Epic Day Trips from Pisa to Tuscany Region

Pisa is one of the top destinations in Italy and has an international Airport. But, what else can you see near Pisa without spending much time on the road?

Tuscany is always very popular for summer destinations. By all means, it is one of the most beautiful areas in Italy because of many hilltop towns, cypress-lined trees, wineries, and arts. Besides, abundant sunshine throughout the year and beautiful sandy beaches along the Italian coast also boost many outdoor activities.

The following day trips from Pisa to the Tuscany region can be a reference for the travel planning. I managed to see nine places during my 9-day summer trip to Tuscany. All of them are within 90 minutes of traveling time from Pisa. And, most have train and bus connections. Of course, you could also join one organized tour to explore several places in one day.

Pisa, Italy

Day trips from Pisa

Here is the list of my suggested day trips from Pisa. Each of these destinations has its unique features.

  • Lucca, a walled town features music festival and Comics & Games event
  • Pietrasanta, a less-known place for contemporary arts
  • Carrara, with a rich marble history, marble culture, and many marble products
  • Monteriggioni, a well-protected medieval wall and famous for its medieval festival.
  • Siena, the heart of Tuscany with unique medieval brick buildings
  • Castellina in Chianti, wine region and wine tasting
  • Volterra, the alabaster city dated back to its Etruscan era
  • Serravalle Pistoiese, an underrated town between Lucca and Florence
  • San Gimignano, a medieval walled town with 14 monumental towers
  • Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance with many art galleries and museums

Lucca

Lucca, located on a plain at the foot of Apuan Alp, is one of the charming cities in Tuscany. It doesn’t attract so many tourists like the other cities, for example, Florence. But it has many interesting facts that the other cities don’t have. Things such as the music festival, churches, streets on the city wall, local food events are the major attractions. Besides, it is also the birthplace of the famous Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini.

Things to do and to see:

  • The layouts of the streets and squares
  • The Clock Tower, the tallest tower in Lucca
  • Garden on the rooftop of the Guinigi Tower
  • Cycling route on the medieval walls
  • Casa di Puccini, the house of the opera composer
  • Churches with richly arcaded façades
  • The Comics & Games event
  • Music festival
Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, Lucca, Tuscany; day trips from Pisa

Pietrasanta

Pietrasanta lies a few kilometres away from Forte Dei Marmi, the Ligurian beach area. It has its origins in the Middle Ages and was founded in 1255 by Guiscardo da Pietrasanta, the leader of Lucca, and was the ancient capital of the Medici headquarters in Versilia. Over the centuries, it has become a town with more than 20,000 inhabitants.

Things to do and to see:

  • Historic buildings in the centre of Pietrasanta
  • Centre of Bars and restaurants
  • Streets of art galleries and boutiques
  • Bozzetti Museum and Sketches Museum
Palazzo Moroni in Pietrasanta; Day trips from Pisa

Carrara

Carrara is a city famous for its world finest white or blue-grey marble. The primary stone has been extracting from the quarries since Roman times. Houses, palaces, churches, street types of furniture, portals, windows, and staircases in Carrara use marbles as materials. Join a Carrara marble tour, and you will have a great view of the Apuan Alps and discover the history of the production and manufacturing of the white and flawless marble.

Things to do and to see:

  • Many things made of marbles, benches, statues, sculptures, pavement, fountains – and of course the main cathedral.
  • I Salotti (Palazzo del Medico)
  • Driving along the marble route
  • Marble Duomo Cathedral, 12th century
  • Palazzo Cybo-Malaspina, panoramic views of the city and landscape can be seen here
  • Museo del Marmo
  • People watching in Piazza Alberica
  • Tasting the local specialty Lard
  • Visiting Colonnata, a town for marble diggers
A gorgeous view of marble mountains along the marble route

Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni represents one of the most important walled castles in the territory. We had a short visit to this village on the way to Siena during our Liguria and Tuscany summer trip. It is also easily reachable from Florence.

Things to do and to see:

  • The circular layout of the fortification
  • The towers and gates
  • Church of Santa Maria Assunta
  • Museum Monteriggioni in Arme
  • The intact walls
  • Monteriggioni Medieval festival
Old walls of the medieval walled village Monteriggioni, Italy; Day trips from Pisa

Siena

Siena is located in the heart of Tuscany. Its unique medieval brick buildings make the city distinguished among other Tuscany cities. The Gothic town hall, the shell-shaped central square Piazza del Campo, Torre del Mangia, and many other buildings are very impressive. Enclosed by the city walls and gates, these buildings form a medieval old town centre.

Things to do and to see:

  • Capella della Madonna del Rosario
  • Palazzo del Capitano
  • Siena Duomo Complex
  • Siena Baptistery of San Giovanni
  • Museo dell’Opera
  • Piazza del Campo
  • Fonte Gaia, the engineering miracle of Siena
  • Torre del Mangia
  • Walk the city walls
  • Stroll around the back street behind the squares
  • Palio, the Horse Race in Siena
Torre del Mangia in Siena, Tuscany; Day trips from Pisa

Castellina in Chianti

Castellina in Chianti is one of the most important ancient towns between Florence and Siena. It is in the heart of Chianti vineyards and between the valleys of the ArbiaPesa, and Elsa rivers. Therefore, this small town is known as the capital of Chianti.

