Florence with Excursions to Tuscany & Umbria Countryside
Florence, Siena, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Assisi, Perugia
Florence, the religious heart of Italy, will you leave you breathless with its overwhelming abundance of Art. You will be taken to the Accademia Galleria, to view Michaelangelos most important works, the Loggia del Bigallo overlooking Piazza Duomo, the Cathedral with its Brunelleschi dome, the Baptistery of San Giovanni with the Porta del Paradiso (Gates of Paradise) and the elegant Giotto bell tower. The Palazzo degli Uffizi, the museum of the Borgia family collections, one of the most famous art galleries in the world, and admire numerous works of art by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello, Giotto, Cimabue, Masaccio and many others. On to Siena for a guided walking tour of its 13 century streets and squares, then enjoy Tuscany’s famous wines, meats, and cheeses at a local farm. After lunch, San Gimignano is only minutes away. Considered one of the most beautiful medieval hilltop towns in Italy, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Onward to Pisa for chance to view one of the world’s most famous landmarks, it’s Leaning Tower. And then the charming town of Lucca with its distinctive art and Renaissance style surrounded by walls interrupted by beautiful gates and ramparts. Take a pleasant walk on your own along a section of the town walls and enjoy a beautiful view over the roofs, alleys, house-towers, churches and marvelous noble palazzos. Then be led to the old town Centre to see Piazza Anfiteatro, Guinigi tower, St. Martin’s Cathedral and the typical street of antique shops. Enjoy Perugia, Cortona, and a guided tour of Assisi, and end your Ciao Tours semi-escorted tour with a cooking lesson in the heart of Florence; learn how to make real pizza and gelato!
- Private Transfer to and from Florence Airport
- Daily Breakfast
- Private Transfers to all meeting points
- Full day Guided Tour of Florence including entrance to the Academia and Uffizi with a group
- Full day Guided Tour of Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti and Pisa with a group
- Two Wine Tastings
- Full day Guide Tour of Cinque Terre with a group
- Pizza and Gelato Making Cooking Class
- Full day Guided Tour of Cortona, Perugia and Assisi with a group
What's Not Included
Air flights, cities tax, travel insurance, tips, and anything not specifically mentioned in “What’s Included”.
Day 1 - Arrival - Florence
Arrival in Florence & private transfer to hotel.
Day 2 - florence’s best with accademia and uffizi art galleries walking tour
Morning: total immersion in the Accademia Gallery and in the art of Michelangelo to know his most renowned work, the “David”, and other important works of art such as ”Le Prigioni” and ”San Matteo” and the “Palestrina Pietà”. The young Michelangelo carved the David from a huge block of rough marble in three years, creating an imposing sculpture of absolute beauty, an icon of the renaissance model. He depicted a magnificent nude young man at the height of his physical vigor, whose intense expression of strength and courage, which originated from an absolute faith in God, roses as a symbol of power and invincibility of the Florentine Republic at the time of its maximum splendor. Afternoon: The appointment with your guide is in the heart of the historic centre, the splendid gothic Loggia del Bigallo overlooking Piazza Duomo. From here begins your discovery of the amazing complex of monuments that characterize the religious Centre of Florence: the Cathedral with its incredible Brunelleschi dome, the Baptistery of San Giovanni with the Porta del Paradiso (Gates of Paradise) and the elegant Giotto bell tower, the loveliest in all of Italy. The walk continues along lively Via Calzaioli in the heart of the city, where you can admire the imposing and singular Orsanmichele Church, a masterpiece of Florentine gothic art, decorated with shrines with statues of the patron saints of the powerful medieval trade guilds. Then we reach the bustling Mercato della Paglia (Straw Market): don’t forget to rub the nose of the famous “porcellino” (pig) and toss a coin into the fountain to bring you good luck! Continuing on, you can admire the romantic, picturesque Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence, with its renowned jewellery shops. Finally we arrive in Piazza Signoria, one of the most beautiful squares in the world and the political centre of the city. In this true “outdoor museum”, you’ll be amazed as you admire the beautiful Fountain of Neptune with the marvellous and imposing marble statue by Ammannati and then, looking around, the sculptural masterpieces of the Loggia dei Lanzi, including the Cellini’s Perseus and the Gianbologna’s Rape of the Sabines. Dominating all this is the majestic Palazzo Vecchio with its crenellated Arnolfo tower, one of the most famous symbols of Florence that you will be able to admire in all its magnificence. The wonderful prospective of the open gallery of Palazzo degli Uffizi opens onto the square, and in this famous museum where you can admire countless works of art . You can’t leave Florence without visiting one of the most famous art galleries in the world. Here you can admire numerous works of art by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello, Giotto, Cimabue, Masaccio and many others. Among the precious exhibition halls of the Gallery, the most renowned one contains the refined works by Botticelli, amongst which the absolute masterpieces: “Primavera” and “Birth of Venus”. The latter painting, the icon of the museum, represents the allegory of the birth of the goddess emerging from the sea foam and symbolizes the ideal of beauty as an expression of purity and spiritual quality, typical of the Renaissance Neoplatonic.
