So unique. The harmonious, rolling landscapes are the cradle of centuries of history, culture and gastronomy. Winding roads through grain fields and vineyards lead you past Etruscans and Romans, Renaissance and Middle Ages.
This is an experience trip for those who love natural beauty and the genuine art of living, heartwarming hospitality and spontaneous pride. You will be introduced to Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo and Botticelli, as well as charming wine villages and beautiful architecture.
There is a touch of art in everything, not only in Florence's Duomo, but also in the creamy foam of your cappuccino in a cosy piazza. Tuscan gastronomy is also an art in itself. Buon appetito.
Day 1 : Departure to Florence
After you land, pick up your rental car and drive 100 kilometres to the Lucca area, where you will stay in a historic villa. Should you desire, you can visit Prato on the way, with its Cathedral and beautiful frescoes by Filippo or Pistoia, with its medieval 'Piazza del Duomo'.
Day 2 : Pisa and Lucca
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, in the harmonious 'Piazza dei Miracoli', is one of the most visited monuments in the world. The tower, with its sophisticated architect is the campanile of the nearby 'Duomo', with its marble facade and bronze doors. Inside, you can admire the imposing 14th-century pulpit by Pisani. The beautiful octagonal baptistery completes the picture. You continue on to walled Lucca, a very pleasant town with lively squares and with the picturesque 'Via Fillungo', full of quaint shops. Definitely take time for a terrace in the pretty 'Piazza dell' Anfiteatro', built on the remains of a Roman theatre. The imposing city walls with their shady avenues of trees are a great place to walk, cycle or picnic, with a nice view over the city and its surroundings.
Day 3 : Carrara and Pietrasanta
Near Carrara, you can visit the spectacular white marble quarries, where Michelangelo supposedly extracted the marble for his 'David'. On the way back, definitely stop in Pietrasanta, a cosy artists' town with charming shopping streets.
Day 4 : to the Chianti region
You will be expected in this famous wine region where you will stay in the renowned and centrally located Chianti region. If you wish, you can stop briefly in Monteriggioni, a walled city with a spectacular setting and a circular defensive wall with 14 towers.
Day 5 : Siena
'Cor magis tibi Sena pandit', Siena opens its heart to you. So it is written on one of the entrance gates of this delightful, medieval city. Charming streets lead to the stunning 'Piazza del Campo' with its 'Fountain of Joy' and its Gothic 'Palazzo Pubblico', accompanied by the 102m-high 'Torre della Mangia'. There is also the 'Duomo' with sculptures by Michelangelo and Pisano and a beautiful floor of encrusted marble.
Day 6 : San Gimignano and Volterra
Touristy San Gimignano is best known for its tall slender towers that can be seen from far outside the town. Originally there were 72, but today 13 remain standing. No wonder the town is also called the 'New York of the Middle Ages'. The medieval 'Piazza della Cisterna' is named after the 13th-century well in the square. Then drive on to walled Volterra, with its Etruscan museum.
Day 7 : The Chianti villages
Along winding roads and beautiful landscapes, explore the small villages of Castellina, Greve, Radda and Gaiole in Chianti. North of Castellina is the Badia a Passignano, a magnificent abbey founded in 1049. Near Greve, in Montefioralle, Amerigo Vespucci was born, and near Gaiole is the imposing Castello di Brolio. This is where Bettino Ricasoli, a well-known 19th-century politician and oenologist, died. He opened the way for Chianti wine to the rest of the world.
Day 8 : The Crete Senesi and Montepulciano
A long, but wonderful trip, takes you to the enchanting landscapes southeast of Siena! You will drive through the 'Crete Senesi', with its rolling wheat fields, sometimes dotted with poppies. Passing through the village of Asciano and the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, with masterful frescoes, you will head to the 'ideal town' of Pienza. You will finish the day in the Renaissance town of Montepulciano for a glass of Vino Nobile.
Day 9 : to Arezzo area
Today you leave for Arezzo where you will stay for three nights in a small hotel 8 kilometres from the city.
Day 10 : Florence
Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance. Discover the imposing dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the medieval bridge 'Ponte Vecchio' and numerous museums, including Gli Uffizi and the Palazzo della Podestà. Explore the lively centre on foot passing elegant boutiques and pretty squares with terraces.
Day 11 : Arezzo and Cortona
Arezzo boasts its cosy 'Piazza Grande' and the Santa Maria della Pieve church, with its magnificent giving. In the San Francesco Basilica, you can admire a masterpiece by painter Piero della Francesca. Continue to lovely medieval Cortona, featuring unforgettable views of the surrounding area.
Day 12 : Going home
Your trip is over and you drive back to Florence airport where you will catch your plane back home.
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