- Discover Florence's renowned Renaissance masterpieces
- Visit the whimsical hilltop towns of Montepulciano, Pienza and Lucca
- Master the art of Italian pasta with an authentic cooking class
- Explore Siena's Duomo and Pisa's famous leaning tower
|Day 1||Arrive in Florence, Tuscany's Renaissance Capital||Florence|
|Day 2||Visit Pisa & Tour the Leaning Tower||Florence|
|Day 3||Transfer to UNESCO-Listed Siena, Explore||Siena|
|Day 4||Day Trip to the Hilltop Towns of Montepulciano & Pienza||Siena|
|Day 5||Transfer to Lucca, Afternoon City Tour||Lucca|
|Day 6||Pasta-Making Masterclass, Free Afternoon||Lucca|
|Day 7||Depart Lucca|
Day 1: Arrive in Florence, Tuscany's Renaissance Capital
Welcome to Florence, Tuscany's regional capital, famous for its Renaissance art and architecture. Upon arrival at the airport, take a transfer to your city center hotel and settle in. Spend the day at leisure touring the top sights, starting in the Piazza del Duomo, where the magnificent Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo) and its mighty terracotta dome attract visitors worldwide. Don't miss the nearby Uffizi Gallery, which houses works by Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli, and the Galleria dell'Academia, which displays Michelangelo's famous "David."
Stop for refreshments at one of the historic cafés that line the square of Piazza della Republica and continue on to Il Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge with an array of jewelry shops and beautiful views along the River Arno. In the evening, stroll around the historic downtown for some people-watching, followed by dinner and drinks in the hip Sant'Ambrogio neighborhood.
Day 2: Visit Pisa & Tour the Leaning Tower
Breakfast on caffè and delicious pastries, then it's off to Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. Begin with a stroll around the town's medieval walls and make your way to the Cattedrale di Pisa to see the Romanesque masterpieces. Take in the 12th-century Baptistery and the ancient cemetery, then head over to Piazza dei Miracoli, where you'll ascend the 294 steps of Pisa's famous landmark to reach the campanile (bell tower). Savor the panoramic views and reward your efforts with a visit to a local gelateria for a scoop or two of authentic gelato.
Return to Florence in the late afternoon and enjoy aperitivo at one of the city's elegant rooftop bars, such as Il Continentale or Hotel Lucchesi, where you can watch the sun go down and admire the city's skyline.
Day 3: Transfer to UNESCO-Listed Siena, Explore
Join your driver this morning for a 1.5-hour transfer to Siena, a wonderfully preserved medieval city famous for its Palio di Siena horse race. Check into your accommodation, then head out to explore. The city's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its grand central square, the vast Piazza del Campo, has been featured in numerous films, including the James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace." Soak up the atmosphere with lunch in the piazza, and afterward, meet your guide for a tour of the city's landmarks.
Start at the 13th-century Palazzo Pubblico, which still houses the municipal administration, and the Torre del Magnia, a bell tower with fantastic city views. Visit main highlights like the green and white striped Duomo and its Piccolomini Library, famous for its soaring, vibrant Pinturicchio frescoes. Continue to see the Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana art museum, as well as Siena's many churches, including the Basilica dell'Osservanza, Santo Spirito, and Sanctuary of Santa Caterina.
Later, tour some of the city's patrician villas, including Villa Chigi, Villa Celsa, and Villa Volta Alte. When the sun dips, head downtown for dinner and wine in a family-run restaurant.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Day Trip to the Hilltop Towns of Montepulciano & Pienza
Today, you'll set out on a guided tour of two of Tuscany's most picturesque hilltop towns, Montepulciano and Pienza, which date back to the Etruscan era. First up is Pienza, known for its delicious pecorino cheese and incredible views of the cypress-dotted landscape of the Val d'Orcia. Stroll the medieval streets filled with boutiques and delicatessens and wander through delightful piazzas filled with neighborhood trattorias. See sights, including the Piccolomini Palace and the Cattedrale dell'Assunta, while your guide shares anecdotes and stories of the town's history.
Break for lunch at a nearby dairy farm with spectacular views and known for its terrific formaggi (cheeses), then continue to Montepulciano. Famous for its Renaissance architecture and beautiful setting—atop a ridge surrounded by medieval walls and fortifications—the town is also famous for its renowned Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. Tour the Piazza Grande to see the Palazzo Comunale, the castle-like town hall with an iconic clock bell, and other notable sights, including the Palazzo Cappelli and the Chiesa di Sant'Agnese.
Afterward, return to Siena in time for dinner at one of the city's bustling osterie (small, local restaurants) and relax with a glass or two of the local wine and delicious Tuscan fare such as bistecca alla Fiorentina (flame-grilled T-bone steak) or ribollita (a delicious, hearty Tuscan soup).
Day 5: Transfer to Lucca, Afternoon City Tour
It's time to wave goodbye to Siena this morning and transfer two hours north to Lucca, a Tuscan gem famous for its art and laid-back bohemian atmosphere. The medieval city is known for its well-preserved Renaissance-era city walls, which have been converted into a promenade and are popular for walks with locals and tourists alike. Check into your hotel and head out to explore the city on a three-hour guided tour.
You'll see the city's vibrant history reflected in its architecture with stops at landmarks including the 11th-century Ponte della Maddalena (also known as Diavolo Bridge), Ilaria del Carretto's Sarcophagus, and the medieval towers of Torre Guinigi and Torre dell Ore in Lucca's Old Town. Finish your afternoon with a glass of wine or Prosecco at a local enoteca (wine bar) and dine al fresco at one of the restaurants lining the lively Piazza Anfiteatro.
Day 6: Pasta-Making Masterclass, Free Afternoon
Finish your Tuscany adventure with a masterclass in Italian cuisine that showcases the techniques involved in creating authentic pasta dishes that remain a staple in restaurants and homes across Italy. You'll start by learning how to mix and knead your flour and eggs to make silky smooth pasta strands or sheets for homemade ravioli and lasagna al forno. Cut, shape, and fill your preferred pasta, and try your hand at some of Lucca's regional specialties. At the end of the workshop, sit down with your fellow chefs and enjoy your creations, accompanied by a selection of regional wines.
The afternoon is yours to spend at leisure. Enjoy a wander around the tree-lined paths next to the city walls and stroll through the Old Town toward the Cattedrale di San Martino. Pause for refreshments at one of the local cafés and head over to Piazza Cittadella to see the bronze statue of composer Giacomo Puccini, born in Lucca. The charming pint-size square is perfect for a predinner aperitivo to toast your trip. Salute!
Day 7: Depart Lucca
Say goodbye, or ciao, to Italy for now. Take advantage of any extra time with one last morning stroll around Lucca before transferring to the airport, where you'll catch your flight home or continue your European adventure. Safe travels!