This engaging group tour immerses you in the culture of the Tuscan countryside and the Renaissance city of Florence, before taking you to an enchanting island, fit for an emperor. A clever way to combine some of the region’s most popular destinations, in just 8 days the group can experience the Chianti wine region, Florence, Napoleon’s Elba island and take a guided tour of Siena, Lucca or Pisa. As a bonus, the group also gets a sneak peek at Liguria whilst enjoying a delicious lunch with a pesto cooking class on arrival day.
Day 1 Arrival in Italy (⌂ Milan area)
Day 2 Pesto making class in Liguria (⌂ Montecatini Terme)
After arriving in Italy for a welcome meal and overnight near Milan, we head south to the beautiful Versilia Coast and to the pretty seaside resort of Sestri Levante. After some time to stretch our legs and enjoy the town we will visit a restaurant to learn all about the making of delicious Italian pesto. Working with fresh ingredients and a mortar and pestle we will learn the secrets of the dish before enjoying a pasta lunch with wine. We will receive a souvenir bottle of your efforts too. We then travel further along the coast to arrive at our base in Montecatini Terme for the next 3 nights.
Day 3 Siena & Chianti (⌂ Montecatini Terme)
Today is given over to the gorgeous Tuscan countryside and to the stunning medieval city of Siena, home to the iconic Palio horse race, which takes place annually in the seashell-shaped Piazza del Campo. After a guided tour of the narrow medieval streets, we head into the stunning Chianti area of rolling hillsides, scattered with vineyards. We will stop at one where we can learn all about the cultivation of wine and do a tasting.
Day 4 Florence (⌂ Montecatini Terme)
Today we will be dazzled by the Renaissance gem-of-a-city, Florence. Arriving by train in just around an hour from Montecatini, we set off to discover the great art metropolis with all its treasures, including the Duomo and Campanile that dominate the skyline, the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Vecchio. We will have some free time to stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge over the Arno packed with jewellery shops, before heading back the way we came.
Day 5 Elba (⌂ Elba)
Leaving the hotel in Montecatini and driving south to Piombino we will see more stunning views of the Tuscan countryside before embarking on an hour-long ferry ride to Portoferraio, where our Elba adventure begins. We explore the western side of the island and the small fishing village of Chiessi before going inland to the pretty mountain hamlet of Marciana Alta. We will stop en route to our hotel for a sampling of the local sweet, schiaccia briaca. We then make our way to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 Elba (⌂ Elba)
Today learn about the island Napoleon once called his, “Home, sweet - though exiled, home” in 1814. Following in the emperor’s footsteps, we will see his summer residence in San Martino and his principle residence in Portoferraio. Though he stayed on Elba for less than a year, his contributions to the island made a lasting mark on its architecture, infrastructure and flag. Our day ends on the eastern shore at the port of Porto Azzurro where we will enjoy a pleasant stroll around town.
Day 7 Lucca or Pisa (⌂ Milan area)
We say goodbye to Elba today and return by ferry to the mainland. We then head north to see another tourist highlight, either the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa or Lucca. If you choose to visit Pisa, we will make a brief 2-hour stop to take a guided tour of the incredible Piazza dei Miracoli, an area surrounded by walls and incorporating the tower, cathedral and campanile. The square has been described as one of the finest architectural complexes in the world and an important centre of medieval art. Alternatively, should you opt to have the group visit the stunning city of Lucca instead, you will have a 2-hour tour of the impressive Renaissance City protected by walls. We then will have our final dinner and overnight in the Milan area before leaving Italy the following day.
Day 8 Departure from Italy