What does an itinerary driving from Florence offer? It depends on your wishes and travel plans, as there are multiple breathtaking paths to follow to discover Tuscany (also named “the golden land”). The metropolitan Florence, indeed, looks the ideal set off for your car tour. Definitely a must-see starting point for travelers who are flying from abroad and are looking for a cultural town to start their trip from.
Known for being an avant-garde town, Florence allows you to smartly get to most of the major Tuscan cities by taxi or private car. You can admire the Horti Leonini in San Quirico d’Orcia by driving through the Maremma countryside or do a cultural immersion in the national Pinacoteca of Siena by following directions through the A1 highway. An unrepeatable time discovering the heart of Italy.
Keep on reading to find out more about planning an itinerary driving from Florence along Tuscany, what to consider when renting a car and what to see once arrived.
The Best 7 Days Itinerary Driving from Florence
Haven’t you planned your itinerary driving from Florence to the Tuscan coast yet? Here’s our updated road trip guide for an unforgettable car tour discovering the wonders of the Maremma area.
Day 1: Florence to Siena
Only 52 miles from Florence, the quintessential Siena is absolutely the ideal place for history buffs. Reachable by driving along the A1/E45 highway and SS73, this city offers many surprising spots. Upon your arrival, don’t miss Piazza del Campo and the nearby 87 meters high Torre del Mangia (built during the 14th century), from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
Continue your visit with a tour of the Cathedral of Siena (the entrance ticket costs around 10$), which hosts marvelous works of art such as: the Pulpito by Nicolò Pisano (made in 1268), the oldest stained glass window by D. Buoninsegna (made in 1288) and a S. Giovanni Battista sculpture by Donatello. Take a break by tasting Siena’s pici all’aglione, the ossobuco alla senese or ricciarelli with marzipan and almonds. Conclude your day with a subscription to a 4 hour Tuscan cooking class where you can learn how to cook typical Italian delicacies (with vegan or vegetarian options available) like: pappa al pomodoro, tiramisù and pizza.
Insider tip: Cars are not allowed in the main center. This is why we recommend you to book a place in an adjacent parking lot before your arrival.
Day 2: Siena to San Gimignano
When leaving Siena, after having started your itinerary driving from Florence, it is impossible not to mention the nearby rural San Gimignano. The latter, also called the “Medieval Manhattan” (from italian “la Manhattan del Medioevo”), is accessible by driving through SS674/Tangenziale Ovest di Siena and by taking Colle Val d’Elsa exit up to SP44 (directions to San Gimignano).
Once there, don’t miss the timeless church of San Lorenzo al Ponte (dating back to the 13th century), which hosts multiple frescoes made by Cenno di Francesco di Ser Cenni. For a stay in contact with nature time, go to Parco della Rocca to enjoy the view overlooking the Tuscan vineyards while tasting a fine selection of wines in the adjacent bar. At the end, go back to Piazza della Cisterna and admire the central fountain while eating at the nearby cafés some cantuccini or panpepato. To discover more, book a 2 hour private tour of San Gimignano among Etruscan art and history, vegetation and architecture.
Insider tip: Discover the glamorous Campatelli Museum, which is rich in furniture and portraits from the 19th century and whose ticket includes an astonishing multimedia show full of historical facts about the birth of this city.
Day 3: San Gimignano to Pisa
Heading to western Tuscany, dream more by going to Pisa. Starting from San Gimignano, you will have to drive for 47 miles circa along SP26, SP11, SGC Firenze-Pisa-Livorno up to the UNESCO site exit. After that, an outstanding reality will welcome you.
Start your day by admiring the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa (built in 1173) which is 56 meter high and has more than 294 tales. Continue your visit at the Camposanto Monumentale, a cemetery born to protect sarcophagi and thumbs of famous artists from the Pisana Age. Keep wandering up to the Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta. The latter was designed by Buscheto (a Repubblica Marinara architect), who added Byzantine, classical and Arabic details to it and now hosts decorations with mosaics and bronze treasures. Afterwards, have a local lunch by tasting zuppa alla pisana, spaghetti con arselle or pallette. Add a unique gastronomic time with a Do Eat Better Experience, where local guides will introduce you to the best food tasting of your life while walking along the city.
Insider tip: When visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, don’t forget to book your ticket online (in advance), as due to safety reasons that is the only way to get them.
Day 4: Pisa to the Tuscany Coast
In the middle of your itinerary driving from Florence, live the dolce vita vibes of the Tuscany Coast with its picturesque villages, sandy beaches and crystalline sea. The latter, indeed, is quite easy to get to as you can drive through Firenze-Pisa-Livorno Superstrada, take E80 highway and follow directions to SS323 up to Capalbio, near beauties and more.
After your arrival, it is fundamental to stroll along Castiglione della Pescaia’s shoreline with its adjacent pine forest, the majestic Rocca (from the 15th century) and the crystalline barrier for snorkeling. Alternatively, admire Campiglia di Marittima with its vibrant markets and medieval Rocca di Campiglia over the hill. Take a break by being sun kissed in Capalbio beaches or visit the Museum of Dolls in Suvereto for a huge collection of costumes. Hungry? enjoy the delicate fish stew or the sweet-and-sour wild boar. Burn your calories by booking a bike tour along the seaside from Costa Bianca to the Ghiaie beaches.
