There are some absolutely stunning little towns in Tuscany, a very short distance from Florence, that are rarely visited and explored by people not wanting the leave the comfort of a bigger city. Some of the gorgeous cities that are well worth a visit are places like Sienna, San Gimignano, Volterra, and a personal favourite of mine, Lucca.
Around 75km, or about an hour and a half on a train from Florence will see you in this picture-perfect little town that is still enclosed by enormous Renaissance-era walls (which you can actually walk on for an amazing view!). Lucca is perfect for a day trip from Florence, for a quiet interlude to an otherwise busy and exciting city. There are literally dozens of churches to see (each more beautiful than the next), but some other points of interest are:
– The Guinigi Tower, with it’s rooftop garden
– Piazza Napoleone, particularly if you’re there in winter to enjoy the ice-skating rink
– The Clock Tower, from which you’ll have a breath-taking view of the city
– The botanical gardens, Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca
– The Ducal Palace
Also, just wonder the streets with a camera handy – it’s a seriously beautiful city, the people are lovely and will help you out with directions and lunch recommendations as much as the language barrier will allow! For only a few dollars on a train ticket and a few hours of travel from Florence, it’s the perfect way to spend a day in Tuscany 🙂