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Day Trips

How to Spend One Day in Florence

Published on September 10, 2013 12:16 PM | Comments

September 10th, 2013: Ellen wrote this nearly 8 years ago - I am updating it with some fresh links and some new dining tips (at the end). If you see a "note:" or "tip" that is also something that has been updated.

My brother emailed and said he has a friend who's taking the train from Rome to Florence for the day. She was looking for suggestions about the best way to spend one day in Florence, where to go, where to eat, etc. Here's what I said:

It's hard to give advice to someone I don't know because I don't know what type of traveller they are, but if it was me I would:

baptistry-at-night.jpg1) take the 10 minute walk from the train station to the Duomo. Here you could: a) go into the cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), b) climb to the top of the Dome, c) climb to the top of the Campanile or d) go into the Baptistry (above) --- my choice would be to go into the Baptistry which is just beautiful with bronze doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti (note: you need a ticket for the Baptistry - info on tickets, hours, prices etc. for the Baptistry and the rest of the Duomo complex is here).

Fiat 500 Touring Club, Florence

Published on March 18, 2013 6:43 PM | Comments

The HQ of the Fiat 500 Touring Club was right around the corner from our old apartment on Via dei Neri. This is a really cool and fun thing to do for a day, and the Fiat 500 Touring Club is the original (and best!) Fiat tour in Florence:

Highlights of this tour include:

  • 5-hour Fiat 500 self-drive tour from Florence, focusing on world-class Tuscan wines
  • Keep in contact with your guide via radio as you drive through the picturesque countryside
  • Visit a 15th-century Renaissance villa and wine estate in the heart of Tuscany
  • Choose between two different wine tours, sampling famous Chianti Classico wines on both
  • Meet a local winemaker and stomp your own grapes (winemaking experience option only)
  • Explore the grounds, vineyards and cellars while sampling several locally produced wines (wine-tasting option only)

And here is a great video showing what your day may be like from Flip Florence:

500 Touring Club, Florence from Flip Florence on Vimeo.

Tuscany In One Day Tour

Published on February 28, 2013 5:28 PM | Comments


This is a very popular tour of Tuscany, especially if you are spending time in Florence and don't want to drive or deal with public transportation. It is a full day, including lunch. You see a lot, and also have the option to climb the Tower of Pisa:

"Meet your local guide before heading for the hills on a scenic drive through Monteriggioni. Your first stop for the day is gothic Siena, famous for its medieval streets. Choose to join a guided tour through the city(free entry inside the Cathedral is included). Or, alternatively, you're free to marvel the sights of Siena at your own pace, enjoy a drink in an open air cafe and meet the locals.

Enjoy an escorted stroll among Chianti vineyards, olive groves and wine cellars before indulging in a traditional Tuscan lunch amongst the Sienese hills where Chianti wine is produced. Surrounded by grapes vines you'll have the opportunity to meet fellow travelers while feasting on local foods including cold meats, salads, pasta and bread. A wine-tasting class will be held during lunch including free samples of wine, honey and olive oil (which are also available for purchase).

After lunch you will visit San Gimignano where you can roam the maze of cobbled streets and small squares, grab a gelato and walk between San Gimignano's famous 14 towers. Your final stop is Pisa, where you can take an up-close inspection of The Leaning Tower, view the Cathedral, the Baptistery and monumental Cemetery in Pisa before venturing back to Florence where your full-day tour concludes.

Want to skip the long lines at the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
Upgrade to the Tour & Leaning Tower of Pisa option and you'll receive pre-booked entrance tickets. Go to the front of the queue at the Leaning Tower of Pisa without having to wait in line and experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to climb the world's most titled tower. Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps over 7 floors. The climb will take approximately 30-minutes."

Florence & Tuscany Bike Tours

Published on February 27, 2013 10:31 AM | Comments

Bike tours, both in the center of Florence and in the countryside of Tuscany and the Chianti hills seem to have exploded in popularity in the last few years. Perhaps it is mix of affordability and doing something that is good for you that is drawing so many people to this type of tourism. In any case, there are several bike tours from many companies available in Florence, below are a few ideas:




Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence

Published on February 19, 2013 5:48 PM | Comments

I see a lot of questions about visiting the Cinque Terre on various travel forums and websites. This tour seems like the perfect answer: Cinque Terre Hiking Day Trip from Florence


For a limited time the trip is being offered for $100 a person. Trying to make it there yourself on the train for a day is pretty hectic - I have done it and didn't really have any time to see much once we got there. An excursion like this really makes it worth it if you have your heart set on seeing the Cinque Terre while in Florence.

Genoa Aquarium

Published on August 23, 2010 10:55 PM | Comments

Unless you are simply crazy for fish, sharks, dolphins and aquariums in general, the Genoa Aquarium is probably a little too far to do for a day trip. That being said, it is very good and you can see the whole thing in about 2 hours - so it is not undoable from Florence. However, if you are in or around Genoa, this is a great thing to do, especially for kids. We stopped there today on our way to France (road trip) and had a fantastic visit.

I really enjoyed the difference between the big strong things (Sharks!) and the small fragile ones, like the anemone below (which is viewed and photographed through a magnifying close built into the case of the tank):


A trip to Sillico

Published on February 16, 2010 1:10 PM | Comments

DSC_0297-thumb-200x132-400A little far for a day trip maybe, but perfect for a weekend, here are some photos and a little bit about Sillico, an area known for its chestnuts.

Fattoria Vitticio

Published on March 18, 2007 8:25 PM | Comments

We had a great visit with our friends Jane, Ken and Casey on Saturday in Greve. They live on the property at Fattoria Viticcio, a noted winery and agriturismo. More to come about the day soon -


Tuscan restaurants outside of Florence

Published on February 11, 2007 3:17 PM | Comments

Just came across this good but a little outdated (the prices are given in Lira) list of restaurants that are outside of Florence, with mini-reviews. Most are in the Chianti area, but there a few from other towns.

Certosa del Galluzzo

Published on February 5, 2007 10:55 AM | Comments

The Certosa del Galluzzo is a hill top monastery just outside of Florence - a short drive (out the Porta Romana and follow the Via Senese), or accessible by bus or taxi. The 37 bus used to service this route, but that route seems to have disappeared from the ATAF website - the 36 looks like the one to take now. You will have to walk up the hill (here is a large image of the route).

The monastery has a few monks left and tours are conducted about every half an hour. The collection includes some important works by Pontormo who came here to escape the plague in 1522. Closed for lunch from 11:30 to 3, and in the winter open only afternoons - it is probably best to call ahead for a visit: 055 204 9226



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