Flavors of Tuscany and the Enchanting Cinque Terre - from Rome Back

Departs from : Rome

Duration : 4 days

Type : Public

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Price Per Person : EUR 635.00

Meals Included

Breakfasts : 3

Dinners : 3

Wine Tastings : 3

Map

This is a wonderful tour of two remarkable areas in Italy: Tuscany & the Cinque Terre national park.  It's a great option for those who want to see some of the very best of the regions and not worry about driving or transportation, for this tour includes round trip transportation from Rome.  

In addition to seeing some of the highlights of Tuscany in the most beautiful areas of these regions, many meals and wine tastings including local products like cheese, salami, prosciutto (ham), olives and olive oil are sampled on all the days in beautiful locations.

Wonderful local guides, ground transportation, comfortable hotels and a wonderful boat trip along one of the most spectaucular coastline's in the world - the the Cinque Terre national park, is also included. 

For further questions or more information, get in touch with the team@italygroupspecialists.com or toll free in North America at: 1-866-779-2565 or in Italy directly!  +39 320 817 1361

 

 


Day 1 : ROMA - MONTEPULCIANO - PIENZA - SIENA

Where we visit : Rome, Montepulciano, Siena

Meeting Location : Gartour’s sightseeing office OR pickup at the hotel

Description :

At 08.00 AM this morning we meet a meet at the specified location in Rome. Alternatively, we can arrange pick-up directly at your hotel in Rome if we are provided the specific address. 

From here, we will begin our descent North through the Lazio region into Umbria and then very soon, about 1.5 hours North of Rome into the Val D'Orcia area where we will reach the hilltop town of MONTEPULCIANO, an ancient village rich of medieval and Renaissance buildings, famous for producing one of the oldest wines of Italy, the “Nobile di Montepulciano”.

Here, we will stop for a visit to a wine cellar and experience a tasting of wines and local products like ham, cheese, and salami. Proceed to PIENZA, the Renaissance town built under Pope Pius II and alsowell-known for its pecorino cheese. The tour will proceed to SIENA, where you will enjoy a visit of the old city centre. You will be walking along the medieval streets admiring splendid palaces. The sightseeing tour will end in the Piazza del Campo with its spectacular Cathedral. This is one of the most beautiful squares in the world and site of the famous 600 years old horse-race, called “Il Palio”.

Wonderful Dinner this evening and overnight at the hotel.

Meals : Dinner, Wine Tasting

Day 2 : SIENA - SAN GIMIGNANO - TAVERNELLE - CHIANTI AREA - LUCCA - PISA - LA SPEZIA

Where we visit : San Gimignano, Chianti, Pisa

Description :

After breakfast at the hotel, departure to SAN GIMIGNANO, a tiny city that has remained intact through the centuries; situated on a hilltop and famous for its numerous towers, frescoes and other art treasures. You will then proceed to Tavernelle Val di Pesa located within the CHIANTI CLASSICO “Gallo Nero” region, where we will make a stop at the farmhouse la tancia to enjoy an excellent wine tasting with light lunch. The tour continues onto LUCCA, where you will have free time for lunch. Our expert tour leader will also take you for a pleasant walk into the enchanting historical centre, where you will admire the Anfiteatro Square, the Guinigi Tower, the San Martino Dome and the typical antique shops. In the early afternoon, you will then proceed to PISA, Upon arrival you will have a walking tour of the Piazza dei Miracoli, with its famous Leaning Tower (exterior visit), the Baptistery (exterior visit) and other beautiful monuments. Proceed to LA SPEZIA. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner, Wine Tasting

Day 3 : LA SPEZIA - PORTOVENERE - GOLFO DEI POETI - CINQUE TERRE - LA SPEZIA

Where we visit : La Spezia (SP), Portovenere, Cinque Terre

Description :

After breakfast, departure by boat for an unforgettable day dedicated to the discovery of one of the most amazing and enchanting landscape in the World. The five villages, CINQUE TERRE is an area suspended between sea and land, hanging from sheer cliffs surrounded by hills and vineyards. You will enter into a little piece of heaven. By touring the coast line by boat, you will have the possibility to admire this amazing landscape from the seaside*, like in a postcard. (*In the event of rough sea, the visit will be done partly by coach and partly by train.) During the tour, the boat will reach Portovenere and the most important villages. You will be able to stop at PORTO VENERE, VERNAZZA, MONTEROSSO and visit them at leisure.

