Florence and Tuscany

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Tuscany has a timeless familiarity with its iconic Florentine cathedral, with its gently rolling hills dipped in soft morning mist, and country roads lined with cypress trees.

Golden wheat fields, silvery olive groves and green vineyards in manicured rows on the terraced hillsides form a graceful prelude to soul-soaring, medieval hilltop villages, mountain ranges and lush forests in the north, plus a garland of beautiful islands dotted around the southern coast.
Tuscany is a charmed land, blessed equally by the genius of man and nature, and often by the combined efforts of both. Think of the vineyards: rows of green baby vines that manage somehow to march in arrow-straight formation up the gently rolling hillsides, bounded by single files of darker green cypress trees, white roads leading to rust-coloured farmhouses and moss-coated castles, symmetrically rounded hilltops surmounted by little villages so homogeneous they seem to be a single building

Get out, explore, hike, bike, ring your bike bell, as this rousing, postcard-perfect landscape demands!


11 days, 10 nights
(4 nights in Florence, 6 nights in Pienza)


Day 1

Welcome to Florence, Welcome to Tuscany!

We will gather in the lobby to meet our new travel friends and enjoy a welcome cocktail before leaving for a leisurely stroll through the historic streets of Florence with our Outhentico art expert and local guide.

Dinner will be at a very special place: Olio & Convivium, in the historic district of Santo Spirito, one of the lesser crowded touristy areas of the city.

Meals included: dinner


Day 2

Today we’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of Florence with our local art expert and also visit the Academy of Fine Arts (admission tickets included). Lunch will be at Dei Frescobaldi belonging to the famous noble family of wine producers. The rest of the day and dinner are free. Your Outhentico tour guide is on hand for any needs you might have.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch


Day 3

After a hearty breakfast, we are ready for the second day exploring Florence. Today we will visit two of the most charming and lesser known places in town: the Cappella Brancacci and the Galleria Palatina (tickets included). The Brancacci Chapel is the most exquisite and quintessential example of Renaissance Art, as its frescoes, painted by Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi are among the finest of 15th century art. Light lunch at Amblè, a cosy and stylish restaurant, a stone’s throw from the Old Bridge.

In the afternoon we’ll learn how leather garments are made at the very famous Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School). The aperitif in the roof garden of Palazzo Gondi will offer the most beautiful sweeping view over the city. Dinner at Trattoria Vini e Vecchi Sapori.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 4

Today we’ll head west to Lucca, a beautifully-preserved walled town, the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, one of the greatest Italian composers.

Upon arrival, we’ll be met by our local guide and art expert who will show us around.

Lunch at Buca di Sant’Antonio, after which we’ll enjoy a nice, easy bike ride around the massive walls of Lucca (approx 40 min., helmets provided). Back to Florence in time for dinner in a private house where you can get to know some of the locals.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 5

After breakfast and checkout, we head south to the spectacular Val d’Orcia. A stop along the way to taste the gastronomic specialties of Paola Giovanna, who will open her historical mansion to our group. Her family has been living here for 300 years. A nice surprise awaits you on the way to Paola Giovanna, don’t miss it.

After lunch, back on the bus to continue on to Pienza. Upon arrival at our new location, time to unpack and freshen up before gathering again to meet our local guide and art expert in the hall for an orientation tour followed by an aperitif at a very special place on the walls of the town. We can enjoy the sunset under a magical Tuscan sky before heading to dinner at a local trattoria. Pienza is a jewel on the hills of Val d’Orcia. You will be surprised to know that it has been the set of many important movies such as The English Patient, The Gladiator, Zeffirelli’s St. Francis, and many others. Try to find out more! Overnight stay.


Day 6

Today we’ll stay locally and visit the nearby town of Montepulciano. We could call these two days in the Val D’Orcia our “Cinema Tour” as Montepulciano has been featured in numerous US and British movies such as Twilight, A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring Rupert Everett and Michelle Pfeiffer, and the latest historical prime-time TV series, The Medici, starring Dustin Hoffman. A quick tour of the town and then lunch at La Dolce Vita. Back to Pienza in the afternoon. Dinner not included.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch


Day 7

Arezzo will be our destination today. On arriving, we’ll be met by our local guide and art expert and enjoy a walking tour of this medieval town, the birthplace of famous poet, Petrarca. The Academy Award winning film “Life is Beautiful” (starring Roberto Benigni, who won the Oscar in 1999), was filmed here.

We will visit the church of San Francesco with its breathtaking frescoes by Piero della Francesca (the Legend of the True Cross) and then lunch. Back on the bus and a visit to Cortona in the afternoon. ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ by Francis Mayes was shot here and you will be pleased to see that the live version of the town is far better than the one in the movie.  A quick tour of the town and then back to Pienza. Dinner not included.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch


Day 8

Prepare to be amazed! Today we’ll stay locally and visit the small, beautiful towns in the Orcia valley. The walled town of San Qurico will be our first destination. One of the towns along the Pilgrims’ Road, the ‘Via Francigena’, it has an interesting collegiate church with stunningly beautiful Romanesque and early gothic decorations both inside and outside. We’ll enjoy lunch at Bagno Vignoni, a thermal spot the main square of which houses a large pool where first the Romans and then the pilgrims used to bathe.

We continue on to Monticchiello and stop on the way to take pictures of the famous ‘cypress-lined road’ which has almost become the quintessential ‘logo’ of the area, and also of Tuscany. Back to Pienza to enjoy the rest of the day. Dinner not included .

Meals included: breakfast, lunch


Day 9

After a rich breakfast, we’ll enjoy a scenic drive through the stunningly beautiful Tuscan countryside to get to Siena, the town of the Palio. Our local guide and art expert will show us around to allow us to learn more about this Gothic town and admire the famous Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico, Piazza del Duomo and the charming sloping streets running through the old medieval centre.

We’ll visit the Contrada della Selva (aka the Forest quarter), where we can witness the authentic attachment the Sienese have for their contrade.

Lunch at Compagnia dei Vinattieri. In the afternoon you can explore Siena on your own before meeting again for a very special treat: a “noble” aperitif with Countess Pannocchieschi D’Elci. Yes, we are expected at Countess Pannocchieschi’s 13th-century palace facing onto the Piazza del Campo.

Back to Pienza in the late afternoon. Dinner not included.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch


Day 10

Today we will head to another very special place: Villa La Foce, once the home of author and writer Countess Iris Origo.

The Villa was built in the late 15th century as a hostel for pilgrims and merchants travelling along this busy road. In 1924, Antonio and Iris Origo purchased the Villa which gained a new lease on life and became a prosperous farming centre. Iris Origo’s renowned gardens, designed by English landscape architect and designer Cecil Pinsent, are considered today to represent the ideal combination between the natural landscape and 20th-century architecture, a perfect blend of Italian and English traditions and taste.

After La Foce, we’ll visit Fulvio’s Villa just outside Montepulciano for a real Tuscan lunch and an afternoon lazing in the swimming pool. Back to Pienza for an aperitif and farewell dinner.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 11

Breakfast, checkout and private transfer to the Florence airport. Time really flies! Hope we’ll see you again. For now, GRAZIE!

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