Duration: 12 hours
Type of Service: VIP Tuscany Grand Tour: one-day Best of Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Chianti - small group tour
In the 17th and 18th centuries young European aristocrats and cultivated Americans used to set off on a voyage of learning through Italy, birthplace of Western history and all art, a lifetime milestone known as the Grand Tour. Experience the fascination of this legendary journey!
Comprising visits to the most remarkable ancient towns and to the rolling Chianti hills, memorable views and flavorful culinary and wine experiences is what our Small-Group Tuscany Grand Tour allows you to discover, the the heart and soul of gorgeous Tuscany.
Depart in full comfort aboard our state-of-the-art minivan, with your dedicated English-speaking driver and tour escort, and reach Siena. Set in a beautiful landscape, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, it is one of the most enchanting medieval cities in Italy.
Led by a knowledgeable English-speaking guide you will discover the town's most striking sights, admire the marvelous Piazza del Campo - where twice a year dashing horses compete in the heart-rendering Palio race - and enjoy a flavorful surprise: a tasting of a local specialty.
Then travel on to San Gimignano, UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most splendid examples of an ancient walled town. Renowned as “the city of beautiful towers” or "Tuscany's Manhattan" it boasts an exceptional skyline. It is one of the and most well-preserved, towns in the whole of Italy and has been used as a background in many movies.
Stroll the maze of quaint cobblestone streets at your leisure, discover the tall towers, which characterize the town. Breathe in the authentic atmosphere and then set off across the vineyard-clad Chianti hills for a scrumptious Tuscan lunch and wine tasting in the charming premises of a boutique winery.
Sample authentic Tuscan flavor and enjoy the privilege of a private visit to the estate's wine cellar. After lunch, you will visit a fascinating village of Impruneta to learn all about its extraordinary terra cotta production, and then travel on to Pisa.
In Pisa discover the airy majesty of Piazza dei Miracoli (the Miracle Square), which consists of the leaning tower, Romanesque Duomo, and baptistery. The ever-fascinating Leaning Tower, bell tower of the Cathedral, has been proposed as one of the seven wonders of the modern world and is truly a sight to see (tickets to climb the tower are not included).
At the end of the visit travel back to Florence in full comfort, as your eyes and heart rest upon the day's marvelous enchanted sights.
Our Tuscany Grand Tour is more than a tour, it is a memorable lifetime cultural experience.
Things to Know:
The best of Tuscany tour: a magnificent journey through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, exploring Siena and San Gimignano, gazing in awe at the world-renowned Pisa Leaning Tower.
$250.00 per person to include transportation, lunch, and wine tasting fees. The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking.
Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily.
Duration: 9:00am – 5:00pm (8 hours)
This excursion to Pisa and Lucca will depart from your Florence hotel. A private driver will pick you up at your hotel. Your driver will talk to you about our way of life, traditions, history about the places you’ll visit and will tell you what is worth to be visited in every place (I’m confused by this “what is worth to be visited in every place”). Pisa is famous for the leaning tower and is a 1- hour drive from Florence. We usually stop here for an hour or more to give you the opportunity to climb up the tower (reservation is recommended). After Pisa we’ll drive to Lucca, a 30-minute drive from Pisa. The driver will drop you off within the city walls, where upon departure he’ll swing back around to pick you up. Lucca is a nice place to visit walking. The other places of interest are not far one another. Your driver will tell you where the best places to visit are in the city and, at the end, will drive you back to your accommodations in Florence. This is a private tour. What does it mean? It means that you’ll be able to do different things like spend more time in one of the two locations or visit somewhere else close by. This is something that you’ll be able to consider together with your driver. He will also suggest the best restaurants to have lunch. Your driver will be as flexible as possible to make this the best tour for you.
Things to Know:
Note: We will provide a Chauffer to drive you throughout the day.
Explore the towns of Pisa and Lucca on a day trip departing from Florence. Head to Pisa first, admiring the impressive square of Piazza dei Miracoli as your local driver/guide discusses the historic buildings around you. See the Baptistery, the Duomo and the city’s most iconic attraction, the UNESCO-listed Leaning Tower of Pisa. Afterward, journey to Lucca for a walking tour of the Cathedral and Piazza dell 'Anfiteatro. Top off the day with a gelato or a slice of Lucca’s signature cake before traveling back to Florence.
