Florence is an incredible city in the heart of Italy, but sometimes it's nice to get away from the hustle of a city. The small size of Florence makes it a great place to explore the Tuscany region. If you're done seeing the best things to do in Florence, then it's time to get out and explore the area. Here are seven of the best small towns near Florence worth a visit!
Assisi is a small town located in the underrated province of Umbria in Italy. Like it's much more famous big brother - Tuscany - Umbria offers its visitors beautiful unspoilt towns, scrumptious food to be washed down with locally produced wine and tops it off with a generous sprinkling of Italian hospitality. All this at a fraction of the prices you will find in Tuscany.
The town is known to be the birthplace of Saint Francis (of Assisi), the founder of the Franciscan religion. The little town is therefore unsurprisingly the site of many pilgrimages. The Basilica di San Francesco looks rather unassuming from the outside, but if there is one site you absolutely need to visit it is this Basilica. The interior will have you scrambling to pick up your mouth off the floor and leave you speechless. After your visit head over to Piazza del Comune for a refreshing gelato and indulge in some people watching.
Situated between Florence and Pisa, Pontedera is a quiet destination. It is a bit off the highway and is an easy trip from Florence, Vinci, Lucca, Livorno, and Viareggio. There is easy access to Pontedera from Florence. Take fast trains from Florence to Pontedera that run frequently and take you only 42 minutes to reach there. Also, there are various rail routes to take.
Visiting Pontedera can offer a lot of fun things to do including visiting the Mediterranean beaches that are only ten minutes from here. There are reasons why travelers are starting to love Pontedera. Some of the top things that they love and visitors can do include visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, enjoying private cooking classes at a local's home, attending Pisa Walking tour and more. Travelers can spot the oldest building in town, the Church of the Santissimo Crocifisso that was built in 1272. Some of the other heritages include the clock tower, Elegant Villa Crastan and Piazza Garibaldi.
Using Florence as a base when visiting Tuscany is perfect as you can branch out and visit the most beautiful small towns around the city on a day trip. One of these towns is San Gimignano, a World Heritage Site since 1990 and honestly probably one of the most gorgeous towns in Tuscany.
But the Village has more to offer then just towers. When visiting San Gimignano you have the chance to step back in time whilst enjoying local products, like saffron and its white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Find yourself a place in one of the small restaurants with views overlooking the Tuscan hillsides and feel in paradise. Oh, and not to forget, in the middle of the town is a gourmet and world class ice cream shop. You will find it easily as there is always a queue of people waiting to savour this treat.
A really beautiful small town near Florence is Volterra in Tuscany. This medieval town is located about 80 kilometers from the Tuscan capital and a day trip there is absolutely worthwhile. Somewhat off the typical tourist paths, one experiences a unique flair here and sometimes even feels transported back in time. Particularly beautiful is the medieval old town of Volterra, which towers over 500 meters above the beautiful Tuscan hills. During a walk through the town you will discover really beautiful places und countless photospots.
The town is also known as the Etruscan city, because the history of Volterra goes back to the 4th century BC, when this people settled the region. Even today you can visit archeological sites and remains of Etruscan art in various museums. Later, the Romans settled this historic town, whose Teatro Romano has become an important attraction of Volterra.