Insider tip: If you are looking for a good eating place, we suggest you look for a restaurant next to beach clubs as they offer the highest quality and most delicious seafood of the entire region.
Day 5: Tuscany Coast to Elba Island
Just 13 miles from Piombino,Elba Island is a suggestive earthly paradise, which you can reach by loading your car on the ferry for about 50 minutes. After your landing, start your vacation with a visit to the unique Portoferraio (anciently called “Fabricia”). The latter hosts multiple monumental wonders like: Fortress Falcone, Stella or Tower della Linguella (designed by G.B. Bellucci).
As another option, you can go to Villa dei Mulini or Museum Napoleonico, where visitors can admire works of art, elegant furniture and more belonging to Napoleon. Looking for another reality? Try driving to Porto Azzurro for a joyful nightlife or to Marina di Campo for a one of a kind trekking session. Break time? Taste the local fish soup, risotto with squid ink or the so-called sburrita di baccalà. Conclude your holiday with a kayak ride accompanied by experts to discover La Cala, Cotoncello and other incredible beaches.
Insider tip: for a close view of the coralline barrier, its corals and molluscs stay in Punta Nera. There, you can find multiple kinds of oceanic posidonia (an aquatic plant).
Day 6: Elba Island to Montepulciano
When you go back to Piombino, you can’t miss a stop in Montepulciano. This one, known for its vino nobile (one of the finest red wines of the country) is the ideal destination for rurality enthusiasts. After your arrival, indeed, you can stop at the Cathedral of Montepulciano (designed by I. Scalza), which hosts the Madonna del Pilastro painting (by S. di Pietro) or the B. Aragazzi statue. Not too far from the latter there’s the Church of Sant’Agostino, famous for the adjacent Tower of Pulcinella with a still working clock or the Palazzo Neri-Orselli and its Pinacoteca Cruciani rich in archeological rests and paintings from the florentine, roman or senese tradition up to the 19th century.
Looking for a heavenly lunch to sugar your itinerary driving from Florence? Book a seat at one of the restaurants next to Piazza Grande and ask for a beefsteak florentine style, bread soup and local cheese. Thirsty? opt for a savory tour of Montepulciano’s best wine cellar. There, you will observe how this aged wine is made, drink a glass of the latter (coming directly from oak barrels) and eat an aperitivo made of bruschetta, salami or ricotta cheese.
Insider tip: To see the best view of Montepulciano, head to La Lupaia. There, you’ll find a little hill from where you can admire the entire Tuscan countryside and the wine capital.
Day 7: Montepulciano to Florence
Ending your travel? Don’t leave without having explored Florence. Just 1 hour and 32 minutes from Montepulciano, the towered city offers limitless things to see and events to attend. Be enchanted by the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the entrance ticket costs 45$), famous for its iconic Giotto’s Bell Tower and the dome designed by Brunelleschi. Once there, be enchanted by Piazza di Santa Croce, known for the homonym Santa Croce Basilica, its neo-Gothic facade and the statue representing the poet Dante Alighieri.
End your cultural visit at the Uffizi Gallery rich in works of art made by the greatest artists of all time like: Giotto, Donatello, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci and more. Conclude your Italian experience with a stop at central delicatessens, try a reheated vegetable soup or lampredotto, trippa and drink a Negroni cocktail born in town during the 20th century. Many chefs or gastronomic experts often organize workshops to let travelers learn the art of making pasta, from ravioli to tagliatelle.
Insider tip: Do you know where florentines shop? At the Sant’Ambrogio Market. Each morning, indeed, farmers sell their fresh products. You can find: meat, fish, cheese and others.
Car Rental in Florence
Do you know how to rent a car in Florence? It’s simple and fast. You can choose between multiple kinds of vehicles based on your necessities and plan your trip at the best just by using this online platform or similar on the web. Here’s the requirements for a successful request:
- Be 18 years old or older;
- Have a driving license and a credit/debit card for the payment;
You can get 24/7 support, free cancellation (in most cases) and an advance preventive whenever you need.
Which are the PROs? You will have more flexibility to explore the countryside and nearby main towns. On the other hand, this could be quite expensive considering additional factors like: tolls, petrol or ZTL (especially in the Renaissance capital).
FAQs Itinerary Driving from Florence
How are the Tuscan Roads?
Tuscany roads are surely a work of art. The region, indeed, has more than 248 miles of highways, multiple winding and picturesque provincial streets. Among the most famous, we definitely recommend you drive along SP88 towards Monticchiello and the iconic Via di San Bartolomeo towards Montepulciano.
Is it Difficult to Drive in Tuscany?
Not at all. You might find some traffic during high season (mostly on the Thyrrenian coast), but it will be manageable. Moreover, be aware main towns are provided with ZTL (fundamental to avoid traffic in most of the historic centers).
Are there any Driving Restrictions to Consider?
Yes. You must be at least 18 years old and get a driving license. Here’s the speed limits:
- Urban center (max 30 mph)
- Highway (max 80 mph)
- Tangential and similar (max 68 mph)
- State roads (max 55 mph)
How does the ZTL Work?
ZTL (restricted traffic areas) are a must-consider factor for your road trip. Mostly in Florence and nearby main towns, you can find cameras and signs which only allow specific vehicles to drive along certain streets and times. We advise you to get an authorization from the municipality or to rent an electric car allowed to drive limitless and everywhere.