In the beautiful Tuscany landscape you find cultural towns everywhere, some very well known as Florence and Siena, others less known but still with a lot to offer to the culture interested traveller that wants to combine art and history to wine and good food.
We stay in San Quirico D’Orcia a small town in the beautiful valley of Orcia in the southern part of this region.
Arrival to the airport of Rome/Florence, at the airport meeting with the tour leader and private bus that brings us to San Qirico D’Orcia we have dinner together.
Day 2: Excursion to Arezzo – Cortona.
Arezzo is as many of the Tuscany towns of Etruscan origins, but our visit will be focused mainly on the frescoes made of Piero della Francesca, in the church of San Francesco, that describes Jesus Way of the Cross.
The main road is flanked by palaces from the noble families of 1300-1500 and you find the very interesting church of Pieve di Santa Maria known for its architecture.
Piazza Grande is where all important events goes on and is the centre of the town, we eat a lunch together and make an afternoon visit to the town of Cortona which lies on a slope with view over the lake of Trasimeno. Originally also this town was built by the Etruscans and it has kept the middle age and renaissance buildings inside the city wall, it is not a big town and you get a feeling life quality going through it.
From the nearby countryside the women comes to make their daily shopping, while the men gathers up on the square to talk about weather, football, food and wine.
Day 3: Excursion to Pienza – Bagno Vignone- Montepulciano. We will visit the interesting small towns around San Quirico, the area is considered one of the most nature beauties of the whole Tuscany.
Pienza was transformed around 1450 from a small farmers town, that was called Corsignano, into the ideal renaissance town to pay homage to the Pope Pius II, that was born here.
The town is far from all main roads and has therefore had few changes, remaining the ideal renaissance town that was shaped by the architects of Pius, we visit the Dome and have some time on your own.
Bagno Vignoni is a tiny little town with Italy’s strangest square, it is actually not a square but a large pool where many mineral water springs fills it with 52 °C water. Around the pool there are buildings from different époques and one of them was built by Pius II (1400) a house where he lived during some periods of the year.
The hot water today is led to a small thermal establishment and to a large swimming pool within an hotel. During 2002 excavations the rests of the roman baths were found together with the channel that was used to bring the water and the channel has been reopened.
Some of the water flows in another antique channel and people from the small towns around comes here to put their tired feet’s in the hot water to give them new energy.
Montepulciano Is close to San Quirico terme and is located, as many Italian towns, on top of a hill, all roads leading up to the centre are flanked by houses from different époques and on the main square is the church with many buildings from 1400-1500. Around the town are all the famous wine producers of the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and most of the producers has a wine cellar in the town as it has been for generations.
Wine tasting with snacks before we return to San Quirico.
Day 4: Florence.
Today we will have a full day in Florence, the Medicean city and one of Europe’s art-history and historically remarkable cities. Here the renaissance was borne and from here comes some of the most important artist of the époque like, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo or poets like Dante and Petrarca.
We start with a sightseeing by foot which takes us to the Dome and the bell tower from 1300 and the baptistery from 1100 with the excellent sculpted doors, we go on to Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio, the well known bridge over the Arno river that was built during the roman time and is today flanked by small artisan shops.
After a light lunch together a visit to the Gallery of Uffizzi is on the plans.
Day 5: Monteoliveto Maggiore – Iris Origos gardens.
Abbazzia (Monastery) of Monteoliveto Maggiore is one of the most impressive monasteries of the middle age in Tuscany.
Located in a remote area on a hill and surrounded by a wood it gives the visitor the possibility to find the peace and quite that the founder Bernardo Tolomei wanted when he choose the place
The monastery is very big and has many cloistergardens to see.
We eat common lunch in the country side and during the afternoon we visit the gardens of Iris Origos. The property was bought 1924 and the owners spent their whole life trying to help local people by building schools, hospital and farmhouses, Iris Origos did write a book, about La Foce and the creation of the garden, that is possible to find in many languages.
After the visit we return to Chainciano or dinner on your own.
Day on your own to enjoy the pool or the SPA at the hotel or why not take a bike ride in this beautiful valley.
Dinner together at the hotel.
Day 7: Siena.
Today we will have a full day in Start with sightseeing in Siena with local guide in one of Italy’s most remarkable cities with middle age palaces and churches decorated by artists from 1200-1300 époque.
The cathedral is one the most important from the gothic period and within it it is possible to see the Piccolomini library and the frescoes from Pinturicchio. Close to Piazza del Campo is Palazzo Pubblico where it is possible to admire work of art of the Siena school where gothic lines was mixed with the Byzantine gold and colour art.
Dinner at the hotel in San Quirico.
Day 8: Departure