top of page

Day 1 - This morning we leave Florence behind and make our way to Lucca, located on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps and is less than half an hour from the coast of Versilia. Lucca is one of the most loved cities in all of Tuscany, and a must stop location. Most of the attractions in Lucca surround its ancient history: from the traces of the Roman Amphiteater that can be seen in the shape of the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro to the archeological remains under the 12th century Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata to the various towers and villas from the 12th to 16th centuries. To better explore the city we will have a Flavors of Lucca Food Tour. To live like a local is to eat like a local so will be shown how to drink and dine like they do in Lucca, with a dash of history thrown in along the way. We then make our way to Pisa and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Most people come to Pisa for the Tower, but this is a lovely university town where the Piazza dei Miracoli, or Square of Miracles, where the tower, the cathedral and baptistery form the city's main attraction. The city is also home to more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. After taking some time on your own to explore we make our way to our home in Volterra. Dinner and Overnight Volterra. (B,L,D)

Day 2 - This morning we make our way to the small village of Vinci, in the rolling landscape of vineyards and olive grove between Pistoia and Empoli. Leonardo da Vinci was born here in 1452 and lived here until 1469 when he left for Florence. While here we will visit the 13th century castle which now holds the Museo Leonardino. Here you can see numerous recreations of da Vinci's inventions such as a bicycle, a car, a helicopter, a parachute and a tank and the drawings that inspired the wooden models, along with various pulleys and gears and other contraptions. After you find some lunch on your own we will visit the home Leonardo was born in. We stop for lunch in Pontedera before we make our way back to Volterra, considered to be Tuscany's most underrated hill town. Far fewer people visit here as compared to San Gimignano make it a delight to navigate. The Piazza dei Priori is one of the most impressive town squares in Tuscany and the 13th century Palazzo dei Priori, the oldest town hall in Tuscany. While here we will visit the Roman Theater, Forum, and Baths. Construction started on the Roman Theater in the 1st century BC and behind the theater are remains of Roman Baths dating from the 4th century AD. You will have some time to explore Volterra before we have a Sunset Tour of the city we will take some time to enjoy all the delights of this medieval walled hill town. Dinner on your own in Volteraa. Overnight Volterra. (B,L,D)

Day 3 - This morning we make our way to Siena with a stop in San Gimignano, Tuscany's most famous walled hill town, famous for its medieval architecture and towers that rise above of all the surrounding buildings offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley. We will have a tour of the town and its towers, for which it is known. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. San Gimignano offers visitors the chance to step back in time while enjoying its local products including saffron and its white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. We will experience both saffron and wine with our lunch stop before continuing on to Siena where we will take a Walking Tour of the City. Siena is one of the leading art cities in Tuscany and a place which has managed to preserve carefully its medieval character. Our walking tour will take in the Church of San Domenico, the magnificent palace of Monte dei Paschi Bank, founded in 1472 - the oldest bank in Europe, Piazza del Campo, the Chigi-Saracini Palace and finally the Duomo with its marble pavement made with a startling sequence of 56 marble panels.  Dinner and Overnight Siena. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - This morning we will learn to cook traditional Italian dishes during a Tuscan cooking class in Siena. From homemade pastas to juicy cuts of meat, our professional chef Francesco who will leads us through a combination of family-favorite recipes and time-tested dishes, culminating with a shared meal and excellent wine. We will learn how to prepare a full Tuscan menu of 5 recipes from starter to dessert including  fresh hand made pasta which may include pici, tagliatelle, ravioli and gnocchi, with related condiments. The best part of the day will be eating our creations accompanied by some great wine! Then the rest of the afternoon and evening is free in Siena. You may want to visit the Palazzo Pubblico where you can climb up the over 500 steps will reward you with a wonderful view of Siena and its surroundings. The Museum here offers some of the greatest of Sienese paintings. The Sala del Concistoro houses one of Domenico Beccafumi's best works, ceiling frescoes of allegories on the virtues of Siena's medieval government. But it is the Sala del Mappamondo and the Sale della Pace that hold the palaces's highlights: Simone Martini's huge Maestà and Equestrian Portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano and Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Allegories of Good and Bad Government, once considered the most important cycle of secular paintings of the Middle Ages. There is so much to do and see here that you will be captivated all afternoon. Overnight Siena. (B,L)

 

