Tuscany chauffeured tour itinerary in 9 days. This private tour starts and finish in Florence. Tuscany is one of the important regions of Italy, popular for its art, museums, great history, food and excellent wines. Six localities of Tuscany have been declared as UNESCO protected sites, during the last three decades. This tour provides an opportunity to view beautiful countryside and historic architecture while exploring the region where the Renaissance began more than 600 years ago.
Overnights: 4 nights in Florence, 4 nights in Chianti area.
Note: this itinerary can be customized according to your needs
Day 1 – Florence, 4 hours
Our friendly English speaking driver picks you up at Florence airport, train station or at your hotel – if from a different location please advise. Driving up the beautiful Viale dei Colli, we reach the marvellous terrace called Piazzale Michelangelo (named after the artist who sculpted the original David statue). Here you get the most impressive view of the city. Nearby you can also see the white and green marble façade of the S. Miniato al Monte church – one of the purest examples of the Florentine Romanesque style. After leaving the church, we follow an uphill road, bordered by the ancient city walls, until we reach Forte Belvedere, built around 1590 by the Grand-duke Ferdinand to protect the Medici villas. Driving down from the Fort, passing the old gate to the city, the Porta Romana, we come to Pitti Palace which hosts many galleries and museums (Gallery of Modern Art, Costume Gallery, Palatine Gallery, Royal Apartments, Coach Museum, Silver and Porcelain museums, etc) and a magnificent park called the Boboli Gardens. Next we head for the city center, to the Piazza della Repubblica, surrounded by the historical literary cafés, where long ago important intellectuals gathered together. Here we’ll meet our Tour Guide for a relaxing 3 hours walking tour of the old city: following the Via De’Calzaiuoli, which connects Piazza del Duomo (S. Maria del Fiore, the Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell tower) to Piazza Signoria ( Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi , etc.) you will be able to admire the best masterpieces of Renaissance art, breathing in the magical atmosphere that only Florence can offer. Last visit will be at the famous Accademia Museum, house of the Michelangelo’s masterpiece The David. Accomodation at your hotel located in the historical area. For your first dinner in the city our driver will be more than happy to suggest and reserve a table for you in a typical florentine restaurant…buon appetito!
Day 2 – Pisa, 4 hours
With your personal driver, travel to Pisa where you’ll meet our local tour guide for the two hours walking tour. This is a calm and pleasant town recalling the past of the Pisan republic. The river system in Pisa prevented it from declining towards the end of the Roman Empire. We will focus on the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Duomo is a medieval cathedral with massive bronze doors. Its golden ceiling, its medieval pulpit and its black and white marble interior are breathtaking. The round-shaped building nearby is the baptistery, with an octagonal font that contrasts with the large round interior space. The Leaning Tower was the campanile (bell tower for the cathedral). It started leaning shortly after its completion in 1173. It is the world’s most famous leaning tower, but there are at least three dozen leaning towers all over the world.
Day 3 – Lucca & wine, 6 hours
Today we travel to Lucca and meet our tour guide for a relaxing 2 hours walking tour inside the old city. Composers Giacomo Puccini and Luigi Boccherini come from here. Lucca’s Renaissance fortifications and gates allow for an interesting walk, commented by our tour guide. The Duomo houses the Holy Face of Lucca, a wooden representation of Christ of the cross, which is the object of an annual procession. Not to be missed the San Michele in Foro church which was built in 1070 with its facade full of many beautiful sculptures, arcades and blind arcades. After the walking tour will have about 1 hour on your own for relax…Around noon toward the beautiful Lucca country side you’ll reach an old winery where you can have a guided visit of the property followed by a delicious light lunch based on ham, salami, bruschette, cheese, bread, olive oil..and of course tasting of different types of wines! Return to Florence in the early afternoon and rest of the day at your leisure. As usual the driver will suggest some nice restaurants for your dinner according to your preference.
Day 4 – Arezzo and Cortona, 9 hours
Leave in the morning at your hotel and head south to Arezzo, one of the oldest cities in Tuscany. At the arrival to the city you’ll meet our tour guide for an informative 2 hours walking tour through the narrow streets of this wonderful place: Arezzo is also the town seen in the award winning movie ”Life is Beautiful” with Roberto Benigni. You’ll visit the picturesque town center with its many shopping possibilities and the fascinating medieval atmosphere. Not to be missed are the frescoes of the renaissance painter Piero della Francesca, and a visit to the Duomo. Arezzo also known for its culinary excellence, so it’s suggested that you might like to lunch here before going on to the next destination. The early afternoon will bring you to Cortona, where much of “Under the Tuscan sun” was filmed. Cortona was an early Etruscan hilltop settlement that also had importance during the middle ages. The old medieval buildings and narrow streets of the town centre, make it one of the most beautiful little towns of Tuscany. It also boasts some incredible views over the surrounding countryside, which we will enjoy, as we drive up the meandering road and again in the little piazza. Well worth visiting is the Accademia museum specializing in Etruscan, Roman and Egyptian artifacts. The town also has some beautiful Tuscan gardens where it’s nice to sit in the shade of the Holm Oak trees. The narrow streets with their medieval and old fashioned atmosphere are lined with shops selling jewellery, leather wear, clothing and ceramics; no designer names here, everything is rigorously hand crafted locally. A pleasant pastime is sitting at one of the many street café’s with a drink, enjoying some slow paced living watching the world go by. Return to your hotel in Florence by 5.30pm.