We will provide a private chauffer to drive you throughout the day.
Rates Starting at 2 people - $286.00 per person, 3 people $191.00 per person, 4 people $143.00 per person, 5 people $115.00 per person. The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking. Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily.
Duration: 4 - 5 hours
Type Of Service: Florence to Cinque Terre Private Car Transfer Tour with a one-hour stop-over in Pisa
Our car service transfers provide our clients the opportunity to make the most of their time while in Italy enjoying tours of other popular tourist destinations as they travel from one Italian city to another. On our Florence to Cinque Terre car transfer, enjoy a one-hour stop-over in Pisa and spend time at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and the extraordinary Piazza dei Miracoli, as part of your private car transfer from Florence. Your driver will drop you off at Piazza dei Miracoli and await for your return at the car parking lot.
We can arrange for skip the line tickets for those guests who want to climb the two-hundred eighty-eight steps of the Leaning Tower while in Pisa. The Leaning Tower tickets are 28 euros per person.
Things to Know
Private Florence to Cinque Terre Car Transfer includes a stop in Pisa and a chance to climb the Leaning Tower.
2 people - $384 per person / 3 people - $260 per person / 4 people - $210 per person/The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise pricing is confirmed upon booking.
Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily.
Duration: Time Varies
Type Of Service: Luxury Helicopter Tours in Tuscany
See the Tuscan countryside like never before, high in the sky with your own Private Helicopter Tour.
On this flight, you will see the Tuscan Countryside like never before, with some of the best views of the soaring towers of San Gimignano, shining like a star in the surrounding landscape of Chianti. You will enjoy the view of the beautiful countryside, covered with vineyards, olive groves, and fly over the Prestigious Winery, vineyards and surrounding property. You will be connected with headphones to the pilot to receive information on the moments and visions on this amazing tour. Once you are done soaring the skies, you will head inside the Winery. You will enjoy a traditional Italian lunch, paired with over 10 wines throughout the region and dessert! An experience of a lifetime, filled with good food, good wine, and great conversations.
Things to Know:
(See Additional Helicopter Tours available in the Tuscany Region)
Tuscany Helicopter Tour:
The most beautiful and fascinating Tuscany towns seen from a unique perspective. Flying over the Tuscan hills, exploring the origin of Chianti area, San Gimignano, Siena, and Florence from the sky.
Chianti Castle and Helicopter Tour:
The Heart of Chianti Tour over the beautiful hills of the Tuscan countryside is where one of the most famous wines in the world the "Chianti” is produced. Flying over the Chianti hills, San Gimignano admiring the Town and its enchanting Towers, and landing at a beautiful Castle for a quick tour and wine tasting.
Florence Helicopter Tour
Florence from the sky. Tour over the Tuscan capital of the Renaissance, admire the most famous Artistic Masterpieces like Ponte Vecchio, Basilica di Santa Croce, Piazzale Michelangelo, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi's Dome and Giotto's Bell Tower, Fortezza da Basso and Cascine Park.
Helicopter tours take off at several locations: Siena, San Gimignano and Florence.
See Tuscan countryside like never before, high in the sky with your own Private Helicopter Tour.
Helicopter tours take - off at several locations; Siena, San Gimignano and Florence
The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking.
Please note: L&B Italian Tours has an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily.
So you’ve decided you are GOING TO ITALY! How Exciting! Many people dream of visiting Italy and experiencing la bella vita, and while you certainly can’t avoid it anywhere in the country, there are some things to think about before you take off that will make your time that much more enjoyable.
First, Italy is a large, and very diverse country. Traveling across regions is almost like traveling across countries themselves. The Italian people are very attached to their City, Region, and Country, in that order, so be sure to talk to locals wherever you go to get to know the intricacies of the very different regions of Italy.
Planning your trip’s itinerary won’t be easy since there is SO much to see and do, but a little background on the country’s layout is helpful when decided what it is you want to get out of your time: are you looking for sports? history? art? food? beaches? mountains? fashion? design? Italy has it all, but some places have it better than others!
