B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Saturday, 27 May 2017: Arrive Florence; Transfer to Villa; Welcome Dinner (D)
Upon arrival into Florence, pick up your luggage and clear customs. If you arrive early, relax and have a bite to eat. We will depart the airport as soon as all travelers have arrived and travel together to our farmhouse apartments outside the town of Castellare di Tonda. This will situate us perfectly for our daily adventures in Tuscany. There will be time to settle in before gathering to enjoy our Welcome Dinner at the farmhouse. Overnight Castellare di Tonda - 4 nights
Sunday, 28 May 2017: Castefalfi and San Gimignano (B,D)
This morning is dedicated to the movies as we visit cinematic sets in the heart of Tuscany. Castelfalfi, a small village was once only popular among golfers but has become a favorite destination for big screen enthusiasts as director Roberto Benigni set his film Pinocchio (2002) here amid the fairy-tale expanses of wheat fields, abandoned farms and medieval towns. After a leisurely morning, we'll drive through fields of hay, sunflowers and saffron on our way to San Gimignano, a lovely medieval town favored by directors as a backdrop for movies. Encircled by 13th-century walls, San Gimignano's old town centers on Piazza della Cisterna, a triangular square lined with medieval houses. We'll stop to admire the spectacular panorama from the top of the Torre Grossa, one of the best viewpoints of Val d'Elsa where, on a clear day, we can see as far as the hills near Pisa and the Casentino. Before returning to our farmhouse, we'll enjoy a typical Tuscan dinner in a local restaurant.
Monday, 29 May 2017: Bike Tour of Lucca; Picnic Lunch; Dinner & Wine Tasting (B,L)
After breakfast, we depart for Lucca where we'll pick up bicycles for a wonderful day cycling the Historical Villas' Road. The bike path parallels the river to Ponte a Moriano, crosses hills renowned for wine and olive oil production, and leads us past the extraordinary mansions and villas of the ancient Italian aristocracy. We'll stop in Villa Oliva with its large park and ornate fountains fed by the waters of the area. We'll also see Villa Grabau and take in the amazing views from here. The present layout of the neighboring villa, Villa Reale, was the work of Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi. Continuing down the road, we'll see additional examples of historical villas and hear their tales and eventually find ourselves at the unusual Villa Torrigiani with its elaborate and fanciful architecture. We'll end our day at a typical Tuscan farm for a wine tasting before returning to our own farmhouse for the night.
Tuesday, 30 May 2017: Free Morning; Afternoon Cooking Class with Dinner (B,D)
This morning is all about relaxing and making ourselves at home at our farmhouse. You may choose to take a dip in the pool, go for a horseback ride or simply hang out and read a good book. This afternoon, we'll enjoy a hands-on cooking lesson with a personal chef. We'll learn to make traditional, home-style Tuscan and Italian recipes that showcase the wonderfully intense flavors and freshness of traditional Italian ingredients. After preparing our meal, we'll sit down and enjoy our handiwork, accompanied by the local wine of course. Salute!
Wednesday, 31 May 2017: Free Morning; Guided Tour of Siena (B,D)
This morning is again free to enjoy the ambiance and amenities. This afternoon, we head to Siena, a perfectly preserved medieval town set amid the olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti. Built on three hills, this town’s center is lined with narrow, winding cobblestone passages and steep steps. Our guided walking tour begins in the historical center where we'll see San Domenico, Piazza Salimbeni, Palazzo Piccolomini and Piazza del Campo, the traditional heart of Sienese life. The superb 12th-century Cathedral dating from 1264 is one of Italian art's most ingenious creations. There will be time to shop or have an espresso in the central square.
Thursday, 1 Jun 2017: Travel to Florence; City Walking Tour (B)
After breakfast, we depart for Florence, capital of Italy's Tuscany region and cradle of Renaissance art and architecture. After arriving, we'll enjoy a guided walking tour of the city's most renowned sites, beginning with the city's crowning masterpiece: Michelangelo's David at the Galleria dell'Accadamia. We'll learn about the art and architecture as we walk around the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stopping at the Duomo, or Cathedral, with its famous dome by Brunelleschi, continuing to Piazza Signoria, the political heart of Florence since the 1300s when Florence was considered the richest city in Europe. After checking into our hotel, the remainder of the afternoon and evening are free. Overnight Florence - 2 nights
Friday, 2 Jun 2017: Free Day in Florence; Farewell Dinner
Today is yours to explore to your heart's content. Consider a visit to the Uffizi Gallery—the most important art museum in the city—or simply relax at a cafe in a lively piazza. Your Tour Leader will have planned activities for those who want to join her. This evening we will have dinner together to reminisce about our Tuscan holiday.
Saturday, 3 Jun 2017: Return Home
Depart Florence at your convenience, remembering that you should depart the hotel at least 3 hours before your flight departs. Your WTT Tour Leader will assist with ride-sharing based on flight departure times.