The magical allure of central Italy has remained strong for almost three millenia. Tribes, kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen, and each has left its unique mark. It began with the ancient civilizations of Etruscans and Romans, endured the invasions of other European cultures, blossomed during the Renaissance to lead Europe out of the Dark Ages, and continues to evolve even today. Tuscany has one of the world’s most perfect combinations of history, art, cuisine, landscape, culture…and of course the people who make it all come to life.
On this tour you’ll enjoy the same balance of adventures…exploring medieval cities and towns, cooking alongside local experts, learning from the winemakers how they make the grapes come to life in the bottle, marveling at landscapes only a Renaissance painter could reproduce, and having plenty of freedom to wander on your own and get lost. You’ll be pampered with premier 4-Star accommodations, local guides to show you the secrets of the area, private transfers, and a Go Get Lost tour leader to make it all run smoothly.
Tour Dates & Pricing
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Day 1 - Ben Venuti in Italia!
Your Italian adventure starts today in the historic Renaissance city of Florence. Upon arrival, make your way to your 4-Star hotel in the heart of the old city. This evening you'll have a "get-acquainted" orientation meeting (with wine, of course) and then it's off to a special dinner at one of our favorite Florentine restaurants! Tuscan cuisine, like all Italian regions, reflects the best of the local area. Fresh pasta is prevalent, along with salami, prosciutto, chicken, beef, and pork, with nearly everything organic and free-range, which has always been the natural way for Italians. Of course you'll find some of the world's best olive oils here, along with tomatoes, peppers and malenzane that are bursting with flavor. And the cheeses of this region are legendary, with literally dozens of varieties running the gamut from fresh and creamy to aged and robust...truly an epicurean's heaven! Of course let's not forget the world-class vintages that Tuscany is famous for!
After your flight and a sumptuous dinner tonight you'll sleep well!
Day 2 - Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance
After breakfast this morning an expert local guide will meet us for our private guided tour of Florence, one of the preeminent treasures of Europe and birthplace of the Renaissance. We'll wander this walker-friendly city to see some of it's most iconic and famous sites. Florence is a veritable museum of unique and incomparable treasures. From the Renaissance palaces that line many of the cobblestone streets, to the historic squares and fountains dotted throughout the city, to the world-renown art and history museums, Florence has something for everyone.
We'll have lunch today in one of Florence's marvelous trattorias, where you'll enjoy yet another excursion into Tuscan cuisine. Then the afternoon is free to wander and "get lost" in the magic that is Florence. You'll soon find that it's not only cultural gems that attract visitors, but also the world-class shopping and fashion houses that rival Milan and Paris. Street vendors, small boutiques, leather shops and lesser-known designers are the strength of Florence's shopping scene...explore and enjoy! Be sure to keep an eye out for that "perfect" place to eat tonight...
An after-dinner passegiata in the piazza near the hotel will cap off a wonderful day in the city of the Renaissance.
Day 3 - Siena and the Palio
Today we'll move from the massive opulence of the Florence to the picturesque walled city of her arch-rival, Siena. Another 4-Star hotel awaits us, perfectly situated in a peaceful neighborhood within the walls of the old city.
When you combine the history of Siena with the current traditions of its inhabitants, you'll find that Siena is arguably one of the most fascinating, one of the most unique, and one of the most vibrant cultures in all of Europe! The Senese have kept alive the customs of their ancestors, and in fact live it every day. We'll have a private guided tour of the city by one of its citizens, along with a very special visit to one of the neighborhood museums, repository of all that they hold dear for hundreds of years. As you explore the city you'll marvel at the huge span of history represented in its architecture, from the Romans to the Renaissance to the Goths, Siena is a landscape of all the civilizations that have dominated here.
The afternoon will be free to get lost, then we'll meet again this evening one of the most prestigious wine facilities in Tuscany for a special tasting of some of Italia's finest. Afterwards your guide will take you to one of their favorite local ristorante for you to experience yet another side to the food and wine culture of the region. Siena has strived with Florence for dominance for hundreds of years, and they have made sure that their cuisine rivals their larger neighbor to the north!
The traditional after-dinner passegiatta tonight takes place in one of Italy's most beautiful squares, the Piazza del Campo. Strolling along with a gelato in hand under the soft lamplights of Siena is an experience to remember.
Day 4 - Montalcino and the Tuscan Countryside
Today we board our private coach and head south into the famed wine region of Brunello and Nobile. This area boasts the classic Tuscan landscape of rolling hills dotted with Italian cypress, vineyards dominated by walled cities, and every other image you've ever seen on a postcard! After a tour of the town of Montalcino (epicenter of Brunello wine), we'll have a private tour of one of Montalcino's famed wineries, seeing how their vineyards work with their cellars to produce the vintages famous all over the world. And of course we'll sample the results of their efforts as well! Next its on to the quirky little town of Pienza, famous as the hometown of one of the most unusual popes, and even more famous as the center of cheese production for the region. Once again we'll learn the secrets of the local produce, (in this case Caccio di Pienza cheese), and once again we'll turn it into a lunch as we work our way through all the culinary wonders they can provide.
After lunch we'll go to the nearby medieval walled town of Montepulciano, perched on the top of a small mountain, the slopes of which are covered with vineyards dedicated to producing the unique grape Prugnolo Gentile. We'll have a short tour of the cobblestone streets of Montepulciano, then you'll have some free time to wander and shop. Be sure to stop in one of the many wine shops and sample their famous vintage of Nobile di Montepulciano, one of the great wines of Italy.
