Renaissance art, quaint coastal villages, and world-famous wine: discover the delights of Northern Italy.
Cinque Terre - Imagine five pastel-hued villages perched on the rugged coast surrounded by terraced cliffs and clear deep blue water. It’s Bella Italia at its finest.
Pisa - A legendary city with the iconic architectural duo: the spectacular Romanesque Cathedral and the famous leaning tower.
Lucca - Explore the cobbled streets, picturesque piazzas and shady promenades in this stunning walled city.
Florence – Marvel at the finest collection of Italian Renaissance art and architecture in this fine city.
San Gimignano – A hill town famous for its idyllic rural setting and stunning skyline dominated by 14 soaring towers.
Siena - Sit and watch as the world goes by at one of Italy’s loveliest squares, Piazza del Campo.
Val d’Orcia – Bucolic Tuscan hills dotted with cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards.
Maremma Region - A timeless region where the Etruscans and Romans flourished for centuries
Scientific advancements, artistic geniuses, and architectural wonders all sprang out of Northern Italy during the Renaissance.
Da Vinci, Raphael and the artists of Florence created the standard by which all art is judged. In Pienza, Pope Pius II invented modern urban design with his ‘ideal town’ that was both liveable and lovable. And buildings adorned with grand columns and naked heroes became fashionable across the country.
On this trip, we’re unable to tell you how it all started, but we’ll certainly help you fall in love Florence, Pisa, Lucca, and the wonders of this defining period of history.
But that’s not all you experience on this trip.
You also savour the rustic wines made amongst the green hills of Tuscany, taste seafood in the colourful villages of Cinque Terre, and refresh your senses at the curative hot springs of Bagno Vignoni.
Join this tour and begin your love affair with the riches and Renaissance of Northern Italy.
The first stop is the hilltop village of Èze. Medieval and magnificent, this hamlet will dazzle you with stunning vistas, winding cobbled streets, and a ruined castle. You can also learn more about another French passion: perfumes. Just pop into the Fragonard or Galimard perfume factories and immerse yourself in the world of beautiful fragrances.
Back on the road, you cross the border and continue your journey along the Italian coast. Your next stop is the charming seaside town of Porto Maurizio where you can grab an early lunch. Take a photo of the pastel-coloured houses rising over the harbour like a pop-up book and continue south.
In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to stroll around Santa Margherita Ligure before you arrive in La Spezia, your base for the night. After checking in to your hotel, explore the town held by Napoleon for its strategic value while picking a local restaurant for dinner.
Buongiorno! Today is all about discovering the architectural wonders of Northern Italy.
You leave La Spezia in the morning and travel to Cinque Terre. Perched to the side of the cliffs and strung like colourful beads, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are yours to explore. Your guide helps you navigate the train and makes sure you get the most out of your visit.
After enjoying some free time in Cinque Terre, you meet your guide for the return train journey to La Spezia where you rejoin the mini-coach and travel to Pisa.
Once a maritime power competing with Genoa and Venice, this city is now famous for an architectural project which went horribly wrong. Tilting or not, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has beautiful, elaborate Romanesque architecture and fascinating history. Grab your lunch and take in the views of other architectural highlights at Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles).
Next on the list of our Italian delights is Lucca, known as the city of a hundred churches. Originally founded by the Etruscans, then a Roman colony, the city has gained its wealth through the silk trade. And you can see this prosperity in the abundance of graceful buildings and pretty piazzas. You have time to wander along the Renaissance city walls before you continue your journey further.
All these impressive architectural gems of the day were just a warm-up. Prepare yourself for a real feast for the eyes as you travel to Florence, your base for the next two nights.
You have a free day in the ‘Birthplace of the Renaissance’ and can decide how you want to spend it.
You can start by following the paths of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo - stare in awe at the Duomo, the city’s majestic Cathedral that dominates the skyline; see The Birth of Venus and some of the most celebrated treasures at the Uffizi Gallery; and visit Galleria dell’Accademia, to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David.
Man does not live by art alone, so don’t forget to try some of the local specialities. The culinary delights like handmade pasta, pizza, bread, pastries, wine and gelato will help you to regain your strength.
In the afternoon, you could ponder over the Medici’s power and secrets as you explore Palazzo Pitti. The grand palace of this influential family is home to some of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance and the secret Vasari Corridor.
For a perfect end of the day, visit Boboli Gardens peppered with statues, fountains, ponds and hidden mazes. It’s your second night in Florence so spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere as you explore the bustling squares or excellent restaurants and bars.
It’s time to wave Florence goodbye and set off to discover the spectacular medieval hill-towns of Tuscany.
