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Tuscany & Cinque Terre 2020

Tuscany & Cinque Terre 2020

Overview

Dates & Prices

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Sat, Sep 05, 2020
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Sat, Sep 12, 2020
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Sat, Sep 12, 2020
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Sat, Sep 19, 2020
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Mon, Sep 14, 2020
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Mon, Sep 21, 2020
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Sat, Sep 19, 2020
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Sat, Sep 26, 2020
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From
Mon, Sep 21, 2020
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Mon, Sep 28, 2020
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From
Sat, Sep 26, 2020
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Sat, Oct 03, 2020
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From
Mon, Oct 05, 2020
To
Mon, Oct 12, 2020
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From
Sat, Oct 10, 2020
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Sat, Oct 17, 2020
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Sat, Oct 17, 2020
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Sat, Oct 24, 2020
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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Italy

Tour Itinerary

From under the Tuscan sun to the Italian Riviera... discover the stories behind the brilliance of Renaissance painters and sculptors from an art historian in Florence... prepare pasta with a chef and learn the finer points of olive oil tasting...  For the culturally curious, this journey through Italy is a feeling that you've become much more savvy after an art history briefing. It’s walking through the medieval alleys of Siena... or bicycling atop the walls of Lucca. It’s laughter. It’s sharing vino made from grapes in the vineyards you’ve just walked through and kicking back. It’s about becoming a part of day-to-day Italy... and new views on life... Hear a recital by a concert pianist in his private palazzo and chat with a master of art restoration... discover the beauty of natural marble and Cinque Terre villages overlooking the sea, connected by walking trails...

Day 1: Welcome to Florence

Tour begins: 3:00 PM, Hotel Plaza Lucchesi. A transfer is included from the Peretola Airport to the elegant Hotel Plaza Lucchesi, a historic property overlooking the Arno River in the center of Florence since 1860... where your room will have a view featuring the river or the Duomo and Santa Croce. A twisted maze of narrow alleyways... and your Tuscany travel adventure begins. Florence’s Renaissance heart makes yours beat a little faster as you ramble through it with your Florentine guide. Stroll along the Arno and check out Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo. See, touch and feel the mark of Michelangelo and Brunelleschi in stately palazzi and beautiful basilicas, and tour the new Opera Duomo Museum. Cocktails and canapés on your hotel's rooftop terrace (weather permitting) offer a warm and tasty welcome tonight... along with 360-degree views of the city! Then it's a short walk to a local Florentine restaurant for a true Tuscan welcome dinner. The venue is lively, the conversation stimulating... you have arrived in Italy!


Meals: D

Day 2: Renaissance Art and Architecture

Michelangelo's shadow looms large in Firenze. But how... why... where? You'll get a few answers on today's first stop – an early-opening, private morning visit of the 15th-century Basilica di Santa Croce. Dubbed the “Temple of Italian Glories,” Florence’s answer to London’s Westminster Abbey is filled with the tombs of major Italian legends – including Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, Machiavelli, and more, along with a statue that inspired the Statue of Liberty.  Then discover some of the city's masterpieces on a guided visit to the Uffizi – Europe's oldest art gallery, founded by the Medicis to display their countless treasures – revealing a few secrets of its own. Getting up close and personal with Botticelli’s Birth of Venus or Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo, in a frame designed by the Master himself, can’t help but touch your soul… and the artist lurking within. By midday you'll understand how art and history are inextricably intertwined in Florence. We've all got passionate interests, and you'll have the afternoon and evening free to explore yours in Florence today... as well as check out some of the city's culinary offerings on your own... perhaps appreciate more Renaissance art, and all things Florentine… bellissimo! 


