ART TREASURES FOOD AND WINES OF TUSCANY

Day1 - FLORENCE OR PISA I PISTOIA
Upon arrival proceed to baggage claim. After clearing customs, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in Pistoia. With its medieval streets and irregularly-shaped piazzas, prestigious palaces and small tower-houses, unexpected series of churches and cloisters, Pistoia is perfect for travelers who appreciate elegance and refined beauty. A welcome drink will be followed by dinner at the hotel. (D)
Day2 - PISTOIA I FLORENCE I PISTOIA
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to Pistoia railway station where you will board your train to Florence. Start your tour with a visit of the Galleria dell'Accademia, famous worldwide for housing one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces - the “David”. From the classic elegance of the Brunelleschi’s Duomo and Baptistery to the magnificent Piazza della Signoria and the breathtaking city view from the famous Boboli Gardens, Florence inspires and delights at every turn. Your walking tour will take you through streets and piazzas lined up with elegant Renaissance-style buildings and gorgeous marble sculptures, fine leather and jewelry stores, and restaurants serving local delicacies. Return to Pistoia by train and transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day3 - PISTOIA I SIENA I SAN GIMIGNANO I PISTOIA
Today you will spend an unforgettable day savoring the essence of Tuscany. A scenic drive through gentle rolling hills dotted with lush vineyards, green olive trees and sunflowers fields, will take you to Siena, a medieval city made up of yellow-ochre buildings, terracotta rooftops and green shutters. Learn about the world’s oldest bank, spectacular Duomo and Piazza del Campo, a shell shaped 12th Century square and site of the 600 year old bi-annual Palio horserace, before heading to San Gimignano. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Gimignano is nicknamed “the Medieval Manhattan”. Of the original 72 towers that centuries ago graced its skyline, today only 13 remain. Time to roam the picturesque streets and squares, to browse the local shops and to try an award-winning gelato before heading back to Pistoia. Tonight enjoy dinner at a local “pizzeria” in Pistoia. Overnight at the hotel. (B,D)
Day 4 - PISTOIA I PISA I LUCCA I PISTOIA
Today you will visit two more Tuscan treasures: Pisa and Lucca. Gateway to the Tuscan hills, Pisa is a medieval city of architectural masterpieces, and in its heyday, one of Italy's most powerful maritime republics. Native son Galileo Galilei may be long gone, but students still come here to study at the prestigious university where he once taught. During your guided tour you will see Pisa's symbol - the Leaning Tower. Originally intended as a bell tower it’s the most well-known of the buildings comprising the Campo dei Miracoli, or Field of Miracles. Site of Galileo’s gravitational experiments, the tower began to tilt even before it was finished and the angle has increased alarmingly. Elsewhere in the complex, you will visit the magnificent Cathedral with its dark grey marble and white stone geometric patterns later imitated all over Tuscany, and the Baptistery, a perfect example of transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic style. Continue to the walled city of Lucca. Once a Roman town and birthplace of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, Lucca is known as "the city of the hundred churches". Your guided tour will take you to the city center where well preserved Middle Age palazzos are complemented by Art Nouveau shops embellished by delicate facades. Return to Pistoia for dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B,D)
Day5 - PISTOIA I CHIANTI I PISTOIA
Today's tour will be an exploration of the heart of the Chianti Classico, the oldest wine region in the world that lies just South of Florence and North of Siena, amid a rolling carpet of lush green hills, sentinel cypress trees, ancient olive groves and sunflowers and poppy fields. An included lunch at a local restaurant and wine tasting will make this experience a memorable one. Return to Pistoia in the late afternoon. Overnight at the hotel. (B,L)
Day 6 - PISTOIA I VINCI I PISTOIA
Today your local guide will take you on a walking tour of Pistoia. See the Romanesque church of S. Andrea, the Ospedale del Ceppo with the famous Giovanni della Robbia's startlingly colorful frieze, Piazza del Duomo with its cathedral, baptistery and intact medieval buildings, and Piazza della Sala, home to a typical Italian food market. After lunch at a local “trattoria” you will enjoy a guided tour in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci, the most brilliant mind of all times! Painter, artist, architect, sculptor, anatomist, scientist, inventor, engineer, and musician, he is considered one of the greatest geniuses of mankind. Tonight enjoy dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)
Day7 - PISTOIA I FLORENCE OR PISA TO USA (OR EXTEND YOUR STAY)
Morning transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)