1. Pisa - for the leaning tower, of course
Getting to Pisa:
Take the train. The rip takes about an hour and requires no transfers. Trains leave from Florence Santa Maria Novella at least twice per hour during the day.
2. Siena - for culture and its cathedral
In the square, there's Fonte Gaia, the biggest decorated fountain in town as well as the Palazzo Comunale and Torre del Mangia. And the Cathedral of Siena is stunning; visit it with the very informative audio visual guide.
Getting to Siena
The bus to Siena leaves many times each day and it takes you there in about an hour. In addition, there are up to 16 trains per day traveling to Siena.
3. Lucca - for religion and relaxation
Getting to Lucca
There are trains every hour from Firenze Santa Maria Novella station to Lucca. The trip takes about an hour and 15 minutes.
4. Cortona - Olives, food, and wine
Getting to Cortona:
Florence has regular trains running to Cortona. The journey takes only 90 minutes. Within Cortona, the bus service is very efficient.
5. San Gimignano - Charming town full of towers
Getting to San Gimignano:
A 1 hour bus ride is the easiest way from Florence to San Gimignano. There are no convenient trains.
6. Barga - Nature and outdoors
The adoptive home of the poet Giovanni Pascoli should be visited slowly, step by step, in order to explore all its charming alleys and hidden corners. If you are a foodie you should definitely try the local dishes (trout, served fried with potatoes). And if you love outdoor activities, this is a great destination since it gives you the chance to enjoy trekking, mountain biking, horse riding and trout fishing.
Getting to Barga:
From Florence, trains run via Lucca to Gallicano which is 5 miles outside Barga. But it is a 2.5 hour long journey from Florence, so you can also consider visiting Barga when you are visiting Pisa and Lucca.
7. Arezzo - Museums, monuments, churches
There are frequent trains from Florence, and the trip takes only 30 minutes.
8. Viareggio - Day trip by the sea
Trains from Santa Maria Novella in Florence
With a rich history, great culture, interesting traditions and lovely sea views, Livorno is a charming Italian town. Check out Terrazza Mascagni, a terrace made by 34.800 black and white tiles, and the Acquario di Livorno, containing more than 2000 animals of 300 different species.
Also, visit the Cisternone, a large building made by Pasquale Poccianti, containing an emergency water supply in case the water pipes of the city broke down.
Trains are the best option from Florence.
10. Casentino - Nature, outdoors, food
The Casentino region is famous for its history and traditions. Visit a small village called Consuma and try the local snack, the schiacciata, absolutely delicious. Then pass through Pratovecchio and see Pieve di Romena and its charming Castello. In Pratovecchio, there's the entrance to a great natural park, Parco Nazionale del Casentino, the perfect place for people who want to get in touch with nature.
The area is full of beautiful lakes such as Lago di Ridracoli and degli Idoli, and imposing hills and mountains, starting with the tallest, Mount Falterona. You can also take a trip to Poppi afterwards, and visit the local zoo.
Personally, I think the best way to enjoy Casentino is to spend your time wandering around, admiring the landscape and getting lost in nature. You can even have a picnic in the shade of centenary trees.
It takes a little over an hour to Consuma from Florence by bus or train.
All cities in Tuscany, such as Lucca, Pisa, Livorno, Siena can be visited in just one day.
If you don’t have a car, you’ll be bound to visit only these big cities. If you have a car and it’s a sunny day, you could consider going in Chianti as a day trip. Tasty food, wonderful countryside and sweet wine. Could you ask for more?
Otherwise, in summer, you could head for the seaside. In this case, you should consider going to one of the islands of the “Arcipelago Toscano”. The shores are amazing in Giglio Island (this island is well-known because of the infamous shipwreck of the Costa Concordia) and you can really enjoy snorkelling there. It’s a really tiny island and you can have a wonderful day trip there!