Day 1 Reliving the Renaissance in Florence
Your Culturious Tuscany travel begins: 3:00 PM at Gallery Hotel Art. A transfer is included from the Peretola Airport to the hip Gallery Hotel Art. 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. Walk 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, beautiful basilicas, even arrogant monuments built by the Medicis to themselves. Cocktails and canapés offer a warm and tasty Culturious welcome tonight. Cross the Arno, across the Ponte Vecchio, to a riverside restaurant for a true Tuscan welcome, maybe peeking into one of the bridge’s ancient shops, where jewelers have plied their trade for half a millennium… diamonds are forever! The restaurant is lively, the views wonderful, the conversation stimulating... you have arrived in Italy.(D)
Day 2 All about Florence today, a city of secrets... and the heart of art
Michelangelo's shadow looms large in Firenze. But how... why... where? A Florentine art history scholar tells all. The Uffizi – founded by the Medicis to display their countless treasures – reveals 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. We've all got passionate interests, and you'll have time to explore yours in Florence today... as well as check out some of the city's culinary offerings for lunch and dinner on your own. Next up is a visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia, home to Michelangelo's famed David. By midday you'll understand how art and history are inextricably intertwined in Florence. Continue a chat about art… and the Renaissance... and all things Florentine with phrases picked up in today's basic Italiano lesson… bellisimo Tuscany travel days...(B)
Day 3 Art, music & more... living the Florentine life
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. A short drive to the Basilica of Santa Croce, eternal resting place for Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and other illustrious Italians, offers a chance to reflect on the treasured legacies of their lives. Back in Florence, stroll through the Mercato Central with a local guide, sampling traditional Florentine street food – lampredotto sandwiches... fresh fruit... porchetta... gelato... Following an afternoon exploring as you wish, join concert pianist Gregorio Nardi and his wife Annegret at their 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...(B)
Day 4 Carrara marble & the coast on the way 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 4 x 4* 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, where you'll dine this evening at your hotel overlooking the harbor... images not soon forgotten...(B,L,D)
Day 5 Discovering “The Five Lands” of 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, “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? (B)
Day 6 Cooking, wining and dining in Tuscany
A jog, or a swim, is an excellent way to start the day before a drive through the Tuscan Hills to Lucca; its surviving Renaissance-era walls have created a delightful, tree-lined promenade encircling the town's historic center, perfect for strolling. 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. You can spend the afternoon and evening exploring what you will, or kick back in Lucca, your home for the next two nights.(B,L)
Day 7 Today, explore Lucca; tonight, dine at a fabulous winery
Medieval Lucca’s red-brick walls shut out traffic and the modern world… leaving a peaceful community that still revolves around its original Roman street plan. And because it’s topographically flat – unlike most Tuscan towns – Lucca is a cyclist’s dream. One of the best ways to explore to explore this colorful, elegant, historically powerful and culturally rich city is by bike – zipping down its narrow lanes… across its ancient piazzas… even along the top of its massive walls! And if you're not interested in bicycling, there's so much to see and do in town. Delighting all the senses is a hallmark of the Tuscan Hills… so a local winery just outside of town is the perfect venue for tasting local wine, sipping prosecco, sampling a canapé... perfect for reflections on a week well spent. And to complete your Tuscany travel adventure, a memorable dinner of Tuscan specialties in an absolutely magical spot… under the setting Tuscan sun.(B,D)
Day 8 Arrivederci, Tuscany
Your Culturious Tuscany travel experience ends in Florence. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Hotel Ilaria to Peretola Airport in Florence. 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 travel, Culturious-style, linger in your memory. And there they’ll stay… warm and inviting… until your next visit.(B)
All This Included
For the Culturious, Tuscany travel is tasting the flavors of olive oil – and sharing likes and dislikes. It’s a lesson in key Italian words to get you comfortable ordering gelato on the piazza... or choosing your lunch at a local market. It’s feeling that much more savvy after an art history briefing. It’s walking, jogging, bicycling, or if you wish, rollerblading on 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.
Small Culturious groups, no more than 20 guests
Hike along Cinque Terre’s coastal paths amidst breathtaking views
Go inside an artisan’s workshop and studio with a Restoration Specialist
Sample the street foods of a Florentine market
Take a guided tour of the quarries where Carrara marble has been mined since Roman times
Bicycle ride atop the walls of Lucca
Learn about the life & works of Michelangelo at a lecture hosted by a Florentine art historian
A wine and olive oil tasting in the Ligurian hills & a cooking class in the art of making pasta
Airport transfers upon arrival and departure
12 meals (7 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 3 dinners), service charges, gratuities to local guides, admission fees, taxes and porterage
Accommodations on this Tour
Florence: Gallery Hotel Art
Monterosso: Hotel Porto Roca
Lucca: Hotel Ilaria
Group Size: No more than 20 guests.
Some days include 2-4 miles of walking up steep hills or on uneven terrain and easy biking on relatively flat roads. The pace is up to you. You may be required to sign Tauck’s liability waiver for participation in certain activities.
Note: Tours of Jun 29 and Sep 28 will stay at the Vis à Vis Hotel in Sestri Levante on nights 4 & 5; tours of Apr 20, Jun 1 & 8, and Sep 7 will stay at the San Luca Palace Hotel in Lucca on nights 6 & 7.
For some activities, participation is at your own risk and a signed liability waiver will be required.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package, at the price quoted.