Grand Tour of Italy with Armando & Francesca
(duration 30 days)
With this tour Armando & Francesca (both licensed guides and happily married since 1989) will make you experience the famous “Grand Tour” that since the late sixteenth century, and for the next 300 years, it became fashionable for young aristocrats, artists and intellectuals to visit Venice, Florence, Naples and, above all, Rome, as the culmination of their classical education. With their expertice in touring people since the last 20 years Armando and Francesca will make you experience the fascinating landscapes and cities of Italy bringing to mind the impressions of famous Grand Tourists such as Stendhal, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Turner, West…etcetera.
Our aim is to promote the knowledge of the Italian cultural and naturalistic heritage in the mood of the travellers of that age, a way to travel nowdays lost in the context of modern “mass tourism”.
We provide different type of Italy Grand Tours of various duration (from a minimun of 5 days up to 30 days), for private, families and small groups, off the beaten tracks and away from the crowded routes (the itinerary below is flexible and it can be modified on the base of clients’ interests).
Visits: Rome (4 nights), Vatican City, Tivoli, Castelgandolfo, Ariccia, (on the way from Rome to Sorrento, option 1:Veroli – Abbey Casamari -, Cassino – Mt. Cassino Abbey -, Pompeii, Sorrento – 3 nights), (on the way from Rome to Sorrento, option 2: Terracina, Sperlonga – Emperor Tiberio’s Grotto -, Cassino – Mt. Cassino Abbey -, Pompeii, Sorrento – 3 nights), Capri, Naples, Amalfi coast, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Paestum, Salerno, Vietri, Mt. Vesuvius, Caserta, Benevento, Sulmona (1 night), Mt. Gran Sasso, Rieti, Narni (1 night) , Marmore’s Falls, Spoleto, Assisi (1 night), Perugia, Lake Trasimeno, Cortona, Arezzo (1 night), Caprese Michelangelo, Sansepolcro, Urbino (1 night), Fabriano, Jesi, Ancona (2 night) Loreto, Fermo, Rimini, Ravenna (1 night), Ferrara, Padova, Venezia (2 nights), Vicenza, Verona (1 night), Mantova, Crema, Milano (1 night), Lake Como, Bellagio (1 night), Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia (1 night), Modena, Bologna (1 night), Firenze (2 nights), Abbey of Vallombrosa, Chianti, San Gimignano, Siena (1 night), Abbey of Monteoliveto Maggiore, Montepulciano, Pienza, Orvieto (1 night), Bagnoreggio, Bomarzo, Viterbo (1 night), Caprarola, Sutri, Rome (1 night).
Day 1st – Rome (4 nights): morning, pick up from the Leonardo Da Vinci Rome Airport and check into hotel; then you’ll start to discover Rome: its history spans more than two and a half thousand years, since its legendary founding in 753 BC; Rome is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in Europe; it is referred to as “The Eternal City” (Latin: Roma Aeterna) and “Caput Mundi” (English: Capital of the World), two central notions in ancient Roman culture; In the ancient world it was successively the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded as one of the birthplaces of Western civilization; since the 1st century AD, Rome has been considered the seat of the Papacy and in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic. We’ll have lunch in a typical restaurant and in the afternoon we’ll show you the magnificent archaeological area of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, that reveals what the central goverment of the Roman Empire must have been like in ancient times; visit to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains (Michelangelo’s Moses); then time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 2nd – Rome & Vatican City: after a good breakfast we’ll get you to the Vatican City State: it is a walled enclave within the city of Rome; with an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of 842, it is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world by both area and population; we’ll show you the wonders of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica; lunch in a typical restaurant, then we’ll walk to see Castel Sant’Angelo, the Tiber River, Piazza Navona, Palazzo Braschi (visit to Museo di Roma), and the Pantheon; then back to your hotel, time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 3rd – Baroque Rome & Tivoli: after breakfast at your hotel we’ll get you to Villa Borghese (visit to Borghese Gallery, Museum & Park), then we’ll walk down to Spanish Steps (visit to Keats-Shelley House), Trevi Fountain; lunch in a typical restaurant, then we’ll drive to Tivoli: the classical Tibur, is an ancient town, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) east-north-east of Rome, at the falls of the Aniene river where it issues from the Sabine hills; the city offers a wide view over the Roman Campagna; we’ll visit Renaissance Villa d’Este and Anciet Roman Villa Adriana; then back to your hotel in Rome; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 4th – Old Appian Way, Catacombs & the hill top towns South of Rome: after breakfast in your hotel we’ll along the Old