PORTOVENERE: Portovenere, on the Gulf of Poets, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its picturesque harbor is lined with brightly colored houses, while narrow medieval streets lined with shops lead up the hill from the ancient city gate to the castle.

RIOMAGGIORE: Caught between two steep terraced hills descending in steep cliffs to the sea, the ancient village of Riomaggiore strikes visitors with its delightfully colored houses built vertically.

MANAROLA: Built on a high rock 70 metres above sea level, is one of the most charming and romantic villages. The tiny harbor features a boat ramp, picturesque multicoloured houses facing the sea, a tiny piazza with seafood restaurants.

CORNIGLIA: Is an ancient Roman village that has a long and rich agricultural tradition. The village is surrounded on three sides by vineyards and terraces. Its architecture is closer to that of a rural inland village than that of a coastal village.

VERNAZZA: The small fishing village Vernazza is probably the most characteristic of the Cinque Terre and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced olive groves which are said to produce among the finest olive oil in the country.

MONTEROSSO: It is the largest of the five coastal villages. Its amazing beaches, its beautiful reefs and the sea’s crystal clear waters, make this small village one of the most hospitable of the Ligurian Riviera. Board the train from Monterosso and arrive in La Spezia. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 : LA SPEZIA - CARRARA MARBLE CAVES - MONTECARLO DI LUCCA - ROME

Where we visit : La Spezia (SP), Lucca, Rome

Description :

After breakfast at the hotel, the tour will take you to CARRARA for a visit of the impressive marble quarries carved deep into the mountain. This is where Michelangelo took the raw material to create his superb masterpieces. By visiting the quarry museum you will admire ancient tools, some sculptures and the quarryman’s house. Continue to MONTECARLO DI LUCCA, a lovely town located on the hills around Lucca. This territory is ideal for the production of top quality wine and extra virgin olive oil. We will stop and visit a farmhouse where the owners will have you taste delicious Tuscan food specialities, from olive oil to cheese, from bread to wine and of course pasta, which you will taste with different wines. Proceed to Rome and arrival in the evening. Overnight at the hotel. Dinner is not included.

Meals : Breakfast, Wine Tasting

Tour Highlights and What's Included

  1. Accommodation in 4* hotels centrally located
  2. 3 dinners (drinks not included)
  3. 3 Wine tastings with local products
  4. Ground transportation by deluxe motor coach with air conditioning
  5. Boat trip along the enchanting Cinque Terre coast line
  6. MULTILINGUAL TOUR
  7. Entrance fees

What's Not Included

  1. Extra nights: Possibility to add extra nights at the beginning and/or at the end of the tour: rates are on request or available on our online booking website
  2. Departure transfer: Possibility to organize the departure transfers: rates are on request or available on our online booking website
  3. Optional suggested tours: For optional suggested tour rates please refer to our online booking website.

Tuscany


 

Tuscany is among the most beautiful regions of Italy. The gentle curves and slopes of the land will enchant you. Tuscany is as famous for its wine and cuisine as it is for its landscapes. Wine production focuses on red wines like Chianti, San Giovese, Rosso di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Bolgheri, and others.

Food is prepared with seasonal ingredients and enjoyed quietly by charming views. There are many medieval towns and castles, and in each of them you can find a treasure or two; it can be a painting by a famous artist hidden in an unusual church, a meal prepared by a passionate cook, or a great conversation with a local - whatever it is, for sure will be genuine.

Journeying through the hills and valleys, discovering the beauty of the land and the calm within yourself has attracted seekers of life and love to beautiful Tuscany for many years. The tradition continues to this day, and Tuscany welcomes them with her open arms. Major attractions: small and bigger medieval towns including Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Volterra, Certaldo, Greve in Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Cortona, Pienza, and many others. Major festivals and events: Siena's Palio horse race, Puccini's Summer Opera Festival in Torre del Lago, Arezzo's Saracen Joust, Estate Fiesolana Music Festival, Cortona music and food festival, other local festivals.)

