La Dolce Vita for Leisure Travel
- 10-day discovery of Tuscany, its renowned vineyards, ancient hill towns, and beautiful Renaissance cities.
- Experience the abundance of history, art, and culture that abounds throughout this region.
- Enjoy the traditional Tuscan cuisine and locally-produced wines and olive oils that give this region its noted worldwide distinction.
A Trip To Tuscany Is One Of Those Rare Life Experiences That Cannot Be Overrated.
Immerse yourself in the lively rhythms of the Italian way of life as you travel though the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Gaze at magnificent Renaissance artworks and ancient treasures as you explore the cultural centers of Florence and Siena. Meander through the picturesque hillside towns of Arezzo and San Gimignano. Be inspired by the beautiful cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves that define the Chianti area. And all along the way, enjoy the culinary delights that are so iconic of this region. We invite you to relax into the Tuscan way of life as you breathe in the beauty of this ancient land – its culture and history, its cities and villages, and its endearing people.
- Tour world-renowned museums and galleries that overflow with works by some of the most beloved artists of all time – Michelangelo, Botticelli, and da Vinci.
- Take in the view of Siena’s historic center, the art and architecture of historic Florence, and explore the walled medieval hill towns of San Gimignano and Arezzo.
- Learn the process and technique of fresco painting used prominently by Renaissance artists and enjoy a culinary experience as you join in to create a traditional Tuscan meal.
- Entice your palate by sampling local wines, olive oils and cheeses as you enjoy several of the areas vineyards.
- Stay at a scenic country estate located in the heart of the Chianti region and enjoy the warm and gracious hospitality of your host and estate owner, Sergio Sardelli. For information on the country estate, visit Il Cellese and view the photos on our Tuscany photo page.
Itinerary – 10 Days
Days 1 and 2 – U.S./Florence, Italy/Castellina in Chianti
Depart on an overnight flight to Florence and arrive to meet up with our group in the early afternoon outside customs. We will have lunch near San Miniato where there are magnificent views of Florence and visit the Basilica San Miniato al Monte that stands atop one of the highest points in the city. The Basilica is one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Afterward, we will visit the magnificent Basilica di Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world. Santa Croce is most notable for its sixteen chapels, many of them decorated with frescos, and it is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. From there, we will drive through the heart of Chianti, one of the most beautiful areas of the Italian countryside and arrive at the country estate that will be our home while in Italy. Meander through the estate grounds, boasting both a vineyard and oil grove, before our welcome reception and dinner. Il Cellese (L, D)
Day 3 – Florence
Today we will be immersed in the Renaissance as we tour the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art museums in all of Europe. The gallery boasts a collection of art by such notable artists as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio, to name a few. Stroll though Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, and view the Giambologna sculptures at the Loggia di Lanzi. Stop for lunch on your own and spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful city of Florence. We will meet up for dinner in the city. (B, D)
Day 4 – Florence
Climb to the top of the Duomo for a spectacular view of Florence and then visit the Baptistery of Saint John, one of the oldest buildings in the city. The octagonal Baptistery is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors. Then stroll across the Ponte Vecchio to tour the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. The palace houses an amazing collection of paintings, sculptures, modern art, porcelain, and a costume gallery. The gardens are famous for its fountains and grottoes. Along the way, we will view the Pontormo painting inside Santa Felicita Church. Enjoy lunch at the Palace restaurant or at one of the nearby dining establishments and spend the afternoon touring on your own. This evening, we will enjoy dinner at our country estate. (B, D)
Day 5 – Florence
Visit the Accademia Gallery to view, among other famous works, Michelangelo’s David. Tour the Medici Chapels, built as a celebration to the Medici family, a banking family whose influence fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance and the majority of Florentine art and architecture. Afterwards, we will visit Florence’s Central Market where locals and tourist alike, shop for the widest range of every type of fresh food. The market is located amidst the vendor stalls of Florence’s leather district where a range of goods and souvenirs are sold. Enjoy lunch nearby and spend the afternoon viewing the sites of Florence. We will meet up for dinner in Florence. (B, D)
Day 6 – Il Cellese
Learn the fascinating process and technique of fresco painting by artist, Marc Mannheimer. Afterwards, we will enjoy a tour, tasting, and luncheon at one of the Chianti area’s vineyards. Join us in the afternoon for a cheese tasting at Celesse Point, a shop in the local town of Castellina, owned by our estate host. While in town, visit a local art gallery and other shops. This evening, local artists will join us for dinner at our country estate. (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Siena
A short drive brings us to the Tuscan gem of Siena. Soak up the medieval flavor of this historic city on a walking tour that includes Piazza del Campo and the colorful, marble-clad cathedral. Stop for lunch on your own and spend the afternoon exploring at leisure. We will meet up for dinner in Siena. (B, D)
Day 8 – San Gimignano
We will travel to the scenic walled hillside town of San Gimignano known for its many tower houses and its medieval Romanesque and Gothic architecture. We will tour the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, the Chapel of St. Fina, and the Museum of Sacred Art. Enjoy lunch on your own. Return to our country estate kitchen and discover the pleasure of preparing a traditional Tuscan meal. (B, D)
Day 9 – Arezzo
Today we will visit the city of Arezzo, which sits high-up overlooking the magnificent landscape of the Chianti countryside. We will view Piero Della Francesca’s amazing and moving fresco cycle on the Legend of the True Cross at the Basilica di San Francesco. Arezzo, known for having maintained its medieval qualities in most locations of the old city, is one of the wealthiest cities in Tuscany. Have lunch at one of the local establishments and then enjoy the spectacular panoramic views from the expansive park at the top of the city. We will gather for dinner at our country estate. (B, D)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)