Appian Way to visit Catacombs of St. Sebastian and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella; then we’ll get to the Park of the Ancient Roman Aqueducts; and then we’ll reach Castelgandolfo: the town is located 15 miles (24 kilometres) southeast of Rome occupying a height on the Alban Hills overlooking Lake Albano; within the town’s boundaries lies the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo which serves as a summer residence and vacation retreat for the pope; then we’ll drive to Ariccia: one of the Castelli Romani towns, Ariccia is the center of a region that was extremely important in Roman and pre-Roman mythology and religion because of its association with the goddess Diana and the god Virbius; we’ll visit to Bernini’s Chigi Palace and Church of the Assunta; then back to your hotel, time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 5th – On this day we’ll leave Rome to drive to Sorrento (3 nights): we can choose between two itineraries, both beautiful:
option 1: stop in Veroli to visit the Abbey Casamari, then we’ll get the top of Mt. Cassino to visit its famous Abbey, and then we’ll drive to Pompeii for a visit of the famous Archeological park; then we’ll reach Sorrento: the town overlooks the Bay of Naples as the key place of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and many viewpoints allow sight of Naples itself, Vesuvius, and the Isle of Capri; check in in your hotel; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
option 2: we’ ll first stop in Terracina to see its Ancient Roman remains; we’ll then drive along the coast to reach Sperlonga to visit the Emperor Tiberio’s Grotto; then we’ll get the top of Mt. Cassino to visit its famous Abbey, and then we’ll drive to Pompeii for a visit of the famous Archeological park; then we’ll reach Sorrento: the town overlooks the Bay of Naples as the key place of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and many viewpoints allow sight of Naples itself, Vesuvius, and the Isle of Capri; check in in your hotel; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 6th – Sorrento & Amalfi coast: after breakfast we’ll walk Sorrento to visit the Cathedral and Piazza Tasso; then we’ll drive along the cost to visit Positano: it was a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, and prospered during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; it began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1950s; visit to the beach and to St. Vito Church; then we’ll drive to Amalfi: it lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery; the town of Amalfi was the capital of the maritime republic known as the Duchy of Amalfi, an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200; visit to the Cathedral on a side of the main piazza; then we’ll drive to Ravello: it was founded in the 5th century as a shelter place against the barbarian invasions which marked the end of the Western Roman Empire; in the 9th century Ravello was an important town of the maritime republic of Amalfi, a producer of wool from its surrounding country that was dyed in the town and an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200; visit to the Cathedral and to Villa Rufolo; then we’ll drive back to your hotel in Sorrento; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 7th – Naples & Capri Island: after breakfast we’ll drive to Naples: the city was founded as Neápolis in the sixth century BC and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural centre of the Roman Republic; Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816; thereafter, in union with Sicily, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861; visit to Museo Archeologico Nazionale; then by hydrofoil we’ll reach Capri: the Island of Capri, already a renowed vacation resort in the ancient ages, in the latter half of the 19th century, it became a popular resort for European artists and writers; visit to the villages of Capri and Anacapri; then back to the hotel in Sorrento; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 8th – Paestum, Salerno & Vietri: after breakfast we’ll drive to Paestum: it was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia; we’ll visit some of the most preserved “Greek” temples of the Mediterranean; then we’ll drive to Salerno: it is the main town close to the Amalfi Coast, and is mostly known for its Schola Medica Salernitana, the first medical school in the world; jn the 16th century, under the Sanseverino family, among the most powerful feudal lords in Southern Italy, the city became a great centre of learning, culture and the arts, and the family hired several of the greatest intellectuals of the time; visit to the Cathedral; then we’ll stop in the village of Vietri where the famous pottery is produced since Middle Ages; visit to a pottery factory; then back to the hotel in Sorrento; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 9th – On this day we’ll leave Sorrento to drive to Sulmona (1 night): after breakfast we’ll drive to Mt. Vesuvius: it is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum; that eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of 33 km (20.5 mi), spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing; we’ll walk around the crater of the volcano; then we’ll drive to Caserta: town’s main attraction is its Royal Palace created in the 18th century by the Italian architect Luigi Vanvitelli as a Versailles-like residence (“Reggia”) for the Bourbon kings of Naples and Sicily; visit to Realm & Park; then we’ll drive to Benevento: as a Roman colony Beneventum seems to have quickly become a flourishing place; and in the Second Punic War was repeatedly occupied by Roman generals as a post of importance, on account of its proximity to Campania, and its strength as a fortress; in its immediate neighborhood were fought two of the most decisive actions of the war: the Battle of Beneventum, (214 BC), in which the Carthaginian general Hanno was defeated by Tiberius Gracchus; ; the other in 212 BC, when the camp of Hanno, in which he had accumulated a vast quantity of corn and other stores, was stormed and taken by the Roman consul Quintus Fulvius Flaccus; visit to the Arch of Trajan and to the Church of Santa Sofia, one of the main surviving examples of Lombard architecture; then we’ll reach Sulmona: in the ancient era, it was one of the most important cities of the Paeligni and is known for being the native town of Ovid; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 10th – On this day we’ll leave Sulmona to drive to Narni (1 night): after breakfast we’ll walk Sulmona: it became a free commune under the Normans; under Emperor Frederick II an aqueduct was built in the town, one of the most important construction of the era in the Abruzzo; the emperor made it the capital of a large province, as well the seat of a tribunal and of a fair; Sulmona continued to expand and a new line of walls was added in the 14th century; visit to Corso Ovidio, the city’s main thoroughfare connects the cathedral and the major piazzas and is lined by elegant covered arcades, shops, cafes, palaces and churches; we’ll then drive to Mt. Gran Sasso: the highest mountain of the Apennines (time for a walk); then we’ll get to Rieti: Reate was originally a major site of the Sabine nation; after the Roman conquest, carried out by Manius Curius Dentatus in the late 3rd century BC, the village became a strategic point in the early Italian road network, dominating the “salt” track (known as Via Salaria) that linked Rome to the Adriatic Sea through the Apennines; we’ll walk the Piazza San Rufo that is traditionally considered to be the exact centre of Italy (Latin Umbilicus Italiae); then we’ll reach Narni: in Latin, Narnia, it is an ancient hilltown and comune of Umbria, in central Italy; it overhangs a narrow gorge of the Nera River in the province of Terni; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 11th – On this day we’ll leave Narni to drive to Assisi (1 night): after breakfast we’ll walk Narni: in 299 BC it became a Roman Municipality, and took the name Narnia; the Roman Emperor Nerva was born at Narni in 30 AD; visit to the Arch of Augustus and the Cathedral of St. Giovenale; then we’ll drive to the Marmore’s Falls: is a man-made waterfall created by the ancient Romans, its total height is 165 m (541 feet), making it one of the tallest in Italy and the tallest man-made waterfall in Europe; then we’ll drive to Spoleto: an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines; visit to the Roman theater and the Albornoziana Fortress; and then we’ll reach Assisi: one of the most preserved Medieval towns in the Umbria Region and birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare; visit to the Church of St. Francis and to the Church of St. Clare; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 12th – On this day we’ll leave Assisi to drive to Arezzo (1 night): after breakfast we’ll drive to Perugia: capitol of Umbria Region its history goes back to the Etruscan period; visit to the National Gallery of Umbrian art in Middle Ages and Renaissance; then we’ll drive to Lake Trasimeno: it is the fourth lake for surface in Italy, and the site of the famous battle of the Ancient Romans against Hannibal in April 217 B.C. during the Second Punic War; then we’ll reach Cortona: beautiful hilltop town in Tuscany; visit to Etruscan Academy Museum; and then we’ll drive to Arezzo: one of the most preserved Medieval/Renaissance towns in the Tuscany Region; visit to the Cathedral and to Basilica of St. Francis with Frescoes by Piero della Francesca; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 13th – On this day we’ll leave Arezzo to drive to Urbino (1 night): after breakfast we’ll drive to the village of Caprese: birthplace of the renowned Renaissance artist Michelangelo (visit to Michelangelo Museum); then we’ll drive to Sansepolcro: situated on the upper reaches of the Tiber river, the town was the birthplace of the early Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca; visit to the Museo Civico with paintings by Piero della Francesca, Signorelli ….etc.; and then