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 Trenitalia (unless otherwise noted)
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- 13 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
- Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
Day 1 - Arrive Montecatini
Arrive in Florence and transfer on your own to the beautiful Tuscan town of Montecatini, where we stay for seven nights. Meet your Tour Manager and fellow travelers during a welcome dinner at the hotel this evening. Overnight Montecatini. (D)
Day 2 - Montecatini at Leisure
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, D)
Day 3 - 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. Overnight Montecatini. (B, D)
Day 4 - Excursion to Lucca and Pisa
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. A 3-hour 'surrey' bike rental is included to cycle within the city walls of Lucca.
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. Overnight Montecatini. (B, L)
Day 5 – 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. Overnight Montecatini. (B, D)
Day 6 - At Leisure in Montecatini
Today is free explore Montecatini on your own. Stroll the pretty streets, visit the Old Town, indulge in spa treatments or enjoy your hotel’s amenities. Overnight Montecatini. (B)
Day 7 - 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. This evening we enjoy a special farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight Montecatini. (B, D)
Day 8 - Tour Conclusion
Your tour concludes after breakfast. (B)
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.
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.
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