Siena


 

 

Siena is reknowned, both nationally and internationally, for the Palio horse race contested by the 17 contrada which divide this small city. But Siena is also unique thanks to its maze of narrow streets, its numerous towers and elegant town houses, the immense Piazza del Campo and the Cathedral which dominate the heart of the Medieval city encircled by impressive walls.
 
Those living in Siena enjoy an incredibly high quality of life. It is also the first city in Italy to close its center to traffic. As far as culture is concerned, Siena has been a city of great artistic significance since ancient times with internationally acclaimed institutions such as theChigiana Musical Academy, the Accademia dei Fisiocritici and Accademia degli Intronati, as well as the University for Foreigners.
 
Sites not to be missed: the Church of St Domenico, the Church of St Francesco, theDiocesan Museum of Sacred Art and Palazzo Salimbeni which houses important frescoes. The surrounding countryside is superbly peaceful with vineyards, olive groves,medieval hamlets and castles. The gastronomic traditions have gained international fame with the sweet Panpepato, Ricciarelli and Cavallucci being exported throughout the world.

Montepulciano


 

Encircled by walls and fortifications  designed and built starting 1511 AD by Antonio da Sangallo on the orders of the great Florentine, Cosmo I, Montepulciano cascades down a limestone ridge whose highest point is over 600 meters (1950 feet) above sea level.
 
The long and winding main street of Montepulciano extends from the Porta al Prato for 11.5 km to the Piazza Grande, and will take the traveler through the old medieval districts of  one of the most pleasant and satisfying of all Tuscan cities.
 
The Piazza, fronted by most of the city's most notable buildings, including the  Palazzo Comunale and the Duomo, perches at the utmost top of the hill, where Poliziani (the name the citizens give to themselves) mingle with visitors from nearby and far away.
 
The Duomo, with its plain, almost unfinished facade, was designed and built by Ippolito Scalza in 1630.  The most important work of art in the interior is a triptych done in 1401 by Bartolo, the "Assumption of the Virgin".
 
The Palazzo Comunale, a seemingly smaller version of Palazzo Vecchio, was built originally in the Gothic style, but the tower and facade were added in the 15th Century by Michelozzo.  Visitors are welcome to climb the tower where breathtaking views over the city and across the Tuscan countryside can be absorbed.  Next to the town hall is the Palazzo Tarugi, built in the 16th century.
 
Close by is the Chiesa Sant'Agostino, built in 1427 with a mix of Gothic and Renaissance elements by the architect, Michelozzo.  Note the elaborately carved portal.  The Palazzo Bucelli (1648), also close by,  has a lower facade into which are integrated Etruscan bas relief and funerary urns.
 
The Church of Jesus was built with a quasi circular plan by the Jesuit architect, Fra Andrea Pozzo.  Pozzo also worked on various other buildings in Montepulciano including the Palazzo Contucci (see above).
 
Sangallo the Elder also built the Temple of Madonna di San Biaglio, flanked by two campanile (bell towers) outside the city gates. It is also a Renaissance building built with butter- colored Travertine marble.  Sangallo started it in 1518, and remained pre-occupied with it until his death in 1534 and it is rightly recognized as his masterpiece. The design influence or inspired the architects of many of the palazzi in Montepulciano such as Palazzi Avignose, Cocconi, Cervini, Ganoni-Grugni, Contucci and Tarug (see above).
 
Also outside the walls and worth a peek are Chiesa Santa Chiara and Chiera Santa Maria, both done in the Baroque style.
 
Montepulciano is, of course, famous for its wines, particularly the Vino Nobile, a mellow red wine that evokes the scent of flowers and is shot through with a kind of iridescent orange color.  There are many less agreeable things to do than sit in one of the city's many cafes or restaurants to imbibe a glass (or two!) or purchase a bottle (or two!) at a local shop, which you can consume later during a lazy  Tuscan picnic.
 
Montepulciano is also the scene of a few enlivening annual festivals.  Arrive in late July-early August for the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte arts festival founded by the German composer Hans Werner Henze.   Re-enactments of Montepulciano's turbulent history take place at the Brucello festival in mid August, and there is a parade, barrel race and banquet at the end of August, the Bravio dell Botti.
 
