Relaxed Tuscany

Sienna
Sienna
Cathedral in Pienza Square
Cathedral in Pienza Square
The small charming town of Cortona
The small charming town of Cortona
Fresco at the Palazzo Comunale
Fresco at the Palazzo Comunale
Duomo in Florence
Duomo in Florence
Ancient fountain
Ancient fountain

A wealth of archaeological sites are hidden amongst the rolling hills and golden landscapes of Tuscany. The region has seduced countless civilisations for centuries. It all began with the Etruscans, but the Romans, medieval Christians, British aristocrats, and plundering Napoleon all share a space in the region’s fascinating history.

Our visually stimulating tour is set in the rolling Tuscan countryside - a gorgeous land of villas and vineyards. Based in a single hotel in the centre of Sienna, we enjoy a combination of expert-led archaeological visits and free time to explore. Highlights of the tour include visits to the hilltowns of Arezzo and Cortona, and the imposing Medici stronghold of Poggibonsi.

  • Discover the Palazzo communal in Siena and its breathtaking bell tower
  • Explore Cortona, the art and architecture city with a ‘diadem of towers’
  • Journey through the rolling countryside of Tuscany, punctuated with villas and avenues of cypress trees with free time to explore at your leisure

Themes

  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek
  • Medieval
  • Romans

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • Small Group
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2017

Day 1

We arrive in Italy and drive to our hotel in Siena.

Day 2

This morning we explore Siena, the last town to hold out against the rise of the Medici. The Republic invested heavily in its wondrous Duomo, which we visit on our exploration of the city. We take plenty of time to explore and savour the marvellous Palazzo Comunale, and perhaps ascend its bell tower for the exceptional view over the town’s rooftops. We enjoy some free time this afternoon to spend at our leisure.

Day 3

We travel to Arezzo, another proud city state. It was described by Livy as one of the Capitae Etruriae, or Etruscan capitals, and is believed to have been part of the so-called Dodecapolis, a list of the twelve most important Etruscan cities. We explore the life and work of Giorgio Vasari, court architect to Cosimo I and biographer of the great artists. We then move on to the duomo, thought to be located on the site of the ancient city’s acropolis. There is the option to enjoy some free time this morning — perfect for languishing in the town’s central square, star of the Roberto Benigni classic Life Is Beautiful — or to visit Arezzo’s Archaeological Museum alongside your guide lecturer.

We enjoy the culinary delights of Tuscany tonight at one of the region’s fabulous Michelin-starred restaurants.

Day 4

Today, we enjoy a full day in Cortona, a small charming town in Arezzo’s Chiana Valley. Seated on the skirts of the mountains, with narrow cobbled streets and terracotta roofs, this is almost the archetypal medieval Italian city. Here, we discover the Accademia Etrusca — the home of an 18th century esoteric society and its fine museum — and the Diocesan Museum, holding works by Fra Angelico including his 1430s Annunciation altarpiece.

We enjoy a special visit to the impressive Etruscan tumuli of Sodo Melone below Cortona, the burial place of the city’s ancient aristocrats.

Day 5

We drive to Pienza, a Unesco World Heritage Site built by Pope Pius II. It was intended as a model Renaissance city, as a Papal retreat from Rome, and to test out mannerist ideals of city planning. This afternoon, we enjoy a visit to a local Tuscan winery to sample the vintages — Tuscan wines are, justifiably, celebrated, with a wealth of native grapes and a rich history of viticulture — providing a refreshing and relaxing end to the day.

Day 6

We enjoy a final visit to the great Medici fortress at Poggibonsi, relied upon by the Florentine Empire of Cosimo Medici. We transfer to the airport for our return home.

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We arrive in Italy and drive to our hotel in Siena.

Day 2

This morning we explore Siena, the last town to hold out against the rise of the Medici. We take plenty of time to explore and savour the marvellous Palazzo Comunale, and perhaps ascend its bell tower for the exceptional view over the city’s rooftops. Enjoy some free time this afternoon.

Day 3

We travel to Arezzo and explore the life and work of Giorgio Vasari, court architect to Cosimo I and biographer of the great artists. We then move to the Duomo, thought to be located on the site of the ancient city’s acropolis. Enjoy some free time - or visit the Archaeological Museum alongside your guide lecturer.

Day 4

Today we enjoy a full day in Cortona, a small charming town in Arezzo’s Chiana valley. We discover the Accademia Etrusca and its fine museum. We also visit the Diocesan Museum.

Day 5

We drive to Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by Pope Pius II. This afternoon, we enjoy a visit to a local Tuscan winery to sample the vintages – Tuscan wines are, justifiably, celebrated, with a rich history of viticulture – providing a refreshing and relaxing end to the day.

Day 6

We enjoy a final visit to the great Medici fortress at Poggibonsi, relied upon by the Florentine Empire of Cosimo Medici. We transfer to the airport for our return home.

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Hotel Info

5 nights at the Hotel Certosa di Maggiano, a luxury boutique hotel in Siena. Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, the charming hotel began its life as a 14th century Carthusian monastery.

Useful Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

Book now

2017 Tour Details

Mon 11th September - Sat 16th September

Call for Availability

£2,195

ex. flights: £1,975

sgl supp: £285

RTU17A

Led By: Oren Margolis

2018 Tour Details

Mon 3rd September - Sat 8th September

Available

£2,295

ex. flights: £2,075

sgl supp: £325

RTU18A

Led By: Oren Margolis

Guide Lecturer

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