Day 1 UK - Pisa
Make your own way to the airport for your flight to Pisa, from where you will be transferred straight to your hotel in the peaceful spa town of Montecatini Terme.Meals included: D
Day 2 Pisa - Vinci
Begin your Tuscan adventure in earnest with an exciting morning excursion to the city of Pisa. Awe at the aptly named Leaning Tower of Pisa that sits within the Field of Miracles, right next door to the city's impressive marble cathedral and 700-year-old Pisa Baptistery.
After lunch, we'll head to the town of Vinci, famous for being the birthplace of legendary Italian artist and sculptor Leonardo Da Vinci. Known for his hugely influential works like 'The Last Supper' and the 'Mona Lisa', a Local Guide will teach us all about the artist's life during the Renaissance era. We'll also stop off at the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci to see some of his early inventions.
Day 3 Chianti
Wine aficionados will particularly look forward to today's trip to Chianti, one of the country's most prestigious wine regions. We travel to Greve, where you'll find the idyllic Castello di Verrazzano that was the former family home of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the Italian explorer who discovered Hudson Bay in New York in 1524. The castle in the heart of the Chianti Classico region has a long history of wine-making, dating right back to the 10th century. It's made an awful lot of wine! Take a tour of its 16th century underground wine cellars to see where the wine is traditionally aged in huge oak barrels and learn how the grapes are still harvested by hand. It'll then be time for a tasting and a light lunch of complementary local speciality dishes on the castle's atmospheric terrace which overlooks miles of lush Tuscan vineyards.
Later, you'll get to enjoy an open-air performance at the renowned Montecatini Opera Festival.
Day 4 Florence
Today we discover irresistible Florence. The capital of Tuscany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's also known as Italy's 'art city' thanks to dozens of stunning structures and galleries packed with masterpieces from the Renaissance period. Tick off its top sights, from the medieval Ponte Vecchio lined with jewellery shops to the magnificent Duomo with its terracotta tiled dome, on a tour hosted by a Local Guide.
Florence is also a great city to indulge in a spot of shopping, whether that's designer stores or local markets. Head to Mercato Nuovo for unique souvenirs and to see the bronze statue of Il Porcellino (the Boar) that's said to give you good luck if you rub its snout and place a coin in its mouth.
Day 5 Montecatini - at Leisure
You'll have the flexibility of indulging in another relaxing spa day in Montecatini Terme or exploring its tempting range of local restaurants and boutique shops. Alternatively, why not pack in even more Tuscan treasures with our full-day optional tour? Beginning in hilltop San Gimignano, we'll spend the morning admiring gorgeous views and exploring the town's 14 medieval towers. Next up is a brief stop at the charming hamlet of Abbadia a Isola and its peaceful 10th century abbey, before we head to Monteriggioni for a guided history tour of its beautifully intact medieval walls and buildings. Try on replica armour and get to grips with historic weaponry at the Museum of Medieval Armour and Weapons before tucking into a traditional meal at a local restaurant.Meals included: B
Day 6 Montecatini - at Leisure
Spend the day soaking up the delights of Montecatini Terme, whether that's with a visit to one of the town's thermal spas for a pampering treatment or a funicular railway ride up to the medieval village of Montecatini Alto to admire fabulous panoramic views.
You'll also have a chance to join an optional excursion that begins with a trip to the beautiful hilltop town of Montalcino. It's famed for producing Brunello di Montalcino, a wine made primarily from subtly spicy Sangiovese grapes. After meandering around the town's cobbled lanes, we'll move on to Siena to discover various medieval allures, including its perfectly preserved city centre that's home to the spectacular fan-shaped Piazza del Campo. We're definitely fans!
Day 7 LuccaToday, you'll spend time in one of Tuscany's most beautiful towns - Lucca. It lies just west of Montecatini Terme and is bursting with some of the finest examples of Italian medieval and Renaissance architecture. As well as being the birthplace of composer Puccini, Lucca is also home to the Volto Santo relic – a sacred wooden sculpture of Christ thought to date back to 742 AD, which is kept in the city's stunning Romanesque St Martin Cathedral.
Meals included: B,D
Day 8 Pisa - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.Meals included: B
What to expect from food and drink in Italian Hotels
Traditionally evening meals are served as a three-course dinner, with a choice of the second-course dish either decided in advance or on the evening, although some hotels will serve a buffet or accompanying salad buffet. As a group you will enjoy a set meal together.
The first course ‘Primi’ will be a local dish of pasta, risotto or occasionally pizza or soup, ‘Secondi’ is the second course which will be a protein-based dish with a local meat or fish served simply with one vegetable or potato on the side. ‘Dolci’ the dessert part of the dinner is a simple traditional dessert of fruit, cake or gelato.
Enjoying a coffee is a typical social activity in Italian culture. An electric kettle is not a common domestic appliance in Italy and therefore it is quite common for hotels to not offer coffee and tea facilities within the rooms, but instead serve in the main restaurant / bar.