Day 3 - Siena, San Gimignano, Greve in chianti and Pisa with wine tasting
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. You will be introduced to Siena by a local Guide who will meet you to take you on a guided walking tour, tracing the history of Siena through its 13th century streets and squares, passing the oldest bank in the world, and the Piazza del Campo – site of the famous 600-year-old Palio horse-race, to the spectacular Cathedral. During your free time, 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 lunch of fresh, homemade products straight off the farm, including handmade pasta and homemade cured meats, salad and typical local cheese, all served with plenty of wine from the region: Vernaccia from San Gimignano, Chianti and Vin Santo (dessert wine). 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.
Day 4 - Cinque Terre tour
You will spend an unforgettable day discovering the most impressive Ligurian landscapes. In this area, which has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, earth and sea blend and create a unique landscape. The area consists of eighteen kilometers of rocky coasts with caves, beaches, paths and breathtaking views. The area consists of eighteen kilometers of rocky coasts with caves, beaches, hiking paths and breathtaking views. The tour will take you through the Cinque Terre National Park by train. You will visit Manarola a tiny urban jewel characterized by Genoese style ‘case-torri’; Vernazza, overlooked by the remains of a Medieval castle with a cylindrical tower; Riomaggiore dating back to the 13th century, famous for its wine and its typical narrow streets and Monterosso, known as the ‘pearl of Cinque Terre’, an ancient fishing village with lovely beaches and lush vegetation on the rocks. After lunch you will have the chance to taste the local ‘Limoncino ligure’ in a quaint wine shop. In the afternoon you will have free time for a swim or a walk round the village.
Day 5 - assisi cortona & perugia tour
From a religious pilgrimage site to a famous film setting: join our tour through the rolling green hills of Tuscany and Umbria and discover the artistic jewels of Assisi, Cortona and Perugia. Cortona, a delightful hilltop town of ancient origins bursting with architectural treasures and offering spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. You will immerse yourself in the setting of the famous movie ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, which was filmed in Cortona in 2003. Assisi, San Francesco’s birthplace, stands on the top of a hill overlooking a picturesque valley surrounded by gentle slopes and vineyards. Following San Francesco and Santa Chiara’s footsteps, you will be guided along winding streets and alleyways to the historical and artistic treasures of this Medieval town. In the superb Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, gazing Giotto’s frescoes of San Francesco’s life, you will learn the history of this important spiritual centre. There will be some free time to stroll around and relax in the enchanting atmosphere of this Umbrian jewel. The tour ends in Perugia with the opportunity to stroll through the old town in search of ‘springs and fountains’, ‘beautiful views’, ‘Etruscan walls and doors’, ‘parks and gardens’ through trails that wind between the five historic districts of the city: Porta Sole, Porta Sant’Angelo, Porta Santa Susanna, Eburnea Gate and Porta San Pietro. The city, founded by the Etruscans, is rich in history and monuments, including La Fontana Maggiore, which is one of the main monuments in the city and a crucial example of medieval sculpture, the Etruscan Arch of Augustus, which is the largest monument among Etruscan remains, the gateway of the Etruscan walls, the Palazzo dei Priori and the Rocca Paolina.
Day 6 - pizza & gelato lesson with a famous local chef
Learn how to make two of the most delicious Italian dishes: pizza and ‘gelato’. Meet our chef, learn the techniques and bring home the recipes to impress your family and friends. The class takes place in a 15th Century building, in the heart of Florence. The palace is located in Via Tornabuoni, a fancy street, busy with fashion shops: you will love the location! The chef will start the class by introducing the history of these Italian wonderful creations briefly. After that you will learn how to make the original Italian pizza step by step: you will be taught the tricks for a tender flexible yeast dough as well as for a tasteful, yet light, tomato sauce. Our chef will show you the right way to stretch the dough and you will have the chance to do it yourself. You will make your very own pizza: you will stretch it, sauce it and finally bake it. The result will surely be the best pizza you have ever tasted! After you have become familiar with pizza you will be taught the secrets to make Italian ‘gelato’: you will get to know the basic raw ingredients and how to select the best products. You will learn about the development and application of natural colors, the heating and freezing techniques and how they have different effects on ingredients. You will soon realize how easily you can make these delicious dishes on your own! At the end of the class you will also get a Graduation Certificate!
Day 7 - Departure
Tour concludes with private transfer to Florence Airport or train station.