You journey through the famous Chianti wine region, peppered with vineyards, honey-coloured stone farmhouses, ancient olive groves, and sleepy villages.
As you travel over the green Tuscan hills, you notice the 14 towers of San Gimignano soaring like a medieval Manhattan. Listen to the story of the noble families who got caught up in a race for building the highest tower house. Then enjoy a walk around the well-preserved fortified old centre and sample some of the local delicacies for lunch.
You continue south to Siena, the highlight of the day. This gorgeous red-brick city celebrates Gothic architecture like no one else. The place’s essence centres around the unique shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. It’s here where the bi-annual horse Palio is hosted. And it’s also where James Bond chases his enemy in ‘Quantum of Solace’.
Next, you travel along the country roads, past cypress trees and olive groves to arrive in Chianciano Terme in the early evening. This spa town in rural Tuscany is your home for two nights.
Curvy backroads lined by cypress trees, vineyards, olive groves, and old romantic villages.
This is the dreamy Tuscan region of Val d’Orcia where time seems to slow down. This area boasts unspoiled beauty and is steeped in history and culture. No wonder it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Start the day with a leisurely drive through the rolling green hills to Montepulciano, home to the Nobile wine houses. Explore little squares and crumbling churches in this charming hill town, and then reward yourself with a glass or two of the local Nobile as you drink in the views of the countryside.
Next, you travel to Pienza. This city is known as the ‘Ideal City’ and is the Renaissance vision of Pope Pius II. Call it vain or forward-thinking; but in the 15th century, the Pope set about transforming his birthplace. And the results are so stunning that UNESCO designated Pienza as a World Heritage Site. Wander around the centre, marvel at the magnificent ensemble of the church, papal palace and town hall, and enjoy the local cuisine for lunch.
It’s time for you to try some of the best wines in the world in a local winery, Fattoria dei Barbi. This is home of Brunello, the famous red wine made of special grape variety with protected status.
Full of appreciation for the wine of Tuscany, you finish your day with a visit to Bagno Vignoni, a village renowned for its curative waters. The Etruscans, Romans, pilgrims of the Via Francigena, and the Medici appreciated the hot sulphurous waters here in the past. Today, you can admire this ancient spa and follow the flow of the spring waters across the archaeological park.
After experiencing and savouring the best of rural Tuscany, you arrive in Chianciano Terme in the early evening for your second night.
In the morning, you leave Chianciano Terme and travel south to the Maremma region. The adventure takes you to the area around Sorano, where you can grab an espresso and take in the dramatic views across the valley.
Next, get up close with the Etruscan civilisation, one of the most mysterious and complex ancient cultures. Stare in disbelief at the Sovana Necropolis and the Vie Cave which form an impressive road network carved out of tuff during the Bronze Age. You leave the secrets of these enigmatic people behind and explore the town of Sovana. Grab something to eat and wander the cobbled streets of this medieval beauty before you continue your journey towards Rome.
In the afternoon, you have a photo stop at another dramatic hilltop city, Pitigliano. Rising from the outcrop of the volcanic tufa rocks and surrounded by gorges on three sides, the city will make you ponder over the craftsmanship of its architects.
Next, you get off the beaten path and travel through a patchwork of green fields towards the Bolsena Lake. It’s the largest volcanic lake in Italy and its deep waters sustain a thriving fishing community in the local area. You stop to take pictures and continue along the edge of the lake to Capodimonte. Here, you have a final comfort stop and a photo opportunity of the castle on the hill.
Take in the last views of the beautiful countryside before you can say ‘Ciao Roma’, as you arrive at the gateway to Rome in the evening.
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You stay one night in La Spezia, two nights in Florence, and two nights in Chianciano Terme.
To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.
A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.
So, we’ve hand-picked three to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.
Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want double rooms, twin rooms, or single rooms.
The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.
You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.
Our Europe Tours have flexible payment options to help you budget for your dream holiday.
If you book more than three months before your tour departs, you can reserve your trip with a deposit of 10% or more. The full payment is required three months before your departure.
Call us on +44 (0) 131 226 3133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pay a deposit, discuss more payment options, or let us know of any changes to your travel arrangements.
Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.
So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email email@example.com .
Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we only start our trips from the airport hotel specified in your departure information.
Our friendly team will send you more information about your departure location closer to your departure date.
Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.
We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this timeframe, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.
We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.
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It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.
Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches have huge windows, So you always get a good view.
We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.
Unfortunately, we’re unable to have children under the age of five on our Europe tours.
You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.
We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.
We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.
You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.
It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.
But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to all our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.
Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.
We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.
You're protected by ABTOT when you choose to let us book your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.
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Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer
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