Tuscany tours from Florence
It is a must to see more of Tuscany’s capital city, Florence, if you are staying longer. Take a day trip or excursion through the Tuscan hills. The region’s wine regions are worth a visit. Enjoy the beauty of the olive and cypress trees that line the route. There are many cities in Tuscany you should visit, including Florence, Lucca and Siena. You can also visit Venice from Florence by taking the high-speed trains that run in the direction to Trieste. It is also worth visiting the smaller towns of Florence like Fiesole San Gimignano, Certaldo, and San Gimignano.
1. Fiesole (10 km)
Fiesole can be found about ten kilometers away from Firenze. It is situated in the typical Tuscan hilly terrain. The Etruscans founded Fiesole in the seventh century BC. It was a powerful and prosperous city until the rise of Florence. It was constructed in 1028 by the Duomo of Fiesole with its impressive bell tower. Although the interior is rather plain, you can find an archaeological site behind it. The remains of a Roman theater and Etruscan walls, as well as a Bronze Age museum are still visible. Fiesole also has a Franciscan monastery, a Neoclassical church and a Franciscan monastery. You can also visit the church in San Domenico if you drive there. It contains frescoes of Fra Angelico Mary, saints and angels. The Romanesque church Badia Fiesolana, a Romanesque church with a striped marble wall and an interior made of local gray sandstone (the so-called pietra serena), is also nearby.
Do you want to visit Fiesole The best way to get around is with a hop-on, hop-off bus. This tourist bus line B will stop at several places in Fiesole.
2. Pisa (83 km)
Pisa lies approximately 83 km from Florence. It is best known for its famous leaning tower. Pisa was the dominant city in the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages. Due to the wealth acquired, the Duomo and Baptistery were built in the twelfth Century. Pisa began to decline after the defeat by Genoa. Pisa’s most prominent square is the Campo dei Miracoli. It is home to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Duomo plus Baptistery. You can also visit Campostano (the cemetery), where you will find famous frescoes as well as a walk through one of the oldest European botanical gardens. A museum is located in the former San Matteo monastery. It was once a prison. It houses a collection from the twelfth through seventeenth centuries of Florentine and Pisan art. The Palazzo dei Cavalieri is also a home to an Institute of the University of Pisa. The Santa Maria della Spina is also recommended. This church is filled with gothic pinnacles, spiers, and other religious symbols.
3. Tuscany excursion: Visit the Chianti Region
You will find all sorts of vines along the Tuscan hills on the way to Siena. These vines are from the Chianti region. The famous Italian wine region of Chianti Classico has produced many fine wines, such as the Isole e Olena Chianti Classico. The Chianti region has a lot of relief. The western part of the Apennines is the Monte dei Chianti. You will also find gentle rolling hills that are dotted with olive groves and vineyards as well as forests and medieval villages. Greve di Chianti is an example of such a village. Here you can see the yellow Basilica Santa Croce and a statue by Giovanni da Verrazzano. It is known for its unusually-shaped piazzas, and the square. You should also visit Panzano, the most well-known town in the area. This castle, dating back to the 12th century, played an important part in the battle between Florence and Siena.
4. Certaldo (40 km)
Certaldo can be found approximately 40 kilometers from Florence. It is home to Boccacio, and is famous for its onions. Certaldo is near San Gimignano but is quieter than the medieval town. It is no less beautiful. It is worth visiting Certaldo Alto, the old city. This medieval fortress is located on a hill and can be reached by foot or funicolare. All over the city, you will find Boccacio. Boccacio was a famous poet, author, and humanist who lived during the 14th century. Here is a bust and burial place for him in the church at Certaldo. You can also visit the Palazzo Pretorio, from where the city was ruled for a long period of time. Also, you will find the Chiesa dei Santi Tomasso e Prospero with frescoes created by Gozzoli.
5. The best excursion from Florence: Siena (72km)
Siena, located around eighty kilometers from Florence, is known for its Il Palio horse races. These are held every year in Siena’s Piazza del Campo. You will find the Palazzo Publico and the Torre del Mangia on this square, which is a shell-shaped. Here you will also find the fountain Gaia. You also hear the words Siena when you speak of the Campanile and Duomo that form the skyline. Santa Maria Assunta, which dates back to the 12th century, is a shining example of Italian Gothic architecture with its beautifully decorated façade. The Campanile stands at 77 meters tall. The Basilica di San Domenico, which dates back to the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, is worth a visit when you are in Siena. You can also see the Palazzo Salimbeni, a Neo-Gothic palace that now houses a bank. Also, the National Museum for Works of Art from the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance is a must-see in Siena.