Day 5 - This afternoon we visit my favorite hill town of Serre di Rapolano, a characteristic small hilltop village surrounded by walls on the border of Crete Senesi to the south of Siena. In ancient times, the village of Serre was famous for its Grancia, an old-style fortified farm/granary, which belonged to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. It was part of many properties the hospital owned in the territory around Siena, you can see it by the emblem of the stairs above the door tells the importance of this institution. Today, this 13th century building hosts a museum that documents the history of the ancient fortified granaries (le Grance) belonging to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala and the ancient working process of producing wine and olive oil. We then make our way to Asciano, a delightful town with Travertine Sidewalks as there is numerous Travertine Caves in this area. You can find some lunch on your own and then have some time to wander and explore. This afternoon we will explore the beautiful area of Crete Senesi in the eastern part of Siena countryside. This area, sometimes referred to as the Desert of Accona, is full of traces of ancient cultures, small medieval towns, local festivals and stunning landscapes. Our first stop will be the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, situated in a beautiful position among a forest of cypresses and oaks. The Abbey was founded in 1313 by Sienese Bernardo Tolomei who retired in this isolated place, property of his family, after he converted to Benedictine order. We then make our way to Pienza to check into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner Overnight near Montepulciano. (B,D)

Day 6 - As we are in the Heart of Tuscany it would only make sense to spend our day visited visiting hill towns most associated with wine and doing some wine tasting! The two famous hill towns associated with wine are Montalcino and Montepulciano. Montalcino is a classic Fairytale Hilltop Town, set within a full circle of fortified walls and watched over by a mighty castle of medieval perfection. This beautiful village is immersed in the breathtaking Val d'Orcia Natural Park, renowned all over the world for the production of its precious Brunello Red Wine. The historical center is dominated by the mighty and imposing fortress built in 1361 and the views from its ramparts are spectacular, stretching towards Monte Amiata, across the Crete to Siena, and across all of the Val d'Orcia. We will have a wine lunch here before making our way to Montepulciano, a medieval town of rare beauty and full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming square and hidden corners. It boasts vast panoramas all over the wonderful Val d'Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys that surround it. Dinner and Overnight near Montepulciano. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - This morning we make our way to Fattoria Bistecca for another Cooking Class with Old Tuscan Recipes'. Ilaria and her family are recreating the recipes and passion of Great Grandmother Dinda and Aunt Anna. Starting with pasta: pici, tagliatelle, pappardelle, gnocchi then an appetizer which will change with the season. We are very lucky because we will get fresh vegetable products from Mama Paola's garden. We will cook panzanella, ribollita, pappa al pomodoro, zucchini flowers and more. The cooking class will include a dessert: tiramisù, cantucci toscana (almond biscuits), zuppa Inglese. The recipes are seasonal using fresh products and we can choose our favourite recipe. The adventure will end at our beautiful table while we are enjoying the meal we have created. This afternoon we visit Lucignano known as the Pearl of the Val di Chiana. This small village represents one of the more extraordinary examples of medieval urban planning for its system of elliptic rings arrived intact over the centuries. As we walk through the narrow streets, between houses of stone and brick, we reach the heart of the village where we find the Square of the Tribunal, which is overlooked by the Town Hall, the Church of St. Francis and the Collegiata. Inside the 13th century Town Hall building is the Museum, the keeper of Lucignano’s Treasures with works of art from the Tuscan Middle Ages and Renaissance. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight near Montepulciano.  (B,L)

Day 8 - This morning we are off to Perugia located in the centre of Italy. The Province of Perugia is Umbria’s largest province with Perugia at the heart of it. The city lies on a hill 1,640 ft above sea level, with the old town spreading all around it, and partly surrounded by Etruscan and Medieval Walls. There are two city walls with the external dating back to the Middle Ages, is still intact for several miles and is marked by several entrances, such as the Cassero di Porta Sant'Angelo. While here we will have a Taste of Perugia Tour. We will stroll through a maze of medieval streets as we taste and sip our way through the capital city of Umbria, Italy's "Green Heart" with over 7 tastings, bites & sips – with locally sourced foods and much more! We will enjoy Umbria's local food and wines, including handmade pasta, truffles, chocolates, cheeses and more as we walk in the footsteps of ancient Etruscans, Roman Emperors, Noble Families and Renaissance Painters. As Perugia is the European Capital of Chocolate, we may have to find some places to do some more sampling before we make our way to our accommodation to get checked in before dinner. Dinner and Overnight. Perugia. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - Overnight Arezzo. (B)

Day 10 - This morning we visit Cortona, a small charming town in the Val di Chiana enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times. We will explore this lovely hill town with our guide where in the heart of Cortona we find the Piazza della Repubblica, with the Palazzo Comunale or town hall building overlooking the square. Various small shops on the main streets of offer local handmade items and gastronomical products. Great red wines are made in the area and the wine bars offer a wide selection. After some exploration on your own we have lunch before returning to Arezzo for a Walking Tour that takes in the historic center and the Church of San Francesco with its frescos by Piero della Francesca, the Pieve Santa Maria Assunta, the Piazza Grande bordered by Vasari's Loggia, the Cathedral Church of San Donato, the Palazzo del Comune and the Church of San Domenico housing a Crucifix by Cimabue. Overnight Arezzo. (B,L,D)

Day 11 - Overnight Greve.

Day 12 - Overnight Greve.

Day 13 - Overnight Greve.

Day 14 - Overnight Florence.

Day 15 - Overnight Florence.

bottom of page