Tuscany: the best known region in Italy for wine lovers, beautiful landscapes, medieval history and outstanding art and architecture. When you think of Tuscany, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For me it’s wine, but in reality, it’s so much more. Aside from sampling wines, cheese, olive oil and salami, Tuscany houses the cities of Florence, Siena, Lucca and Pisa. Travelers often wonder if they should visit different parts of Tuscany as day trips from Florence or arrange a standalone trip. While both are great options, we’d never say no to 6 days in Tuscany, especially with cultural historian, Kate. You can explore Florence and the surrounding countryside of Chianti for a blend of art, history, and walking in Italy.
Kate Bolton-Porciatti is a professor of Italian cultural history and music at the Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, where she teaches BA and MA courses in the humanities. She also lectures at the British Institute, Florence, and at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena. Kate has published extensively as an academic and a journalist; she is a music critic for BBC Music and a travel writer for The Daily Telegraph, UK. Before moving to Italy permanently in 2005, she was a senior producer and broadcaster for BBC Arts & Classical Music in London and has won prestigious Jerusalem and Sony Awards for her programs. She did her M.Phil. thesis in Italy, exploring the musical culture of early Renaissance Florence.
“As a keen walker and nature lover, it is a pleasure to wander through the hills of Chianti, exploring its flora, fauna, and culinary traditions that have evolved in symbiosis with the natural environment. Above all, during stimulating conversations as we sip the exceptional wines of this area, I look forward to sharing our mutual passions for a cultural landscape that has been shaped to perfection by man and nature.” - KBP
While we’re in Florence, we’ll explore the historic city, narrating the story of how it grew from an ancient Roman castrum to a splendid Renaissance town - later chosen to be the first proud **capital city of the newly unified Italy. Together we will visit the Uffizi Gallery for an in-depth viewing of its paintings and sculptures, see Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia, and stroll through the beautiful Boboli and Bardini Gardens.
We’ll take in sweeping views of Florence from just beyond the medieval walls at the city’s oldest surviving church, San Miniato al Monte, where we explore the techniques of fresco, panel-painting, mosaic, intarsia, and sculpture – the artistic and artisan skills that ultimately defined the great Renaissance city in the valley below.
From there we journey together into rural Chianti to enjoy its scenery. On our walks through the verdant, vine-clad hills we’ll take in the historic abbey and hamlet of Passignano (surrounded by the noble Antinori vineyards), the medieval fortified castle of Montefioralle (family home of explorer Amerigo Vespucci), and the market town of Greve in Chianti, with its delightful arcaded piazza. Experience a private vineyard tour, wine-tasting, and a cooking class with Context on this Journey.
Once we’re all settled in, we will enjoy a local tour of our neighborhood and a traditional Florentine meal while we get acquainted with our fellow travelers and our expert, Professor Bolton-Porciatti.
At a Glance:
On our first full day together, we’ll enjoy an in-depth tour of historic Florence, including the Uffizi Galleries and Michelangelo’s David, walking past all of the highlights of the city from the soaring Duomo to the picturesque Ponte Vecchio, putting the pieces of this magical place in context.
At a Glance:
In the morning we’ll visit the city's oldest church, San Miniato al Monte - a 1000-year-old showcase of the artistic skills of Florentine craftsmen. We'll spend the afternoon taking in the panoramic views of the city as we stroll through historic Renaissance-style gardens of Florence – such as the Bardini and Boboli. We’ll stop for lunch in a typical Florentine Osteria.
At a Glance:
We’ll enjoy a scenic drive through Chianti, and after leaving our bags at our countryside accommodation, we will set out on foot for our first walk in the hills – or our driver can convey guests who do not wish to go on foot. We will cover about 8 miles (13km) today on our circular route. In the evening we’ll enjoy a private cooking experience, led by a local chef.
At a Glance:
On our final day together, we will once again take to the hills on foot and walk a total of 8 miles (13 km) to enjoy the flora and fauna of Chianti and to visit the historic village of Passignano, built around an ancient Benedictine Abbey.
In the evening we’ll enjoy a wine tasting and farewell dinner. We will come away from the wine tasting with a deeper understanding of the role winemaking plays within Tuscany’s storied history.
At a Glance:
Travelers will depart from Villa Bordoni to Florence to continue their Italian journey independently – or our team will be happy to arrange airport transfers for flights home.
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