Later this afternoon we'll return to Siena where you can relax and rest up. Tonight you are free for dinner, your guides can suggest one of their favorite eateries. Siena has an endless variety, from tiny local pizza places to ristorante that typify the best of Italy. Explore and enjoy!
Day 5 - Radda and the Chianti Region
After breakfast this morning we'll move north into the famed Chianti region. Famous for it's scenic beauty and wine production, Chianti typifies the perfect balance of cultivated vineyards, forested hills, and quaint medieval towns. We'll start with a visit to one of the more interesting castles and wine makers of the area, for a tour of their cellars and vineyards. Then we'll roll up our sleeves and start cooking! We'll learn how (and help) to make some of the local dishes, after which we'll sit down and help to eat them. Wine pairings from the chef will complement our meal.
This afternoon we'll have a relaxed visit to Greve, one of the more picturesque towns of the area, with plenty of time to wander, shop, or perhaps just settle in to a sidewalk cafe with a cappuccino and people-watch. Later we'll check in to our 4-star palazzo-style hotel in the lovely little town of Radda-in-Chianti. You'll have enjoyed the hustle-and-bustle of Florence, then the laid-back elegance of Siena, now you'll get to unwind in small-town Italy!
Day 6 - Volterra and San Gimignano
Today we explore two of Tuscany's most stunning and enthralling gems, the medieval towns of Volterra and San Gimignano. Perched on a lofty rock platform Volterra, one of the most ancient cities in Italy. is an imposing fortified hill city with a dramatic, dominating view of the rugged countryside below. Built by the Etruscan civilization that pre-dated the Romans, Volterra in fact claims a history that goes back at least 3000 years. In Etruscan times it was Velithri, one of the twelve great cities of the Etruscan Confederation, with a domain that reached from the seacoast to the mountains.
Volterra still retains much of its ancient flavour, and of particular interest are the many alabaster work shops where local artisans can often be seen carefully working the delicate translucent stone into vases and ornaments. Mined in the area since Etruscan times, Volterran alabaster has been prized by the nobility for nearly 3000 years. We'll have the opportunity to tour one of the shops and learn how the ancient art is still alive. We'll also have a chance to tour the world famous Etruscan Museum with the largest collection of Etruscan artifacts in the world.
This afternoon we'll stop in to one of our favorite farms in the area where the family will have a sumptuous Tuscan feast prepared for us! The farm covers ample acres of olive groves, vineyards, fields and forest. The farm's vineyards produce delicate white Vernaccia wine, a local specialty, along with a robust Chianti. They also produces one of our favorite Tuscan olive oils, which along with the other farm products will figure prominently in our meal. The rule at their kitchen is you eat as much as you want, and then a little more!
After lunch, (if you can still move), we'll visit the wonderfully bizarre town of San Gimignano. The high walls and narrow streets of this imposing fortress are typical of Tuscan hill towns, but the 14 medieval towers that dominate San Gimignano's skyline set it apart from all the rest. Here we will have the rest of the afternoon to "get lost" in the maze of streets, shops, and cafes. San Gimignano is rumored to have one of the best gelato shops in all of Italy...may be worth a visit? For the not-so-faint-of-heart, a tour of the fascinating (and gruesome) Museum of Medieval Justice will provide an interesting yet terrifying glimpse of the past.
In the afternoon we'll return to Radda to relax and pack. Hopefully you didn't eat too much at the farm lunch, because as this is our final evening in magical Tuscany, tonight we have an incredible farewell dinner planned at one of our favorite local restaurants. Adventures and misadventures from the previous week are re-lived and laughed about, everyone and everything is toasted, addresses are copied and goodbyes are exchanged with all your new lifelong friends that you "Got Lost" in Italy with!
Day 6 - Arrivederci Italian!
This morning after breakfast we'll have a group transfer to the airport or train station in Florence, where your Go Get Lost adventure will end.
- 2 night at 4 Star Hotel Rome in Florence, Classic Room
- 2 nights at 4 Star Hotel Athena in Siena, Deluxe Room
- 2 nights at 4 Star Hotel Palazzo Leopoldo in Radda, Classic Room
- Daily breakfast
- Meals as specified: 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
- Lunch at a local trattoria in Florence
- Lunch in Pienza
- Cooking class/lunch at Castello di Vicchiomaggio in Chianti
- Lunch at a farm near San Gimignano
- Welcome dinner in Florence
- Dinner in Siena
- Farewell dinner in Radda
- Florence walking tour with local guide
- Siena walking tour with local guide
- Montalcino, Montepulciano walking tour with local guide
- Volterra walking tour with local guide
- Guided visit to cheese factory in Pienza
- 4 wine tastings
- Transportation once the tour has begun.
- Group departure transfers to Florence airport on Day 7 (Please coordinate your purchase of airline tickets with your Go Get Lost group leader).
- Completely escorted by an American Go Get Lost Tour Leader with local guides at specified sites throughout the itinerary
- A lifetime of unforgettable memories!
What´s not Included
- Airfare package
- Arrival transfers, tour begins at the hotel in Florence on the afternoon of Day 1, and the tour ends at the airport or train station in Florence on the morning of day 7.
- Gratuities for meals, porterage, local guides, coach drivers, etc.
- Visa fees, if applicable
- Meals not specified in itinerary
- Beverages at meals unless specified in itinerary
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Medical Insurance (strongly recommended), call for details
- Single supplement charge
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, etc.