Things to do and to see:

  • Via delle Volte
  • Church of San Salvatore
  • Taste a glass of wine at enoteca (wine bar)
  • The fortress of Castellina in Chianti
  • Museo Archeologico di Chianti Senese
Chianti countryside, Tuscany; Day trips from Pisa
 

Volterra

Volterra is a charming medieval hilltop town situated in the province of Pisa. It is also not far from Florence, Siena, and the coast. Being the alabaster city, it houses an Alabaster Museum, the eco-museum of Alabaster, a charming place displaying over 300 works of art in alabaster stone. Apart from that, It is well known for its Etruscan origins as well.

Things to do and to see:

  • Visit Piazza dei Priori
  • Chiesa di San Lino, its rich paintings on the ceiling
  • Visit the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta) and Baptistery
  • The Guarnacci Etruscan Museum
  • The Etruscan Walls and Gates
  • Roam around the Etruscan Acropolis
  • Medicean Fortress and Porta a Selci
  • Admire the Roman Amphitheater and its Archaeological Area
  • The Pinacoteca – Art Gallery
  • Discovering Alabaster stone and its Ecomuseum
  • Participate in the main food events in Volterra, the showcases of local produce such as cheese, white truffles, olive oil, and chocolate.

Serravalle Pistoiese

Serravalle Pistoiese is located next to the major road which links Lucca and Florence. Therefore, its is a nice day trip destination from both cities as well as from  Pisa. It is a small community and many might have never heard of it. However, it has many interesting monuments, some churches, towers, and the medieval castle Rocca Nuova. In fact, it is a very good location to explore the surrounding.

Things to do and to see:

  • Pieve di Santo Stefano
  • San Michele Arcangelo’s church
  • The Rocca Nuova fortress
  • an Informative tourist office
Arched walkway in Serravalle Pistoiese; Day trips from Pisa,

San Gimignano

San Gimignano in southern Tuscany is a charming walled hilltop town. It is about halfway between Florence and Siena. San Gimignano is not only famous for its fascinating medieval architecture but also towers that rise above all the other buildings. Besides, these towers offer an impressive view of the city and the surrounding valley. As the town was about a day’s trek to Siena or Florence in the Middle Ages, it was a good stopover for pilgrims en route from those cities to Rome.

Things to do and to see:

  • Movie sets in San Gimignano
  • Triangular Piazza Della Cisterna and Piazza Duomo
  • Fourteen Towers (the highest tower, Torre Grossa)
  • Local products (truffle, ice cream, Burrata cheese, etc.)
  • The Museum of Sacred Art
  • The Museo della Tortura di San Gimignano
  • Museo del Vino Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Piazza Duomo in San Gimignano, Tuscany; Day trips from Pisa

Florence

Florence is the capital city of Tuscany. It is the birthplace of the Renaissance and the most populous city in Tuscany. Flea and street markets, numerous art galleries and museums, historic walking areas, shopping places, food, and drinks are all sites and attractions.

Things to do and to see:

  • Uffizi Galleries
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Duomo – Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • Museum Accademia Gallery
  • Museums Basilica di Santa Croce
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • Cupola del Brunelleschi
  • Campanile di Giotto
  • Ponte Vecchi
  • Battistero di San Giovanni
  • Museo Nazionale del Bargell
Bridge in Florence, Day trips from Pisa

Where to stay in Pisa

Pisa has plenty of hotels, and many are within less than one kilometre from the centre. For example:

How to get there

  • The nearest Airport is the Galileo Galilei International Airport of Pisa, about one kilometre from the city centre.
  • Pisa is reachable by train from cities, such as Florence, Livorno, Rome, Genoa, Siena, and Lucca. The two main train stations are the San Rossore Station (close located to the Piazza del Duomo) and the Pisa Central Station, where busses transport their passengers to the city centre.
  • There are plenty of buses which link the main cities and towns to Pisa, including Rome and Florence. The intercity bus station in Pisa is in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, close to the Central Station.
  • From Florence, before entering SS1 Aurelia, you follow either the A11 Florence-Mare Motorway or the Florence-Pisa-Livorno expressway to Pisa. There is a large parking place close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

30 Comments

  1. I was in Pisa for 1 day and Florence for 1 day when I visited Rome. The region, actually infact, whole of Italy is so so gorgeous. I need to head to Italy again.
    Monteriggioni and Siena would be my top picks for the medieval history associated with it. I wouldn’t miss Chianti, being a wine lover!
    Volterra’s alabaster frescoes sound very interesting. I need to check that out too!

