Florence, Pisa, Siena, Chianti, Cinque Terre
FIRST TOUR - FIRST DAY: Best of Renaissance and Medieval Florence Walking Tour. This stimulating, thoroughly comprehensive, guided walking tour starts from the famous San Lorenzo Central market area, teeming with workshops and brightly decorative stalls, which surround the Medici Chapels and the Basilica of San Lorenzo - the church of the Medici family where we visit the elegant cloister, designed by Brunelleschi, the architect of the famous Dome: a green oasis of peace in the heart of the Medici district.
Shortly afterwards we turn into Piazza del Duomo, where the triumphant bulk of the Cathedral greets our eyes with its Dome by Brunelleschi, the Bell Tower by Giotto and the Baptistery of St. John with its Gates of Paradise.
We thread through the medieval quarters where Dante Alighieri and Beatrice Portinari lived, until we come to the road covering the old Roman eastern wall and look up at the Bargello Palace.
Turning westwards, we enter Piazza della Signoria, a great open-air museum, dominated by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio.
Next to it is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important museums in the world.
We then proceed to the picturesque Straw Market to see the famous Porcellino (Little Wild Boar) Fountain.
We then walk down the street that leads to the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), where to be dazzled by the gold and jewels sold in its little medieval shops and where we can admire the Vasari Corridor from outside and enjoy a comprehensive explanation of its history.
After be delighted by the lovely views up and down river, on the south bank, we walk along Via Guicciardini until we emerge into the sloping square that leads up to the enormous Pitti Palace with its six museums, where our tour ends.
SECOND TOUR - SECOND DAY: Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti and Pisa with Lunch in a Chianti Wine Farm, at 07.45 (08.00 - 20.00)
Depart for Siena, driving through the lovely Chianti vineyards, getting there while the town is still immersed in early morning drowsiness; the perfect time of day to wander around the pedestrian-friendly heart of this beautiful hilltop town, drenched in history.
In Siena you will have free time, to stroll through Siena at your own pace, enjoy a drink, while soaking up the sun, or window shop.
A short journey then takes us to a family run wine-farm in the heart of the Tuscan countryside.
Here we shall have a delicious, traditional Tuscan served with typical wines from our region.
After lunch, San Gimignano is only minutes away. Considered one of the most beautiful medieval hilltop towns in Italy, this Unesco World Heritage site is often nicknamed the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” because its famous tall, narrow towers create a skyline that looks a bit like a modern city.
Here you have free time to explore the charming craftsmen’s shops along the cobbled stone streets and small squares, sample an award-winning gelato and thread your way between the town’s famous medieval towers.
From San Gimignano, we drive past hilltop hamlets, or little churches, scattered over some of the most beautiful and enchanting countryside.
The Chianti landscape features in much Tuscan art of the Renaissance and it hasn't changed much since the 14th century.
We finally wind down the hillsides towards the coast, to Pisa, our last destination for the day.
Getting off the coach, we reach the Field of Miracles, a green grass field dominated by the dazzling white buildings of the Cathedral or Duomo, the Tower and the Baptistery - exquisite examples of Pisan Romanesque architecture: the Leaning Tower is almost 56 meters tall (about 183 ft).
Building began in the 1100s but took almost 200 years to complete! You are in one of the most renowned places in the world: revel in it, take creative photographs or wander off down the local streets.
Please note the order of the visit may change
THIRD TOUR- THIRD DAY: Best of Cinque Terre, at 06.45 (07.00 - 19.00)
On this tour you will walk through the villages of the Cinque Terre in one day, admiring and exploring these picturesque small towns.
The Cinque Terre is a beautiful stretch of rugged coast and the only unspoilt part left of the lovely Italian Riviera. It takes its name from the five picturesque fishing villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Cinque Terre have been inaccessible from the land for centuries, isolated by steep mountains and valleys on one side and by the sea itself on the other. Thanks to its isolation, the unspoilt charm of the Cinque Terre is a protected World Heritage Site and a National Park. Led by our knowledgeableguides, you will discover the spectacular coastline.
We first visit the Cinque Terre village of MANAROLA, at the beginning of the famous path “Via dell’Amore” – or lover’s Lane (if accessible to the public)*, a track winding along the cliff-tops, high above the sea.
The visit continues with a short train ride to RIOMAGGIORE where you will have some free time before the lovely boat journey (weather permitting) which take us to MONTEROSSO, which is renowned for its beautiful beach and small craftsmen’s shops. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean or popping into some of the picturesque shops.
In the afternoon, we continue our itinerary by train to VERNAZZA one of the prettiest of all, where we will have free time to sit in one of the cheerful bars and cafés. From Vernazza a train ridetakes us back to La Spezia concluding our Cinque Terre visit, before returning to Florence by coach.
(*) If the “Via dell’Amore” will not be accessible, a longer boat ride will be provided.
Please note that the order of the visits may change