Whether on your own or accompanied by a tour guide, you just have to get to know this city.
A rich maritime republic in the past, today it is a destination for visitors from all over the world. The Piazza del Duomo, known as Piazza dei Miracoli is a designated World Heritage Site which offers the viewer buildings of priceless beauty and importance, such as the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Campo Santo and the very famous Leaning Tower.
With your guide you will stroll along the via San Paolino stopping to admire the statue and house of opera composer Giacomo Puccini, and further along stopping at the XII century church of San Michele in Foro.
You will then reach the San Martino Cathedral where inside are the masterpieces of the wooden cross representing the image of the “Holy Face”, and the Renaissance tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by the great 15th century artist Jacopo della Quercia.
Walking along medieval streets lined with characteristic shops, you will reach the Amphitheater Square with its characteristic elliptical shape which dates back to Roman times. Life flows slowly here and is animated by locals chatting with one another and children playing football (soccer). From here you will walk to the church of San Frediano, a perfect place from which to access the lovely promenade above the walls of the ancient fortress where the locals love to walk and jog at all times of the day.
Fun for both adults and children! With your guide and rented bicycles, you will cover the most important sites of the town and in particular, you will ride along the beautiful promenade on top of the XVI century fortress that encircles the town: The Lucchese people had it built to defend themselves from Florence but it was never used for this purpose. This tree-lined promenade on top of the fortress is now the cycling and running trail preferred by the locals. From the fortress, you will spot the Torre Guinigi- a tower built in the Middle Ages by the homonymus family and several other buildings of artistic interest. The walls are surrounded by an impressive moat and green grass. In the distance is the plain stretching out towards the Tyrrenean sea, the Apuan Alps and the Apennine Mountains.
During this tour you will discover the historic center of Siena with its medieval towers and elegant palaces that once belonged to the city’s wealthy families (Palazzo Salimbeni and Palazzo Tolomei for example).
Pilgrims coming from Northern Europe walked along these streets to reach the cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary to Heaven.
The cathedral is exceedingly beautiful and houses many important works of art.
It is certainly worth mentioning the precious floor that was decorated with beautiful marble incrustations and graffiti over a period of 170 years by the most relevant artists of the period. Outside, on one side we can still see what was supposed to be the new facade of the Duomo of Siena, which would have turned it into the largest cathedral in the world, larger that the one in Florence.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to complete this project because of the terrible plague of 1348 which killed two thirds of Siena’s inhabitants. To complete your visit, the guide will take you to Piazza del Campo, a unique shell shaped square where the “Palio” race takes place every year (on the 2nd of July and 16th of August).
The Palio is probably the most famous horse race in the world and it is enthusiastically followed by the entire population of Siena.
Our tour starts with the visit of the Church of San Domenico where Saint Catherine of Siena used to meet the pilgrims on their way from Northen Europe to Rome. Her head is kept as a relic inside one of its chapels.
The tour continues with a visit to the house of Saint Catherine. Her achievements made her so famous throughout the Italian peninsula that, together with Saint Francis, she was chosen as patron saint of Italy.
Next, is the visit of the Duomo featuring incredible works of art such as the floor designs and mosaics and the pulpit by Nicola Pisano.
The walk ends in Piazza del Campo where twice a year 10 of the 17 contrade (districts) challenge each other in the Palio race.
A walled medieval hill town that became particularly important as a junction point on the Via Francigena, the route that the Catholic pilgrims took on their way from Northern Europe to Rome.
The production of saffron was a major industry for this town throughout the Middle Ages. Nowadays, San Gimignano is known in the world for its unique towers and the white “Vernaccia” wine.
With your guide you will see the main sights of interest: the medieval towers that one can spot from far away, Piazza della Cisterna, Palazzo del Comune, the Duomo with frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio representing Saint Fina, the young girl who, thanks to the miracles she performed, became the patron saint of San Gimignano. More hidden, but certainly worth the little walk, are the church and square of Saint Agostino. Inside, the painter Benozzo Gozzoli represented the life of Saint Augustin. Another nice walk takes you up to the fortress (rocca), with superb panoramas and the best place for good photos.
