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Enchanting Tuscany - Suggested Self Drive

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Enchanting Tuscany

A meandering drive through Tuscany is the way to experience Italy at its best. Base yourself in a villa, shop at local markets, wander through the villages, and dine on the rustic foods the area is famous for.

Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: Florence – Greve, Chianti (76km)
Explore the Duomo, the cathedral in the heart of Florence, get your art fix in the Uffizi Gallery and cross the medieval Ponte Vecchio with its shops.

Day 2: Chianti area
Chianti is a delightful region famous for its wines and panoramic landscape lined with vineyards, olive groves and fortresses. Take an afternoon drive down to Monteriggioni, a perfect walled town.

Day 3: San Gimignano – Volterra – Colle di Val d’Elsa (142km)
Spend the morning in the hilltop town of San Gimignano. Admire the 14 imposing stone towers along its skyline and wander the cobblestone streets of this medieval town. In the afternoon visit the magnificent walled city of Volterra, driving via the castle town of Colle di Val d’Elsa back to your villa.

Day 4: Lucca – Pisa (206km)
Discover Lucca’s intact Renaissance-era walls, Torre Die Guinigi; a medieval tower with mature oak trees growing from its top, the cathedral San Martino with its asymmetrical 11th century façade and the Piazza del Mercato. Return to your villa via Pisa to see the world-famous Leaning Tower.

Day 5: Chianti area
Relax at your villa, visit the local markets and have a picnic by the pool.

Day 6: Montalcino – Pienza – Montepulciano (225km)
Head to Montalcino located in the Area Naturale Val d’Orcia. Close to Renaissance perfection with the Duomo and Palazzo Piccolomini being fine examples of this era.

Day 7: Chianti area
Pop down to Siena and pick up some local delicacies for an alfresco dinner at your villa.

Day 8: Greve, Chianti – Florence (76km)
Enjoy the beauty of the Tuscany countryside before departing to your villa.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
Take a Picnic Lunch to Rocca –
This fortress has a public garden filled with fig and olive trees. Walk your lunch off by climbing the Torre Grossa to enjoy panoramic views over vineyards.
Marvel at Piazza del Campo – In the historic city centre of Siena, shaped like a scallop shell, the spectacular bareback Palio de Siena horse race has been held since at least 1283. As you wind your way down narrow, hilly streets, you will be transported back to the middle ages.
Lucca’s Ramparts – Stroll along the top to glimpse some private gardens.
Colle di Val d’Elsa – This walled old town is a perfect example of a castle defence town, with many charming shops, restaurants and a weekly market.
Sample Pecorino at an Alimentari – Pienza’s delicious famous local sheep’s milk cheese.
Discover history in Pistoia – Do a walking tour under the ancient hospital ‘Ospedale del Ceppo’, built over a stream which served as a sewer, a laundry and an olive press before the concept of germs was known.
Wine Taste in Chianti – Pick up a bottle or two to enjoy back at your villa, or nestle at one of the vineyards for a long lunch.
Montepulciano – A hilly village renowned for its underground wine cellars.
Montalcino – This classic fairytale hilltop town is set within a full circle of fortified walls, is home to a 14th century fort and the famous Brunello wine.

Our favourite places to stay:
• Villa in Greve, Chianti

Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a compact size car for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.

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Image credit: Giampaolo Macorig

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