Immerse yourself in the gorgeous scenery and Renaissance splendor of rural Tuscany
About the Tour
Discover the true colors of this acclaimed region on a tour that highlights the beauty of Tuscany. Ochre and terracotta hill towns, linked by winding white roads and pathways lined with cypress trees, contrast with the magnificent architecture of great Renaissance cities.
Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.
- First Class rail travel aboard Eurostar,TGV, Frecciarossa and Trenitalia (unless otherwise noted)
- Hotel accommodations for 9 nights
- 17 meals, including a specialty dinner in Chianti and dinner in local restaurant in Montecatini
- Guided tours of Florence and Siena
- Visit to Castello di Meleto in Chianti, including a cooking demonstration, wine tasting and dinner in the castle
- Sightseeing tour of Pisa
- Excursion to Lucca
- Excursion to San Gimignano
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Days 1-2 - London to Chambéry
Leaving from our St Pancras Departure Office, we board the Eurostar, traveling in Standard Premier Class to Paris, then continuing by high-speed TGV to Chambéry, where we overnight. On Day 2, we continue to Florence by high-speed rail before changing to a coach for the short transfer to Montecatini, where we stay for seven nights. (Day 1 – Eurostar meal, D; Day 2 – B, D)
Day 3 - Siena
Today we travel by coach to beautifully preserved, medieval Siena, a charismatic Tuscan city where steep, narrow streets wind haphazardly through the town, occasionally opening out onto charming piazzas. The city is delightfully traffic free, making it perfect to explore on foot.
Walking among the terracotta-roofed houses, you will frequently stumble across secret squares and hidden back streets, discovering countless small fountains outside tiny community churches. Sights of interest in Siena include the magnificent Duomo, one of Italy's great cathedrals. The cathedral boasts statues by Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo, as well as a unique and elaborate mosaic floor. Perhaps Siena's most famous sight, however, is the incredible Piazza del Campo - a vast, shell-shaped square which plays host to the famous Palio horse race each year and is highly regarded as one of the greatest medieval squares on the continent. Enjoy free time to explore after a guided tour. (B, D)
Day 4 - San Gimignano, cookery and wine in Chianti
Today we take an excursion deep into the heart of the Tuscan countryside, traveling by coach through the undulating ochre-colored hills and past countless lonely farmhouses. Our first destination is charming San Gimignano, a striking walled village with a delightfully rural feel. The village is perhaps best known for the thirteen towers which dominate the skyline, visible for miles around, they were built by competitive Tuscan families in the Middle Ages.
This afternoon we venture deeper into the countryside to Castello di Meleto. Surrounded by fields and vineyards, the property is in the beautiful Chianti region, at the end of a pathway lined with cypress trees and laurel bushes. We enjoy a cookery demonstration using typical Tuscan produce and traditional recipes handed down through the generations, before sampling some of the delicious wines for which the area is justly famous. We enjoy a guided tour before dining in the castle. (B, D)
Day 5 - At leisure in Montecatini
Today is free to explore the attractive spa town of Montecatini. The extravagant 18th century Tettuccio Terme spa is certainly worth a visit, not only for its healing waters but also for its beautiful Liberty architecture.
A small funicular railroad connects Montecatini Terme with Montecatini Alto, the old town located a few hundred meters above, which offers superb views across the rolling hills of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Here you can admire the pretty townhouses, and the imposing churches towering high over the town below, before choosing a restaurant or café to enjoy lunch and soak up the atmosphere. (B)
Day 6 – Florence
A short rail journey (Standard Class) this morning takes us to the beautiful city of Florence - 'the Jewel of the Renaissance'. We enjoy a guided tour of the city's many treasures, including the Duomo with its iconic red-tiled dome, and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio - a 14th century bridge that is home to 43 jewelers’ shops.
Your afternoon is free to explore Florence at leisure. Picturesque labyrinthine streets and squares, including the Piazza della Signoria - the people-watching center of Florence - are only part of the city's charm; much of the beauty of the city is found indoors. One fifth of the world's Renaissance art is kept and displayed in Florence's museums, galleries, churches, monasteries and palaces; many in the Basilica Santa Croce and as many as 1,700 masterpieces in the world-famous Uffizi Gallery. (B, D)
Days 7-8 - Excursion to Pisa and Lucca
This morning we travel by rail (Standard Class) to Lucca - one of Tuscany's best kept secrets and a place of true beauty. Majestic city walls encircle a Roman and medieval heart packed with piazzas, art galleries and tiny churches, all connected by an intricate network of narrow cobbled streets.
A stroll around the wide walkways along the top of the ancient ramparts is an excellent way to discover the true charm of the city, while you can get a bird's eye view from the Guinigi Tower, which has an oak tree growing from its top.
We then enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, before continuing to Pisa, where we have a guided tour that includes the city's beautiful Field of Miracles. Here we see the world-famous Leaning Tower, which began to lean as soon as it was built and was used by Galileo to study gravity, and the marvelous white marble Duomo. The cathedral is a superb example of Romanesque architecture, often overlooked by tourists who flock to see the bell tower.
Day 8 is free to continue exploring Montecatini before we enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel. (Day 7 - B, L; Day 8 - B, D)
Days 9-10 - To Turin and home
Leaving Montecatini, we travel by coach to Florence, then by high-speed rail to Turin, where we spend the night.
On Day 10 we leave Italy behind, traveling by direct TGV to Paris, where we cross the city by coach to board the Eurostar to London. On arrival in the capital, your tour concludes. (Day 9 - B, D; Day 10 - B, Eurostar meal)
Grand Hotel Francia e Quirinale, Montecatini Terme
We stay at the 4-Star Grand Hotel Francia e Quirinale, a traditional Liberty style hotel in the heart of Montecatini Terme, the beautiful Tuscan spa town. Owned and run by the same family for four generations, the Grand Hotel Francia e Quirinale has been offering a warm and friendly welcome for many years. From the delightful front terrace to the elegant lounge decorated with rich tapestries and drapes, and the contemporary bar, there are plenty of areas in which to relax. The hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool (seasonal opening) and sun terrace for the warmer days.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers traveling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service, you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionized train travel and meant that traveling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.
The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially constructed high-speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long-distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
Italy's fastest train, the Frecciarossa runs up to a magnificent top speed of 190mph and offers a slick and punctual service up and down Italy. Translating to the Red Arrow in English, the Frecciarossa is Trenitalia premier rail service, offering four different class with each one providing comfortable seats, capable air-conditioning and superb staff who are helpful and professional.
Originally known as the Italian Eurostar, the Frecciarossa forms up part of Le Frecce, a series of high-speed trains operating up and down the country. These trains are operated by the Ternitalia company and were originally introduced in 1997 as the Eurostar. By 2012, the Italian Eurostar trains were changed into different categories, with Frecciarossa being the fastest and Frecciargento being the second fastest, and the Frecciablanco being the least fast. The Frecciarossa offers Executive, Business, Premium and Standard Class as well as a well-stocked restaurant car.
Connecting the romantic splendor of Italy, crisscrossing its way through Renaissance cities, along the golden coastline, and around ancient volcanoes, Trenitalia is Italy's superb rail network. Featuring an excellent fleet of well-maintained and modern trains, this rail company is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, which is run by the Italian government. Operating regional and national services, Trenitalia prides itself on its punctuality and the huge range of services provided by the operator, several of these which include railroads such as the Frecciarossia, the Frecciargento, and the Frecciblanco services.
Tour Dates & Prices
Register for Free Notification of 2021 Dates & Prices
Enter your details below if you would like to be notified when 2021 dates and prices are available for Highlights of Tuscany.