DAY TRIPS & UNCONVENTIONAL TOURS

Discover the wonders that surround Florence, and visit Florence by bike

Florence is an excellent base to discover Tuscany …. Here are some day trips you can plan.

Classic Chianti or Unusual Chianti?

Chianti: One of Tuscany's best-known areas, stretching between Florence and Siena. The landscape features magnificent rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards. The Chianti road starts in Florence and takes you into the heart of Chianti. This land is the fruit of 3 million years of ever-so slow changes wrought by human hands. Much of the land is natural and farmed by small farmers, now made into wonderful farms specializing in olive oil and wine. As Chianti is one of the world's most famous farming areas, this is where consortia to protect traditional products first started and spread. The most famous of these is Gallo Nero.

Want to visit Chianti in an unusual way? Just choose the means of transportation for you! If you love '50s Italian design and Dolce Vita style, nothing could be better than a Fiat 500 or a Vespa Piaggio Granturismo. Otherwise you might go for a vintage car and the symbol of luxurious Italy — a fiery Ferrari.

If that doesn't do it for you, how about a hot-air balloon ride: A magical, one-of-a-kind experience, flying over the hills of Chianti and discovering the treasures of this land from a whole new perspective. Group or private rides offer an unforgettable experience. Taking off from a farm in Chianti, the ride is about an hour and a half and includes a tasting of prosecco and local cheese. For more information, contact the concierge: info@grandhotelminerva.com

Siena

Siena: (75 km from Florence). Delving into Siena's streets is like taking a journey back through time. Here you can easily travel through Siena's past, as if it had been etched in a Gothic dream. No city matches Siena for having kept the cultural and civil heritage of the Middle Ages alive, with its Palio and 17 "contradas," its art masterpieces, and historical center that is truly an open-air museum. It is worth visiting for more than just its cathedral and main square, Piazza del Campo, and its individual art monuments, as Siena's subtle charm is drawn from its quiet alleys, snaking up and down the three hills over which the city spreads.

Pisa

About 84 km west of Florence, less than an hour by train takes you to one of Italy's most famous squares, the Piazza dei Miracoli (where the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, and the Baptistery make up one of the world's greatest monumental and religious complexes). Just imagine a large field on which giant white marble prisms have been scattered.

Lucca

About 51 km west of Florence, Lucca is a fine jewel tucked within its city walls that has kept the magnificent charm of its monuments intact over the ages. It is as if its bastioned walls kept it from the passage of time, and now it is quiet walkway amidst the green space of the city. Known as the "the city of a hundred churches" with steeples and bell towers wherever you look, including the 44-meter high Tower of Giunigi with seven holm oaks growing on top of it. Be sure to stroll on Lucca's ancient walls encircling the city. They are a pedestrian zone and have convenient bars for have a nice drink at the end of your day

Forte dei Marmi & Pietrasanta

95 km from Florence, Forte dei Marmi is a teeming, sophisticated seaside resort town on the Riviera of Versilia, popular among the international jet set. Forte dei Marmi is famed for its beaches and exclusive bathing establishments, as well as prestigious shops, Michelin star-studded restaurants, and a teeming outdoor market (whose best selling product is cashmere, incidentally). Sunsets here are particularly striking because of the contrast between the white Apuan Alps above the blue sea.

The medieval town of Pietrasanta is a few kilometers from Forte dei Marmi. The town is organized around the Duomo di San Martino (13th–14th century) cathedral and the Church of S. Agostino (no longer used for worship, now a site of major art exhibitions). Pietrasanta has been famed for centuries as a center for marble and bronze work and has become a place for international artists to work, train and meet. For good reason, Botero and Igor Mitoraj chose it as their home in Italy. Their works and those of many other artists are scattered throughout Pietrasanta, making it an enormous outdoor sculpture museum and the town in Italy with the highest concentration of art galleries. If you are interested in spending the summer in one of these lovely places, ask our concierge to book you a stay at our elegant boutique hotel Villa Roma Imperiale.

Bicycle tours

Florence is a flat city and so perfect to ride around on a bicycle to discover its hidden treasures by delving into the historic center's narrow streets. We suggest riding up to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the spectacular view of Florence from the hill above it. Then go down along the Arno across the Ponte Vecchio, and then go by the Duomo and the wonderful square of Santa Maria Novella. For more information, contact the concierge: info@grandhotelminerva.com

Baja Bikes gives daily 3-hour tours to take in all of Florence's important sites.

The app BikeCityGuide helps those who want to discover Florence on their way. Free to download, it includes descriptions of Florence's major monuments. Put in the address you want and you will be guided right to where you want to go.

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