Outskirts of Florence
Wine Country and the Chianti Region
Explore the beauty of the Tuscan countryside with a tour of the Chianti region and its wineries. Not to be missed are Badia a Passignano, Verrazzano, Castellodi Fonterutoli, Capanelle and Casa Emma.
Located on a hill that offers a breathtaking view of Florence, the remains of this town's ancient walls date back to Etruscan times, some 2,000 years ago. Other sites include Roman baths, the Roman amphitheatre and the 14th-century town hall and cathedral.
Pisa and Lucca
One of the four Maritime Republics, Pisa is an important testament to the glorious history of Tuscany – it's a city of art, culture and science. Great sites include the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Piazza dei Miracoli, where the leaning tower is located. Lucca, only 20 minutes away, offers the narrow and magical streets of a medieval town still preserving its original city wall.
San Gimignano and Monteriggioni
One of Italy's best-preserved medieval fortified villages, San Gimignano is an example of what many Italian villages used to look like. It's known for its impressive towers, some over 50 metres (164 feet) in height, which served as status symbols of the town's power and prosperity. Today, only 15 towers of the orignal 70 are left, but together with the town's beautiful streets, churches and public buildings, they remain a fine example of a glorious past. On the way back, stop in Monteriggioni, an even smaller town preserved at its best.
Siena is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Italy. It's famous for the Duomo, with its striped Baroque facade, and Piazza del Campo, where the historic Palio horse race still takes place each summer on July 2 and August 16.
During the summer months, plan to spend a day in the beautiful Cinque Terre area, a natural park with five small, colourful towns, all on the hills of the Mediterranean Sea. For something truly indulgent, visit the beach of Forte de Marmi, where you can rent a luxury tent for the day and enjoy a martini as you sunbathe.