If you don’t have a lot of time to spend in Tuscany, this is the perfect day for you. Enjoy a private excursion to visit some of the loveliest places in Tuscany! This private tour will combine the best of Tuscany giving you the chance to visit three famous towns as well as the beautiful Chianti countryside.
Your first stop today will be at the splendid maritime city of Pisa where besides seeing the incredible Leaning Tower of Pisa, you will also get a glimpse of the rest of this beautiful city along the Arno river.
The remote origins of Pisa and its name are lost in myth and legend but it is certain that this city had Eneolithic settlements and the presence of the Etruscans between the 6th and 3rd centuries B.C. The city expanded rapidly and soon Pisa was surrounded by a circle of walls. In 1062 the building of the Pisa cathedral was begun. The cathedral and baptistery, the tower of Pisa, and the Campo Santo or cemetery, together form one of the most beautiful and famous building groups in the world. The “Piazza dei Miracoli” or “Campo dei Miracoli” makes a perfect showplace for these exquisite examples of Romanesque architecture. Today, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has become a symbol for the entire Italian Republic and after intense restoration has finally reopened to visitors. If you would like to experience the climb to the top and the “lean” in the tower as you go up, reservations must be made in advance.
From Pisa your driver will take you to San Gimignano. A small medieval town in Tuscany, San Gimignano has a 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. In spite of its rather small size there is plenty to admire in San Gimignano. Besides its 13 remaining towers (there were once about 40!), you can also see the “Duomo” or Collegiate Church and its magnificent frescoes, the “Palazzo del Popolo”, the “Palazzo Nuovo del Podestà” which is now the town hall. Other interesting places to see are church dedicated to Saint Augustine with its famous fresco cycle of this Saint’s life painted by Benozzo Gozzoli, the Museum of Holy Relics, and the infamous Museum of Torture and its macabre displays of early torture instruments. You will love just wandering up and down the main street in San Gimignano and going in and out of the numerous specialty shops. The ceramics are beautiful here, but there are also places for buying leather goods and linens. For food and wine lovers there are many shops that sell delicious local products including San Gimignano’s “Vernaccia” white wine. You will be able to taste this wine in several of the wine stores in the town.
After San Gimignano you will drive through the Chianti countryside amidst hundreds of acres of vineyards. Of course we will make a stop at a vineyard where you can taste the famous Chianti wine and perhaps the excellent olive oil that this region also produces.
Next on your tour will be Siena. No trip to Tuscany is complete without a day trip to Siena, the birthplace of the beloved Italian Saint Catherine. This beautiful city made of brown Siena-colored bricks (so that’s how they named the color!), 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 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 Senese people. This reckless bareback race is run on July 2nd and August 16th, has Roman origins but has first been officially recorded in 1283. A kind of happy frenzy rules over Siena during the time leading up to the Palio and visitors can get the chance to observe the locals during the many ceremonies that are involved in the “Palio” race. Almost anything will be done to win this extremely competitive race and bring home the “Palio” a silk banner that will proudly displayed in the “contrada” or neighborhood it represents.
At the end of this long day, your driver will bring you back to your Florence accommodation. 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.