Beautiful Tuscany attracts visitors for many different reasons some it is the fine art, for others the extraordinary countryside. Some simply wish to enjoy the wonderful cuisine and wine.
Experience the magic of Tuscany for yourself during a holiday that will give you a taste of everything Italy’s favourite region has to offer! The famed olive groves and military style vineyards blend beautifully into the colourful rolling hills of the area – a real feast for the eyes. You will get the opportunity to visit world-famous heritage sites dating back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Italy’s heritage is everywhere for you to see the region’s capital, beautiful Florence, with its ancient churches and unique collections of art. Then there is medieval Siena, home to one of the biggest piazzas in Italy, the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo.
A day in Rome – the Eternal City – will leave your senses bursting, as everywhere you look the grandeur of the Roman Empire meets the lasting beauty of the Renaissance. Cities aside, this part of the world is best known for its hill towns – walled villages where little has changed since the Middle Ages.
The starting point for your holiday is one such place. Set in the green Tuscan landscape, the stunning hill-top town of Chianciano is renowned for its beautiful medieval buildings and its spa waters, which have attracted visitors since Roman times. Its mild climate and idyllic location on the southern tip of Tuscany make it the perfect base for a wonderful break to the region.
With fabulous panoramic views of the breathtaking Tuscan countryside, the picturesque old town boasts many ‘treasures’ of its own. You may enter through the Porta Rivellini, an elegant Renaissance arched gateway; nearby you will see the beautiful Church of the Immaculate Conception, founded in 1272 and restored in 1588. In Via Casini, the perfect, medieval simplicity of the pale-stoned Bell Tower is complemented by eighteenth century marbled coping; in the Piazza Matteotti, the fabulous Palaces and Town Hall are foregrounded by a beautiful eighteenth century hexagonal marble fountain.
Chianciano, known for its thermal baths, stunning landscape, traditional art and cuisine, is a great place for those who want to make ‘well-being’ the foundation of their holiday. So relax, take a stroll around the lovely old walled town, and perhaps sample the famous spa waters, which are said to have beneficial health properties. Or browse the fabulous shops, sit for a while in one of the beautiful piazzas, and sip a cool drink as the world goes by - Italian style!
The capital of Tuscany and known as “La Bella”, Florence is a medieval masterpiece with its old piazzas, beautiful churches and ancient palaces. There is no other city in the world that can offer as much art, culture and history around every corner. In this Renaissance wonderland, you will not need to venture far from the city centre to take in the main attractions. The stunning marbled Duomo Cathedral offers some of the best panoramic views of the city from its highest dome. Visit the Pitti Palace, the Baptistry, the Uffizi Gallery and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio – the bridge over the River Arno lined with tasteful jewellery shops. Choose a souvenir from one of the city’s renowned leather shops before taking a leisurely break in one of the many piazza cafes. When it comes to eating out, you have got everything from roadside pizza carts to glitzy restaurants to choose from. Your day in Florence is guaranteed to be one you will never forget!
Usually departs on Mondays
Siena & San Gimignano
Siena is probably Italy’s loveliest medieval town, and a trip worth making even if you are in Tuscany for just a few days. It is situated right in the heart of beautiful Tuscany, built on three hills and surrounded by incredibly well preserved walls. In the main square you will find one of the world’s greatest cathedrals, built from black and white marbles with the most intricate carvings imaginable, some of them by Michelangelo. The picturesque town is filled with fine examples of Gothic architecture and has one of the world’s most unique Piazzas - Il Campo, shaped like a shell with scalloped edges. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful public spaces in Europe and is not only home to its stunning cathedral, but also the world famous Palio, a festival and horse race that takes place on the piazza itself each summer. Movie buffs can even get a sneak preview of what to expect, as Siena was used as a location in the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace! An enchanting town not to be missed.
An astoundingly beautiful medieval town perched high on a hill, San Gimignano is known locally as the ‘City of Beautiful Towers’. As you approach the town through picture-postcard Tuscan countryside, you will see the skyline dramatically punctured by an array of imposing look-out towers dating back to the medieval period. The towers can be seen for miles and provide one of the most remarkable sights in Italy.
Once in the town itself, characterised by its winding lanes, it is possible to walk along the 13th century walls that surround the streets, from which there are fine views of the lush vineyards, olive groves and stunning countryside which surround the town. With this unique mixture of history and beauty, it is no wonder San Gimignano is now an important UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Usually departs on Tuesdays
Italy’s amazing capital is also known as the Eternal City, and during your guided tour you will find its lasting beauty is certainly a testament to that. Within the ancient walls of the city you will find the streets bursting with world-famous attractions at every turn Colosseum, The Forum, The Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain and The Spanish Steps… the list is endless. Probably nowhere on earth can you experience so much history in such a small area, owing its grandeur to the 500-year rule of the Roman Empire, followed by the Papacy and the Renaissance. See this history come to life in St Peter’s Square and The Vatican, the centre of this glorious city which sits on the River Tiber. There are reminders everywhere of the great artists Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael and Boticelli – all food for thought while you enjoy a well-earned al fresco lunch and watch the Italian world go by. What could be better than a genuine Italian pizza accompanied by a crisp Pinot Grigio as you soak up the beauty of this wonderful city?
Usually departs on Thursdays
Montepulciano & Pienza
The attractive medieval and Renaissance hill-top town of Montepulciano is located in the province of Siena in Southern Tuscany. It is home to many cultural and artistic masterpieces, such as the 17th century cathedral, the medieval Church of the Madonna di San Biago, and the 14th century Palazzo Municipale, which contains a small gallery of Sienese and of Umbrian art. The town is justifiably proud of its car-free environment, and can boast a main street that stretches for over 11 kilometres from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza Grande at the top of the hill. Only the most adventurous would venture to walk the entire length! The region is also famous for its ‘Montepulciano’ wine, so why not have a taste during your visit to a local wine cellar and take a bottle home as a souvenir of your day. Our next stop is the magical small town of Pienza, near Siena. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, it is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Europe. Originally conceived by Pope Pius II in the early 15th century, it was built on top of the medieval castle of Corsignano, which Pius made his family home and the centre of what was known in Renaissance times as the “ideal city”.
Take a stroll through the historic winding streets and see one of the oldest buildings in Italy, the Church of St. Francis, which dates back to the 13th century and is the only monument that remains of the ancient village of Corsignano. You can also enjoy the beautiful floral displays that adorn the streets and houses, something that is celebrated in Pienza’s annual Flower Show. And last but not least, you may be surprised to discover that this pretty rural town is considered the capital of the Italian pecorino cheese – so why not try a sample during your visit?
Usually departs on Fridays
Please note; the details of all four excursions were correct at the time of publishing. However, the order and content of these excursions may be subject to change due to local conditions, and Omega Holidays reserves the right to make such changes if necessary.