Description

    The rolling hills of Tuscany are home to sprawling vineyards, charming medieval hill towns and enchanting cities steeped in history, culture and legend. Discover them for yourself on this relaxing sojourn into the Italian countryside. Visit Florence, Siena, Pisa and San Gimignano. Sample cheese at the farm where it is made. Partake in a Tuscan cooking class. Savor a seven-night stay in Montecatini Terme, the famous resort and spa town. Enjoy free time to explore the cultural treasures of Florence, including Michelangelo’s “David.” Discover the charming town of Lucca, Italy’s best-kept secret. Learn about the heroic deeds of WWII at remains of the Gothic Line and visit the Museum of Liberation. Enjoy fabulous local wines and the region’s famous cuisine. This is Tuscany as you always imagined it.

    • Itinerary Type : Standard

    • Activity Level : 4


    • Number of Days:9

    • Number of Meals:10

    • Hotels:Hotel Ercolini and Savi (Montecatini Terme)

    • Experiences:Step to the front of the line to see Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. See the Gothic Line, one of the Germans’ last lines of defense during WWII. Visit the Museum of Liberation and see WWII fortifications and bunkers.

    • Must Sees:Stay in the famous spa resort town of Montecatini Terme for seven nights! Journey to Florence for a tour of the "Cradle of the Italian Renaissance." Stop in the medieval city of Lucca, encircled by 16th-century walls.

    • Culinaries:Sample delectable wines during a wine tasting in the Chianti region. Spend time at a cheese farm to taste flavorful pecorino cheese.

    Itinerary (8  days)

    • 1

      Montecatini Terme, Italy - Tour Begins

      Your tour opens in the famous spa resort town of Montecatini Terme, nestled in the heart of the rolling hills of Tuscany. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers during a welcome dinner where regional foods and Italian wines kick off your adventure.

    • 2

      Florence

      A cultural tour in the “Cradle of the Italian Renaissance” showcases the beautiful city of Florence. Join a local Florentine guide who highlights many of the city’s priceless treasures including a visit to the Academy Gallery* – housing Michelangelo’s monumental statue of David. At the Piazza del Duomo, the center of religious life in medieval Florence, see the impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the gilded bronze doors of the Baptistery dedicated to St. John. Take the remainder of your day to explore this unparalleled city as you choose. En route to the hotel, visit a family-owned leather shop and learn the traditional Italian techniques of leather making.

    • 3

      Lucca - Borgo a Mozzano - Gothic Line

      Set out on a guided visit to Lucca, Tuscany’s best-kept secret. Renaissance walls, Romanesque churches, medieval streets flanked by towers, and delightful squares are just some of Lucca’s charms. Visit the medieval Basilica di San Frediano. Its otherwise simple façade is adorned with a colorful 13th-century mosaic. Enjoy some time to explore at your own pace. Then set off for Borgo a Mozzano to see the remarkable Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge). Continue on to the Gothic Line. Built by the Germans, it was one of their last lines of defense during WWII. We will visit the Museum of Liberation and see the actual fortifications and bunkers.

    • 4

      Pisa

      Explore the many historic sites in the ancient maritime Republic of Pisa including the Piazza dei Miracoli, or “Field of Miracles” (UNESCO). Keep your camera handy during our stop at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. You probably won’t be able to resist taking a picture that makes it appear as if you are holding this iconic structure up. Visit the Baptistery, the largest in all of Italy. This impressive building of Romanesque and Gothic architecture is known for its perfect acoustics. This evening we travel to the quiet countryside to learn the secrets of traditional Tuscan cuisine. Partake in a cooking class featuring a bounty of local ingredients and culinary techniques that have been passed down for generations. Then sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor during dinner.

    • 5

      Siena

      Welcome to Siena. Discover this charming town with a local guide. Embark on a walking tour through its narrow Gothic streets. Take in stunning palaces, mansions and the historic Piazza del Campo along the way. Then, it’s your choice! Explore Siena's beautiful Gothic cathedral at your own pace -OR- join your guide to get to know local life in a contrada (neighborhood). Next we make our way to a Tuscan winery and meet the people behind some of Chianti‘s finest wines. Learn from experts as you savor a selection of the local varieties. You’ll also learn about the art of winemaking and the process of making olive oil.

    • 6

      Montecatini Terme

      The day is yours to relax and experience the local flavor. Take this opportunity to shop at the local boutiques and dine at one of the many fine local restaurants. Or, perhaps you will choose an optional excursion to Cinque Terre with its rugged coastline dotted with terraced vineyards; explore its string of fishing villages nestled between the mountains and the Mediterranean.

