Daily excursions from Florence
VAL D’ORCIA 10 hours
Montepulciano, a former Roman settlement, risen on “Mons Politianus”, owes its present appearance not just to the middle ages but also to the Renaissance, as we see from numerous churches and palaces built by Antonio da Sangallo and by
We begin our visit at the foot of the town, with the sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio. We then reach one of the two town gates from where we start our walking tour towards Piazza Grande, the Duomo, the town hall and Palazzo Nobili Tarugi.
Among foodies Pienza is famous for its fine pecorino cheese. Art lovers, however, will associate this small south tuscan town with Enea Silvio Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II, who asked Bernardo Rossellino to transform his birthplace into an ideal city of the Renaissance.
Our tour begins at the “Porta al Prato.” After the church of the Franciscans we reach the main attraction of Pienza, the “Piazza PIO II” with its cathedral, the town hall and palace of the Piccolomini family. Through small streets we then walk to a nearby vantage point from where you will enjoy the view over a landscape of harsh beauty.
Already in the Etruscan period Montalcino played an important role due to its strategic position, 564 meters high on a hill, which allowed a perfect controll over the river valleys of the Ombrone and Asso. Since 1559 under Florentine government it was quickly forgotten by great politics and acquired an outstanding reputation only recently thanks to the production of one of the finests Italian red wines, the Brunello di Montalcino.
Our guided tour in Montalcino starts at the Rocca, the forteenth century fortress built by Siena. From here we reach Piazza Garibaldi and the Romanesque-Gothic church of Sant Egidio. After visiting the church, we walk to the Piazza del Popolo, dominated by the elongated tower of the former town hall, an elegant loggia and other late medieval buildings. Not far from this is the cathedral, renewed in neoclassical style at the beginning of the nienteenth century.
LUCCA & PISA 8 hours
LUCCA BY BIKE: Our guided bike tour in Lucca starts with an easy ride on top of its impressive city wall, overshadowed by old trees. From this vantage position we enjoy beautiful views of the medieval center and its surrounding landscape. Then we head for the town’s most famous church, the San Martino cathedral (inside visit) and the adjacent Piazza Napoleone. Passing Piazza San Michele – the antique town center of Lucca – we reach The Guinigi Tower and Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Our guided bike tour in Lucca finishes at Piazza S. Frediano with its thirteenth-century mosaic.
Duration: 2 hrs.
Pisa offers definitely more than just a “Leaning Tower”. Three thousand years of history, pioneering science and trendsetting art make Pisa an obligatory stop on every trip in Tuscany.
With our guide, you will discover Pisa’s most important monuments and squares: our walking tour starts with a visit to the world famous Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) with its unrivalled quartet of medieval masterpieces: Leaning Tower, Baptistery, Cathedral (inside visit) and the Campo Santo (inside visit) cemetery. Passing medieval Tower houses we head for Piazza Dante with Pisa’s State University where Galileo Galilei taught. The tour finishes at Piazza dei Cavalieri, the central civic square of medieval Pisa with Italy’s academic showpiece, the Scuola Normale Superiore.
Duration: 2 – 2,5 hrs.
CORTONA & AREZZO 8 hours
Birth place of famous artists as Luca Signorelli and Pietro da Cortona, this hilly town is known also for its “Tuscan Sun Festival”, which beyond its muscial programme includes unique culinary and literary events, wine tastings and art exhibitions. Characterized by its medieval palazzi and small streets Cortona also offers amazing views over and beyond the Valdichiana and to the monte Amiata.
We start our guided tour at the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita. After the visit of the Sanctuary you will take a stroll through the historical center where you will see the house where Pietro da Cortona was born, the church of San Francesco, the piazza della Repubblica, dominated by the medieval Palazzo Comunale, as well as the Palazzo Casali, once the residence of this cortonese nobile family and now seat of the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca. Duration: 2 hrs
Arezzo, town with etruscan roots, birth place of Guido Monaco, Giorgio Vasari, Francesco Petrarca and Leonardo Bruni, seat of the Fiera Antiquaria (Antiques Fair) and of the Giostra del Saracino, a costumed joust, today is best known for the stunning “Leggend of the True Cross,” Piero della Francesca’s fresco cycle for the church of San Francesco.
Our guided walking tour in Arezzo’s historic center encompasses the visit of the church of San Francesco with its frescos by Piero della Francesca, the Pieve Santa Maria Assunta, the Piazza Grande bordered by Vasari’s loggia, the Cathedral, the church of San Donato, the Palazzo del Comune (town hall) and the church of San Domenico housing a Crucifix by Cimabue.
Duration: 2 – 2,5 hrs
SIENA & SAN GIMIGNANO 8 hours
Together with Florence and Pisa, Siena is one of the leading art cities in Tuscany and a place which has managed to preserv carefully its medieval character.
We start our guided tour with a visit to San Domenico, a church much frequented for its venerated relics of Saint Catherine, patron saint of Italy and Europe. Then we head for the magnificent palace of Monte dei Paschi bank, founded in 1472 – the oldest bank in Europe. From there we reach nearby Piazza del Campo, the unrivalled center of vivid city life. Here our guide explains the rules – and tricks!- of the Palio, Siena’s breathtaking bareback horse race. With a stop at the Chigi-Saracini Palace we finally reach the Duomo with its marble pavement made with a startling sequence of 56 marble panels.
Duration: 2-2,5 hrs.
SAN GIMIGNANO URBAN TREKKING: This is real fun! Our itinerary through hilly town streets does not require any special physical preparation and offers a new and entertaining way to get to know the extraordinary beauties of this town with clear air.
On a pleasant walk along the outer town wall you will enjoy amazing views of unrivalled beauty. Together with our guide, you will discover the roots of the names of small streets and alleys in San Gimignano and scrutinize the facades of the town’s magnificent palazzi and churches for their hidden artistic details. On our walk between thousand year-old bricks and an abundant nature you will discover a San Gimignano that is hidden to eyes of a hasty tourist.
CHIANTI 6 to 8 hours
The Chianti region, the famous hilly country between Florence and Siena owes his reputation primarily to the production of excellent wines. Wine growing areas as Greve or Castellina in Chianti are centers in the realm of the Gallo Nero, the quality mark of Chianti wine producers. Outside of vineyards and olive groves, however, the Chianti offers also numerous watercourses, extended oak woods, small villages and impressive fortresses, documents of long lasting struggles for the predominance of this strategically important area.
This varied excursion in the heart of the Chianti region – the Chianti Classico – leads through typical Mediterranean vegetation with strawberry- and fig trees. It passes by vineyards, olive groves, fortresses and the estates of one of the most famous Italian wine growing areas. The tour ends at the enticing piazza of Greve in Chianti, where the shade of arcades invites you to rest or shop for typical Tuscan products.
This day tour is particularly suited to be combined with a wine tasting in the winery of an estate.