Tuscany & Cinque Terre

Culinary Delights and Coastal Gems of Italy

  • Date

    October 1-10, 2020 | Thu / Sat – 10 Days

  • Location

    Florence | La Spezia | Pisa | Vernazza | Monterosso al Mare | San Gimignano | Greve | Siena | Bagno Vignoni | Pienza

Overview

Explore centuries-old art and architecture, visit striking coastal villages, and savor world-class food and wine on this picturesque journey in Italy. Begin in Tuscany’s capital city, Florence, and see Michelangelo’s David and the Uffizi Gallery’s priceless collection. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre — a string of five small villages located on a gorgeous stretch of the Ligurian Riviera. Hear colorful tales of these towns and capture their beauty while on a unique boat tour. See the medieval towers of San Gimignano, and the 12th-century town of Sienna surrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti. Savor a wine and foodie experience at the Castello di Verrazzano, refresh in beneficial waters at Bagno Vignoni, and visit a Renaissance “ideal town” created by Pope Pius II.

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

  • See Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery with Reserved Entry Ticket
  • View outstanding masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery with Reserved Entry Ticket
  • Visit the medieval towns of Greve in Chianti and San Gimignano
  • View Cinque Terre on a narrated boat tour with stops in Vernazza and Monterosso
  • Enjoy the Castello di Verrazzano gardens with wine tasting and lunch
  • Narrated city tours in Florence, Siena, and Pienza
  • See the Leaning Tower of Pisa

PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Roundtrip commercial air from Indianapolis to Florence, Italy
  • Escorted
  • 8 nights accommodations
  • Breakfast daily
  • 2 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Sightseeing and admissions per itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • Hotel baggage handling

NOTE:

PASSPORT REQUIREMENT!

A passport is required to travel to this destination and must be valid for at least six months after your return.

This itinerary includes activities where moderate walking, possibly on uneven terrain, is required. Some of the most unique sightseeing can be restrictive to motorcoaches, especially in historic areas.

Thu, Oct 1: Overnight flight to Florence, Italy.

Fri, Oct 2: Arrive in Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Meet your local guide who will introduce you to this wonderful city. Spend two nights in a centrally located hotel, a short walk from the iconic Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone-enclosed bridge lined with shops that was built over the Arno River. (Meal: Dinner)

Sat,Oct 3: After breakfast at the hotel, depart on a half-day sightseeing tour of Florence. Avoid the notoriously long lines at the Accademia Gallery with a guided visit and Reserved Entry Ticket and view Michelangelo’s David. See the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Church of Saint Mary of the Flower), the main church of Florence. Begun in 1296, the exterior is faced with marble panels in various shades of pink and green, bordered with white. Visit Piazza della Signoria, the most famous square in Florence and home to the Fountain of Neptune, an open-air sculpture gallery, and the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world’s top art museums. Enter with a Reserved Entry Ticket to peruse masterpieces of the Medici collection, and spend the balance of the day at leisure. (B)

Sun, Oct 4: This morning, depart for La Spezia — a port city in Liguria and the gateway to the Cinque Terre. Make a stop to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, within the perimeter known as Campo dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles. It is not only one of the world’s most famous monuments but also one of the most original, absolutely unique in its kind. Its extraordinary nature isn’t due only to its anomalous slant but that it is one of the most remarkable bell towers in Europe. Continue to your hotel in La Spezia and check in for two nights. Enjoy an included dinner with the group this evening. (B,D)

Mon, Oct 5:  Set off to see the dazzling Cinque Terre by boat. The towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare are locked between mountains and the sea. They are best known for their iconic, colorful houses dotting the coastline, all built on tiny, winding alleys — yet each village boasts some of the best food in Italy, including pesto Genovese, minestrone, and focaccia. For lack of farmland, locals shaped the steep rocks of the surrounding mountains into dry stone terraces, where they grow vineyards and produce white wines, notably the famous sweet Sciacchetra passito wine, made from dried grapes. Because of the rare flora and unique environment, the coastline, five villages, and surrounding hillsides have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Soak in the striking views from the sea and step off for visits in Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Following a full day of touring, return to your hotel and enjoy and evening at leisure. (B)

