Highlights of Tuscany
Reveal the true colours of this acclaimed region on a tour of the highlights of Tuscany.
Discover the true colours of this acclaimed region on a tour of the highlights of Tuscany. Ochre and terracotta hill towns linked by winding white roads, interspersed with fields of poppies and sunflowers contrast with the magnificent architecture of the great Renaissance cities.
Highlights and Inclusions
- First Class rail travel unless otherwise described (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar journeys with a light meal and drinks)
- 9 nights' hotel accommodation
- 18 meals, including 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 8 dinners, including a specialty dinner in Chianti and dinner in a local restaurant in Montecatini
- Guided tours of Florence and Siena
- Visit to Castello di Meleto in Chianti, including a cookery demonstration, wine tasting and dinner in the castle
- Sightseeing tour of Pisa
- Excursion to Lucca
- Excursion to San Gimignano
- The services of a professional Tour Manager from start to finish
- Parts of this tour make use of portable audio headsets on guided tours, allowing you to hear your guide clearly wherever in the group you are
Day 1 - International Flight to London
Embark on your transatlantic flight to London from your U.S. gateway. (International flight is not included)
Days 2 & 3 - London to Chambery
Leaving from our St Pancras Departure Office, we board the Eurostar, traveling in Standard Premier Class to Paris, continuing by high-speed TGV to Chambéry, spending the night. On Day 3, we continue to Florence by high-speed rail before changing to a coach for the short transfer to Montecatini where we stay for 7 nights. (Day 2 - D, Day 3 - B, D)
Day 4 - 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 with a nave flanked on both sides by intriguing giant striped columns, constructed from black and white marble. The cathedral boasts statues by Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo as well as a unique and elaborate mosaic floor. Enjoy free time to explore after a guided tour. (B, D)
Day 5 - San Gimignano, cookery & wine in Chianti
Today we take an excursion deep into the heart of the Tuscan countryside, traveling by coach through the undulating ochre-coloured 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 dominating the skyline, visible for miles around, which 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 located 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 6 - 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 metres 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. Tonight we dine in a local restaurant. (B, D)
Day 7 - 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 jewellers' shops.
Your afternoon is free to explore Florence at leisure. Picturesque narrow 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 8 & 9 - Excursion to Pisa & Lucca
This morning we travel by rail (Standard Class) to Lucca - Tuscany's best-kept secret; a place of true beauty that has managed to escape the tourist crowds. 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 marvellous white marble Duomo. The cathedral is often overlooked by tourists who flock to see the bell tower, one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture. Day 9 is free. (Day 8 - B, L, Day 9 - B, D)
Days 10 & 11 - To Turin & home
Leaving Montecatini after breakfast this morning, we travel by coach to Florence, then by high-speed rail to Turin, where we spend the night.
On Day 11 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 10 - B, D, Day 11 - B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
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 rooms have been recently renovated and are elegantly decorated to create a tranquil atmosphere.
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!
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.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|1st September 2019||$3,185||Book Now|
|15th September 2019||$3,105||Book Now|
|22nd September 2019||$3,035||Book Now|
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: Departs 1st September 2019 ($3,185), 15th September 2019 ($3,105), 22nd September 2019 ($3,035)
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