Italy can best be divided into three geographical areas: north, middle and south, although again across those areas culture, food and tradition varies greatly.
Northern Italy is made up of the Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Trentino Alto-Adige. It boasts such famous cities as Milan, Venice, Turin, Genoa and Bologna. The weather is cooler than the rest of the country due to the northern location and proximity to the Apennines and Alps. This area is traditionally the more wealthy part of Italy, and houses most of the country’s industry. Cities like Milan and Venice can be slightly more expensive than some cities in the central or southern parts of Italy. However, public transportation and tourism services are much more developed and functional than in other parts of the country!
The major airport for the northern region is Milan’s Linate International Airport. There are many other airports in the region however, including Bologna, Venice and Genoa, so do some price comparisons before booking your ticket. The climate in this region varies considerably, both depending on time of year and location. Venice gets extremely hot in the summer, while Turin and the Lake District (Cuomo) stay much cooler and tend to be flocked by Italians trying to beat the heat during the summer months. The Italian Alps begin their ski season as early as November in some places.
Northern Italy has many attractions and offers activities for everyone. Those who enjoy sport and the outdoors may want to visit the lakes for water sports, or go hiking in the Italian Dolomites. Everyone should see Venice at least for a day while they still can! Milan is great for anyone interested in design or fashion, and also has a wide selection of galleries and museums for those interested in both Renaissance and contemporary art. One can also visit the Italian Riviera for some great beaches.
The cuisine of this region is also quite variable, but generally tends to be no the heavier side of some of the traditional Italian specialties we normally think of. This is where Italians eat risotto with saffron, polenta, LOTS of parmigiano reggiano (from the Emilia Romagna province – an area that all foodies must visit), heavy meat dishes and stews, etc. Closer north near the Austrian border we see a lot of Austrian or Slovenian influence in the cuisine, as well as the wines. Prosecco is from the Veneto, and Gewürztraminer is from Trentino Alto-Adige. Think lots of nice white wines, and a LOT of grappa!
Central Italy is made up of the regions Lazio, Marche, Tuscany and Umbria. Geographically it also contains Abruzzo and Molise, but they are traditional grouped with Southern Italy due to cultural similiarities. This is where the rolling hills of Unbria and Tuscany call to mind Napa Valley. This is wine country. Central Italy is home to cities like Florence, Siena, Perugia, and of course Roma. Still quite wealthy, but more varied wealth across regions, central Italy is also extremely easy to explore via bus or train, so you can visit some little hill towns in the Val D’Orcia, or take a train and ride up and down the coast. This section of Italy is full of tiny medieval towns, and if you do your research ahead of time, you could get to participate in one of their on-going traditional medieval festivals!
Rome and Florence both have international airports, as does Pisa. Flying into Bologna is also an easy way to get to Florence as they are connected via both fast and regional trains. The weather in the region is quite temperate, with clearly distinct seasons similar to the weather on the mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. The winters are cold, and although snow is uncommon it is not unheard of. The summers get quite hot, going up to one hundred degrees, and the air tends to be humid, especially inland.
Florence and Rome are the dominating destinations in Central Italy, and rightfully so. Rome as the capital and Florence as the birthplace of the Renaissance are not to be missed if possible. I would argue each city really deserves its own trip to truly get the most out of what they have to offer. Rome is a massive metropolitan center, filled with tourists all year round. The Vatican is a major destination, its museums housing some of the most beautiful and famous Renaissance artwork, as well as the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The City of Rome of course has many ancient Roman ruins that would excite anyone remotely interested in human history: the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Catacombs, just to name a few. Florence on the other hand is the must-visit for anyone interested in Renaissance art or history, and is also a good base to explore some of the smaller towns in the region that will have you thinking of Under the Tuscan Sun. The Chianti region is full of tiny gems to visit and have an amazing meal at, as is the area between Siena and Rome. You’ll have to get to know the regional bus lines though!