we’ll reach Urbino: one of the most preserved Medieval towns in the Marche Region and birthplace of another renowned Renaissance artist: Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael); time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 14th – On this day we’ll leave Urbino to drive to Ancona (2 nights): after breakfast we’ll have a walk in Urbino: a walled city in the Marche Region, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482; visit to the National Gallery of the Marche Region, House-museum of Raphael, and Cathedral of Urbino; then we’ll drive to Fabriano: with Bologna, it is the only Italian creative city (UNESCO), the town is in the category Folk Arts for the Fabriano’s handmade paper production; visit to the Museum of Paper; then we’ll drive to Jesi: a beautiful Medieval-Renaissence town; visit to the Civic Art Gallery in the Panetti Palace; then we’ll reach Ancona: a city with a beautiful seaport on the Adriatic Sea; visit to the Ancient Arch of Trajan, to the National Archaeological Museum, or to the Municipal Art Gallery “Francesco Podesti”; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 15th – Ancona, Loreto & Fermo: after breakfast we’ll drive to Loreto to visit the “Basilica of the Holy House”, a Catholic place of pilgrimage containing, according to tradition, the house in which the Virgin Mary lived; we’ll also visit the Palazzo Comunale, designed by Bramante, with an art gallery with works of Lorenzo Lotto, Vouet and Annibale Carracci as well as a collection of maiolica, and the Shrine of the Holy House; then we’ll drive to Fermo: another beautiful hilltop town; visit to the Cathedral and Ancient Roman cisterns; then back to Ancona, time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 16th – On this day we’ll leave Ancona to drive to Ravenna (1 nights): after breakfast we’ll drive to Rimini: it is one of the most famous seaside resorts in Europe, thanks to its 15 kilometres (9 miles) long sandy beach, over 1,000 hotels and thousands of bars, restaurants and discos; an art city with ancient Roman and Renaissance monuments, Rimini was the birthplace of the famous film director Federico Fellini as well; visit to the Ancient Arch of Augustus, the Bridge of Tiberius, and the Tempio Malatestiano designed by Renaissence architect Leon Battista Alberti; then we’ll drive to Ravenna: it was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476; it then served as the capital of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths until it was re-conquered in 540 by the Eastern Roman – Byzantine – ; visit to Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Basilica of St. Vitale, Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 17th – On this day we’ll drive from Ravenna to Venice (2 nights): after breakfast we’ll drive to Ferrara: the town has broad streets and numerous palaces dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, when it hosted the court of the House of Este; visit to Castello Estense and to Palazzo dei Diamanti – Diamond Palace – that houses the National Picture Gallery, with a large collection of the school of Ferrara; then we’ll drive to Padova (Padua): the city stands on the Bacchiglione River, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Venice, it hosts the renowned University of Padua, almost 800 years old and famous, among other things, for having had Galileo Galilei among its lecturers; visit to the Scrovegni Chapel with its remarkable cycle of frescoes completed in 1305 by Giotto, and Basilica di Sant’Antonio da Padova – outside the church is Donatello’s magnificent equestrian statue of the Venetian general Gattamelata – Erasmo da Narni -; then we’ll finally reach Venezia (Venice); time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 18th – Venice: sited on a group of 117 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges; the city historically was the capital of the Republic of Venice; it has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”; Venice is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world for its celebrated art and architecture; visit to St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge, Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 19th – On this day we’ll drive from Venice to Verona (1 nights): after breakfast we’ll drive along the Brenta River just south of the Venetian lagoon; visit to Villa Foscari designed by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio; then we’ll drive to Vicenza: birthplace of the famous architet Andrea Palladio, it is a thriving and cosmopolitan city, with a rich history and culture, and many museums, art galleries, piazzas, villas, churches and elegant Renaissance palazzi; visit to Basilica Palladiana, Teatro Olimpico, and Villa “La Rotonda”: all designed by Andrea Palladio; we’ll then reach Verona: it is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 20th – On this day we’ll drive from Verona to Milan (1 nights): after breakfast we are going to walk Verona; visit to the Roman anphitheater “Arena”, Basilica of St. Zeno, and the