Day 5 – Chianti, San Gimignano, 8 hours (change of hotel)
Today we leave Florence and head to the Chianti area. When in Tuscany, it is always a good idea to travel to the town of San Gimignano with its splendid skyline made up of 13 towers. This 11th century town rises 334 meters above the Elsa Valley along the ancient “Via Francigena” on which traders and pilgrims going to Rome traveled. San Gimignano prospered considerably during this period thanks to this route and all the inns that were built along its way to accommodate the pilgrims but as in all of Italy, the Black Plague of 1348 greatly reduced the population of San Gimignano and led the city into a grave economical depression and caused the town to submit to Florence’s rule in 1353. Later on in the centuries though, San Gimignano rediscovered its cultural importance and beauty together with its agriculture and eventually overcame its decline becoming the beautifully restored town it is today. Time for visits part with our driver and part by your own.. The tour continues driving on the panoramic roads of the Chianti wine region with its breathtaking sceneries and small towns…Will follow a stop at a top rated winery for a guided visit of the cellars and of course a wine tasting: Chianti Classico, Riserva, Supetuscan, Vin Santo and Grappa (..only for the braves..!). For lunch our driver will suggest a typical trattoria in the area where you can taste some genuine Tuscan dishes…or perhaps you prefer to eat at a winery? Just inform your driver. Drop off at your next hotel or b&b located in the quite country side or in a little town of Chianti region.
Day 6 – Siena, Monteriggioni, 7 hours
Leave at 9.30am for the day on a private tour to Siena with your driver. At the arrival to the Siena you’ll find our tour guide waiting for take you to an informative 3 hours walking tour of the old city: the historic centre has been declared as the World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. This beautiful city made of brown Siena-coloured bricks (so that’s how they named the colour!), its jumble of narrow streets and delightful squares, the medieval towers that make such a spectacular skyline, its spectacular cathedral, the tall and trim Torre del Mangia, all together create an enticing atmosphere almost like stepping back in time. Siena, the famous antagonist city of Florence during the twelfth century, is built on three hills and is home to one of the most authentic and important Gothic cathedrals south of the Alps. Despite the city’s architectural masterpieces, it is the unusual shell-shaped Piazza del Campo that receives the most consideration having been seen in numerous films and photographs. This brick covered square is used twice a year for the famous “Palio” horserace, an event that involves the entire population and is considered one of the most important events in the life of the Sienese people. This reckless bareback race is run on July 2nd and August 16th, has Roman origins but has first been officially recorded in 1283. After the guided walking tour you’ll have some free time on your own for relax, shopping or for a geed gelato. On the way back to your accommodation in Chianti make a stop in Monteriggioni, one of the best known and classic walled towns in Tuscany. This village was built on a hill by the Sienese between 1213 and 1219 to overlook the ancient Roman road, the Via Cassia. This was a perfect position allowing for surveillance of the valleys below in the direction of the city of Florence, which was the historic enemy of Siena.
Day 7 – Volterra, 5 hours
About 30 miles away from the Chianti area lies Volterra, a town with origins back the Neolithic times. The Piazza dei Priori is one of the most attractive in Italy; it features the Palazzo dei Priori, designed in 1239 with a pentagonal tower and a glorious cross-vaulted council hall. The San Vivaldo monastery, in Montaione, was planned by the Franciscans to allow for a pilgrimage without going as far as Jerusalem. Finally, we conclude the day with a visit of a local Pecorino cheese producer for learn about this famous Tuscan cheese and taste the different types with some good wines! Back to your accommodation in Chianti.
Day 8 – Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, 9 hours
Today your driver will pick you up at 9am and he’ll take you to Pienza. Pienza was rebuilt from a village called Corsignano, which was the birthplace (1405) of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Italian: Enea Silvio Piccolomini), a Renaissance humanist born into an exiled Sienese family, who later became Pope Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town. Intended as a retreat from Rome, it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers. You can visit the main sights as the Duomo, Palazzo Piccolomini, Palazzo Comunale. After we’ll go to Montepulciano, one of the highest of Tuscany hilltop town. The town is encircled by walls and inside the streets are cranned with renaissance-style palazzi and churches but the town is also very well known for its local wine “vino nobile di Montepulciano”. At the end we’ll drive to Montalcino where the foremost activity is wine producing, as is evident from the number of shops where you can buy the excellent “BRUNELLO”. The town, situated on the top of a hill has very narrow, winding and steep streets. The Fortezza (Fortress) was built by Cosimo I in 1571 and you can walk on the ramparts and look at the spectacular view over the countryside. Before leaving the town you’ll stop at top rated winery for a guided visit of the cellars and tasting of the famous Brunello wine!
Day 9 – Florence
On this last day, depending on the schedule of your flight or train, you have the opportunity to improve your knowledge of Florence….or simply make the ultimate shopping! Or maybe you want to visit the Palazzo Pitti, an early Renaissance residence of severe style, built by a banker. Nowadays, it is a large museum housing the Palatine Gallery, with over 500 Renaissance paintings by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Rubens, and Pietro da Cortona. At the end of the tour drop-off at Florence airport or train station or where ever you want….