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Duomo, Florence(c) Chris FleckPonte Vecchio, Florence


Day 1: Florence. We’ll meet at the hotel in Florence this evening about 6:00PM for some cheese and wine, then a short walk to dinner in a local restaurant to get to know your fellow travellers.

Day 2: Florence. We’ll start the day with a guided walking tour to introduce you to Brunelleschi’s dome, the Piazza della Signoria and more. We’ll have a light lunch of pizza in a typical Fiorentine spot, then the afternoon is free to slowly absorb the birth of the Renaissance city. (Museum visit when available.)

Day 3: Florence. Armed with your maps of the city, you’re free to explore today at your leisure. Why not do as the Florentines and visit the Piazzale Michelangelo to take some pictures of the city from above? A leisurely lunch in an outdoor cafe, a passeggiata through the narrow Fiorentine streets. Dinner in a trattoria this evening, to chat about what you’ve seen and prepare for our departure tomorrow.

Day 4: We leave the Renaissance city behind as we start our hilltown adventures. We’ll stop in Greve-in-Chianti, the home of Giovanni da Verrazzano. Time to mix with the locals shopping in the outdoor market for ceramics, shoes, chickens, you name it, it’s there. Early afternoon we’ll make a stop for our first wine-tasting enroute to The Castle of Gargonza for our week in Tuscany.

Day 5: Siena controlled the wool industry during the XII and XIII centuries and was the crossroad from France to Rome. We’ll climb up to have a look at the grandest medieval square in Italy, home to the famous Palio horse race held twice a year. Sunday is the perfect day to visit the Duomo, Nicola Pisano’s pulpit portraying scenes from the life of Christ, and sculpture by Michelangelo. We’ll return late afternoon to our Inn, free time before leaving for a hilltown. Dinner on your own or perhaps with some new found friends?

Day 6: Pienza. A visit to Tuscany would not be complete without a day to explore Pienza, the birthplace of Pope Pius II who transformed it into a Renaissance city. We will have lunch in a local trattoria to sample tartufo and mixed grilled meats. This afternoon, we’ll visit a local wine producer to taste the Tuscan red wines. Tonight, off to a small town for dinner.

C. Fleck C. Fleck C. Fleck C. Fleck

Day 7:San Gimignano. This picture-perfect hilltown has to be climbed so we’ll make stops along the way. Fifteen of the original twenty-seven towers remain today; and the Romanesque church of San Francisco has been converted into a wine cellar for the locally produced white Vernaccia wine. Only in Italy. We’ll sample this light wine before continuing to the main square. Time for lunch and for dessert, why not mix several flavors of gelato from one of the many ice cream shops? We’ll return by early evening to the Castle for dinner.

Day 8 : Montalcino. This morning, we’ll stop outside the walls of Montalcino (no traffic permitted inside) and wind our way up to the center. Some more wine tasting? We’ll visit an enoteca for the famous Brunello di Montalcino wines.

C. Fleck C. FleckC. Fleck

Day 9: Lucca is our destination today. We’ll visit the Duomo of San Martino to admire the works of Nicola Pisano, (remember him from the cathedral in Siena)? We’ll have time to walk the walls of the city and to admire the colorful pottery in the many shops.

Day 10: Arezzo. In the center of the old town, we’ll visit the Basilica of San Francesco, home to the celebrated fresco cycle in the choir by Piero della Francesca. The Piazza Grande, the large sloping square was the setting for La Vita é Bella. An afternoon return to The Castle of Gargonza with time to pack before a cooking demonstration followed by our farewell dinner.

Day 11: Tour ends after breakfast.


All tours start on Wednesday at the hotel in Florence and last eleven days, ten nights.

  2009 2010

April 15

May 20

June 3

September 16

October 7

April 7

May 5

June 16

September 8

October 6

Price of Tour

Tartaruga Tours Inc. are small group journeys with a minimum of ten and maximum of eighteen participants. Euro 2,600 per person, based on double occupancy. A few single spots are available with a single supplement of Euro 600.

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