There are really so many excursion possibilities in Tuscany and I describe some itineraries in my sections about Pisa, Lucca, the Cinque Terre and Carrara. This section is about northern and central Tuscany, for one-day off-shore excursions or a programme for a number of days. Here are some of my ideas but if you have ideas of your own, please tell me about them:
- Siena and San Gimignano: here we plunge into the heart of Tuscany with the Gothic city par excellence where the Palio is run, and the tiny, wonderfully-preserved medieval village in Tuscany with its soaring towers. Siena enchants, San Gimignano seduces. And the country road is a marvel with fabulous panoramic views spangled with cypress trees, vineyards and old stone houses, real picture postcards.
- Chianti: the Chianti road is lined with castles, some splendid, others more modest. Above all, it has splendid panoramic views over countryside that has remained totally unchanged over the centuries. The gentle hills of the lower Apennines are covered by well-cultivated vineyards and olive groves, the territory is full of history dominated by the civil wars between Siena and Florence, and the life of its inhabitants follows the rhythms of the harvest and the meetings where wines win awards or medals. I suggest stopping at Castellina, Radda and Monteriggioni, with tastings of Chianti and I.G.T. wine along the way, of course. (I.G.T. stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica).
- Gastronomic excursions: tastings of cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, truffles, chocolate, wine with tours of wine cellars, olive mills and cheese factories, in cooperation with a Tour Operator.
- Livorno and the “Venice” area: a nice boat ride on the canal in town and a tour of the central market with all its flavours and colours and, in the afternoon, an original tour along the coast to Bolgheri for a wonderful wine tasting.
- Island of Elba and its little towns: the harbour in Marciana, a walk by the sea in Marina di Campo, the minerals in Porto Azzurro, the fortresses in Portoferraio and Napoleon’s villas. We can do the whole tour of the biggest Tuscan island in one day and, if the weather’s very clear, we’ll be able to see Corsica.
Prato and Pistoia, Tuscany’s less famous towns: here you can visit art galleries as you can in Florence, but it’s easier to get around both of these towns.
- Arezzo and Cortona: medieval gems where life is peaceful and walking along their little streets is always enchanting.
The hills of Siena and the Orcia Valley: with fantastic Pienza, an ideal town, the old spa in Bagno Vignoni where twenty people still live, Montalcino and a famous wine cellar in the old fortress, San Quirico d'Orcia and Buonconvento, charming villages of the glorious past.
If you don't have a car or you prefer to be comfortably driven by a private chauffeur, ask me for a free quotation.