  2. I love the history and culture that oozes all over Italy. In every city, there is an endless amount of amazement to witness. On my next trip to the Tuscany region, you’ve inspired me to visit Siena and Castellina. I love wine and would love to spend a month touring the vineyards in the Castellina. I’d also love to learn more about medieval architecture and art in Siena, another romantic getaway!

  3. This is such a thorough and well rounded list!I love visiting walled cities, so Monteriggioni and San Gimignano stood out to me the most, but I would love to visit all of these cities and sample all the local foods in these cities. But my first step is to get myself to Pisa!

  4. I’ve always wanted to visit Pisa! I personally love driving so that wouldn’t bother me too much. I would love to do just about everything on your list but the foodie events in Volterra are especially enticing!

  5. You’ve listed some lovely day trips from Pisa. I’ve not explored nearly enough of Tuscany, and after reading this, I’ve got a list of a few new places to explore. Volterra and San Gimignano sound particularly charming.

  6. Such a great part of Italy. I’d love to go back and see a bit more of the area. I thought Sienna was fantastic, so much history is such a beautiful old town.

  7. Boohoo! I did Pisa as a day trip. Wish it were other way around coz I can see how much I missed out on. Loved the sound of Pietrasanta – so much of heritage to see there. I even liked the description of Carrara, I bet all these places would not have been as crowded as Pisa.

  8. Wow! I had no idea there is so much to do and see in Pisa. I love to check out their local wine. A wine tasting tour sounds wonderful. Also, it would be nice too to experience one of their music festivals. Do you have any idea the dates/ month that they have this?

  9. I’m hoping to get to Italy soon and this gave me so many good ideas. Italy is the one place where I feel completely overwhelmed in terms of planning because there is SO MUCH and where do you start? I like that this guide is comprehensive and easy to follow and it’s so well organized!

  10. Pisa reminds me of the Leaning Tower of Pisa! But now I find that there are much more to Pisa than it. This is such a detailed guide about the places around the Tuscany region. I would love to explore Monteriggioni, Chianti and Siena. Infact, I would love to explore them all!

  11. Mama Mia , what a great post ! Loved every bit of it . It is so detailed . When it comes to Pisa , all I can think of is leaning tower of Pisa . But the place has so much more to see . A must visit place . I am planning a visit to Italy soon . This is definitely on my mind now .

  12. Italy is so beautiful. Tuscany has been on my list for so long. Heard so much about the music festivals at Lucca. Would love to take a day tour to Lucca for the music festival and Comics event.

  13. What a great post! I love day trips and it’s one of my favorite things to do while traveling, just because you get to experience and see so much more! Lucca is WONDERFUL! So gorgeous and I would love to go back. The first time I visited Italy, I went to a little town called Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and it was so quaint. I spent quite some time there and got to know the locals quite well, so I’m very fond of the area. It was very close to Lucca too! I’m definitely saving this post!

  14. I have been to all of these except Pietrasanta and Carrara! I lived in Florence 13 years ago for one year, and then spent a month in Lucca a few years ago-and liked to get on the train or rent a car and just go wherever I could within an hour or 2. I love discovering so much more in a region than most people ever take the time to see. Good list!

  15. We live half the year on the north-eastern side of Italy, but have traveled to Tuscany a few times. Saying that, we’ve not yet visited Pisa (can you believe it) so it’s still somewhere I’d like to visit. I love Siena, it’s probably my favorite duomo in Italy!

  16. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy, especially in the Tuscany region. As for the tours you described, Lucca seems to be the most fitting (for me anyway) with the music festivals and cycling. Volterra and Florence are close seconds! Hopefully, I’ll be able to put your guide to good use in the future (definitely saving it).

  17. I have been to Pisa and Florence twice and have not visited any of these cities yet! I planned to both times but didn’t make it. I did take a day trip along Cinque Terre. There is so much to see and do in Tuscany and never enough time!

  18. I’ve been to Pisa and it was really crowded! The only other day trip I’ve been to is Florence. I wish I’d gone more off the beaten path and checked out some of your suggestions. Carrara sounds like it would be a beautiful place for photos with all the marble!

  19. I would love to visit Florence and Luca. They seem like such amazing destinations. I think I would need to visit longer than a day though

  20. My husband and I were actually just in Tuscany not too long ago. We saw Florence and a couple of other small towns. We definitely want to go back someday. It’s just too charming!!

  21. Tuscany is one of my favourite regions in Italy. I have been to a couple of these places but clearly need to head back for more. I would definitely love to visit Siena.

  22. I’ve always loved the appeal of Italy. I have always wanted to see Pisa. It’s a wonderful piece of architecture, and I’ve always been interested in the lean!

  23. This is wonderful! I have visited Rome twice, and Venice but never ventured out to these areas. Chianti must be wonderful, specially because I am a huge pan of the wine.

    1. Hi Jen,

      You should not miss the wine tasting tour. It was pity for us to miss out this activity. But we tried several during our dinners. We would like to go back and stay in the area for a couple days.

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