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ITALY 
Classic Tuscany - Itinerary
DATES & COST 

September 11 - 19, 2020
9 Days /8 Nights

Tour starts and ends in Florence

$3,610 per person/double occupancy
$1,080 optional single supplement
Early arrival: $340 single or double room (airport transfer included)
Includes all fees and taxes

TOUR DIRECTOR 
TOUR MAP 

Click on the image to enlarge the map


This tour may be combined with the Venice and the Italian Lakes tour to Italy (September 2 - 10, 2020


This tour starts at 3:00PM on FridaySeptember 11, 2020 in Florence.
Your flight should arrive no later than 1:00PM.

Day 1: Florence: Arrivals and the Renaissance Walk 

On arrival at the Florence airport, you will be met by your chauffeur for a private transfer to our boutique hotel in the center of the Renaissance Florence. In the afternoon, we'll meet our guide and set out for a leisurely walk through the Renaissance Florence to get an in-depth insight into the history of the city and the art of the Renaissance, as we tour some of its most renowned sights: Brunelleschi's Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower, the Gates of Paradise at the Baptistery, the historic Piazza della Signoria, and Ponte Vecchio spanning the picturesque Arno River. In the evening, we'll enjoy a welcome dinner of traditional Florentine cuisine, and get to know each other, as we join in a light-hearted discussion about Florence's history and present.
Meals: Dinner
Accommodations: Hotel Pitti Palace Al Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Day 2: Florence: Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi  

Our first full day in Florence will be devoted to the art of the Renaissance. In the morning, we'll start with a guided visit to the Accademia Gallery, featuring the famous statue of David and other sculptures by Michelangelo. After a light lunch of Florentine delicacies and great wines in one of the city's atmospheric cafes, we'll tour one of the world's greatest museums: the Ufizzi Art Gallery, featuring the art of Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, and Leonardo da Vinci. The evening will be free to pursue individual interests or to indulge in the other great art practiced in Florence: browsing the exquisite local artisan shops.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: Hotel Pitti Palace Al Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Day 3: Transfer to Loro Ciuffenna 

After a classic Italian breakfast, we'll leave Florence and take a scenic drive through the enchanting Chianti Hills. We'll stop to admire a medieval village of Gaiole in Chianti, with its charming piazza, then stopping at the Pruneti Estate, where we'll have a professional olive oil tasting, accompanied by a light lunch of Tuscan culinary specialties of delicious focaccia bread dipped in olive oil, slices of red tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and sun-cured olives, as well as Chianti wines. Afterwards, we'll continue to the luxurious Tuscan villa in Loro Ciuffenna, our home for the next 6 nights, and after checking in, the rest of the afternoon will be free to relax in the captivating Tuscan countryside and enjoy the villa's amenities. We'll end the day with a celebration of Tuscan cuisine and wines at the villa's dining room.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Relais Villa Belpoggio, Loro Ciuffenna, Tuscany

Day 4: Relais Villa Belpoggio - Private Cooking Class 

Today, we can relax at the villa and spend the day enjoying the villa's amenities, the pool, the gardens, and the surrounding olive groves and vineyards. In the afternoon, we'll enjoy a private cooking class, under the direction of a famous local chef. The class will culminate with dinner, when we can sample the variety of Chianti culinary specialties that we prepared as well as some excellent Chianti wines.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: 
 Relais Villa Belpoggio, Loro Ciuffenna, Tuscany

Day 5: San Gimignano - Verrazzano Castle 

This morning, we'll start our exploration of the Chianti Classico region, mesmerizing with their vineyards, olive trees, castles, abbeys and black cypresses beneath picture perfect farmhouses and villas. First, we'll travel to the western reaches of Tuscany, where we'll visit the rose-colored, medieval village of Etruscan origins: San Gimignano, with its 14 towers and well-preserved ramparts. The tower-houses were built by the town’s patrician families as status symbols of their wealth and power, and while only 14 of the original 72 remain, the buildings are splendid monuments of medieval architecture that earned San Gimignano the moniker “Medieval Manhattan.” After touring San Gimignano, and some free time to explore the town and maybe find Italy's finest gelateria, before our journey will lead us to Greve and Castle Verrazzano. The imposing castle is famous as the family home of the navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano, who discovered the New York harbor and for its illustrious history going back to the 7th century. Here, we will enjoy a tour of the castle and its grounds before learning about (and tasting) the local Chianti wines and enjoying a delicious vineyard dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:
Relais Villa Belpoggio, Loro Ciuffenna, Tuscany

Day 6: Siena - Badia a Coltibuono Abbey 

After another classic Italian breakfast, today, we'll set out for Siena, to enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful town, spread over red clay hills, dotted with grey-green olive trees and centered around the fan-shaped Piazza del Campo. Founded by the Etruscans, Siena later became a Roman colony and flourished during the 13th and 14th centuries. The tour will include the semicircular Campo, the public square famous for the Palio horse race and the focus of Sienese life since 1340, as well as the impressive Duomo Cathedral with improbable frescoes and mosaics. After some free time to enjoy Siena at your own pace - and this is a fabulous place to stroll and admire some of the most glorious examples of medieval architecture in existence - we'll travel to Badia a Coltibuono estate, previously a monastery, which has been producing fine wines and olive oils for over 1000 years. Here, we'll enjoy a sunset tour of the abbey, the gardens and the wine cellars, followed by a memorable food and wine extravaganza.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Relais Villa Belpoggio, Loro Ciuffenna, Tuscany

Day 7: Cortona 

After breakfast today, we'll set out for a tour of the eastern reaches of Tuscany, as we venture to the legendary town of Cortona, the perfect spot Under the Tuscan Sun. Set into the side of a hill covered with olive groves, Cortona offers stunning views across the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside and has changed little since the Middle Ages. We'll tour Santa Margherita and San Nicolo Churches, we'll visit the Etruscan Tombs outside of the city, stop by Frances Mayes' house, and there will also be time for personal discoveries in Cortona, before returning to the villa in the afternoon, just in time for dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Relais Villa Belpoggio, Loro Ciufenna, Tuscany

Day 8: Montepulciano - Pienza 

This morning, we'll continue our exploration of Tuscany with a visit to the beautiful southern part of the Siena province. After the morning drive through le Crete, amazingly different from the landscapes of northern Tuscany, we'll visit Montepulciano, a walled Renaissance town known for its Vino Nobile. We'll then continue to Pienza, a lovely Renaissance village, known for its classic Renaissance piazza, the lavish Piccolomini Palace and pecorino cheese. We'll return to Villa Belpoggio in the evening, and we'll celebrate our Tuscany adventure with farewell dinner of great food and excellent wines.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:
 Relais Villa Belpoggio, Loro Ciuffenna, Tuscany

Day 9: Transfer to Florence Airport - Departures 

Today, we'll say good-bye to Tuscany and return home, richer in Tuscan experiences and discoveries. We'll have a group airport transfer at 8:00AM, reaching Florence airport at 9:00AM. Please schedule your return flight no sooner than 10:30AM. 
Meals: B
reakfast

This tour ends at 9:00AM on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at Florence Peretola Airport.
Please schedule your return flight after 10:30AM.
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Why travel with other women?
Many women do not have families or compatible friends who wish to travel. When going on a main-stream tour, women often find that most activities are geared towards couples and quite often they feel left out. Singles' tours are not always what women are looking for. If you do not have a traveling companion, there is also the issue of the expensive "single supplement", sometimes as much as 50 or even 100 percent of the tour cost. By going on women-only tours, women can easily avoid paying for the single supplement by sharing a room with another woman traveler.
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