Meals: B

Day 3: Florentine Artisans, Past and Present

Take a walk along the cobbled streets of the Oltrarno, its Renaissance palaces harboring salacious scandals and murky intrigues... You're in the thick of Florentine life in the old San Niccolo district's bustling squares and artisans' workshops. Restoration specialist Bettina Schindler-Pratesi shares the secrets of her work… giving new life to old ivory, bone and mother-of-pearl... during a visit to her workshop. After visiting another restoration workshop in the area, discover the rich history of Florentine artisans and their guilds as you walk with your local guide over the Ponte Vecchio, with its famous shops, to the Orsanmichele facade featuring sculptures dedicated to the guilds. Wind up your tour at a building in the Piazza della Signoria that once housed original leaders of the guilds. Following an afternoon exploring as you wish, join concert pianist Gregorio Nardi at his Palazzo Bargellini, where you'll enjoy a personal tour, a recital on a Steinway grand piano, lively discussions on history and local politics, and an aperitivo. Later, dine as you please on your own, perhaps a taste of vino and local cheeses at an enoteca... now that's amore...


Meals: B

Day 4: Carrara Marble & on to Cinque Terre

The road winds and twists and turns as you travel toward the Gulf of Genoa. Take a winding road deep into a mountain aboard a 4x4 to see where celebrated Carrara marble, considered the finest on Earth, has been quarried since Roman times, at what is the oldest industrial site on Earth. After stopping for a simple lunch in the village of Colonnata, continue to Portovenere on the Gulf of Poets, where you’ll instantly get why this stunning Roman-Byzantine town was named for the goddess Venus. Colorful houses cascade along a hillside against the azure sea… the black-and-white-striped Gothic church of San Pietro perched above... images captured as your motor boat (weather permitting) navigates the Mediterranean waters along Cinque Terre from Portovenere to the village of Monterosso al Mare for a two-night stay with sea-view rooms at Hotel Porto Roca inside Cinque Terre National Park. Dine this evening at your hotel overlooking the harbor... images not soon forgotten...


Meals: B, L, D

Day 5: A Hike or a Train Ride in Cinque Terre

Gazing over the sea from your hotel perched above Monterosso al Mare, life is beautiful. Perhaps a dip in the sea from the private beach of Porto Roca? Monterosso is one of five remote fishing villages strung like jewels along the coast – Cinque Terre National Park, “the five lands.” They’re now linked to the outside world by rail, but for centuries were accessible only by sea… or on foot, the best way to appreciate life in what is truly a world of its own. If you wish, join us for one of the world’s most spectacular coastal hikes, through terraced vineyards overlooking the sea from Monterosso to Vernazza – the “pearl of Cinque Terre.” If not, you'll travel by train, which is an experience unto itself. Fall in love with village life… indelible seascape memories… and lunch on your own in a sidewalk café, alive with the flavors of local wines, citrus, olives, and the catch of the day. The remainder of the day is free to do as you please, find your own pursuits... and what could be better than that?


Meals: B

Day 6: Cycling, Cooking, and Tastings

A jog, or a swim, is an excellent way to start the day before a drive through the Tuscan hills to Lucca. This medieval city's surviving Renaissance-era, red-brick walls shut out traffic and the modern world… leaving a peaceful community that still revolves around its original Roman street plan, encircled by a delightful, tree-lined promenade. And because it’s topographically flat – unlike most Tuscan towns – Lucca is a cyclist’s dream. One of the best ways to explore this historically powerful and culturally rich city is by bicycle... and, led by your local guide, you'll do just that – zipping down its narrow lanes… across its ancient piazzas… even along the top of its massive walls! Guests who choose not to join the bicycle excursion can spend the time walking and exploring the center of Lucca as they please. If you’re wondering if Tuscany is all about the food, a hands-on lesson with experts in the art of making fresh pasta at Fattoria Colle Verde, one of the region’s foremost wineries and olive oil producers, may shed some light. After a little testing and a little cooking, cap your pasta-making debut with a little virgin olive oil tasting… a little Tuscan wine tasting… and more than a little pasta tasting at lunch. Then it's on to the historic Tuscan city of Siena for a two-night stay.


