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Tuscany Tours

 

Siena

Siena, like many other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (circa 900BC to 400BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina.

The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in heavily armoured hill-forts. It has been argued that their Pagan society which practiced matrilineal inheritance, and was devoted to their goddesses was one of the reasons why Roman Goddesses such as Diana and, with the arrival of Christianity, the Virgin Mary came to be of such importance to the people of the Italian peninsula. If this is true, it suggests that the Cult of the Virgin which is omnipresent in the fabric of Siena's ancient stones has an origin which is older still.

The Roman origin accounts for the town’s emblem – a she-wolf suckling the infants’ Romulus and Remus. According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, who was in turn the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Statues and other artwork depicting a she-wolf suckling the young twins Romulus and Remus can be seen all over the city of Siena. Other etymologies derive the name from the Etruscan family name "Saina", the Roman family name of the "Saenii", or the Latin word "senex" ("old") or the derived form "seneo", "to be old".

The Palio delle contrade is a horse race held twice each year, in which the horse and rider represent one of the seventeen contrade, city wards. See Palio di Siena for more information.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill-top town in Tuscany, Italy, about a 35 minute drive north-west of Siena and about the same distance southwest of Florence. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture.

In Tuscan medieval walled towns, rich families competed in the erection of high towers, that served as lodgings, fortresses and prestige symbols. Because San Gimignano sits atop a hill the skyline can be seen for several miles outside the town. In medieval and Renaissance times it was a stopping point for pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican.

While in other cities like Bologna or Florence, most or all of the towers have been brought down due to wars, catastrophes or urban renewal, San Gimignano managed to conserve about 15 towers of varying height. The modern town has extended some kilometres out and is no longer affected by this race.

San Gimignano is also famous for its Torture museum, with a display of instruments and devices for torture in various times and places, complete with multi-lingual descriptions of their use.

Lucca

Lucca was the largest Italian city state with a republican constitution ("comune") to remain an independent republic over the centuries - next to Venice, of course. In 1805 Lucca was taken over by Napoleon, who put his sister Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi in charge as Princess of Lucca. After 1815 it became a Bourbon-Parma duchy, then part of Tuscany in 1847 and finally part of the Italian State.

Unusually for cities in the region, the walls around the old town were retained intact as the city expanded and modernized. As the wide walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade ringing the old town although they were used for a number of years in the 20th century for racing cars. They are still fully intact today; each of the four principal sides is lined with a different tree species.

 

Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the bell tower, of the Italian city of Pisa's cathedral.

The tower was intended to stand vertically, but began leaning soon after construction started in August of 1173. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure in Pisa's Campo dei Miracoli (field of Miracles).

The height of the tower is 55.86 m from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m and at the top 2.48 m. Its weight is estimated at 14,500 tonnes. The current inclination is about 5.5 degrees. The tower has 294 steps.

Benito Mussolini ordered the tower returned to a vertical position, so concrete was poured into its foundation. The results were unexpected and sank the tower further into the soft soil.

During World War II, the U.S. army destroyed nearly all towers in Pisa due to the potential threat from snipers. The Leaning Tower was scheduled to be blown up as well; a last-minute order to retreat prevented the destruction.

On February 27, 1964, the government of Italy requested aid in preventing the tower from toppling. A multilateral task force of engineers, mathematicians and historians was assigned and met on the Azores islands to discuss stabilization methods. After over two decades of work on the subject, the tower was closed to the public in January 1990.

After a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts the tower was reopened to the public on December 15, 2001. Many methods were proposed to stabilize the tower including the addition of 800 metric tons of lead counterweights to the raised end of the base. The final solution to correcting the lean was to remove 38 tons of soil from underneath the raised end. The tower has been declared stable for at least another 300 years.

The Borgo Stretto, a neighborhood where one can stroll beneath medieval arcades and the Lungarno, the avenues along the river Arno. It includes the Gothic-Romanesque church of San Michele in Borgo (990). Remarkably, there are at least two other leaning towers in the city, one at the southern end of central Via Santa Maria, the other halfway through the Piagge riverside promenade.

The Medici Palace, once a possession of the Appiano family, who ruled Pisa in 1392-1398. In 1400 the Medici acquired it, and Lorenzo de' Medici soujourned here.

The Palazzo Reale ("Royal Palace"), once of the Caetani patrician family. Here Galileo Galilei showed to Grand Duke of Tuscany the planets he had discovered with his telescope. The edifice was erected in 1559 by Baccio Bandinelli for Cosimo I de Medici, and was later enlarged including other palaces.

