Tuscany has a charm, there is something magical about it that enchants you and takes you into a fairy tale. If you plan to visit Florence, but don’t have enough time to take a road trip through Tuscany, I recommend you to take a walk around the city and visit its most important tourist attractions, and if you have another day to spare, then you can choose another place in the surroundings of Florence. I’ve chosen the best 4 places to visit around Florence that are easy to reach by train (or car) and definitely worth exploring.
Best 4 places to visit around Florence Italy – Siena
Siena is one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Italy, with an absolutely wonderful historical centre (which has become part of the UNESCO Heritage), and one of the oldest universities in Europe. The city lies in the heart of Tuscany, making it both an important stop on a road trip and an excellent idea for a day trip from Florence.
Getting to Siena
Siena is easily reached by train. The train journey will take between 1 and 2 hours. One way ticket will cost 9,5 euro/way. However, if you travel by car, you have to take into account that the centre of Siena is pedestrianised and that there are many areas with restricted traffic. Thus, you will have to park your car outside the city walls.
The price for an hour of parking is 2 euro. Here you can find a map of cheap parking in Siena. We parked in the Parcheggio su strada Porta Tufi, before the entrance to the old town.
What can you do and see in Siena?
Siena Cathedral – it’s an architectural gem in Gothic style. Construction of the cathedral began in the 12th century and work on its façade was completed in 1380. The interior of the cathedral is open to the public.
Piazza del Campo – is the central square of the city and is undoubtedly the most beautiful place in Siena. Piazza del Campo is the picnic spot of the locals, and if you want to mingle with them, just grab a pannino from a nearby patisserie and enjoy the surrounding buildings, the sun and the energy of the place. Piazza del Campo is also home to the Palazzo Publico (Town Hall), whose tower – Torre di Mangia – offers fabulous views.
Take a stroll through the streets of the ‘centro storico’. The best way to enjoy Siena is to stroll around the city, discovering streets steeped in history, stopping for gelato and ending up in small piazzas.
La Vita e Belle in Arezzo, and if you’ve seen the famous movie “Life is Beautiful” even once, then the image below is not exactly foreign to you. The director and lead actor of La Vita e Belle, Roberto Begnini, was born in a small town in the province of Arezzo, and part of the action of the film was shot right on the streets of the city of arts. In fact, Arezzo isn’t called the city of the arts for no reason. Two of the great Italian painters were born there: Michelangelo and Girogio Vasari.
Getting to Arezzo
Arezzo is 70 km from Florence, making it an excellent destination for a day trip. Arezzo is easily reached by train, the journey takes on average one hour and costs 7-8 euro. If you travel by car, I recommend the Eden car park (Viale Luca Signorelli 14), where an hour’s parking costs 1.5 euro.
What can you do and see in Arezzo?
- Piazza Grande
- The Dome of Arezzo
- Basilica di San Francisco
- Vasari House
As one of the most picturesque towns in Italy, it’s really no wonder that San Giminagno is on every tourist’s list when visiting Tuscany. Nestled in the Tuscan hills, San Gimignano boasts one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval centres, which has earned the town a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. So, if you have an extra day (although ideally you’d like to stay overnight), you might consider a day trip to San Gimignano.
Getting to San Giminagno
By train to Poggibonsi – S. Gimignano (7.90 euro/trip), and then by local bus to the centre.
Most European low-cost flights land at Pisa airport, and if you’re going to be in the area, perhaps you should pay a visit to the famous leaning tower. The truth is, the tower is pretty much the only reason to visit this little town.
About the Tower of Pisa: Twelve years after the foundation stone was laid, on 9 August 1173, when the construction had reached the third floor, due to the poor quality of the soil, made up of clay mud and sand, the tower began to lean in a south-easterly direction.
For a hundred years construction was halted. The next four floors were built obliquely to compensate for the leaning part. After that, construction had to be stopped again until 1372, when the bell-tower was completed. Today the tower tilts 3.97 degrees from its vertical axis, which is about 4 metres. The main reason for this feature is the special geology of the area: Pisa lies on a sandy and clayey soil, which has little support for structures.
Getting to and from Pisa
Once you’ve taken a creative photo of the tower, you can take a train straight to Florence from Pisa’s central train station. In this situation, the train is the most convenient way to get from Pisa to Florence.A journey takes 50 minutes and costs 8,70 euro.
Best 4 places to visit around Florence Italy
These are the 4 places near Florence that you could visit on your trip through Tuscany. If you can only choose just one town, my recommendation is Arezzo as it is easy and quick to get there from Florence. However, if you have more time or if you are planning a week-long holiday in Tuscany, you can also add to your list: Val d’Orcia, the villages of the Chanti region or even a culinary experience in the Emilia Romagna region (Modena and Bologna). It all depends on the time you have available.
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