• 6 nights in selected 4 star-hotels with full breakfast (3 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Siena)
• Private guided visits with English speaking guides in Florence (the Cathedral, Santa Croce Church, Uffizi Gallery), Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena (the Cathedral), Pienza, ; including all the entrance fees
• Welcome dinner in Florence
• Lunch in Florence, Lucca, San Gimignano and Pienza
• Winery visit and tasting at Brolio Castle
• Visit to a ceramic laboratory and shop in Pienza
* The tour is available as self-drive or by private chauffeured car or van available for all transfers and excursions
Day 1 / Welcome to Florence
Arrival transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure or visit (on request) of the Accademia Gallery, with its famous sculptures by the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo. His Prisoners (or Slaves), his St. Matthew and, above all, the magnificent statue of David within the Tribune are what draws most of the hundreds of thousands of visitors the museum welcomes every year. The main halls at the Accademia also offers visitors works by great Italian artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, Allessando Allori and Orcagna, to name just a few of the painters. Welcome dinner and overnight.
Day 2 / Florence, cradle of the Renaissance & the Uffizi Gallery
Breakfast. Meet your local guide for a morning tour of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, with its famous highlights… Michelangelo’s David, the Baptistery, Giotto’s bell tower and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo). Proceed on to the picturesque Signoria Square, where you may take the opportunity to admire statues by Cellini, Giambologna and Ammannati before viewing the Ponte Vecchio and the Santa Croce Church, containing the tombs of illustrious Florentine citizens such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli, as well as fascinating works by Giotto and Donatello. Enjoy a genuine Tuscan lunch. The afternoon will be dedicated to a guided tour of Florence’s inspiring Uffizi Gallery, originally a suite of offices, which was first used to display the Medici family’s private art treasures in 1581 – thereby making it the oldest art gallery in the world. Its vast collection includes some of the most revered works of the Italian Renaissance, such as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Michelangelo’s The Holy Family, da Vinci’s unfinished Adoration of the Magi, Bellini’s Allegory and Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch.
Day 3 / Medieval architecture in Pisa and imposing Renaissance walls in Lucca
Breakfast. Today is to explore the architectural masterpieces of Pisa and Lucca. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Pisa that leads you through Piazza dei Miracoli, the Cathedral with its Romanesque art constructed between the 11th and 12th centuries, the famous Leaning Tower and the Baptistery. Then on to lovely Lucca for lunch. Hidden behind imposing Renaissance walls, its cobbled streets, handsome piazzas and shady promenades make it a perfect destination to explore by foot. Return to Florence. Overnight.
Day 4 / Fascinating San Gimignano en route to Siena
Breakfast. Today the tour will take you to San Gimignano and Siena. San Gimignano, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, offers you the chance to step back in time. Discover this small walled village on a private guided tour, famous for its fascinating medieval architecture and towers. At the height of its glory, San Gimignano's patrician families had built around 72 tower-houses as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano still retains its feudal atmosphere and appearance. Lunch in a local restaurant. Time at leisure to take in the medieval atmosphere before departing to Siena. Rich in history, art and popular traditions, Siena, possibly the best preserved medieval city in Italy, is built on three hills and full of winding alleyways, enclosed within the circle of its massive walls. Overnight.
Day 5 / Outstanding medieval Siena and Chianti wines at the Brolio Castle
Breakfast. Morning private guided walking tour of Siena. Your guide will take you through narrow cobbled streets to the Piazza del Campo, where the bi-annual Palio horse race takes place. See the superb 14th century Town Hall with its slim Mangia Tower, then climb up to the hilltop cathedral. This building is a veritable treasury of the Renaissance, representing the work of over 40 artists - its walls decorated with stripes of black and white marble. In the afternoon we will tour the Chianti area with a stop at the Brolio Castle for a guided tour that takes you through the history by visiting the 12th century castle including the gardens, the Ricasoli family’s private chapel and unique museum. After this visit to the past, you will visit the ultramodern wine-making facilities and finish the tour with a special wine tasting. Barone Ricasoli is the fourth oldest family in the world, in possession of the same company for 32 generations, and the oldest winery in Italy. Return to Siena and overnight.
Day 6 / Renaissance urban planning in Pienza and visit to a ceramic laboratory
Breakfast. Morning departure to Pienza. Meet your local guide in Pienza for a guided walking tour of this elegant Renaissance town, built on a hill that dominates the Val d’Orcia. It was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage of Humanity site (1196) for its important example of Renaissance urban planning, architecture and monuments. The pedestrian town of Pienza was designed by one of the most famous Florentine architects of this time, Bernardo Gambarelli known as the Rossellino, and built between 1459 and 1462, commissioned by Pope Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini) transforming his native village of Corsignano from a medieval town into a splendid Renaissance city. The itinerary includes the exceptional Cathedral, Palazzo Piccolomini and Palazzo Borgia’s courtyards, the Renaissance buildings, the medieval districts, the panoramic streets from where the splendid landscape of the Val d’Orcia can be admired. At the end of the walking tour of Pienza you will enjoy a visit to a ceramic laboratory and shop. Typical genuine lunch at a local restaurant. Return to Siena and overnight.
Day 7 / Goodbye Italy