Palazzo Gambacorti, a Gothic building of the 14th century, is now the Town hall. The interior shows frescoes boasting Pisa's sea victories.

Museums & Churches :

* Museo dell' Opera del Duomo
* Museo delle Sinopie
* Museo Nazionale di S. Matteo
* Knights' Square (Piazza dei Cavalieri)
* Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri
* Church of 'St. Francis
* Church of San Frediano,
* Church of San Nicola
* Church of Santa Maria della Spina
* Palazzo della Carovana or dei Cavalieri
* Church of San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno

Lucca
Leaning Tower of Pisa
San Gimignano
Chianti
Siena

Tuscany Day Tours from Florence

Join us on a adventure in Tuscany. Private tours can be arranged from any city to any city or location. Scheduled tours only leave from Florence and Rome.

We will customize your day according to your taste and budget.

Day trips includes: private air-conditioning vehicle, and English speaking guide, wine tasting and light lunch.

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San Gimignano

Siena & San Gimignano

A beautiful excursion through the delightful hills of the Chianti countryside, with an ever-changing scenery of vineyards and olive trees as you visit Siena and San Gimignanao

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Excursion to Siena and San Gimignano from Florence

Scheduled Coach Option

Duration: Approx 9hrs

Cost: $66.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guide use the above Inquiry Form

Discover the medieval walled city of Siena and San Gimignano, two of Tuscany's most popular attractions, on a day trip from Florence. With your museum fees and transport taken care of, you can sit back and enjoy your visit to these tucked-away Tuscan hill towns.

Your day trip takes you through the picturesque countryside of the Chianti region, a magical landscape of cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves you'll recognize from Renaissance paintings.

Upon arrival in Siena, a guided tour of the old city centre: walking along the small medieval streets, admiring the splendid palaces, Piazza del Campo one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and ending up at the Cathedral where you can visit the splendid interior including the Libreria Piccolomini and the adjacent Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana.

There will be free time for you to enjoy lunch in Siena (not included).

After lunch, your tour continues to San Gimignano, a tiny city that has survived the centuries. Hilltop San Gimignano is famous for its numerous skyscraper-like towers, frescoes and other art treasures. You will have free time to explore this fascinating city.

On the return journey to Florence, you will see the old medieval village of Monteriggioni, enclosed by its famous still-intact walls.

 

Lucca

Lucca Wine & Villa Tour

Private Tour

The stunning architecture of the villa gardens in the Lucca hills, excellent wines produced by aristocratic ladies, and French grapes harvested in the Tuscan hills.

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Lucca, Villas, & Wine

Tour Code: MT-FLOR-WINE-12
Duration: Full Day
Cost: 275.00€ p/p based on 2

The stunning architecture of the villa gardens in the Lucca hills, excellent wines produced by aristocratic ladies, and French grapes harvested in the Tuscan hills. We offer half and full day guided tours to Lucca wineries by private car or mini-bus. The tour includes wine cellar visits, wine tasting, lunch or a Tuscan snack (merenda). Winery excursions may be scheduled for any date with two days advance notice, and can be conducted in English.

Itinerary :

09:00 Departure from Florence or your location
10:30 Guided visit to the Italian garden in Fattoria Villa Maionchi and wine tasting
13:00 Lunch at restaurant Giulio in Pelleria in Lucca
15:00 Guided visit of Lucca
16:30 Guided visit of Villa Torrigiani in Camigliano

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre Tour

Private Tour

You'll fall in love with Italy's prettiest coastal villages on a small group visit to the Cinque Terre from Florence.

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Cinque Terre Small Group Day Trip from Florence

Duration: Approx 9hrs

Cost: $190.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guided tour use the above Inquiry Form

You've probably heard of the five famous fishing ports of the Cinque Terre. Now's your chance to visit these picture-postcard villages on a personalized small group day trip you’ll treasure.

After driving through Tuscany into Liguria, you'll arrive in Riomaggiore, the first of the Cinque Terre villages. Here, your driver/guide will escort you on an easy walk along the famous Lovers Walk trail, for magnificent coastal views. You're guaranteed to be captivated by the magic and beauty of the Cinque Terre on this relaxing stroll.

Next, you'll visit Manarola to explore the narrow alleys and pretty pastel squares that epitomize the beauty of the Cinque Terre villages. While you’re here, perhaps you’d like to sample the renowned local wines at a cozy wine bar.

From Manarola, your tour continues by boat to Vernazza, arguably the most beautiful of the five villages with its large open harbor, castle and church. Enjoy a relaxing lunch (not included) at one of the open-air restaurants lining the waterfront, or take a stroll through the back streets for splendid views along the coast.

