Hero 3

Taste of Tuscany & Italian Riviera

Tour begins: Milan (contact for dates)

Tour ends: Milan

Cost: AUD$6000

7 nights Tuscany
3 nights Santa Margherita, Italian Riviera

Day 1

You will be met at Malpensa Airport, Milan and transferred to your luxury villa accommodation in the heart of Tuscany which will be our base for the next seven nights. Here we will stay in self contained apartments in a fully restored ancient villa with views across the vine covered hills of the Tuscan countryside. Following our mid afternoon arrival, relax and settle in to your beautiful apartment or by the pool.

Dinner: Join us for pre-dinner welcome drinks in the villa courtyard before sharing a "Welcome to Tuscany" 4 course traditional dinner at the Villa prepared by the Signora. (D)

Day 2

After a sleep in, we will enjoy a relaxing day with a trip to the local hilltop medieval town of San Gimignano. Here you will have time to meander through the narrow streets, climb the tower with magnificent views of the countryside, admire the beautiful shops and maybe purchase some leather goods or other souvenirs. Alternatively, simply relax with a beer or gelato in one of the many piazzas.

Dinner: Tonight we recommend you dine at a local trattoria well known for its traditional Tuscan cuisine. Tempt your taste buds with wild boar, stuffed rabbit or wonderful home made pasta.

Day 3

Today we drive south of Siena to visit several charming walled Tuscan towns off the tourist bus route. You will have time to wander the cobbled streets, browse in the shops, and marvel at the architecture. We will enjoy lunch together at a welcoming Trattoria frequented by locals and renowned for its fine Tuscan food.

On our return trip, we visit the famous thermal spring waters of Val D'Orcia which were once frequented by the Romans.

Dinner: Own arrangements with transport to and from San Gimignano if required. (L)

Day 4

We depart our Villa at 9am for a leisurely drive through the magnificent wine region of Chianti arriving at an ancient monastery, now a winery, for a tour and wine tasting. We will then drive to another nearby winery where we will enjoy lunch with further tastings of the local wine, before returning to the villa.

Dinner: Own arrangements with transport to and from San Gimignano if required. (L)

Day 5

We depart early today for the weekly market in Siena, which sells everything from kitchen utensils to leather shoes and local produce. It is a vibrant and atmospheric market attended by all the locals.

After buying a bargain or two, we will take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Siena to the famous Piazza del Campo, scene of the Palio horse race, and enjoy the ambience of this exciting Tuscan city.

On our return trip to the Villa, we will visit another small hilltop village, where you can enjoy a stroll and a drink in one of the piazzas.

Dinner: We venture into San Gimignano in the early evening and enjoy dinner sitting on the balcony of a local restaurant watching the sun set over the nearby hills and towns. (D)

Day 6

Depart early for Renaissance Florence. Here we will wander through the famous Florence markets renowned for its leather goods before visiting the famous museum, Accademia, where you will see the Michelangelo Statue of David and other famous sculptures as well as Piazza Signoria and the multi-coloured marble Duomo.

Lunch nearby at a typical restaurant followed by a stroll through several of Florence's beautiful piazzas on the way to Ponte Vecchio. Admire or buy jewellery on this famous bridge.

The rest of the afternoon is free to relax or to perhaps visit some of the other fine museums Florence has to offer.

We return to our Villa before dinner.

Dinner: Own arrangements with transport to and from San Gimignano if required. (L)

Day 7

Spend a day of relaxation at the villa, by the pool or catch up with some last minute shopping in San Gimignano.

Dinner: Join us in sharing a "Farewell Tuscany" 4 course traditional dinner at the Villa prepared by Signora Bimbi. This evening we celebrate your last night of your Tuscan experience - memories will last forever!! (D)

Day 8

We depart early today to head to Pisa with a short stop to allow time to take the mandatory photos of the Leaning Tower and wonder at the beautiful marble Cathedral and see the ornate Baptistry in the Square of Miracles.

Then onto the beautiful walled Tuscan town of Lucca where we will do a leisurely 4 kilometre bike ride around the top of the wall overlooking the towns lovely towers and broad, calm piazzas on one side and parks on the other. We will then meander through the medieval streets and piazzas and enjoy lunch at a trattoria famous for its local specialties, including the traditional tortelli lucchese pasta.

We will arrive at our hotel in Santa Margherita on the Italian Riviera before dinner.

Dinner: Own arrangements. (L)

Day 9

A relaxing morning exploring the beautiful Ligurian coastal town of Santa Margherita followed by a short boat trip around the coast to glitzy Portofino where you can marvel at the luxurious yachts in the harbour, sample another gelati or perhaps indulge with a drink at one of the many harbour side cafes. You are experiencing a well known holiday playground for the rich and famous.

Dinner: Own arrangements. (B)

Day 10

Today, we will depart early by train to Riomaggiore, one of the five towns forming the amazing Cinque Terre National Park. After exploring the town, we will take the leisurely 20 minute walk on the Via dell'Amore (lover's walk) between the towns of Riomaggiore and Manarola.

We will go on to visit the stunning towns of Vernazza and Monterosso. The scenery is spectacular and your camera won't stop clicking. We return by train to our hotel late in the day.

Dinner: Join us for a tour farewell dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants renowned for its home cooked Genovese cuisine with specialties including ravioli di pesce (home made fish ravioli with tomato sauce) or pansotti con salsa di noce (cheese ravioli with walnut sauce). (B, D)

Day 11

We depart after breakfast for drop off at Malpensa Airport, Milan. You may fly to other European destinations or home from Milan or choose to stay on in Italy. (B)

Arrivederci Bella Italia!!

(B)=breakfast, (L)=lunch, (D)=dinner included in the tour price.

Note: Breakfast in Tuscany is self catering in your own fully equipped apartment.