Tuscany Organised Trips

Explore Siena & San Galgano (self drive experience)

Step back in time to the Middle Ages on an exploration of Siena, whose historic centre is described by UNESCO as the “embodiment of a medieval city”. Start with a guided stroll through its characterful narrow streets, admiring the city’s architectural landmarks and hidden treasures, and hearing tales of the people who helped to shape it. You’ll learn about the Palio, the world’s oldest horse race, in which Siena’s 17 districts compete passionately for victory, and visit the small museum of one of these 17 contradas. Offering a complete change of pace, the next destination is an organic farm in the Sienese countryside, where they specialise in rare breeds; it’s a charming place for a fresher-than-fresh light lunch of Tuscan food. From here, the route leads to the abbey of San Galgano, a romantic roofless Gothic ruin set in a picturesque landscape, and the hermitage of Montesiepi, places of beauty and legend.

• Departs Monday to Friday
• Meet your guide in Siena
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Please advise of any food intolerances or special dietary requirements when booking. Wear suitable footwear as the path from San Galgano to Montesiepi can be muddy.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 10am
End time: 6pm

Hike The Cinque Terre (self drive excursion)

The five picturesque fishing villages that make up the Cinque Terre, now part of a National Park, are rightly a must-see for many visitors to this part of Italy. On this four-hour experience, you’ll be able to sample the area’s impressive scenery, taking in stunning views of the sea, cliffs and steeply sloping fields along the way. The adventure begins with a short train ride to the picture-perfect village of Manarola, whose paved alleyways lead steeply down from an atmospheric church to the bustling harbour. A bus ride away is Volastra, where you’ll join the narrow footpath that winds through a dramatic coastal landscape of terraced vineyards and olive groves, interspersed with forest. After about an hour and a half, you descend to the long-established village of Corniglia, perched on a promontory overlooking the ocean. The journey ends here with a well-earned lunch at a typical local bistro featuring several local wines.

• Daily departures
• Meet your guide at La Spezia central train station
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The walk is not suitable for people with reduced mobility. The National Park regulations require visitors to have suitable footwear, such as trekking or sports shoes; sandals and open shoes are not allowed.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9am
End time: 1pm

Historical Montalcino And The Music Of Brunello Wine (Self Drive)

The medieval hilltop town of Montalcino is the home of Brunello wine and one of the highlights of the stunning UNESCO-listed Val d’Orcia. For this two-part adventure, you’ll begin by exploring its steep stone-paved lanes on foot with an expert local guide, discovering a wealth of palazzos, piazzas and churches, not to mention the ancient fortress that dominates the skyline. Art lovers will particularly appreciate the 600-year-old frescoes in the church of Sant’Agostino, one of the town’s cultural gems. From here, you’ll make the 15-minute drive to a nearby wine estate to learn all about the area’s famous reds as well as an innovative project exploring whether classical music helps the vines grow better. Weather permitting, you’ll visit the section of vineyard where Mozart’s music fills the air, before heading to the ancient cellars to follow the wine-making process from start to finish. Naturally, there’s a tasting at the end of the estate’s red wines and extra-virgin olive oil, accompanied by bread, Tuscan salamis and locally made pecorino cheese.

• Daily departures
• Meet your guide in Montalcino
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The trip is only available as a self-drive option.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 9.30am
End time: 12.30pm

The Alabaster Art of Tuscany

The walled mountaintop town of Volterra has a spectacular location and a history that dates back more than 2,800 years. On this half-day trip, you’ll take in some of its most celebrated spots and hidden gems, especially those related to the art of alabaster carving for which the town has been famous since Etruscan times. You’ll stop at workshops to see how this soft, pale and translucent local stone is turned into decorative pieces, from ornate statues to minimalist bowls, and feast your eyes on the ornate interior of Palazzo Viti, a historic house lavishly refurbished by a wealthy alabaster dealer in the 19th century. There’s a feast of another kind to round off the visit: a restorative pause at a typical winery, where you’ll have the chance to taste three different wines along with some typical Tuscan delicacies.