Again, each region has its own traditional cuisine, but Central Italy has some of the healthiest, heartiest, what traditionally would have been peasant food but has now been elevated to an incredible level of International renown. Bistecca alla Fiorentina can only be truly enjoyed in Tuscany, just as Rome is the place to eat Saltimbocca or Osso Buco. Siena is famous for its sweets, traditionally eaten at Christmastime, and the Umbrian town of Norcia, in the Appennine foothills is where the best black truffles can be found, as well as some of the best pork products like prosciutto and salame. The hills are home to wild boar, which is cooked into many traditional stews or sauces. This is also wine country, so look out for Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. I could write a whole article about Tuscan cuisine, and I probably will, so check our blog frequently!
Southern Italy is where many Italian Americans origins are. It is the poorest part of the country, and encompasses the “foot” part of the boot of Italy, as well as the island of Sicily and some other Islands off the coast of Naples. It is made up of the regions of Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise and Sicily. Due to traditional poverty and well-known corruption, transportation to many less-frequented yet extremely beautiful areas is difficult without a car of your own. The trains are regional and buses connecting cities are infrequent. We’ll talk more about renting cars in Italy later, but this may be the area to do so if you are up for the challenge!
The nearest major international airport is Rome, but there are two smaller airports on the east coast: Bari and Brindisi, both in Apulia. Naples has an international airport, and the island of Sicily may be reached via Palermo in the north or Catania in the south. The climate in the South is Mediterranean, so again variable across seasons but markedly warmer than the north or center of the country. The area is frequently overlooked as a tourist destination, so it is a nice respite from the throngs of Florence or Venice if you have the chance to visit. The beaches are spectacular, overlooking truly crystalline water. On clear days you can even see Africa from certain points along the coast.
While Sorrento, the Amalfi coast and the island of Capri are all beautiful places to visit, they are also the most famous tourist destinations in this area. If you are looking for beautiful vistas and country club style and treatment, these resort towns are a perfect place to pamper yourself or take a boat out. If you are more on the adventurous side, continue south and explore the towns of Calabria, famous for its spicy peppers and warm inhabitants. From Naples you can climb Mount Vesuvius and eat a traditional Neapolitan pizza. Matera, in the Basilicata region, is slated to be the European Capitol of Culture in 2019, and boasts what are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in Italy carved out of the rocks that make up its ancient city center. Those interested in architecture will enjoy the cities along the southern coast of Sicily, where due to volcanic and seismic damage, many buildings were rebuilt in a new Sicilian Baroque style.
Southern Italian cuisine is what most Americans think of as Italian cuisine: eggplant parmigiana, pizza, calzone, spaghetti, maccheroni, and the list goes on. The region is big on short, dry pasta, as opposed to the soft egg pastas of the northern, wealthier regions. Mozzarella is from this area, as is ricotta, made light and fresh. San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the volcanic soil under mount Vesuvius, and are used ubiquitously. Many of the dishes served in the south have Italian-American counterparts due to generations of Italians emigrating to the US from these regions due to extreme poverty. This part of Italy also of course produces much of its own wine, but the wine tends to be drunk young and domestically, rather than bring preserved and shipped. So come here if you are okay with some chilled red table wine or a beer with your pizza!
This has just been an EXTREMELY brief overview of what you might expect as you plan your trip to Italy. Every part of the country has its own secrets, cuisines, and traditions, but if you can’t move there, these generalized descriptions should help you tailor where you want to start and end your visit to the big boot. Once you determine your itinerary, be sure to check seasonal weather charts so you can pack accordingly to where you will be visiting. Read on for more about the items that you will need to bring with you to get the most out of your Italian vacation!
Our excursion to Italy….In one word was “PERFECT”!
We had an amazing time visiting several places in Italy and Hali’s suggested itinerary and careful planning made for a great holiday without any drama!
Her knowledge and experience of connecting us with amazing tour guides, wonderful accommodations and orchestrating the travel between each city, was very well organized.
Hali listened to our long and complicated bucket list which included everything from art & history in Florence, biking in Lucca, getting to the top of the Tower of Pisa and hiking Cinco Terre, all while staying in beautiful accommodations and eating AMAZING food, and she was able to pull it all together without a hitch!
Thank you Hali for making our visit to Italy a very memorable experience!!!Grazie Mille !!!