6. Day trip to San Gimignano (56km)
San Gimignano, a medieval town located approximately sixty kilometers from Florence, is distinguished by its thirteen towers. These towers are from the thirteenth and twelfth centuries. These towers were built by noble families during a time when San Gimignano was very prosperous. This was due to the steady flow of pilgrims passing through the town on their way towards Rome. This success was ended by the plague epidemic and the diverting of the pilgrimage route. Although the old city is still intact, only one tower, the Torre Grossa, can be viewed. The Museo Civico is the entrance to the tower. The Museo Civico is worth a visit, since it contains a number famous frescoes and an inscription from Dante, who once lived in the area. You might also be interested in these other places:
- The Collegiata Church, where you can see frescoes
- HThe Palazzo del Popolo
- Via San Giovanni, with shops filled with local products
- Piazza del Duomo
- Piazza della Cisterna featuring the well-known stone well
7. Lucca (81 km)
Lucca lies approximately 81 km from Florence. It is a beautiful place that was established in Rome in 180 BC. It is possible to walk peacefully along the original city walls. A few churches are worth a visit. The Roman forum once stood here, but now the San Michele In Foro is a Pisan Romanesque Church. You can also visit Lucca’s 11th-century Duomo and San Martino. Another good example of the Pisan Romanesque style that dominates Lucca is this. Near the Duomo, you will find the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. It displays Lucca’s treasures of religious art. You can also walk along the San Frediano to see a stunning mosaic that depicts the Ascension. The Amfiteatro is another attraction. This square is known for its amphitheater-shaped shape. It’s home to many nice restaurants and shops.
8. Monteriggioni (56 km)
Monteriggioni is a medieval fortification located about 55 km from Florence. It was built by the podesta de Siena in the 13th century to protect against the Florentine threat. It was created to guard the pilgrimage route between Western Europe and Rome. Monteriggioni, which is situated on a hill, is surrounded by high-rise city walls, two gates and 14 fortified towers. The large piazza, which houses the Romanesque church, and the Chiesa di Santa Maria are all places of interest. There are also beautiful houses and shops in which you can purchase Castello di Monteriggioni wines. The town is now featured in the popular games Brotherhood, Assassin’s Creed II and Revelations. The medieval festivals are held in July, where hundreds of princesses and knights decorate the city. Watch out for medieval dances and knight fights. You can also enjoy medieval-inspired dishes as part of the feast.
9. Arezzo (76 km)
Arezzo, a Tuscany city located just eighty kilometers from Florence, can be reached by high-speed train in less than an hour. Arezzo was founded by the Etruscans and became the Roman city of pottery, metalworking, and other crafts in Roman times. Arezzo has many attractions such as the jousts of the Saracens, which takes place twice a year. There are many churches that you can visit.
- The Santa Maria della Pieve, a 12th century Romanesque church
- The San Domenico is a Gothic church featuring a well-known crucifix from Cimabue.
- Basilica di San Francesco, with an important cycle de frescoes from Piero della Francesca
- The Cathedral of Saint Donatius
- The Piazza Grande must be seen. There are two museums worth visiting: the Museo Archeologico, and the Museo d’Arte medievale e moderna. This city was built by Petrarca and Giorgio Vasari.
10. Venice (two hours by train)
You can also make a day trip from Florence to Venice. You can reach the Venetian lagoon by high-speed train from Santa Maria Novella in less than two hours (official Trenitalia website). You can ride the famous gondolas through the Venetian water streets. One of the many handicraft shops in Venice sells Venetian masks. San Marco is Venice’s most iconic square. It features the San Marco basilica, which has a Byzantine interior and marble and mosaic exterior. The Palazzo Ducale is the palace of Venetian doges, and San Marco also houses the Palazzo Ducale. One of the most significant buildings in Venice, the Gothic Doge’s Palace, has a non-religious function. You can also visit the campanile in San Marco’s Square to enjoy a stunning view of the lagoon. You can also take the elevator up, but don’t be alarmed. The Rialto bridge, which spans the main canal of Venice, is another well-known attraction. Here you can not only enjoy the beauty of Venice, but also shop in the shops. You can also visit the islands Murano or Burano which are a miniature Venice, each with its own waterways.