balcony of Juliet’s house – Juliet & Romeo; then we’ll drive to Mantova (Mantua): its historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family has made Mantua one of the main artistic, cultural, and especially musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole; visit to the Palazzo Te – 1525/1535 -, a creation of Giulio Romano – who lived in Mantua in his final years – in the mature Renaissance style, with some hints of a post-Raphaelian mannerism; we’ll then reach Milano (Milan): it is the main industrial, commercial, and financial centre of Italy and a leading global city; Milan is located in the north-western section of the Po Valley, approximately half-way between the river Po to the south and the first reliefs of the Alps with the great lakes (Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano) to the north, the Ticino river to the west and the Adda river to the east; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 21st – On this day we’ll drive from Milan to Lake Como, Bellagio (1 night): after breakfast we are going to walk Milan, the city is home to many cultural institutions, museums and art galleries; visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, Castello Sforzesco Museum, La Scala Opera House, and the Cathedral; then we’ll drive to Bellagio: the town is situated upon the extreme cape of the region that divides the Lake Como in two bifurcations; the tourist centre occupies the extreme part of the promontory, while the numerous districts are disseminated both along the lake shores and upon the slopes of the hills; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 22nd – On this day we’ll drive from Bellagio to Reggio Emilia (1 night): after breakfast we are going to drive to Piacenza: the city is at the confluence of the Trebbia river, draining the northern Apennines, and the Po river, draining to the east; Piacenza also hosts two universities, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Politecnico di Milano; visit to Farnese Palace Museum; then we’ll drive to Parma: it is a city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its prosciutto (ham), cheese (parmigiano), architecture, art, music and surrounding countryside; visit to the Cathedral, Baptistery, the Church of Saint John the Evangelist with frescoes by Correggio, and the Museum House of Arturo Toscanini, where the famous musician was born; then we’ll reach Reggio Emilia: the old town has an hexagonal form, which derives from the ancient walls, and the main buildings are from the 16th–17th centuries; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 23rd – On this day we’ll drive from Reggio Emilia to Bologna (1 night): after breakfast we are going to walk Reggio Emilia to visit the Baroque Basilica della Ghiara (1597), the most important church of the city, and Palazzo Comunale (begun in 1414), with the Tricolore’s Room and the Museum of the Italian Flag. Then we’ll drive to Modena: an ancient town, it is the seat of an archbishop, but is nowdays known as “the capital of engines”, since the factories of the famous Italian sports car makers Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati are, or were, located here; visit to Piazza Grande, the Cathedral, and to The Museum Palace – Estense Gallery with works by Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, Guido Reni, Correggio, Cosmé Tura, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Diego Velàzquez and brothers Annibale and Agostino Carracci; then we’ll reach Bologna: it is the largest city (and the capital) of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Bologna’s 350 acres (141.64 ha) historic centre is Europe’s second largest, containing an immense wealth of important medieval, renaissance, and baroque artistic monuments; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 24th – On this day we’ll drive from Bologna to Firenze (Florence, 2 nights): after breakfast we are going to walk Bologna: over the centuries, the city has acquired many nicknames: “the learned one” (la dotta) is a reference to its university (founded in 1088, is the second oldest existing university in the world); “the fat one” (la grassa) refers to its cuisine (Bologna is renowned for its culinary tradition); visits to Church of St. Petronio and to the Archiginnasio Palace with its Anatomical Theater built in 1637; then we’ll drive to Florence: the city is famous for its history, a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Firenze is considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called “the Athens of the Middle Ages”; its turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions; from 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 25th – Firenze (Florence): Florence contains numerous museums and art galleries where some of the world’s most important works of art are held; after breakfast we are going to walk Florence to visit the Cathedral, Piazza Signoria, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), Pitti Palace and Boboli Garden; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 