From Florence: Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti Day Trip with Siena Cathedral and Lunch
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- Duration options: 9 - 12 hours
For travelers looking to experience the charm of Tuscany, nothing beats a day in Siena. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most common day trip destinations from Florence, and for good reason. The hub of the town is the Piazza del Campo, with the looming Torre de Mangia — which provides magnificent views for those who dare make the climb to the top. Other popular activities include visiting the marble Siena Cathedral and simply wandering the enchanting streets of the city.
However you travel, the 80 kilometer (49 mile) journey from Florence to Siena usually takes around 90 minutes. Depending on which train you take, the trip can take up to an hour and 45 minutes by rail.
Taking a day trip to Cortona from Florence is a sublime way to escape the city. Best known these days as the setting for the book and film “Under the Tuscan Sun," this gorgeous hillside locale is a great place to slow down the pace of your trip. Visitors exploring the charming town can learn about the local history at the Etruscan Academy Museum, admire the church of Santa Margherita, and soak up the city’s atmosphere in the Piazza della Repubblica.
The trip to Cortona measures just around 120 kilometers (74 miles). By train, you should reach your destination in one hour and 20 minutes, while driving takes about an hour and a half.
The unofficial food capital of Italy, Bologna — or “la grassa" (“the fat") is a gourmet’s dream. As the home to the oldest university in the world, a trip to Bologna is much more than just a chance to fill up on fine foods. Travelers can check out the Piazza Maggiore, wonder at the strange yet fascinating 17th-century anatomical theater, and eat to their heart’s content in the massive FICO World Eataly. Of course, make sure to taste the local specialties of ragu, prosciutto, and parmigiano reggiano.
Just over 100 kilometers north of Florence, Bologna is an easy day trip from Florence. By train, the journey only takes 35 minutes, while by car it takes around 80 minutes. Allow for a little more time if traveling by bus, as the trip takes around two hours.
When you dream of the picture-perfect Tuscan countryside, the Val d’Orcia is likely what comes to mind. Rolling hills, cypress-dotted roads, and storybook villages await travelers who make their way here. Wine lovers can visit the famous towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino for local tastings, while the gorgeous town of Pienza offers samples of locally-made pecorino cheese. For some extra relaxation, take a soak in the thermal baths at Bagno Vignoni.
From Florence to the heart of the Val d’Orcia is about 120 kilometers (74 miles), though this distance changes depending on your specific destination. Train and drive times depend greatly on which route you take, but a direct trip should be around two hours.
As home to one of the most famous landmarks in the world, a day trip to Pisa is on almost everyone’s travel radar. Legend has it that the Leaning Tower of Pisa — actually the belltower of the Pisa Cathedral — was once the site of some experiments by none other than Galileo himself. There is much more to this city than just the famous tower, however. Counted among Pisa’s other attractions are the Piazza dei Cavaliere, the Campo Santo, and the Palazzo della Carovana.
Only 85 kilometers (52 miles) away, the trip from Pisa to Florence is an easy one. By car, the trip is only around an hour and 15 minutes, while the train will get you there a bit quicker, at just one hour. Bus service takes around one hour and 35 minutes.
The train is frequently the simplest and most affordable mode of transportation for traveling from Florence. Most of the popular destinations from Florence have train stations nearby, and the train cuts down on travel time from to traffic, road work, or navigation issues.
Though many people will advise against driving in cities in Italy, a car can be a great option for trips out to the countryside. Some rural destinations can be very difficult to reach by public transportation, and a car allows you to get out and see these Tuscan gems.
The bus is an economical option for day trips from Florence, and allows you to reach some lesser visited places with no train access. While the most affordable travel option, the bus will often take the longest, so make sure to allow plenty of time if making your journey by bus.
A guided tour is a great choice for many popular day trips out of Florence. Guided tours allow you to discover incredible local places that may never appear in any guide book. Tours also save the hassle of booking wine tasting reservations or navigating the Italian countryside.
What you choose to pack for your day trip will vary depending on the activity and the time of year. Some tours from Florence already include everything you’ll need, from entry tickets to lunch and dinner. An umbrella in the winter months can be a good idea, while planning ahead for intense heat in the middle of summer is crucial.
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One of the best full day tours I have been on. A long day but worth it n value money for what is on offer. A guide throughout the day. First stop in Siena with a local guide to give a tour of the city including inside the main dumno. Then a tour of a Chanti farm the had vineyard, cattle n a beautiful outside restaurant. We had lunch of pasta bolognise, cheese n ham along with 4 different local produce wine. You had a panoramic view of the next destination of San Gimignano where we free time for about hour or so. The final destination was Pisa. It great day n highly recommended. Special mention to the guide friendly Elisa who gave a us insight to each place we visited.
We were the only 2 on this tour so they called to change or cancel - we upgraded to add on Siena - so pleased we did. It’s a long day and you start at 0830 at the coach station out of town ( very easy to get to on tram) then visit walled cities, Siena, Saint Gimignano and stayed for a great lunch of cheeses, ham, bread pasta and wines. The wine is very well explained and the lunch was excellent but you see none of the process or cellars, Which was disappointing. Never the less I would recommend the tour. The guide was great and lots of free time in each city.
Our tour guide, Julio, was absolutely fantastic! The driver, Raul, was absolutely fantastic! This tour was worth every penny. The drive was beautiful, all the locations we stopped were breathtaking. The winery lunch was delicious, and really exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed all of the information that Julio gave us and we also enjoyed the quiet alone time we were given to explore each destination. Julio has a difficult task of speaking to people in three languages, he was excellent. Very personable and warm.
The tour was wonderful! It was very well organized and our tour guide Elisa was super lovely. She did an amazing job showing us around and giving us the most interesting information and in general we just had a super fun time with her. The three-course with different kinds of wine to taste in San Gimignano was amazing too. All in all, very recommendable for everyone who wants to explore some of Tuscany's most beautiful places in a short time for a very good price-performance ratio!
Fare questa gita è una esperienza che consiglio a tutti, stranieri ed italiani. Abbinare la visita di bellissimi monumenti insieme ad una esperienza nella campagna toscana, e con del buon cibo e vino locali, è una esperienza gratificante e rigenerante sia per lo spirito che per la mente. Il cuore del Belpeaese è anche questo. Riappropriamoci del nostro splendido Paese ed impariamo a conoscerlo. Buona vacanza a tutti.