Day 1: Saturday
Benvenuti! Welcome to your Italian home! Unpack, unwind, and get settled.
Explore your local village to find the tourist office, grocery shops, restaurants,
and the nearest coffee bar.
Day 2: Sunday
the enoteca in the fortress atop this classic Tuscan hill town to sample the famed
Brunello wine. Stopping to see the Sant' Antimo Abbey, just down the road. Make
reservations ahead of time for dinner at Taverna dei Barbi, with an international
reputation for Tuscan country cuisine. (Closed Tues evening and all day Wednesday
- 0577 8471 17)
Day 3: Monday
Chianti: Explore the countryside
of Chianti by driving the SS222 wine route through Greve, Panzano, Castellina
in Chianti and on, using your Chianti vineyard map and stopping at villages along
the way. Pick up some wine for your villa. Stop at some of the restaurants recommended
in our Restaurant Guide. If you have time, visit the abbey Badia a Passignano.
Day 4: Tuesday
Siena: Visit the Cathedral. Follow any of the
winding brick alleys to the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo to relax and enjoy the
scene as you imagine the spectacle of the Palio that takes place here in July
Day 5: Wednesday
Buonconvento & Monte Oliveto:
The drive from Asciano to the abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore takes you through
the eerie landscape of the Crete. Shop for unique souvenirs in the abbey gift
shop, which specializes in herbal remedies. Have lunch at the restaurant by the
gatehouse or continue on to Buonconvento for lunch at the unpretentious Da Mario.
If you have time, visit the village of Murlo, one of the oldest settlements in
Day 6: Thursday
Florence: Take the train, or drive
and park free at Piazzale Michelangelo. Admire the view from San Miniato and walk
into town (30 minutes downhill) or take the bus. Make reservations in advance
to visit the Uffizi. Take in the Duomo and Orsanmichelle, if you have time, and
come back another day for the rest. On your way back to the train station, stop
at the Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella on via della Scala. We love their potpourri,
but this ancient apothecary is worth visiting even if you don't buy anything.
Day 7: Friday
Relax on the beach at Castiglione della Pescaia
or visit the nature reserve of the Maremma. No cars are allowed, so stop at the
visitors' center in Alberese to catch a park bus. Or go south to Monte Argentario
and enjoy a meal at one of the fish restaurants in Porto Ecole or Porto Santo
Stefano. The S1 highway leads to the southern coast of Tuscany, but if
you're not in a hurry and don't mind curves, the SP323 is one of Tuscany's most
Day 8: Saturday
San Quirico D'Orcia, Bagno Vignoni,
Pienza: Visit San Quirico D'Orcia in the morning to enjoy the view from the Piazza
della Libertá, continuing on to the tiny village of Bagno Vignoni, famous for
its sulpher baths and worth a visit to admire the architecture of its stone-lined
piscine. Explore Pienza, well known for its pecorino cheese; ask to taste the
difference between the young (soft and mild) and aged (sharp) varieties.
San Gimignano & Volterra: See the famous skyline and walk all
the way around the fountain in the Piazza della Cisterna to ensure your return.
Continue to Volterra to shop for alabaster artifacts or to visit the Etruscan
museum or the Museo Giarnacci, a major archaeological museum. Enjoy a local specialty,
cinghiale (wild boar), for lunch.
Day 10: Monday
Montevarchi: See Piero della Francesca's Legend of the True Cross and continue
to Montevarchi, with designer outlets like Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana.
Shop till you drop!
Day 11: Tuesday
Pisa & Lucca: Visit Pisa's
Campo dei Miracoli to see the Leaning Tower and the Cathedral. Spend the afternoon
in Lucca. Rent bikes at the tourist office to ride around the city walls, or tour
some of Tuscany's most impressive villas and gardens in the surrounding hills.
In July or August, attend the Puccini Festival in nearby Torre del Lago. If you
have kids, visit the Leonardo Museum in Vinci or the Parco di Pinocchio in Collodi.
Or hike the villages of the Cinqueterre and stop at Carrara to see the quarries
where Michelangelo got his pure white marble.
Day 12: Wednesday
Back to Florence, this time to visit the Accademia to see Michaelangelo's David,
as well as the monk's cells at San Marco. Other options include the Pitti Palace,
Boboli Gardens, the library (and market) of San Lorenzo, Sant' Ambrogio market,
and the Synagogue.
Day 13: Thursday
San Galgano: This ruined
Cistercian abbey is one of Tuscany's most unusual attractions. Bring a picnic,
and stop at the little chapel on the hill to see the Italian Sword in the Stone.
Spend the day in Cortona, home to
Under the Tuscan Sun. Park near Piazza Garibaldi. On a clear day, you can
see all the way to Lake Trasimeno. Spend the morning visiting the Etruscan Museum
or the churches of San Niccolo and San Domenico. Or follow the mosaic stations
of the cross leading up a steep hill to the church of Santa Margherita. Finish
your last minute shopping, and if you have time, stop to see the Etruscan ruins
and tombs of Camucia.
Day 15: Saturday
Reflect on all you've
done and seen and save the rest for next time. Arrivederci!