As the sun sets in Florence, the city centre becomes bathed in a golden hue as the lights come on, welcoming locals and travellers alike to head out into the city, to dine together and celebrate life's simplest pleasures. The birthplace of the renaissance, Florence remains a fashion and culture icon in the modern world. With so much art, history, and architecture to take in, there is no time to waste. Welcome to Florence, and to Italy, and we invite you to explore the old and the new, the grand and the simple, all in one of the world's most beautiful countries.
Standing before the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo, is one of those moments in life where you feel truly small. To take in the magnitude of what the cathedral represents is to transport yourself back in time to the 13th century. Could the people who began to build this magnificent structure have ever imagined that 800 years later people would still come to marvel at its beauty. This morning join your expert guide for a walking tour and see the Duomo, Signoria Square and then head over to the Ponte Vecchio, you will only just be scratching the surface of what there is to see.
The Tuscan countryside is calling. Over the course of the next 5 days, move through Tuscany and Umbria by walking from village to village. The pace here is intentional-many stops are made along the way to ensure you see and experience the true essence of these beautiful places. Your first day sees you begin the trek in the village of Strove walking the Via Fancigena until you reach the Elsa River. Cross the river on foot, wading ankle deep in the blue water.
Monteriggioni is your quintessential Tuscan medieval walled village. Follow part of the ancient Francigena way into Siena. Step back in time as you walk past donkeys in green pastures and lush vineyards as the Tuscan countryside unfolds before you. Walk up to the main door of the Hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago and knock-your local host will be waiting. Enter and admire the frescs painted throughout the church.
Chianti, recognized for its namesake red wine, lies between Florence and Siena in the very centre of Tuscany. Begin the trek from Montefioralle- a small town forming the perimeter around an historic castle. Trek from the wavy hills of the Chianti region, along the dusty dirt road that winds through rows of vineyards and the silvery foliage of olive groves, before reaching the provincial road that leads to the hamlet of Panzano. Your reward for another beautiful walk? Lunch at a local winery with a pairing of local wines of course.
From medieval village to medieval village, through the vineyards of Chianti, your walking today sees you leaving Volpaia walking up towards Monte Querciabella, the highest point of the day. Carry on to Poggio del Quercetino and then downhill to Lamole, famous for its terraced vineyards, where you take a luscious rest in the form of a picnic lunch among the vines.
UNESCO World Heritage site Val d'Orcia extends from the provinces of Siena to Grosseto, offering up some of Tuscany's most picturesque vistas. The Pienza loop trail begins in historic Pienza, a Renaissance city commissioned by Pope Pius II. From Pienza, pass the Romanesque parish church of Corsignano as you make your way through the green and gold undulating hillside dotted with Cypress trees. After a short time, enter the Strada dei Gladiatori, the exact setting of the panoramic countryside scene from Ridley Scott's film 'Gladiator'.
Walking the Italian countryside is the ultimate gift to yourself. Taking the time to step away from the hustle of your everyday life to intentionally move at a slower pace. Italy is about living and eating well. Speaking of eating, it's time to spend the morning with a local chef learning to prepare some of Italy's most loved dishes. A tagliatelle with ragù perhaps, or a creamy tiramisú. Buon Appetito!
Admittedly, Rome is one of those cities that is pretty OMG worthy on its own. If you have an entire week, its a great city to get lost in, wandering from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. To make the most of your time in Rome, you get to choose between a walking tour or a fully guided Vespa tour. No matter which way you choose to explore Rome, you will experience the very best the city has to offer.
Your adventure has come to an end, and you can depart at any time.