• Daily departures
• Meet your guide in Volterra
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Please advise of any food intolerances or request vegetarian options when booking.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 10am
End time: 2pm

The Gardens Of Lucca

The charming medieval city of Lucca is known for its imposing ancient walls and atmospheric narrow lanes, but it also has some enchanting outdoor spaces. On this guided walk, you’ll discover its much-loved Botanical Garden, founded in 1820, a real natural treasure that’s home to rare medicinal plants and flowers, spectacular trees including a 200-year-old cedar of Lebanon, and a small pond with an ancient legend attached to it. You’ll walk along the top of the city wall, whose ramparts are broad enough to be fringed with centuries-old trees, before heading via a maze of galleries and alleyways to the magnificent Palazzo Pfanner. This former private residence - a popular location for movie makers - has a fabulous garden filled with citrus trees, statues and more. You’ll finish at the appropriately named Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, where you’ll be offered a glass of wine and local-style snacks in a typical Lucchese bistro.

• Departs Monday to Friday
• Meet your guide in Lucca
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The walk takes place whatever the weather, so dress appropriately.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 3.30pm
End time: 6.30pm

The Knives Of Scarperia (self drive excursion)

Scarperia is officially one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, and with its scenic hilltop setting and immaculately preserved medieval architecture, it’s hard to disagree with this verdict. Adding to the “step back in time” atmosphere is its long history as a centre of the ancient craft of knife making, which you’ll have a chance to try for yourself. Starting with a stroll through its evocative streets and alleyways, you arrive at the workshop of one of Scarperia’s long-established makers where you’ll watch a master craftsman at work using traditional techniques and have a go yourself. (Hint: it’s not as easy as they make it look.) Afterwards, you’ll stop at the museum in the Palazzo dei Vicari, with its distinctive bell tower designed by Brunelleschi in 1445, and take an exhilarating walk along the battlements, which make a memorable location for a concluding drink and food tasting looking out over the countryside.

• Daily departures
• Meet your guide in Scarperia
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
The trip is suitable for couples, honeymooners and groups.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 10am
End time: 1pm

Truffle Hunting In San Miniato (self drive excursion)

Truffles have been regarded as a delicacy in Tuscany since Roman times, and the art of finding them comes with its own ancient traditions. On this gourmet adventure, you’ll head to San Miniato to meet a passionate local truffle hunter, who learned the secrets of these subterranean fungi from his grandfather. You’ll accompany him and his truffle dog to a peaceful nearby wood for a walk in search of this “diamond of nature”, where you’ll learn about the various types, how and where they grow, when to harvest them and some of the many legends and stories about them from the past. Lunch, served in the hunter’s house and featuring homemade dishes based around fresh truffles and suitable wine pairings, continues your gastronomic education in a thoroughly enjoyable way. It’s the perfect indulgent prelude to a few hours strolling around San Miniato’s historical centre with its well-preserved medieval buildings.

• Daily departures
• Meet your guide in San Miniato
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
In case of bad weather, the visit to the wood will be replaced with a cooking lesson.

Duration:

Full day

Start time: 10am
End time: 3pm

Tuscan Cooking Class (self drive experience)

Learning how to cook some of Tuscany’s regional specialities is a fun way to discover both the local ingredients that influenced it and the area’s rich history. This half-day session takes place in the memorable setting of a 300-year-old wine estate in rolling countryside not far from San Gimignano. After meeting your teacher for the morning, you’ll head to the kitchen garden to harvest the vegetables you’ll be using, before setting to work in the outdoor kitchen, trying not to let the stunning views of vineyards and countryside distract you. The four-course menu includes handmade pasta with a typical sauce, a hearty Tuscan meat dish and something sweet to finish, with clear instructions so you’ll be able to recreate them at home. To end, you’ll sit down to a convivial al fresco lunch of your own making, accompanied by a glass or two of some of the estate’s delicious wines.

• Daily departures
• Meet at a winery outside San Gimignano
• Operates Year round
• Group experience

Good to know
Please mention any food intolerances when booking; vegetarian or gluten-free options can be arranged on request.

Duration:

Half day

Start time: 10am
End time: 1.30pm

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