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Our group tours cover the length and breadth of Italy. From the lofty peaks of South Tyrol and the dramatic Dolomites to fiery Sicily, our tailor-made tours and packages offer both classic destinations and hidden gems as well as exciting experiences.
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Truffles, olive harvest, wine and pasta
The culture and traditions of harvest time
Enjoy a glimpse of the real Tuscany during the olive harvest, when only a few tourists find their way to this beautiful region. You can even participate in the harvest if you like, an authentic experience.
The harvested olives will all be brought to an oil mill, where they will be pressed and the ‘liquid gold’ bottled. After this interactive experience, enjoy a bruschetta lunch and relax with a glass of Chianti wine.
Every November the town of San Miniato hosts a festival devoted to the white truffle, which is highly prized by chefs as an ingredient of fine cuisine. The fair has evolved over time into a real celebration of Tuscan life. Whilst the white truffle is the star of the show, other locally produced goods such as wine, cheese and cold meats vie for attention in the typical local fair, giving visitors an insight into the life in a small Tuscan town.
Day 1: Arrival
Day 2: Pisa and Lari including Europe’s smallest and most authentic pasta factory
Let yourself be fascinated in Pisa by the charm of an antique, former sea republic. While the Bell Tower of the Cathedral, better known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is the most famous image of the city, it is just one of many works of art on the town’s Piazza del Duomo, also known as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles). The Cathedral and the Baptistery are well worth a visit too (outside viewing only is foreseen).
We continue through the rolling hills of the Cascina Valley, south of the Arno, to Lari. The town seems overwhelmed by the enormous Medicean fortress which is now the town’s emblem. This fortress, most prominent in Lari, is called Vicari Castle and can be visited (entrance extra). In Lari we take a visit to Europe’s smallest and most authentic pasta factory to discover the secrets of this staple ingredient of Italian cuisine.
Day 3: Experience the olive harvest with olive oil tasting and Pietrasanta, the city of sculptors
This area is also know for its wonderful production of olive oil. We enjoy a glimpse of the real Tuscany during the time of the olive harvest, when only a few tourists find their way to this beautiful region. We can participate in the harvest as much or as little as we like. Olive picking is fun and enable s us to establish a relaxing, almost meditative connection with the surrounding nature. The harvested olives are all brought to an oil mill, where the ‘liquid gold’ is bottled. After our efforts, we enjoy a bruschetta with a glass of wine, before continuing to Pietrasanta.
Pietrasanta is part of Versilia, at foothills of the Apuan Alps, and has long enjoyed the patronage of artists. Pietrasanta grew to importance during the 15th century, mainly due to its connection with marble. Michelangelo was the first sculptor to recognize the beauty of its local stone. We round off our day with a visit to the Museo dei Bozzetti, where the activities are sculptors from around the world who got inspiration here are documented.
Day 4: At leisure or optional excursion to Florence by train
Optional excursion to Florence by train
We jump on a train and reach the art and cultural metropolis of Florence: it is a must for all travellers to Tuscany. On our guided city tour we discover the main sights (external visits only are foreseen): the Cathedral of Florence dominates the cityscape and together with the Campanile and the Baptistery forms one of the most magnificent collections of works of art to be found anywhere on the planet. The austerity and beauty of the city and the pride and the consistency of the Florentines is manifested in a unique way in the Palazzo Vecchio. We will have free time to admire the jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio or enjoy an Italian espresso before returning by train to the hotel.
Return train ride from Montecatini to Florence: from € 11,60 per person
3-hour guided tour of Florence: € 150,00 per group up to 30 people; € 2,50 for each additional person
Day 5: Visit the Truffle Fair in San Miniato and on to Vinci
Today we head to one of the most strategically located villages in Tuscany: San Miniato, situated atop three small hills where it dominates the lower Arno Valley between the Valleys of Egola and Elsa. We visit the San Miniato Festival, held each November, which is devoted to the gastronomically precious white truffle harvested in this area. The white truffle is more highly valued than the black truffles found in Umbria and the Marche, and commands very high prices, reflected in the cost of restaurant dishes that incorporate truffles. In 1954 a record-breaking truffle found close to the nearby village of Balconevisi weighed in at 2,520 kg and was sent as a gift to President Eisenhower in the U.S.A.. We continue to the village of Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, where we can visit the Museum of Leonardo (admission extra) and admire the models, which were built according to Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings.
Day 6: Departure for return home
Hotel accomodation in 4* hotel in the Montecatini area