Since Florence is located in central Italy, it’s the perfect point from which to travel around central and northern Italian regions. And because Italy is a small country, it’s easy to go on day trips and be back to your hotel by dinner time. Here are some places you can travel to from Florence.
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Siena is perhaps Tuscany’s second gem after Florence. If you’re visiting Tuscany, it’s definitely worth stopping in Siena for a day or two. Siena’s a typical Tuscan town with a wonderful heritage from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Siena’s life revolves around the Palio, a yearly horse race that takes place twice in the summer in the main square, the ‘Piazza del Campo’. Indeed, Siena’s 17 ‘contrade’ (boroughs) spend the whole year getting ready for this event.
If you‘re a fan of time travel, then a day trip to San Gimignano and Monteriggioni might be just the right way to plunge yourself in medieval Tuscany. Indeed, visiting these little towns is like taking a walk in the Middle Ages, since both are fortresses from this time and part of the well-known Via Francigena pilgrimage route.
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If you watched Under the Tuscan Sun and loved its scenery, or you want to take stunning Instagram pictures, you might want to travel to southern Tuscany to the little towns of Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza and Cortona. You could rent a car for a day to drive on the soft hills of this beautiful region, go wine tasting and take amazing pictures. Indeed, Val D’Orcia is perhaps the most beautiful and photogenic part of the region.
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Pisa’s biggest attraction is its Miracle Square, where the well-known Leaning Tower stands. You can climb up the tower to see the square from the top, or you can enter the cathedral, the baptistry, or the cemetery.
Lucca is a Tuscan town that is slightly off the tourists’ trail. It’s fairly similar to Siena and Florence for its medieval and Renascent style, but with a stronger local feel to it. It’s definitely worth visiting at Christmas!
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While Livorno isn’t the most popular destination in Tuscany, it’s a lovely seaside town. You can take some nice pictures from the beautiful Terrazza Mascagni or travel to a close beach, such as Castiglioncello or Rosignano Marittimo.
Although this is a longer trip since Cinque Terre is in the Liguria region, it might be worth considering this day trip as part of an organized tour. You can travel to La Spezia then take a train to Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso, Corniglia and Rio Maggiore. You can either go from one to the other by train, on foot (by hiking) or by boat, the most expensive option. Though Porto Venere is not part of the Cinque Terre but of its national park, it’s probably the most stunning place to visit.
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Photo Credit: View of Siena (Photo by Pedro Lastra), San Gimignano Buildings (Photo by Daniela Turcanu), Val D’Orcia at Dusk (Photo by Katarzyna Grabowska), Pisa Tower (Photo by Yeo Khee), Cinque Terre (Photo by Jose Ros)