By Jesse Andrews, 2005 

Lucca


 

Approaching the city, the visitor to Lucca will be struck by the incredibly well preserved walls dating back to the 1500s which encircle the town, now transformed into a tree lined walk way. Once an Etruscan settlement, and subsequently a Roman Colony, Lucca preserves the ellipse of the Roman Amphitheatre and traces of Roman walls.

 
The Medieval appearance has hardly changed, with an urban architecture of narrow roads, towers and small squares overlooked by the numerous churches such as the Cathedral of St Martino, the Basilica of St Frediano, the Church of St Michele in Foro, the Farneta Charter House and the Palazzo Arcivescovile.
 
Lucca was the birth place of musicians such as Giacomo Puccini. The natural landscape is enchanting; dotted with splendid country mansions built between the 17th and 19th century. Lucca continues centuries' old commercial activities from the fabrication and marketing of silk to the production of local gastronomic specialties such as the traditional sweet buccellato of Lucca.

Cinque Terre


 

The Cinque Tere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the beautiful Italian Riviera.  Truly, one of the most captivatingly picturesque places in all of Italy, The Cinque Terre continues to retain its old world characteristics.
 

And that, of course, is a problem for travelers who do not like to find themselves amidst a horde of tourists.  The question is not whether to go, but when.  Our recommendations: May or June; September or October.  It is still warm, but not as warm and humid as the height of summer.

Modernity in all its dubious glory has not managed to impinge itself too heavily because The Cinque Terre is well off the main highways and rail lines that give life to modern industry and create the usual activity that a growing population demands.  Not only that, but steps have been taken to protect the natural - and man-made - environment from over development.

 
The unique, rugged landscape of The Cinque Terre, consisting of sharply defined mountains, steep valleys, daunting cliffs and narrow beaches, is almost all within the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre and it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  Moreover the local waters are a protected marine area within Italy.
 
 
There are a few cars within Cinque Terre, and a small network of roads used by local people, or by the drivers who bring goods to the place, but for travelers and tourists, it is mostly inaccessible by car.  Better to take the train (or a coastal ferry) from Spezia (south), or Levanto (north), and take-in the sites on foot.
 
There are a number of well-worn paths in The Cinque Terre, but the Via Dell'Amore - the lover's walk -  strings all five villages, winding its way along beaches, and through the many olive orchards, vineyards and chestnut woods on the terraced seaside slopes.
 
The easiest part of the route is from Riomaggiore to Manorola, but things get more difficult from Corniglia to Vernazza, and very difficult from Vernazza to Monterossa, as the hills become steeper and more challenging.  At some points you will be 1000 feet above the level of the sea.
 
During the summer months, along the beaches one can take the sun at one of several Lidos, or perhaps find a small stretch of beach.  If you want to be more active, you can hire a boat, swim in the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, or go snorkeling or scuba diving in the Riomaggiore area.  The local waters team with fish, so you can hang a line from pier, rock or boat.
 
Strolling through the medieval villages you will encounter many churches, including the oldest in Manorola, whose cornerstone dates to 1060 AD.  When you are hungry, and perhaps tired from your wanderings, each of the villages has its share of cafes and restaurants. 
 
It will not surprise you that Ligurian fare is heavily oriented to sea food with pasta running a close second.  The the sauces, many of them based on basil, pine nuts and other local produce, are sensational.  If you are a lover of wines, then eat your meal with one of the delicious local wines.
 
The Cinque Terre is situated on an east-west axis, but still, there are stunning views across the water to the west where you will see blazing Mediterranean sunsets you will be unable to describe to your friends back home.
 
The Cinque Terre is the ultimate in the paradox which confronts the veteran and novice traveler alike: avoiding the most heavily touristed places means not seeing the places that are most heavily touristed because of their profoundly attractive virtues.  In the case of Cinque Terre - we suggest you submit yourself to the experience.
 
Please contact us today by either phone or email for assistance with this booking.
Email : team@italygroupspecialists.com
Toll Free : 1-866-779-2565
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Price Per Person : EUR 635.00

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