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Florence Railway Station or Hotel
All tours are based on a Saturday to Saturday stay with us tour.
Pick up at Figline Valdarno Station – Click here for more information: www.trenitalia.com
• Check IN: 3.00 pm
• Check OUT: 10.00 am
Contact us if you need advice to reach the pickup point
Your driver will meet you at Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station’s main entrance or from your Hotel and take you to your base for your Tuscan adventure. Your home for the week is a beautiful villa apartment in a traditional Tuscan farmhouse. Located on a working farm with animals, a laundry, wi-fi access, a large swimming pool and a restaurant open for dinner and breakfast, the authentic farmhouse is surrounded by a verdant landscape and began life as a small village. Now 12 private villa apartments, all tour guests will stay in the farmhouse in private rooms with private facilities.
Our journey starts with a trip to two gorgeous towns in the southeast of Tuscany. Driven by our dedicated driver and escorted by our expert tour manager, our first stop will be Arezzo. Originally celebrated for its goldsmith trade, Arezzo is among the region’s wealthiest cities. It sadly lost a great deal of its medieval centre in WWII but still boasts several stunning churches and monuments as well as fascinating museums. The Church of San Francesco is one of the most well-known church in Arezzo. Inside, you will find the Legend of the True Cross, Piero della Francesca’s incredible early Renaissance fresco.
After exploring the city’s historic heart, you will travel up the hill to see the Medici Fortress and Piazza Grande before then experiencing the awe-inspiring cathedral dedicated to San Donato. A trip back down the hill will take you to the Roman Amphitheatre and the Church of San Domenico with its wooden crucifix crafted by the expert hand of Cimabue.
Despite the beauty and historical importance of Arezzo, it is one of Tuscany’s less visited sites. But, if you are lucky enough to be spending a week in Tuscany, we think a trip to Arezzo and its surrounding countryside is a must. With relatively few tourists, you’ll get to experience authentic Tuscany and discover a hidden treasure that helped shape this area of Italy. Your local tour guide will lead you through the rich history of Arezzo until it’s time to break for lunch.
Following lunch, our next port of call will be Anghiari, a small town located around 30 km away near the border with Umbria. Nestled in the Valtiberina Valley between the Tiber and the Arno Rivers and perched atop a stone hill carved by the flow of the Tiber across centuries, Anghiari will leave you utterly enchanted. Protected by impressive walls crafted in the 13th century, Anghiari’s medieval character has remained largely untouched. The town’s rich history is there for all to see as you stroll down its narrow streets and appreciate its quaint stone houses with their charming doors and shutters and flowers hanging from balconies and doorways, lighting the town up with vibrant colour. Considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Anghiari is the recipient of an Orange Flag award from the Italian Touring Club who praise the town as representing a medieval gem.
After you have soaked up the radiance of Anghiari, we will return you to your comfortable lodgings. However, there is always time for wine. So, before reaching the farmhouse we will stop at an authentic Tuscan winery, as extra activity, to sample some of the local Chianti Aretino for the first wine-tasting session of your week with us.
Our first stop on Monday will be San Gimignano, a walled town located between Siena and Florence. Boasting extraordinary architecture and truly astonishing medieval towers, San Gimignano is an impressive and unique destination.
In its heyday, San Gimignano’s noble families built 72 tower houses that soared above the town and valley. Built to represent the wealth and power of the town’s aristocrats, just 14 now remain but they continue to imbue San Gimignano with a distinctly feudal atmosphere.
In fact, such is San Gimignano’s importance that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site way back in 1990. While its history may be what first attracts tourists, its sensational regional produce is why people keep coming back time and again, with Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a local white wine, and saffron being firm favourites.
In the morning, you will be free to explore the town at your leisure and will then enjoy a lunch of the best local produce and a taste of the region’s celebrated white wine at a winery run by a local family.
Following lunch, we will travel to Volterra in the province of Pisa. Near the coast and a close neighbour to Florence and Siena, Volterra is a magical little town that is proud of its Etruscan heritage. Volterra is best-known for what is now considered its strange urban plan, an urban layout that was in fact the order of the day for the Etruscans. The imposing walls built in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.E. to surround the town can still be seen today and include the extremely well-preserved town gates of Porta Diana and Porta all’Arco. Moreover, in Volterra, you will have the extraordinary opportunity to see the foundations of several ancient buildings and two ancient temples in the Acropolis as well as a wealth of Roman ruins, most notably the Roman Theatre dating from the 1st century C.E.
On Tuesday, you will have an important decision to make. You can choose to unwind in the stunning grounds of the farmhouse, or we can chauffeur you to the local railway station from which you will travel by train to Florence and spend the day exploring this glorious city. In addition, in the evening, you can choose to participate in a cookery masterclass taught by a local chef who will help you to create a heavenly evening meal.
Wednesday is dedicated to wine-lovers. On Wednesday, we will visit several wine cellars, wineries and castles where we will learn the history behind the world-famous Chianti. However, it’s not all about the wine. During our various stops you will also be able to sample the exceptional extra virgin olive oil that this region produces.
After tasting Tuscany’s delicious Chianti, we then travel to Greve to visit the region’s most beloved delicatessen and butcher. Here, you can sample and buy the absolute best regional produce Tuscany has to offer.
