This tour takes you through the picturesque Tuscan countryside to the magical and mysterious towns of Volterra and San Gimignano. Departing from your accommodation you'll reach one of the finest and lesser known hilltop towns tucked away in the heart of Tuscany, Volterra, a beautiful city of Etruscan origin.
The mysterious city of Volterra has its roots in three thousand years of history. It is possible to find evidence and traces from every historical period which gives the artistic city a unique aspect. The ancient city walls, the imposing Porta all'Arco, the Necropolis of Marmini and the numerous archaeological finds conserved in the Museo Etrusco Guarnacci like the Ombra della Sera with its unique profile, the funeral urns and the finely crafted jewelry bear testimony of the Etruscan period. The Theatre of Vallebona survives from the period of Augustus and suggests the importance of Volterra under Roman domination. Today the city conserves, above all, a medieval aspect not only for the 12th century city walls but also because of the urban layout with narrow streets, palaces, tower houses and churches.
The Renaissance had an important influence on Volterra but without changing the city's medieval character. From this period are the superb palaces of Minucci Solaini, Incontri-Viti and Inghirami, which are built into the medieval city, the imposing Fortezza Medicea and the Convent of San Girolamo. Volterra is also a city of museums. Other than the Etruscan Museum there is the Civic Art Gallery with a fine collection of works from the Senese and Florentine Schools, among which is the Deposition from the Cross by Rosso Fiorentino. The Museum of Sacred Art has an important collection of reliquary, 14th century Senese sculpture and miniatures. You cannot talk about Volterra without mentioning Alabaster, an artistic handicraft that boasts a centuries-old history and a nobility of traditions that can be felt in every nook and corner of the town.
San Gimignano's cultural and natural patrimony have been recognized by UNESCO, but even more impressive is the medieval skyline made up of the 13 remaining towers and the views from above and below them. San Gimignano rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the Elsa Valley with its towers which date back to the 11 century. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena" the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. Such prosperity lead to the flourishing of works of art to adorn the churches and monasteries. On 8 May 1300 Dante Alighieri came to San Gimignano as the Ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany. In 1348 San Gimignano's population was drastically reduced by the Black Death Plague throwing the city into a serious crisis which eventually led to its submission to Florence in 1353. In the following centuries San Gimignano overcame its decline and isolation when its beauty and cultural importance together with its agricultural heritage were rediscovered.
Once in San Gimignano, other than admiring the famous towers, you can also see the "Duomo" or Collegiate Church, the "Palazzo del Popolo", the "Palazzo Nuovo del Podestà" (which is now the town hall), S. Agostino Church, the Museum of Holy Relics, and the infamous Museum of Torture, which displays early instruments of torture and reminds everyone that cruelty and violence existed even way back then. On a lighter note, there are numerous shops which sell local products including the "Vernaccia" wine for which San Gimignano is also famous. less >>
The proposed itineraries are only examples of possible tours. For different pick up / drop off locations or customized itineraries we invite our clients to contact one of our tour coordinators to help them design their own tour.