26th – Firenze & Vallombrosa: after breakfast we are going to walk Florence to visit the Accademia Gallery, the Medici’s Tombs and the Bargello Museum; then we’ll drive to the Abbey of Vallombrosa: a Benedictine, about 30 km south-east of Florence, in the Apennines, surrounded by forests of beech and firs; then we’ll drive back to Florence; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 27th – On this day we’ll drive from Firenze to Siena (1 night): after breakfast we are going to drive the famous Chianti District; we’ll stop in a vineyard for wine tasting; we’ll then drive to San Gimignano: it is a small walled medieval hilltop town, known as the Town of Fine Towers, it is famous for its medieval architecture and with its encircling walls forms “an unforgettable skyline”; we’ll then reach Siena: one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions, Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 28th – On this day we’ll drive from Siena to Orvieto (1 night): after breakfast we are going to walk Siena to visit the Cathedral, the Piazza del Campo, and the Palazzo Pubblico Museum (with artworks by artists from the Sienese School including Duccio and his student Simone Martini, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Taddeo di Bartolo and Martino di Bartolomeo); then we’ll drive to the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore (frescoes by Sodoma and Signorelli); we’ll stop in Pienza: “touchstone of Renaissance urbanism”; also we’ll stop in Montepulciano: it is a major producer of food and drink, renowned for its pork, cheese, “pici” pasta, lentils, and honey, it is also known world-wide for its wine “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano” (visit to “Cantina del Redi – a wine cellar of the 16th century); we’ll then reach Orvieto: the town is situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff, the site of the city is among the most dramatic in Europe, rising above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone called Tufa; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 29th – On this day we’ll drive from Orvieto to Viterbo (1 night): after breakfast we are going to walk Orvieto: sitting on its impregnable rock controlling the road between Florence and Rome where it crossed the Chiana, was a large town: its population numbered about 30,000 at the end of the 13th century; visit to the Cathedral, and Saint Patrick’s Well; we’ll then drive to Bagnorègio: a hilltop Medieval village surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape; then we’ll reach Bomarzo to visit the Park of the Monsters: it is a garden, usually referred to as the Bosco Sacro (Sacred grove) or, locally, Bosco dei Mostri (“Monsters’ Grove”), named after the many larger-than-life sculptures, some sculpted in the bedrock, which populate this predominantly barren landscape, it is the work of Pier Francesco Orsini, called Vicino (1528–1588), a condottiero or mercenary and a patron of the arts, who commissioned Pirro Ligorio, a well known architect and antiquarian of the time, to create this unic place; we’ll then drive to Viterbo: the town was the papal seat for twenty-four years, from 1257 to 1281; its historic center is one of the best preserved medieval towns of central Italy; many of the older buildings (particularly churches) are built on top of ancient ruins, recognizable by their large stones; the historic center of the city is surrounded by medieval walls, still intact, built during the 11th and 12th centuries; time for leisure and dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 30th – On this day we’ll drive from Viterbo back to Rome (1 night): after breakfast we are going to walk Viterbo: between 1257 and 1261 it was the seat of Pope Alexander IV, who also died there; his successor Urban IV was elected in Viterbo; in 1266–1268, Clement IV chose Viterbo as the base of his ruthless fight against the Hohenstaufen; other popes elected in Viterbo were Gregory X (1271) and John XXI (1276), Nicholas III and the French Martin IV; the Viterbese people, who did not agree with the election of a foreigner directed by the King of Naples, Charles I of Anjou, invaded the cathedral where the conclave was held, arresting two of the cardinals; they were subsequently excommunicated, and the popes avoided Viterbo for 86 years; visit to Palazzo dei Papi (Palace of the Popes), and the Duomo (Cathedral of St. Lawrence); then we’ll drive to Caprarola to visit Villa Farnese commissioned by the cardinal Alessandro Farnese senio in 1530 to the architect Antonio da Sangallo, one of the most important architects of the time; we’ll then drive to Sutri to visit the rock-hewn amphitheatre of the Roman period, one of the most suggestive monuments of the ancient Lazium; then we’ll drive you back to Rome (End of the Grand Tour).
The above itinerary is ideal for a couple, as well as for a family with children, or for a small group of people (friends/family), and it can be modified on the base of client’s interests; also it is possible to make a shorter vacation (minimum 5 days).