|8 days and 7 nights|
Italy (Montecatini Terme, Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Monteggiori, Siena, Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, Montalcino, Pienza, San Gimignano, Volterra)
Italy (Rome, Florence, Bologna, Pisa)
Day 1 Montecatini Terme
Arrival in afternoon to Montecatini Terme, one of Italy’s most famous SPA towns. Check-in at the hotel, then you are free to relax. Maybe you want to soak up the charming atmosphere of the town. You can take the historic funicular railway up to the town of Montecatini Alto for panoramic views of the area. Dinner and overnight stay in Montecatini Terme.
Day 2 Florence
A full day dedicated to the beautiful city of Florence. We will have a guided tour covering some of the city’s rich history as we pass famous landmarks like the beautiful Piazza della Signoria, the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and more. The rest of the day is at your leisure for self-exploration. Climb the hill to the Church of San Miniato al Monte for wonderful city views or see other important sites like the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important art museums in the world, the Accademia Gallery to admire some of Michelangelo’s works including the famous Statue of David, the Bargello museum, or the Pitti Palace and Boboli gardens. Florence is not only an art city, but also a great
place to indulge in a spot of shopping, so see if you can pick up a bargain among the side streets and markets. To ensure your return to this delightful city, rub the nose of ‘Il Porcellino’, the bronze boar in Mercato Nuovo and throw a few coins into the grating at his feet. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Montecatini Terme.
Day 3 Pisa, Lucca
In the morning we will visit Pisa, former maritime republic, rivaling Genova, Amalfi and Venice. Most of the city’s finest buildings date from the 12th and 13th century, when Pisa controlled Corsica, Sardinia and most of the mainland coast. Since the 15th century the city was governed by Florence, whose Medici rulers reestablished the University of Pisa, where Galileo, Pisa’s most famous native, once taught. In the Piazza dei Miracoli we will find the most important monuments: the Cathedral, a masterpiece of Pisan Romanesque architecture, the Baptistery, the largest in Italy, and, of course, the world-famous Leaning Tower. It took 176 years to complete and began to lean shortly after construction. We continue on to the elegant city of
Lucca completely enclosed by a massive well-preserved wall wide enough to hold small parks and a pedestrian path along the top. We will walk through medieval alleys, Baroque palaces and typical antique dealers street to see the Cathedral, the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and the Piazza Napoleone. Don’t forget to try the local Bucellato, a sweet bread filled with raisins and aniseed. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Montecatini Terme.
Day 4 Monteriggioni, Siena
Today we step back in time visiting Monteriggioni, walled town that has incredibly preserved its intact structure. The visual effect from a distance is quite astonishing. Soak up the medieval atmosphere of this town evoked by Dante Alighieri in his “Divina Comedia” exploring the streets along the castle. We will continue to the historic city of Siena. Our guide will lead you through the city’s history and local culture strolling the streets lined with medieval and Renaisssance palaces to the Piazza del Campo, where the famous Palio horse race is held twice a year. We will visit the outstanding cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque Gothic architecture. Built in black and white marble it boasts works by Donatello, Pinturicchio, Michelangelo and others. During the afternoon you are free to explore as you wish the town, or just enjoy a coffee in the main square. Don’t forget to taste the local typical panforte (fruit cake), perhaps in the long tradition pastry shop of the famous singer Gianna Nannini’s family. Dinner and overnight stay in Siena.
Day 5 Chianti: Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chainti, Brolio Castle
Today we travel through Chianti, a picturesque territory of vineyards, world famous for its wine production. Our first stop is Castellina in Chianti, the most ancient of the Chianti League towns. Walking through this small town dominated by a glowering Rocca fortress you will be amazed at the many historical buildings that belonged to the Florentine and Senese aristocratic families. The next stop is Radda in Chianti, walled town which has preserved its original medieval look with a center dominated by the 15th century Palazzo del Podestà. We will head to the beautiful small village of Gaiole in Chianti and will stop not far, to the Brolio Castle, il Chianti’s quintessential castle where the famous Ricasoli families have produced great wines since the 12th century. The Barone Bettino Ricasoli was the first to create the recipe for what became the wine for the region, the red Chianti wine. We will have a tourof the cellars, of the castle and of its marvellous gardens, followed by tasting session of the famous Chianti wines accompanied by light lunch. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Siena.
Day 6 Orcia Valley: Montalcino, Pienza
Today we’ll travel through the scenic countryside of the Southern Tuscany, Orcia Valley, to the lovely tiny town of Montalcino, whose acclaimed vineyards produce one of the world’s great wines, Brunello di Montalcino. We will have a guided tour of one of the many great wine cellars followed by a wine tasting of Brunello di Montalcino, then will visit the town center. Enjoy your free time strolling through Montalcino narrow streets and picking up a few bottles of fabulous red wine. We will visit the charming town of Pienza, an architectural masterpiece, birthplace of Pope Pius II who ordered the town to be redesigned following the Renaissance principles of the „ideal city”. We will visit the cathedral and will wander through the lovely streets of Pienza with suggestive romantic names: Street of Love, Street of Kiss and Street of Luck. Pienza is known all over Italy also for its Pecorino fragrant, flavorful cheese, which you can sample here. You will have enough free time to enjoy the great shopping in Corso Rossellino or visit the Pope Palace. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Siena.
Day 7 San Gimignano, Volterra
In the morning we head to the walled town of San Gimignano, whose stunning skyline of towers is seen from afar. From the originally 72 towers built by rival nobles during the 13th century, only 13 are left today. We will wander through its cobbled streets and stop in the main squares, Piazza della Cisterna and Piazza del Duomo. You will have some free time, so you may visit the church La Collegiata, as well as the civic museum. You may also climb the big tower, see the fortress, enjoy the great shopping on the San Giovanni and San Matteo streets or simply absorb the fascinating medieval atmosphere of the town. Afterwards we will visit the delightful Etruscan town Volterra, enclosed by intact 12th -century walls. We will stroll along the maze of narrow cobbled streets to the main square. Volterra grew prosperous during medieval times mining alabaster, used to carve intricate artefacts and the craft is still carried on today. During free time you may visit an alabaster museum and drop in an alabaster shop to see an artisan at work, visit the Etruscan Museum, or simply sip a glass of wine absorbing this wonderful ambience. Return for dinner and overnight stay in Siena.
Day 8 Siena
Breakfast and departure for return journey. End of our services.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Florence, Pisa, Siena, Pienza, Val d’Orcia, San Gimignano & Lucca, Chianti, Monteriggioni, Volterra
Accommodation, depending on your option, in good 4* hotels centrally located or 3* not centrally located hotels, double occupancy rooms, as described:
3 night accommodation in hotel in Montecatini Terme on a half-board basis, drinks not included
4 night accommodation in Siena on a half-board basis, drinks not included
Local English speaking guides in Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra. Other languages are available on request.
Guided visit and wine tasting session in Montalcino in Val d’Orcia area
Guided visit and wine tasting accompanied by light lunch at Brolio Castle
Entrances: Cathedral of Pisa, Cathedral of Lucca, Cathedral of Siena
Price does not include
Bus GT for the entire tour with arrival and departure from Rome / Pisa / Florence airport, including all expenses (check point and parking fees, board and lodging for driver)
Please note: Modest dress to enter all churches in Italy, no shorts. Shoulders and knees must be covered.