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The villas and views in the Tuscan countryside surrounding Florence offer memorable day trips and photo opportunities to spare. In fact, Florence is just the largest of a number of notable art cities, quaint towns, and charming villages in Tuscany, several of which are easily reached by public transport for a pleasant day trip.

Day Trips from Florence


The pleasant bus ride to this ancient hilltop enclave offers charming views of Florence and the Arno Valley. Fiesole's most notable landmark is the 3,000-seat, 1st-century-BC Roman theater, home to the Estate Fiesolana performing festival. Fiesole has a semi-rural village feel to it, and is a favorite spot with Florentines seeking respite from the city heat on a sultry summer night.

5 miles north of Florence, Tuscany, 011-39-055-596-1293, www.fiesolemusei.it
Tags: outdoors | day trip | archeology


The still-intact ring of defensive walls that have preserved this city's original character are now a charming 2.5-mile tree-lined promenade providing great views over the town center with its proverbial "one hundred bell towers,” while the peculiar shape of the Medieval Piazza dell'Anfiteatro betrays the Roman amphitheater formerly on this site.

46 miles west of Florence, www.luccaturismo.it
Tags: historic | culture | architecture | day trip


Also known as the Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa's grassy Cathedral Square houses the elegant Cathedral, the ornate Baptistery, and the historic Cemetery, but people flock here for the iconic Leaning Tower. To preserve its precarious stability, only guided groups of up to 30 visitors at a time are allowed to climb the dizzying 294 steps.

65 miles west of Florence, www.pisaturismo.it
Tags: editor pick | historic | art | culture | architecture | day trip

Poggio a Caiano

Built by Giuliano da Sangallo for Lorenzo il Magnifico, this is arguably the most beautiful Medici villa, set in extensive grounds. The main Hall is splendidly frescoed by the likes of Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo. Admission is free and there are escorted tours for both the Villa and the Museum of Still Life Painting.

11 miles west of Florence, 011-39-055-877-012, www.polomuseale.firenze.it
Tags: historic | outdoors | culture | architecture | day trip


Despite the decline of its textile manufacturing industry, Prato remains Tuscany's richest city. Prato's major landmarks are the cathedral of Santo Stefano with notable frescoes by Filippo Lippi and Paolo Uccello and an external pulpit decorated by Donatello, the 13th-century Castello dell'Imperatore and the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art.

10 miles northwest of Florence, www.prato.turismo.toscana.it
Tags: historic | art | culture | architecture | day trip


If Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance, its arch-rival Siena has always clung to its Medieval heritage. The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo is one of Italy's most beautiful squares, where the historic Palio delle Contrade bareback horse race brings the city to a standstill twice a year (July 2 and August 16).

30 miles south of Florence, 011-39-0577-280-551, www.terresiena.it
Tags: editor pick | art | culture | architecture | history | day trip

Villa Castello

While its interiors are closed to the public, its lovely gardens are open and include a charming, sculpted animal grotto.

19 miles north of Florence, Via di Castello 47, Tuscany,
Tags: outdoors | day trip

Villa Petraia

This famous villa is worth visiting for its medieval tower, 19th-century rooms, and art, including an excellent bronze statue by Ammanati, and outside frescoes depicting Medici family exploits.

19 miles north of Florence, Via della Petraia 40, Tuscany,
Tags: culture | history | day trip | museum

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