Dinner at the farmhouse
With your stomach still full of the sumptuous food and wine you will have enjoyed on Wednesday, Thursday is your chance to lay back and unwind with the locals. In the morning, you will be taken to Bagni San Filippo, a stunning natural hot spring outside the town of Bagni San Filippo in the region of Val d’Orcia. Here, you will be able to take some time for yourself and relax in peaceful woodland. As you admire the waterfalls, hot pools and calcium formations that surround you, you will feel that you are entering a new, untroubled world. The first pools you will come across will be shallow and will cool quickly, but as you move deeper into the woods you will discover piping hot water that emerges from the ground at as high a temperature as 48° C. You will also find immense calcium formations and the White Whale, a breath-taking waterfall. Thursday is all about savouring nature and taking time out.
After lunch, we suggest showering at the spa before we move on to Montalcino for wine tasting and a class in Brunello red wine.
We will then return you to the farmhouse for a relaxing Tuscan evening meal at the farmhouse restaurant.
For your final full day with us, your tour manager will escort you to Siena. Even if you are only planning a short trip to Tuscany, you simply cannot miss the sensational city of Siena.
Siena’s heart is its central piazza, called Il Campo. This is where the Palio horse race is held twice every summer (made famous internationally in the horse race scene in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace). Once the home of the Roman forum, the immense Il Campo is located between the three hills the city sits atop. The pavement of the piazza is a beautiful fan design created in brick that represents the cloak of the Virgin Mary spread out to protect the city. The piazza is made up of nine sections, representing the Council of Nine, which ruled over Siena from 1287 to 1355 as a quasi-democratic group. Il Campo was originally constructed from 1297 to 1310 and was rebuilt in 1355. It is still home to the municipal offices of Siena, much in the same way as Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio, with its internal courtyard leading to the Civic Museum and the grand tower overlooking the piazza, the Torre del Mangia. The Torre del Mangia is the tower of the Palazzo Pubblico, a striking red building constructed while the Council of Nine were in power, as was Siena’s Duomo. If you can face the 500 or so steps up the tower, a sensational view of the city awaits you.
Following lunch, we will set off for Monteriggioni, home of one of the region’s biggest and most impressive walled castles. Its structure is extremely well-preserved and appears to have been frozen in time as it continues to sit solidly on a hill, dominating everything below. Monteriggioni is found between Colle Val d’Elsa and Siena and has a perfectly rounded perimeter that is not, in fact, man-made but is the result of the town’s walls being built on the ground’s natural contours. The intact fortified wall features 2 gates, the Franca or Romea Gate, which faces Rome, and the Florentine Gate, which faces Florence, as well as 14 towers used many years ago by the guards who patrolled the wall. After exploring Monteriggioni, we will return you to the farmhouse for one final delicious Tuscan meal at the farmhouse restaurant.
After a delectable breakfast, we will return you safely to Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station for you to continue your onward journey. Your remarkable tour of Tuscany will end here and we will wish you a very fond farewell.
“It was super fun!” My kids’ comments summed it all.
Matteo was a wonderful guide, and had very good knowledge of Tuscany. We had a private day tour tailored for our family. We all enjoyed our natural hot spring bath in Bagni San Filippo. The calcified formation of the water fall was amazingly beautiful, and the water was refreshingly hot and healing. Our kids had so much fun climbing and exploring the different pools. After the hot bath, Matteo drove us to a winery in Montalcino where we were treated to aperitivo paired with different grade of amazing wine. In the process, we learned about wine making. The tour ended with a trip to Montepulciano, a medieval town on top of a hill in Tuscany. The view from the top was spectacular ! Our only wish was that we had a little bit more time in these places, especially the hot spring. Thank you Matteo for a wonderful tour!
Tuscany in early December is captivating and we find ourselves being driven through a countryside of many different shades of green and the trees are still wearing their orange and red autumn leaves. We reach our accommodation at the charming and historic 500 year old stone Tuscan Villa Il Crocicchio, set in a beautiful rural setting of ancient olive groves and winter vineyards and owned by a delightful and friendly family who made us so very welcome.
For the length of our stay we are driven safely through the spellbinding scenery of Tuscany by our charming young tour guide “Oscar” as he takes us to visit many of the hidden gems of the region, while lavishing attention on us and taking special care of us.
We have seen the remains of paintings, artifacts and structures from the time of the Etruscans, we have climbed famous towers of majestic castles to see outstanding panoramic views over the picturesque villages, the rolling countryside and far away snow covered mountains.
We have walked along the cobblestones of tiny narrow streets, through the stunning historical medieval villages with their magnificent stone walls and enchanting buildings as we listened to the Church bells ringing high in the old steeples. The villages perched on olive grove and vineyard covered hills have elegant and modern shops, their windows are adorned with beautiful modern clothes and goods surrounded by pretty Christmas decorations.
We have walked around century old marketplaces with the aroma of roasting chestnuts filling the air as we look at art and craft that has survived through the centuries, we visit a tiny ancient water wheel and a flour mill still operated today in old stone buildings by 5th generation families. We stopped at a most renowned butchery, admiring the rows of hams hanging across the ceiling, the cheeses aging beautifully in a very old cellar and other delicious produce for sale.
We have enjoyed wine tastings and lunches and hearing the stories and secrets of some of the most renowned wine producing dynasties as we toured their ancient cellars, full of the oldest and newest oak casks and some cellars with the latest and greatest technology. We have sampled the most fabulous extra Virginia Olive Oil and tasted real Balsamic Vinegar, so delicious it makes you gasp.
Tuscany’s famous food has been abundant, with the aroma fragrance and flavor being delicious and unique. The chef prepared beautiful meals for us at “Villa Il Crocic