to cozy B&Bs with options for every budget.


Base yourself among Volterra’s winding medieval alleys to enjoy car-free access to the city’s top sights and restaurants. You’ll also appreciate not having to drive back after indulging in wine tastings at local cellars.


Staying in Montepulciano allows you to soak up the romantic ambiance of the narrow stone streets and the lively local culture of this quintessential Tuscan village. 

From here it’s easy to explore the Val d’Orcia region and visit neighboring Pienza, Montalcino, and others by car. Accommodation options range from converted palaces to cozy apartments dotted around town. Spend evenings sampling the famous local wine and indulging in regional cuisine at candlelit restaurants.

Wherever you stay, booking accommodations with parking is wise if you have a rental car. If arriving from Florence by train, shuttle transfers from the station are often included with stays outside the bigger cities.

Final Thoughts

Tuscany offers endless possibilities for exploration and discovery beyond its famous capital Florence. Whether you have your transport or rely on trains to get around, it’s surprisingly easy to reach iconic sights as well as hidden gems across the region.

Focus your efforts on seeing a handful of destinations well rather than trying to cram in too much. Spend time wandering enchanting small towns, indulging in the local food and wine, and soaking up the ambiance of la dolce vita beneath Tuscany’s golden rolling hills.

Wherever you choose to visit – be it Lucca, Siena, Pisa, the town of San Gimignano, or lesser-known alternatives – pairing the convenience of Florence with day trips into the Tuscan countryside will let you experience the best of this captivating region. Also, don’t discard the idea of spending a few days outside Florence.  With plenty of ideas for things to do in Tuscany you are now in a better position to plan your perfect Florence and Tuscany itinerary. Enjoy your travels!

Need help planning your Florence & Tuscany Itinerary?
Get inspired by my How many days in Florence Guide, and feel free to use my 4-day Florence Itinerary.

Frequently Asked Questions about Getting from Florence to Tuscany

Can you visit Tuscany from Florence? 

Absolutely. Florence is a very convenient base for exploring the main sights of Tuscany. The city has quick train connections and highway access to beautiful cities like Siena, Pisa, and Lucca. With your car, by train or on guided tours you can visit charming hill towns like San Gimignano and classic countryside like Chianti. Florence puts Tuscany’s treasures within easy reach.

Is Florence a good base to explore Tuscany?

Yes, Florence is an excellent base for exploring Tuscany. As the region’s largest city, it has great transportation links via rail, bus, and car to popular destinations like Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Cinque Terre. Its central location puts it within 1-2 hours of most major sights, and day trips are very feasible. Using Florence as a Tuscany base allows flexibility.

How long is it from Florence to Tuscany? 

Florence is located within the Tuscany region, so it doesn’t take long to reach other Tuscan sights. By train or car you can reach Siena in 1-1.5 hours, Pisa in 1 hour, Lucca in 1.5 hours, and farther afield hill towns in 2 hours or under. Even smaller countryside sights are easily accessible as day trips. Florence is a perfect launch point for exploring Tuscany.

Are Florence and Tuscany close to each other?

Yes, Florence and Tuscany are very close – or more exactly Florence is in Tuscany! As the capital, Florence is centrally located within the region and has quick access to popular destinations like Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Chianti. With Florence as your base, the rest of the magnificent Tuscany region is right at your doorstep ready to explore.

Is Tuscany a day trip from Florence?

Tuscany is the region and Florence is the capital city of that region. So, yes, many destinations in Tuscany make for excellent day trips from Florence. Popular options are reachable within 1-2 hours each way by train or car including Siena, Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Arezzo, and Cinque Terre. Having your transportation allows you to reach even more hill towns and wine regions for day trips.

What is the easiest way to get from Florence to other cities in Tuscany?

The easiest and quickest way to reach most places is by train. Florence’s main station, Santa Maria Novella, has regular direct high-speed connections to Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and other popular destinations in just 1-2 hours. Driving is also convenient with main highways like the A1, FI-PI-LI, and RA providing access.

What are the best day trips from Florence by train?

Some top day trips reachable by direct train from Florence include Siena, Lucca, Arezzo, Pisa, Livorno, and Prato. Journey times average 1-2 hours each way making day returns perfectly feasible. Purchase tickets in advance online for the best fares, if you plan to take a Frecciarossa. For regional trains, tickets prices stay low till the last minute.

What are the best towns in Tuscany to visit outside of Florence?

Top picks for bases include medieval Siena, walled Lucca, hilltop San Gimignano, and wine country Montepulciano. Lesser known gems to consider include Certaldo, Barga, Pitigliano, and Montecarlo. Pick based on your interests such as history, architecture, hiking, or wine tasting.

How much time do you need to explore Tuscany?

At a minimum, allow 5-7 full days to make the most of your Tuscan break. This will give you time to visit 2-3 towns, explore Florence, plus enjoy countryside activities like wine tasting. With a week or more, you can dive deeper into the region at a relaxed pace.

What’s the best way to travel around Tuscany without a car?

The rail network provides easy connections between major hubs like Florence, Pisa, and Siena. For smaller towns, consider booking organized day trips where transport is included or simply hire a car. Public buses also run to many locations although the train is generally more convenient.

Should I stay in Florence or elsewhere in Tuscany?

Florence offers unrivaled art and culture. However, basing yourself in charming towns like Siena, Lucca, or San Gimignano for part of your trip allows you to fully immerse yourself in quintessential Tuscan life. Make your decision based on the pace and experience you desire, as well as the duration of your trip.

Alessia Spampinato