Meals: B, L

Day 7: Neighborhoods of Siena

Awaken in beautiful Siena and spend the morning exploring as you wish; your Tauck Director can suggest museums, galleries and other points of interest, as well as great spots to enjoy lunch on your own. Or you can rise early and join us for an optional hot air balloon ride over the lush Tuscan landscapes, followed by a champagne breakfast (for an additional charge; see Pricing & Availability for details). Later, accompany your local guide to discover Siena's many architectural treasures on a walking tour – including its black-and-white Duomo, one of Italy's great cathedrals, with scenes inlaid in the marble floors and sculpture by Michelangelo. You'll see the Piazza del Campo – where the famous Palio bareback horse race has been held twice every year for centuries – Palazzo Salimbeni, Palazzo Tolomei, Torre di Mangia, Santa Maria della Scalla and more. After some time to explore on your own, cap your Tuscany travel adventure with cocktails and canapés in an ancient wine cellar, followed by a memorable dinner of Tuscan specialties in an absolutely magical spot… under the setting Tuscan sun.


Meals: B, D

Day 8: Arrivederci, Tuscany

Tour ends: Florence. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Grand Hotel Continental in Siena to Peretola Airport in Florence or the Florence main train station. As you return to the birthplace of the Renaissance through those magical hills for your journey home, the rich flavors of Cinque Terre and Tuscany linger in your memory. And there they’ll stay… warm and inviting… until your next visit.


Meals: B

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Inclusions

From under the Tuscan sun to the Italian Riviera... discover the stories behind the brilliance of Renaissance painters and sculptors from an art historian in Florence... prepare pasta with a chef and learn the finer points of olive oil tasting... 

For the culturally curious, this journey through Italy is a feeling that you've become much more savvy after an art history briefing. It’s walking through the medieval alleys of Siena... or bicycling atop the walls of Lucca. It’s laughter. It’s sharing vino made from grapes in the vineyards you’ve just walked through and kicking back. It’s about becoming a part of day-to-day Italy... and new views on life... Hear a recital by a concert pianist in his private palazzo and chat with a master of art restoration... discover the beauty of natural marble and Cinque Terre villages overlooking the sea, connected by walking trails...

  • Small groups averaging 18 guests for a more personal travel experience
  • Private, early-opening visit to Florence's Basilica di Santa Croce, final resting place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and more
  • A two-night stay with sea-view rooms at the only full-service hotel set within Cinque Terre National Park 
  • Hike along Cinque Terre National Park's coastal paths amidst breathtaking views
  • Go inside an artisan's workshop and studio with a Restoration Specialist; learn the rich history of Florence's artisan guilds
  • Discover the new Opera Duomo Museum in Florence on a guided tour
  • Take a guided tour of the quarries where Carrara marble has been mined since Roman times
  • A wine and olive oil tasting in Tuscany & a cooking class in the art of making pasta

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Accommodations

Grand Hotel Continental

Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Hotel Porto Roca

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.4
Accommodations
5
Itinerary
5
Professional Staff
4
Repeat with Operator
4
Value for Money
4

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Ratings based off 2 reviews - currently showing 2 reviews with comments only

overall, tour was excellent altho' should have done it a few months earlier as it was quite warm/hot and florence was full of students. altho' have been to florence before, was disappointed there was no "grand tour" of the florence area from firsole to highlands across the arno and we had to take the hop-on, hop-off for the grand tour/overview. the rest of this tauck tour was excellent/first class with respect to group size (16), hotels, food, special events/visits and the fact we spent 2-3 nights on the same hotel. that said, having taken tours with other operators, one probably needs to decide if one wants longer tours with more locations visited at about the same cost but, clearly, with lower quality, larger group (32-40), and more hotel changes.

Tauck is the premiere of traveling experiences, high end but well worth the money. The ease and efficiency with which Affordable Tours put this package were exceptional.


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