Day 1 - Florence - guided walking tour with Accademia (David by Michelangelo)
Your very own chauffeur picks you up from Florence station or airport. We start by visiting the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). The Cathedral is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, built in 1436. Its exterior is covered with green, pink and white marble. Our tour guide will explain how its construction took about 150 years. That cathedral has the world's largest brick dome. The bell tower is, in fact, an independent building, designed by Giotto in the Florentine Gothic style. Visit the main sites: Santa Croce, San Lorenzo, Market square, Piazza Repubblica, Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Pitti, Ponte Vecchio and more...Afternoon at leisure for relax. Overnight in Florence.
Day 2 - Pisa & Lucca - Tour in Tuscany
With your personal driver, travel to Pisa. This is a calm and pleasant town recalling the past of the Pisan republic. The river system in Pisa prevented it from declining towards the end of the Roman Empire. We will focus on the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Duomo is a medieval cathedral with massive bronze doors. Its golden ceiling, its medieval pulpit and its black and white marble interior are breathtaking. The round-shaped building nearby is the baptistery, with an octagonal font that contrasts with the large round interior space. The Leaning Tower was the campanile (bell tower for the cathedral). It started leaning shortly after its completion in 1173. It is the world's most famous leaning tower, but there are at least three dozen leaning towers all over the world.
Travel to Lucca. Composers Giacomo Puccini and Luigi Boccherini come from here. Lucca's Renaissance fortifications and gates allow for an interesting walk, commented by our tour guide. The Duomo houses the Holy Face of Lucca, a wooden representation of Christ of the cross, which is the object of an annual procession. Inside admire the incredible Ilaria del Carretto statue by Jacopo della Quercia. We stroll through Lucca's streets. The San Michele in Foro church was built in 1070 Its facade has many sculptures, arcades and blind arcades. Return to Florence in the early afternoon and tine at leisure for relax and shopping.
Day 3 - Versilia a day on the beach! - Tour in Tuscany
Today is a day tour to Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, fashionable seaside resorts. Viareggio is quite a new city by Italian standards: it was founded in the 16th century. Architecture and local customs are hence quite different from other Italian towns. The Liberty style is the Italian equivalent of the Art Nouveau. Each summer, a Puccini festival takes place in Viareggio, in an open-air venue. Puccini's villa is now a museum and can be visited on this tour if you wish. Your driver will offer you to sightsee or, if you prefer, to relax on the beach. After we'll proceed to Forte dei Marmi, a little seaside resort famous for its trendy shops and for the elegance of its palaces. Return to Florence in the afternoon.
Day 4 - Chianti - Siena, & Monteriggioni with lunch and wine tasting - Wine and Art Tour in Tuscany countryside
Today we leave Florence and head to the Chianti wine and olive oil area. Drive to Monteriggioni fortess town in Chianti and to Siena with your driver and the local tour guide. It is the capital of the province of Siena. The historic center of Siena has been declared as the World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The most famous structure of Siena is the main Cathedral or the Duomo. People travel from all parts of the world to have a look at the Duomo of Siena, which houses the works of artists like Nicola Pisano, Ghirlandaio, Ghiberti, Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia. The Piazza del Campo is a shell-shaped structure, which is also a major attraction for the travelers and is famous for hosting horse races. The Palazzo Pubblico is a great work of architecture. The Palazzo Pubblico also houses an important museum of Siena, included the incredible Maestà frescos by Simone Martini and the Buon and Cattivo Governo frescoe by Lorenzetti painters.
Day 5 - Volterra, Le Saline & San Gimignano with lunch and wine tasting - Tuscany Tour
About 30 miles away from the Chianti area lies Volterra, a town with origins back the Neolithic times. The Piazza dei Priori is one of the most attractive in Italy; it features the Palazzo dei Priori, designed in 1239 with a pentagonal tower and a glorious cross-vaulted council hall. The San Vivaldo monastery, in Montaione, was planned by the Franciscans to allow for a pilgrimage without going as far as Jerusalem. Finally, we conclude the day by a visit a new Chianti vineyards, and are introduced to local fines wines.
When in Italy, it is a good idea to travel to th Chianti and the town of San Gimignano. The town dates back to the medieval ages and is small walled. The town of San Gimignano falls in the province of Siena, which is in North-Central Italy. The town is famous for its wine and architecture. San Gimignano is often referred to as ‘the town of towers’, as the town has been able to preserve 14 towers from the medieval times. Time at leisure for visits. Will follow a stop in a little organic typical winery for a guided visit of the cellars and of course a lunch and great wine tasting of different types of Chianti wines.
Day 6 - Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino & Val d'Orcia - Wine and Pecorino Cheese Tour
Today your driver will pick you upand he'll drive you to Pienza. Pienza was rebuilt from a village called Corsignano, which was the birthplace (1405) of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Italian: Enea Silvio Piccolomini), a Renaissance humanist born into an exiled Sienese family, who later became Pope Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town. Intended as a retreat from Rome, it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers. You can visit the main sights as the Duomo, Palazzo Piccolomini, Palazzo Comunale. Don't forget Pienza is also the place where they produce a very good cheese (PECORINO). After that we'll go to Montepulciano, one of the highest of Tuscany hilltop town. The town is encircled by walls and inside the streets are cranned with renaissance-style palazzi and churches but the town is also very well known for its local wine "vino nobile di Montepulciano". At the end we'll drive to Montalcino where the foremost activity is wine producing, as is evident from the number of shops where you can buy the excellent "BRUNELLO". The town, situated on the top of a hill has very narrow, winding and steep streets. The Fortezza (Fortress) was built by Cosimo I in 1571 and you can walk on the ramparts and look at the spectacular view over the countryside. Of course here you'll have a guided visit of a very old winery and taste the famous Brunello wine!
Day 7 - Florence - Shopping or Guided walking tour in Florence
On this last day, depending on the schedule of your flight, you have the opportunity to improve your knowledge of Florence....or simply make the ultimate shopping! We can visit the Palazzo Pitti, an early Renaissance residence of severe style, built by a banker. Nowadays, it is a large museum housing the Palatine Gallery, with over 500 Renaissance paintings by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Rubens, and Pietro da Cortona. At the end of the tour drop-off at Florence airport. Otherwise: shopping at the Fashion Valley Outlets (Prada, Gucci, Armani and more...)
Day 8 - Florence
Your very own chauffeur picks you up from your hotel in Florence to the station or airport.