The world is crazy about Tuscany! During the past decade, this beautiful region, close to Florence, has become one of Europe’s top vacation destinations…and it’s easy to understand why. Visitors can combine the culture of Florence with a visit to a breathtaking countryside where they can visit wineries, take cooking classes, go cycling on the area’s gentle slopes, and enjoy the laid-back country life associated with this area. And, happily, exploring the area can be accomplished in a week or less, making it the ideal trip for those with time constraints.
This trip begins in Florence, which will be your base for exploring this magnificent area. The first few days of the excursion includes plenty of time in the city where the Renaissance began. Enjoy a guided full-day private tour that may include such sights as the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Museum, the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore), the Pitti Palace, the Ponte Vecchio, and Santa Croce. Conclude your stay with free time to explore the city. Dine at some of Italy’s best restaurants and go shopping at the street markets, including the Mercato Centrale or San Lorenzo. If luxury shopping is your aim, there’s plenty of that as well. Head to the “Golden Triangle” – the intersection of Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova and Via Strozzi – for some of the best upscale shopping in the city.
Next, head west towards the towns of Lucca and Pisa. Pisa, of course, is well known for its famous leaning tower, a must-see for anyone visiting the area. But it’s also home to many other notable sights including a number of lovely churches, a royal palace, and several small but excellent museums. On the way back to Florence, you’ll also visit Lucca, famous for its Renaissance-era city walls. Explore the lovely Duomo di San Martino, the ancient Roman amphitheatre, the Ducal Palace, and the Romanesque Church of San Giusto. Enjoy lunch at a local café.
Finally, enjoy excursions to additional Tuscan towns including charming San Gimignano, a small walled medieval hilltown where you can participate in a fun Tuscan cooking class. Also visit Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its medieval cityscape as well as its museums, culinary scene, and twice-yearly Palio medieval horse race; Montalcino, where you can taste marvelous home-grown wines; and Montepulciano, also known for its wonderful wines as well as its local cheese, honey, pork, and lentils.
6 days featuring Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Montalcino and Montepulciano
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