On this affordable Italian tour package, the town of Montecatini serves as your home base from which to venture out daily to explore the surrounding landscapes of breathtaking Tuscany. You’ll indulge in picturesque scenery, world-class local wines, traditional cuisine, and cultural discoveries via eight days of regional excursions.
From the rolling hills of Montalbano to Vinci and beyond, you’ll make daily sojourns through bountiful vineyards, olive groves, and chestnut trees. You’ll visit the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci to experience the Renaissance master’s life and art.
Traveling through some of the most stunning and lush natural landscapes in Italy, you’ll embark each day to visit idyllic spots, including the gorgeous Chianti Valley and the Etruscan Coast. As you visit quaint wine shops, cafes, a traditional butcher shop, historic estates, and museums, you’ll feel immersed in the history and traditions of each daily destination.
In addition to sampling the local gourmet Tuscan fare, you’ll also be treated to an Italian cooking lesson, starting with the selection of fresh ingredients at a local market. You’ll prepare an authentic Italian dish inside a rustic Tuscan farmhouse where you and your travel companions will enjoy your culinary creations – complete with master-chef prizes. You’ll also sample artisan-crafted chocolates and learn the art of Italian dessert-making at your hotel.
You’ll revel in the beauty of becoming familiar with a single destination of Montecatini while making priceless daily discoveries of locales that are off the beaten path – perfect for the smart, creative, and budget-minded traveler.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Check into your hotel. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
This morning, head out into the lush, rolling landscape of the Montalbano hills, where you will see many Italian cuisine ingredients growing in their native environment. Pass terraced grape vineyards, olive groves, and chestnut trees on your way to the quaint village of Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci. Here, you will learn all about the Renaissance master at the MUSEUM dedicated to his life and many areas of interest, which included everything from painting, sculpting, and inventing to anatomy, music, and cartography! Later, visit a bakery in the Chianti Montalbano area to learn the secrets of ITALIAN BREAD MAKING, followed by a light lunch of fresh bread, local cheese, cold cuts, and a glass of the local wine.
Cradled between the provinces of Florence and Siena, the Chianti Valley is the heart of Old Tuscany, and has been hailed for its exceptional wines since the 13th century. Your journey today takes you to Greve to visit a Macelleria, a traditional Italian BUTCHER SHOP, where you’ll learn about Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak) and tasty Finocchiona (fennel salami). Then, enjoy lunch at a charming wine shop, and visit a HISTORIC TUSCAN ESTATE known for its Chianti and Supertuscan wine production.
Your day begins at a LOCAL MARKET in Montecatini, where an expert guide will help you select fresh ingredients for an Italian cooking lesson at a rustic farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside. Once you arrive at the farm, enjoy a welcome drink, explore the orchard, learn about Italy’s most famous delicacies, and then roll up your sleeves for a fun, hands-on COOKING EXPERIENCE. This evening, relax with your traveling companions and savor the delectable dinner you prepared—maybe your team will win the master chef prize!
Today features a visit to Lucca, a stunning showcase of medieval architecture and layer upon layer of rich history and culture. Marvel at the beautiful art and tapestry collections at the baroque PALAZZO MANSI NATIONAL MUSEUM, then take a guided walking tour around the Old Town with its fine, intact Renaissance-era wall, cobblestone streets, and café-lined piazzas. A lively CAFÉ-CRAWL snack brunch is included, followed by a main course at a local restaurant. Then, your Local Guide introduces you to the stunning ornamental gardens and grand arched ceilings of PALAZZO PFANNER.
Travel through the vineyard-dotted countryside and along cypress-lined Viale dei Cipressi for your fascinating entrance into enchanting Bolgheri. With its red-brick castle and atmospheric Old Town, it’s not hard to believe Bolgheri jumped right off the pages of a storybook. There’s time here to visit one of the WINE CELLARS that produce Bolgheri’s celebrated reds. First created in the 1980s, many wine experts believe these now rival French Bordeaux. Later, stop at nearby Castagneto Carducci, known for its splendid panoramic views of the Etruscan Coast. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and the chance to sample the local LIQUOR.
Your final morning in Montecatini is yours to do as you please. You could choose to explore more of the city on your own, to relax and shop for souvenirs, or to join the exciting optional excursion to the well-preserved medieval city of Pistoia, renowned for its quaint Old Town, beautiful sculpture garden, and outstanding artisan-crafted chocolate! This afternoon is dedicated to a COOKING CLASS at your hotel, focusing on the creation of cakes and desserts.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.