This town which is the most significant example of a walled city in Tuscany is also cited by Dante in his famous work The Divine Comedy, “ Monteriggioni crowns itself with towers” (chant XXXI lines 40-45). Built on a hill, it was founded by the Sienese in 1203 to protect themselves from the attacks of the Florentines.
Once there we can climb a flight of steps leading to the walkway that runs along the top of the medieval walls where we can admire the very beautiful surrounding panorama. We can also visit the Monteriggioni in Arme Museum housing medieval and Renaissance weapons and attire (perfect for children as they are allowed to try on some of the armours).
The little church of Santa Maria Assunta is also worth a visit. Last but not least – we can have a great lunch in one of the restaurants in the historic center.
This town was founded on the Elsa river and became an important industrial centre. By the Middle Ages it had various industrial activities, such as wheat mills and paper works. In the 19th century it developed the industry of glass blowing and crystal. Colle Val d’Elsa produces 90 % of Italian crystal production.
You should start your visit from the highest spot in town and then walk downhill. The old town runs along the crest of the hill with well-kept city walls, a cistern, the tower and the house of Arnolfo di Cambio, the architect of some of Florence’s most emblematic buildings, such as the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio and the church of Santa Croce.
Thanks to the beauty and the geometric layout of its squares and buildings, Pienza is known as the ideal city, a perfect urban representation of the ideals of the Renaissance.
Pope Pius II of the Piccolomini family, born in the village of Corsignano, decided to turn this village into a city, naming it Pienza which is derived from his own name , Pius. The cathedral and Palazzo Piccolomini are excellent examples of Renaissance architecture.
Pienza is also famous for the Pecorino di Pienza, a cheese that has a long tradition and is made from ewe’s milk.
A medieval village already inhabited at the time of the Etruscans with an imposing fortress and the enchanting Palazzo dei Priori. World famous for its wines, especially for its “Brunello di Montalcino”. Nearby you cannot miss a visit to the ancient Abbey of Sant'Antimo .
For its natural, artistic and cultural beauty this valley was declared World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Barren hills scattered with cypress trees and enchanting medieval villages , some famous for their wines.
Pienza and Montalcino are part of it, as well as other lesser-known but fascinating Sienese towns, such as Castiglione d'Orcia, San Quirico d’ Orcia and Bagni Vignoni.
Built on a hill between the valleys of the Chiana and Orcia rivers, Montepulciano was an important Etruscan city which because of its strategic position was subject of long disputes between Siena and Florence.
In 1511, it became part of the Medici domain, and thanks to the beautiful Renaissance buildings built later by noble families, won the title of the “Pearl of the 16th Century”. This city is known worldwide for the "Vino Nobile di Montepulciano". We recommend a visit to one of the historic cellars for a tasting of wines and local products. You will not regret it. Just outside the historic center of the city we recommend you visit the church (or temple) of San Biagio, a Renaissance work by Antonio da San Gallo the Elder.
A beautiful small town in Southern Tuscany, rich since ancient times for its mineral deposits, a pearl not to be missed that will amaze you. The Romanesque cathedral of San Cerbone dates back to the XII century, and its castle fortifications and typical medieval alleys with breathtaking views from the hills to the Mediterranean sea and of the islands are well worth a visit.
These small towns in the southern Tuscany are poignantly beautiful. Pitigliano is built on the cliffs of “Tuff stone” (volcanic rock), with century-old wineries and rich in fortresses. It is known for its welcome and integration of a conspicuous Jewish community expelled from the Papal States in the 16th century. A synagogue is still present today.
Sorano with its rupestrian buildings excavated in the tuff stone is reminiscent of Matera, the famous city of southern Italy; it also has a well preserved Jewish ghetto. Here, in such an uncontaminated natural environment, with the high volcanic rock walls surrounded by ancient trees one feels like having stepped into another era.
The medieval historic center of Sovana is a gem not to be missed. It was an important Etruscan center, as well as an episcopal seat. Here, you can immerse yourself in the world of the Etruscans by visiting "Il Cavone" in the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana and "Le Vie Cave", fascinating open air tunnels dug in the hills of tuff stone.