Tue, Oct 6: After breakfast, depart for a scenic drive through Tuscany, known for its robust cuisine and of course, wine. Stop in San Gimignano, once the seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley with its medieval towers. Visit Greve in Chianti, known for it’s unique, triangular piazza and the Castle of Verrazano. The castle was an Etruscan, then a Roman settlement, before becoming the property of the Verrazzano family in the 7th century and the birthplace of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the explorer who discovered the bay of New York. Today it’s part of a 230-acre estate that produces Chianti Classico, white, rose, and Vin Santo. Enjoy a delightful wine and culinary experience here prior to continuing to Siena. Surrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti, Siena is one of the most beautiful cities of Tuscany. Check in to your hotel for the next three nights. (B,L)

Wed, Oct 7:  Take a guided tour of Siena including a walking tour in the Piazza del Campo in the heart of the city — the location of the annual historic horse races and the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scalaone of Europe’s oldest hospitals, and the Duomo (Cathedral), one of Italy’s finest Gothic structures. This large complex, once owned by the Medici family, conserves extraordinarily intact testimonials of thousands of years of history and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Siena is also home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, and boasts a vibrant, enjoyable atmosphere. (B,D)

Thu, Oct 8:  Today is yours to relax or explore on your own, or sign up for an optional culinary class at Scuola di Cucina di Lella. The city has a range of fantastic museums and galleries, such as the Siena Civic Museum and the National Gallery. The historic centre of Siena is one of the best preserved in the region and is a true joy to explore. Or visit the main shopping street, Via Banchi di Sopra, where you will find a variety of boutiques, Italian souvenirs, and local handcrafts. (B)

Fri, Oct 9: After breakfast, check out of your hotel in Siena and set out to discover a few hidden gems in the Val d’Orcia. First, stop in Bagno Vignoni, an historic “hamlet” with a very unique trait as nowhere else in Italy will you find a main central square with a pool filled with water from natural hot springs! The Renaissance-era piazza is built directly over the original source of hot springs as enjoyed by the Romans, Pope Pius II, Catherine of Siena, and Lorenzo the Magnificent. Retreat to a beautiful inn for lunch and to refresh in the beneficial hot springs. Continue to Pienza, created by Pope Pius II, who decided to refurbish his poor hometown and turn it into his papal summer court. See Piccolomini Palace, home of the Piccolomini family (Pius II and Pius III, and astronomer Alessandro Piccolomini). Continue to Florence for a Farewell Dinner at a rooftop restaurant and your last overnight of the trip. (B,L,D)

Sat, Oct 10: After breakfast, Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for your flights home. (B)

 

Optional Culinary Class, Siena:  Explore the robust recipes and culinary traditions of Tuscany at Scuola di Cucina di Lella, owned and operated by well-known culinary artist, Lella Cesari Ciampoli. In addition to running her cooking school in Tuscany, Lella has written a book in Japanese and is working on a cookbook in English. She has collaborated and continues to work with local and national television networks and is a passionate researcher of medieval recipes. She was a competitive athlete and, as a result, is always dedicated to healthy eating. As she was born in Siena and still resides there today, she will also proudly share her love for her home and what it means to be Sienese.

Price per person: TBA

Hotel Adriatico, Florence. Elegant and modern, this 4-star hotel in the historical center combines the great tradition of Florentine warm hospitality with efficiency and comfort of the best international hotels.  Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant.

Hotel NH, La Spezia. Located on the harbor promenade of this popular port city, this hotel is just steps from shops and cafes, and all rooms all have sea views. Highlights: complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant • bar • fitness center.

Hotel NH, Siena. Centrally located and well-appointed in the city’s center the hotel is a short walk from the historic Piazza del Campo, with its wealth of historical landmarks, Gothic architecture, and sidewalk cafes. Highlights: complimentary WiFi Internet access • restaurant • bar • fitness center.

Pricing

  • Package with Air*
  • Double P/P – $4,699
  • Triple P/P – On request
  • Single – $5,429
  • Land Only*
  • Double P/P – $3,509
  • Triple P/P – On request
  • Single – $4,239

* Subject to change due to increase in exchange rate or fuel surcharge

Deposit Per Person: $500

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