    • 7

      San Gimignano - Cheese Farm Visit

      Begin the day traveling to the hilltop village of San Gimignano, one of the most picturesque places in Tuscany. Explore this enchanting medieval town, from its famous 14 towers to its magnificent vistas overlooking the vineyards of Tuscany. Enjoy free time and perhaps indulge in some gelato. Later, enjoy breathtaking views of the Tuscan hills as we make our way to a cheese farm. Learn how the famous pecorino cheese is made before sampling it for yourself. A delightful experience awaits this evening when you attend a Tuscan feast featuring traditional cuisine and savory wines in the magical Tuscan countryside.

    • 8

      Montecatini Terme - Tour Ends

      Your journey comes to a close today. Depart with many fond memories of Tuscany.


    Location


    Highlights


    City

    Montecatini Terme

    Montecatini Terme is a small resort town in the northern part of the Italian region of Tuscany. The town is famous for their thermal spas and many hotels. The first spas were constructed in the late 1700's. Today the town is investing in upgraded facilities and enjoy a renewed interest as a tourist destination. The city center is full of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Locals and tourists alike flock to the streets for an evening stroll.

    City

    Florence

    Florence is the regional capital of Tuscany and home to countless Renaissance masterpieces. The city developed great wealth during the late Middle Ages and was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance that produced great artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, Brunelleschi and many others. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with numerous museums, stunning architecture and charming piazzas. The city offers something for everyone from culture, to great food and excellent shopping (like their famous gold or leather).

    City

    Lucca

    Lucca is a small town in the northwest of Tuscany. The town is famous for its intact city walls that surround the charming pedestrianized city center. The former wealth of the town can be seen in the elegant palaces and large number of churches that can be found throughout the city. Lucca’s Roman heritage is also visible at sites like Piazza dell’Anfiteatro - a series of apartments built on the old Roman arena. Today visitors are also drawn to the number of high quality shops and cafes.

    Attraction

    Gothic Line

    In the waning days of World War II (and after the fall of Rome), German forces made preparations to defend northern Italy. Along the Apennine Mountains, they created a formidable line of defense in an effort to hold back Allied forces. The site of some of the hardest fighting of the Italian campaign, the battles along the Gothic Line helped tie down two German armies. Join us and see the array of bunkers and fortifications along the line and visit the Museum of Liberation. Learn of the heroic deed of Allied forces and Italian partisans. Come away with a new appreciation for those who gave so much in the name of freedom.

    City

    Pisa

    Pisa is home to one of the most recognizable architectural icons of Italy - the Leaning Tower. The city historically was a naval power and rival of Florence. Today the city is focused on tourism, its acclaimed university and light manufacturing. The highlight of the town is the Leaning Tower is one of four monuments built in Pisa’s “Field of Miracles”. The other monuments include Italy’s largest baptistry, a cemetery for Pisan Nobility, and the Cathedral. Visitors can admire the beauty of the Pisan Romanesque architecture and align a photo of themselves holding up the tower.

    Attraction

    Cooking Class

    A cooking class reveals the secrets of traditional Tuscan cuisine. Learn culinary techniques that have been passed down through generations of wonderful cooks, while using the freshest of local ingredients. Later, you’ll get to enjoy your delicious creation for dinner.

    City

    Siena

    The city of Siena is a charming hill town in central Tuscany with a city center that has masterfully preserved its medieval architecture. It radiates out over three hills from its central piazza called Ill Campo which is home to Siena’s famous Palio - a horse race and medieval festival that occurs twice a year. Siena strikes the perfect balance as a city that welcomes the students studying at their university, locals conducting their business and tourists taking in the many sights.

    Attraction

    Choice on Tour

    You can choose to explore the beautiful Siena Cathedral at your own pace -OR- if you prefer, you may join your guide and get to know about local life in a contrada (neighborhood).

    Attraction

    Winery

    The Tuscany region is famous for their wines and home to numerous vineyards. The most well known wine produced in Tuscany is the Chianti wine. Chianti wine can only be produced in a section the country that stretches from Florence to Siena in the heart of Tuscany. Two other great Tuscan wines include the Brunello di Montalcino and the Nobile di Montepulciano, both of which are robust big bodied reds. During a tour of a local winery, guests can learn about the wine making process from vine to bottle, and taste a few samples.

    Attraction

    Cheese Farm

    Pecorino cheese is made from sheep’s milk and is a staple in Italian cooking. Visit a cheese farm in the Tuscan hills to see how this famous cheese is made. Enjoy a sample of the best and freshest pecorino you’ll ever taste before heading out to explore the picturesque hilltop village of San Gimignano.

    City

    San Gimignano

    San Gimignano is a picturesque hill town in the central part of Tuscany. The town developed great wealth in the middle ages and was home to 70 plus medieval towers. Today, only a handful of the towers are still intact, but at least one is open to the public. The hilltop location allows for beautiful panoramic views over the Tuscan Countryside. The town is also home to shops that sell a variety of Tuscan goods from pottery to wine, cheese and wild boar salami.



    * This itinerary is subject to availability and can be cancelled or varied without notice.