At your final stop of Corniglia, the only village of the Cinque Terre not directly located on the water, enjoy some of the best views of the Cinque Terre, and the opportunity (not included) to taste some of the famous local wine produced in this village since the times of the Romans.

With a maximum group size of eight, and an expert guide/driver to lead the way, you are sure to have a memorable and personal experience on this special day trip to the Cinque Terre.

Miracle Square

Pisa Tour

The Nobile from Montepulciano is one of the outstanding traditional Tuscan wines. Sangiovese, here called prugnolo gentile, combines with canaiolo nero, to produce a masterpiece.

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Scheduled Excursion to Pisa from Florence

Duration: Approx 5 1/2hrs

Cost: $51.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guide use the above Inquiry Form

Expand your stay in Florence with an afternoon visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of Italy’s most popular attractions. With your transport and sightseeing taken care of, you can sit back and enjoy your half-day visit to the famous Renaissance city of Pisa.

After a panoramic drive through the Tuscan countryside, you'll drive along the embankment lining the River Arno into Pisa. Your visit begins with a guided visit of Piazza dei Miracoli, home to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa (exterior visit). This masterpiece of Romanesque art is surrounded by the equally beautiful baptistery (exterior visit) and cathedral (visit inside) an unrivalled masterpiece of Romanesque art constructed between the 11th and 12th centuries.

You will then have free time to explore Pisa on your own. Or perhaps you would like to take a guided walk to Piazza dei Cavalieri with your tour escort, where you will see Scuola Normale, one of the most famous universities in the world. Founded by Napoleon in 1810, the university has been educating students and carrying out research for nearly two centuries.

Pisa Wine Culture Private Tour

Tour Code: MT-TUSC-WINE-13
Duration: Full Day
Cost: 275.00€ pp based on 2

From Boccaccio's native village, Certaldo, along ancient roads to a modern winery producing high-quality wines from French grapes, through the medieval villages of Lari and Castelfalfi, this excursion ends at the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa.

Itinerary :

09:00 Departure from Florence or your location
10:30 Guided visit to Certaldo
11:30 Visit to the winery Villa Pillo and wine tasting
13:00 Lunch at restaurant Il Camino in Gambassi Termi
15:00 Guided visit of the medieval villages of Lari and Castelfalfi
16:00 Guided visit in Miracel Square
04.30 p.m. Return to Florence arriving arround 5:00 pm

florence cantina

Visit Chianti

After a short ride through the city centre of Florence, avoiding the most crowded streets, we finally reach the outskirts of this romantic city and make our way towards the northern part of the famous and charming Chianti wine region.

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Scheduled Excursion to Chianti from Florence

Duration: Approx 5 hrs

Cost: $51.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guide use the above Inquiry Form

Combine wine-tasting and a country drive through magnificent Tuscan landscapes on an afternoon excursion to Chianti. This popular Tuscan region is universally acclaimed for its classic wines and natural beauty. You'll discover a magical world of woods alternating with vines and olive trees, Romanesque churches, medieval farmhouses, Renaissance villas and castles.

A highlight of the tour is your visit to an ancient Tuscan town and one of Chianti's most renowned wine-growing estates. Here, you'll receive insights into the local wine-growing traditions and sample three prestigious wines: Chianti Classico, Chianti Reserve and Vin Santo dessert wine. The wines are accompanied by local traditional snacks.

The wine-tasting tours are carried out in different areas of the Chianti region, and the trip from Florence to Chianti is approximately 40 minutes each way.

 

Chianti Region Wine-Tasting and Dinner Half-Day Trip from Florence

Duration: Approx 8 1/2hrs

Cost: $93.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guide use the above Inquiry Form

Wine-tasting, scenic drives through magnificent Tuscan landscapes and a traditional dinner in Chianti – is there a better way to spend the afternoon in Tuscany? The Tuscan region of Chianti is universally acclaimed for its classic wines and natural beauty. You'll discover a magical world of woods alternating with vines and olive trees, Romanesque churches, medieval farmhouses, Renaissance villas and castles.

On your afternoon tour you'll visit an ancient Tuscan town and one of Chianti's most renowned castle-farm wine-growing estates. Here, you'll receive insights into the local wine-growing traditions and sample three prestigious wines: Chianti Classico, Chianti Reserve and Vin Santo dessert wine. The wines are accompanied by local traditional snacks.

