This is a Marco Polo Club Invitational Journey. Tuscany and Umbria are two of the most beautiful regions in Italy and home to some of the world's greatest works of art. From Florence's Church of Santa Croce to the world-famous Palio horse race in Siena, this journey gives you the opportunity to experience the "true Italy."
Tour Director Jeremy Kerrison
Born in England, Jeremy Kerrison studied Modern European languages at university and has worked as a Tour Director for A&K for over a dozen years. As well as leading many tours within Italy, he has led four A&K Journeys by Private Jet, which included stops in Tuscany and Sicily. A qualified translator, Jeremy specializes in travel literature and has edited several guidebooks for prestigious publishers, including the Michelin Guides.
Peruse Torgiano's impressive Wine Museum
Watch a private cheese-making demonstration and enjoy a tasting in the Val d'Orcia
Visit a local farm where saffron has been cultivated since medieval times
In Chianti , meet a local family and enjoy wine tastings
Attend the Palio, perhaps the world's most exciting horse race
On arrival, you are met by your Abercrombie & Kent representative and privately transferred to your hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure until tonight’s welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Florence, the “City of the Lily,” was the birthplace of the Renaissance in the 14th century, a time that changed our view of the world forever. More than 600 years later, the medieval and Renaissance aspects still dominate this captivating city of subtle colors and local stone. Marble-clad churches, stately palazzi and red-roofed buildings spread gently across a small basin along the Arno River, all overlooked by the graceful red dome that Filippo Brunelleschi designed for the cathedral in 1420. Florence’s magnificent abundance of art treasures has captured the imagination of travellers for centuries.Westin Excelsior, Florence | Meals: D
Embark on a walking tour with your local guide, admiring the lovely piazze, churches and palaces. See the iconic Duomo and visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, housing Michelangelo’s famous David. Continue to the Uffizi Gallery to view important art treasures, including Botticelli’s breathtaking Birth of Venus. Explore the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci, who was known and celebrated throughout the world as a sculptor, painter and inventor — the true “Renaissance man.”Westin Excelsior, Florence | Meals: B L
Drive through the Umbrian countryside to the town of Torgiano to visit the Wine Museum. Covering 5,000 years of history, exhibits showcase the civilization and development of vine and wine. Continue the short distance to the town of Deruta, famous for its ceramic production that dates from the 15th century. Visit the town hall that houses the Ceramics Museum, where local antique majolica (tin-glazed pottery) is exhibited. You have some time at leisure to browse the local ceramics shops. Afterward, check in to your hotel.Le Tre Vaselle | Meals: B D
Head to Perugia to visit the Collegio del Cambio (Exchange Guild) where elaborate frescoes decorate the meeting room and chapel of the guild of bankers and moneychangers. Visit the imposing Palazzo dei Priori that houses the National Gallery of Umbria and its magnificent paintings, frescoes and sculptures. After some time at leisure for lunch, continue to peaceful Assisi, the birthplace of the founder of the Franciscan monastic orders, and home to the stunning and spiritual Basilica di San Francesco and Duomo di Santa Chiara.Le Tre Vaselle | Meals: B
Explore Pienza, located in the Val D’Orcia region. Pienza’s center was redesigned by Pope Pius II, who wanted to build a model Renaissance square in his native village. Nearby Montepulciano is an archetypal Tuscan hilltop town, set nearly 2,000 feet above sea level and offering superb views over the surrounding countryside. Inside the ancient city walls and fortifications, find winding streets and a wealth of Renaissance-style palazzi and churches. Later, visit a typical Tuscan farmhouse for a private cheese-making demonstration and tasting. The owner briefly tells you about the process of producing Pecorino and ricotta cheese.Le Tre Vaselle | Meals: B L
Travel to the historic town of Cortona to view the Piazza della Repubblica with its medieval Town Hall. In Piazza Signorelli, visit the splendid Etruscan Museum, housed in Casali’s Palace. The museum’s collections include famous finds, such as the Tabula Cortonensis, an Etruscan bronze lamp and the gold jewels that were discovered in the tombs around Cortona. In addition, you may also visit the Diocesan Museum to view Fra Angelico’s Annunciation and paintings by the Renaissance artist Luca Signorelli, who was born in Cortona. After a light al fresco lunch, continue to San Gimignano, considered one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval towns. The town’s high walls and narrow streets are typical of Tuscan hill towns, but its surviving medieval towers set it apart from its neighbors and create a beautiful skyline, visible from the surrounding countryside. At one time, almost every local family had a belfry or tower from which to hurl stones on its enemies and to preserve dominance over the terrain. The towers were built partly for defensive purposes and partly in competition to see who could build the tallest. You have time at leisure to explore on your own. You may wish to visit the Collegiata, containing 15th-century frescoes; the Palazzo del Popolo, containing Renaissance paintings; or see the Church of Sant’Agostino. Your 13th-century hotel was once the home of Leopoldo II, the Archduke of Tuscany. All 17 rooms are beautifully decorated and filled with elegant antiques.Palazzo Leopoldo | Meals: B L D
Explore enchanting Chianti. This area of Tuscany is well known and loved by visitors worldwide and is one of the most beautiful areas in the region. Stop in the famous Fonterutoli hamlet, located in the heart of the Chianti Classico. Owned by the Mazzei family since 1435, it still retains its original charm as a tranquil country village with a cluster of houses, the church of San Miniato and the villa. After learning the history of the Mazzei family and their connections with the world of wine, visit the ancient private garden of Villa Mazzei. Go on a tour of their famous wine cellar, known to be one of the most impressive in Chianti. Afterward, enjoy a private wine tasting of the Fonterutoli production and listen as the sommeliers explain the characteristics of each different label produced by the estate. After lunch, continue to Greve in Chianti, the unofficial capital of Tuscany and a lively market town, where you have some time at leisure. From there, head to the lovely hilltop village of Montefioralle, whose narrow passageways and overarching houses provide one of the best surviving examples of medieval rural village architecture in Tuscany. The ancient village is still today enclosed within its original walls. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.Palazzo Leopoldo | Meals: B L
Spend the morning at leisure enjoying the hotel’s facilities. Swim in either the indoor or outdoor pool or relax with a spa treatment. If you prefer to commune with nature, there are several nearby hiking trails. You might also want to rent a bike, scooter or moped, or admire the scenery on an optional horseback ride. Later, visit a local farm where saffron has been cultivated since medieval times. End your visit on a sweet note, with a tasting of some of the farm’s organic honey. Continue to Siena and take your seats on the Piazza del Campo for the breathtaking Palio, the most famous horse race in the world. Preparations go on all year long as 17 neighborhoods invest every spare Euro and every waking moment in their efforts to win. The evening before the race, it is estimated that 25,000 people dine al fresco, as each contrada (neighborhood) stages a sumptuous banquet to “rehearse” their sure-fire victory celebration. With privileged seating, have the best of views to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere of this centuries-old event. Return to your hotel late this evening for a light buffet supper.Palazzo Leopoldo | Meals: B L D
Transfer to Florence airport for your onward flight home.Meals: B
Prices are in USD, per person, based on double occupancy.
|Jun. 25, 2013 - Jul. 03, 2013||$7,395||--||Call for Availability|