UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN
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VINCI, LEONARDO’S HOMETOWN
Leonardo da Vinci was born in a little village nestled in the stunning countryside between Florence and Pisa. We propose a visit to Leonardo’s birthplace combined with a tour of the Leonardo Museum that boasts the most extensive collections devoted to the multiple interests of Leonardo: technology, architecture, and science. Before heading back to Florence, we’ll stop in a local winery for a relaxed wine tasting and a delicious lunch.
- Highlights: Leonardo’s birthplace, Museum Leonardo da Vinci, Tuscan countryside, vineyards, cellars, wine tasting and lunch in a winery
- Tour operates: every day
- Tour duration: 8 hours approx
- Admissions: entrance fees, transportation and tastings: contact us for more information
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THE MEDICI VILLAS
Just outside Florence, you have two of the 24 villas that the Medici built in Tuscany: Villa La Petraia and Villa di Castello. Surrounded by lovely gardens, they are masterpieces of Renaissance architecture, filled with art collections, but also show us how gardening was considered an art form in itself.
Villa La Petraia
In the year 1544 Cosimo I bought an old country house on the hills close to Sesto Fiorentino. Over the centuries, it became the impressive Villa we see today. Inside you’ll find a mix of different eras: beautiful frescoes of the Renaissance, the furniture dating back to the time when the Habsburgs ruled Tuscany and King Vittorio Emanuele II, the first King of Italy used it as his lodgings, and the beautiful playroom. Surrounding the Villa, a typical Italian Renaissance garden with a dense forest, nurseries, water basins, geometrical flower beds, and citrus trees in pots.
Villa di Castello
The Villa is closed for the public, but you can visit the beautiful garden designed by Giorgio Vasari. Fountains decorated with statues and surrounded by antique busts, geometric flower beds with dwarf fruit trees, the Grotta del Diluvio inhabited by animals of marble and bronze. In the upper garden, there’s a dense forest where a giant statue of the God Appenino towers over the pond.
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DAY EXCURSIONS FROM FLORENCE
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and represents the perfect starting point for many different one-day excursions. Immerse yourself in the several beauties of Tuscany, famous for its artistic cities, scenic countryside, medieval villages, churches, and of course, ancient wineries where you can taste some of the world-renowned wines.
Here are some suggestions:
PISA AND LUCCA
- Pisa and its Piazza dei Miracoli. Come to admire the worldwide famous Leaning Tower along with the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Cemetery: the stunning Romanesque monuments composing the Miracle Square.
- Lucca, surrounded by its Renaissance walls that you can explore by bike or on foot, is the “jewel city” of Tuscany with its Romanesque churches and beautiful shops in the historical center.
SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO
- Siena, the city that, together with Florence, has the most significant number of works of art in Tuscany. Wander and get lost in the medieval center of this enchanting town, you’ll discover its outstanding Cathedral, the Baptistery and the impressive Piazza del Campo where the historical horse race called “Palio” is held twice a year.
- San Gimignano is a charming well-preserved ancient village that rises on top of a hill clearly visible in the distance, thanks to its 13 medieval towers. By the end of the XIV century in San Gimignano there were 72 towers that’s why the city is also called the “Medieval Manhattan” as in the past the height of a towered-house was considered a clear sign of the family wealth.
- A day in the sienese countryside that combines art and taste. Montalcino and its castle with a tasting of the famous Brunello then have lunch in Pienza, famous not only for its beautiful historical center but also for its renowned pecorino cheese.
- Montepulciano, greatly loved by Lorenzo de’ Medici who transformed it into a Renaissance city with the aid of his architects. And don’t miss a memorable wine tasting in one of the ancient cellars of the famous red wine Nobile di Montepulciano.
THE CINQUE TERRE
The Cinque Terre: a perfect day by the seaside with a visit to the five medieval famous hamlets: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia e Monterosso which are nestled on the cliffs like precious jewels. Boat ride or walk along the paths that connect the various villages and enjoy the delicious seafood and local white wines!