You'll then visit one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in the area, and end the day with a traditional Tuscan dinner (accompanied by excellent Chianti wine) in the magical atmosphere of an old village among the Tuscan hills. Dinner will be held in the open (weather permitting), so please wear suitable clothing.

The tours are carried out in different areas of the Chianti region, and the trip from Florence to Chianti is approximately 40 minutes each way.

 

Small Group Bike Tour to Chianti

After a short ride through the city centre of Florence, avoiding the most crowded streets, we finally reach the outskirts of this romantic city and make our way towards the northern part of the famous and charming Chianti wine region.

Tour Code: MT-FLOR-Bike1
Duration: Full Day
Cost: 75.00€ p/p

Itinerary :

During our ride we will enjoy some nice and challenging uphills, but it’s all worthwhile at the end,as we guarantee stunning views of Florence, of romantic villas, lovely vineyards, splendid olive groves, quiet small country roads, and lots more.

The pace of the tour is very relaxed, we stop several times, to rest, drink, to admire great views of the lovely Chianti region and to enjoy a great genuine lunch.

Our itinerary will take you off the beaten track, so join our great bike tour for a unique experience riding in Tuscany with Florence by Bike!

 

Details :

Distance: 30 km (19 miles)
Difficulty level: Medium
Departure: 9.30 a.m. from our store in Via San Zanobi (Florence)
Arrival: Between 4.00 p.m. and 4.30 p.m.
Bike: 21 speed mountain bikes with or without shocks – hybrid bikes also available on request.

 

Includes:

Included: very well maintained mountain bike, helmet, water bottle (a gift for you at the end of our tour), a full lunch with genuine local dishes (including crystal water, delicious wine, Italian coffee), full time assistance, an expert and supporting English speaking guide, liability insurance.

Olive Tree

Olive Oil Taste & Cook

Visit the heart of the Tuscan oil kingdom in the hills around Impruneta, San Casciano, and Tavarnelle.

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Cooking with Olive Oil

Olive Trees are an ever-present part of the Tuscan landscape. Some trees are 300 years old and have silently followed the history of mankind. In Impruneta the olives are still collected by hand with the help of tall wood ladders leaning against the olive branches. The oil is still stored in enormous terracotta brick jars manufactured in Impruneta.

Group cookery course with dinner and wine tasting on Wednesdays
Filippo or Elena will be your chefs and will introduce you to the traditions of Impruneta cooking, helping you to prepare tasty recipes. During the lesson: some brief comments on choosing the right wines to go with the right foods, introduction to the sensorial analysis of wine. The lessons will be held in farm holiday centres and farms in Impruneta.

Program:

5.00 p.m.: lesson starts, 2/3 hours to prepare the following menu:
Tuscan bread with Impruneta oil
Fresh pasta with seasonal sauce
Peppery stew
Typical Tuscan cake

7.30/8.00 p.m. dinner with tasting of local wines:
2 reds,1 white,1 dessert wine

Price per person: 79.00€ pp

Mercarto

Cooking in Maremma

Maremma is well known for excellent full-bodied and strong wines, notably Morellino di Scansano. The traditional wild boar salami and salsicce, accompanied by hand-made tortelli and tagliatelle, are typical specialties of Maremma cuisine.

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Cook with Concetta

Maremma, in southern coastal Tuscany, is the wildest area in the province. Despite its increasing popularity, it remains well preserved, especially the Uccellina Natural Park (Parco Naturale della Maremma) and the Burano Oasis, protected by the Wild World Fund (WWF) to safeguard the dozen of bird species, some rare, that stop here to build their nests.

Maremma is well known for excellent full-bodied and strong wines, notably Morellino di Scansano. The traditional wild boar salami and salsicce, accompanied by hand-made tortelli and tagliatelle, are typical specialties of Maremma cuisine.

Concetta lives in an isolated house on the Maremma hills along the coast of Capalbio and Chiarone.

She is the owner of a Bar and a Guesthouse, where you can find everything (newspapers, coffee, cigarettes, bread) and you can meet everyone (farm workers and famous writers). She is able to introduce you to the ingredients of the simple Maremma food.

Here is the weeklong program:

Sunday: arrival and accommodation in Concetta's guest house

Monday: excursion to the beach in Chiarone and introduction to program; cooking lesson; dinner

Tuesday: morning free; cooking lesson; dinner

Wednesday: day trip to Manciano, Scansano, and Magliano; visit to the Le Pupille winery and tasting; lunch in a typical Maremma restaurant

Thursday: morning free; cooking lesson; dinner

Friday: bird-watching trip to the Burano Oasi; cooking lesson; dinner

Saturday: departure

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