Faith, family and food: the three pillars of Italian culture are ever present among the rolling Tuscan landscapes, and easily discovered from our base in Montaione. Authentic trattorias and vast vineyards passed down through generations are some of the region’s biggest draws, as much for a taste of Italian hospitality as the gourmet cuisine. Add a medley of medieval hilltop villages and art-adorned cities and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to visit Italy’s ‘cucina’ (kitchen) region.
7 nights in hotel (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your flight to Pisa. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel for the next seven nights, UNA Hotel Palazzo Mannaioni (4T), with time to settle in before dinner this evening.
We have this morning to explore and make ourselves at home in Montaione. This afternoon we travel to the walled mountaintop town of Volterra, bursting with ancient history dating back as far as the 7th century BC. It is easy to explore the winding cobblestone streets of this quiet town at your own pace. Highlights to discover are the 4th and 5th century Etruscan walls, impressively-preserved medieval ramparts, the ancient Roman Theatre, or perhaps the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, an exhibition of archaeological treasures such as sculptures and pottery.
Today you are free to explore. Montaione is in the heart of beautiful Tuscany, and its location atop a hill 373m above sea level affords wonderful views over the Elsa River Valley below. Known for its glass-making since the 13th century, there are also a number of pretty churches dotted around and just outside the town, amongst lush woods, is the Holy Mount of San Vivaldo - a monastery and chapels often referred to as the ‘Jerusalem of Tuscany’. Alternatively, you can choose to join an optional excursion visiting the important Chianti towns of Castellina iand Radda, plus a winery, with a tasting included.
San Gimignano - Certaldo
This morning we drive to San Gimignano for free time to explore this attractive hill town. Encircled by 13th century walls, it hosts striking medieval towers, intriguing streetscapes and many examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture - spend the morning taking in all of the historical treasures, perhaps visiting the Piazza della Cisterna, a triangular square lined with medieval houses. We continue to Certaldo, a town split into two halves: Certaldo Basso, the lower part; and Certaldo Alto, the medieval upper part - which can be reached by an included funicular ride. You are free to explore and highlights include three wonderful museums: Casa del Boccaccio, the Museum of Sacred Art, and Palazzo Pretorio.
Today is at leisure for you to explore more of the wonderful surroundings from your hotel in Montaione. Or, embark on an optional excursion to Pisa - a compelling city best known for its iconic Leaning Tower and Miracle Square; and the walled medieval town of Lucca, filled with cobblestone streets, shady promenades, and the Piazza del Mercato, where a Roman amphitheatre once stood. On this excursion there will be time in each city to explore freely.
Siena - Monteriggioni
Today takes us to Siena, a UNESCO-listed city and one of Italy’s medieval gems. A local guide takes us on a tour of the city calling at the Piazza del Campo, the main square, its beautiful white-marble Gaia Fountain, and its grand ancient architecture - it’s no surprise it is considered one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. Siena Cathedral, dating back to 1215, features a greenish-black marble exterior and interior along with distinctive red marble incorporated on the striking façade - while here we explore the museum and crypt. Continue to Monteriggioni - another of Tuscany’s impressive medieval walled towns - for time to independently wander.
Today is another relaxing day to spend as you wish. If you would like to discover a new destination, join an optional excursion to Florence for independent discovery of this romantic city of Renaissance masterpieces. Its ambience is enough to enchant and enthuse; and due to its world-class art, mouth-watering gourmet cuisine and beautiful buildings, there’s something for everyone.
Day 8 Montaione - Pisa - UK
We transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.