Tuscany, How to Travel in Less Time and on Low Budget

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Tuscany is a very popular destination in Italy.  Located in the centre of Italy it is known for its landscapes, traditions, history and artistic legacy. Many hilltop villages, UNESCO sites, museums, Chianti route, cultural events and the beautiful beaches represent its unique cultural identity.

View of Tuscany hills from I Parigi Corbinelli Residenze
View of Tuscany hills from I Parigi Corbinelli Residenze

Many of us are not full time travelers and only use our annual holiday to travel around.  How do we see the best of Tuscany during the limited travel time?  Based on the experience from our recent trip to Tuscany, we have drawn the conclusion that it is quite stressful to arrange activities such as booking a wine tasting tour or buying train tickets and so on.  For example, we drove along the Carrara Marble Route on our own.  Part of the road is unpaved and an off-road car is actually required for this purpose. With an usual car we had to take precautions.  Some of the places are also not accessible by individual visitors.

Walk way in front of Church in Serravalle, Tuscany
Walk way in front of a Church in Serravalle, Tuscany

Another example was the Wine Tasting tour.  Some local websites are in Italian language only and each of them also has its own schedule.  Some wineries only offer wine tasting tours to the visitors who stay on their premises.  So we were unable to join any wine tasting because we booked a hotel somewhere else already.  If you book a tour through a tour operator then you might not need to stay there.

So in most cases it would be better to join tours instead. Fortunately there are many tours starting from several major cities, such Florence or Pisa. They cover many popular tourist sites and activities. The following ten tours are very popular and they have very good reviews as well.

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Tour 1: San Gimignano, Siena, Chianti Guided Tour from Florence

Starting from Florence this is a full-day tour of Tuscany’s villages and wine regions. You will travel into the heart of the beautiful Tuscan countryside. The duration of the tour is around 12 hours. The highlights are:

  • Enjoy the gently rolling hills of the Val D’Elsa in luxury, air-conditioned coaches
  • Visit the medieval town of San Gimignano, home to Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine and saffron
  • Explore the immaculate town of Siena, world-renowned for its Palio horse race
  • Visit a splendid Chianti estate and take part in two exclusive wine tastings

For further detail information about the trip please click here.

A perfect position to picture the towers in San Gimignano, Tuscany
A perfect position to picture the towers in San Gimignano, Tuscany

Tour 2: Montalcino, Pienza & Montepulciano Food Tour from Siena

Depart from Siena and cross the Tuscan hills, you will visit wineries that produce wines such as Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano and learn wine making traditions. The tour takes about 10 hours. Some of the highlights are:

  • Taste the food and wines of Tuscany at local wineries
  • Sample Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano wines
  • Drive across the gentle, rolling hills of Tuscany
  • See medieval castles and historic towers on hillsides
  • Stroll the charming streets of Montalcino

For further detail information about the trip please click here.

(getYourGuide)
Montalcino, Tuscany (www.getYourGuide.com)

Tour 3: Full-Day San Gimignano, Siena & Chianti Tour from Pisa

Traveling from Pisa into the heart of the beautiful Tuscan countryside, you will enjoy a day tour of Tuscany’s villages and wine regions, visit the town of San Gimignano, have exclusive wine tastings at a splendid Chianti estate,  take a guided tour of Siena and explore the medieval fortress of Monteriggioni.

The tour takes around 11 hours. For further detail information about the trip please click here.

Torre del Mangia in Siena, Tuscany
Torre del Mangia in Siena, Tuscany

Tour 4: Tuscan 1 Day: Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Chianti

The tour tour includes the visiting of charming medieval towns of Siena, the UNESCO World Heritage Site San Gimignano and discovering the dazzling hilltop town Monteriggioni. Other highlights are:

  • Explore the beauty of the Chianti countryside landscape
  • Enjoy a local lunch followed by a tasting of traditional pastries
  • Delicious local wine tasting in a farmhouse located in the heart of Chianti

The tour takes around 11 hours. For further detail information about the trip please click here.

A silent corner in romantic settings,Monteriggioni, Tuscany
A silent corner in romantic settings, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Tour 5: Florence: Timed Entrance Ticket to Michelangelo’s David

The ticket will allow you to enjoy the priority entrance to the Accademia Gallery and admire Michelangelo’s masterpieces. You can benefit from the advantages of a timed entry slot, and stay as long as long as you like in the Gallery.

This is one of Italy’s top attractions.  With a reserved entrance ticket it will save you some time and arrange your visit in advance. For further detail information about the trip please click here.

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Tour 6: Carrara: Exclusive Marble Cave Jeep Tour Adventure

This excursion is about marble sensation. It offers an authentic adventure inside the famous marble caves along the Carrara Marble Route and the opportunity to learn the history of the territory. You can visit some enormous underground marble quarries which you can only see them by joining a tour.

Further more you will learn ll about marble traditions and manufacturing techniques. Along the route there are unforgettable panorama views. You will also taste a local gourmet product Lardo di Colonnata.

The tour starts from Colonnata.  You should join this tour if you are around Carrara. For further detail information about the trip please click here.

Tour 7: Volterra and Colle Val d’Elsa Day Trip from Florence

The tour starts from Florence. First of all you will take part in a craft workshop of its famous crystals. Then in Volterra you will discover the chosen location for the “Twilight New Moon” saga and learn about its alabaster extraction and processing industry, and notable settlement by the Etruscans.  Afterward the tour will Stop for lunch at an organic farm and learn about ancient farming techniques still in use. Taste local produce from Tuscany, along with regional red or white wines.

This is a 10-hour guided tour.  For further detail information about the tour please click here.

Volterra, Tuscany (www.getYourGruide.com)
Volterra, Tuscany (www.getYourGruide.com)

This tour offers the priority entrance to climb up the Florence Duomo (Cupola)  and the top of Brunelleschi’s dome for panoramic city views. Throughout the tour you will learn more about the historic centre of Florence and hear how construction began at the end of 13th century and took 2 centuries to complete.

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It will save precious time with a fast-track entry ticket to Florence Duomo and get more time to see the sights of the cathedral complex with an expert guide. For further detail information about the tour please click here.

Florence Dome, Tuscany (www.getYourGruide.com)
Florence Dome, Tuscany (www.getYourGruide.com)

On this 9-hour tour you will visit two beautiful cities of the Renaissance, Lucca and Pisa. The main activities include the discovering the intact walls of Lucca, tasting a typical pastry of Lucca in an historic café, wandering the dazzling Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa and admiring the Leaning Tower from the outside.

If time permitting you can go inside the staggering Pisa Cathedral.  The tour starts from Florence. For further detail information about the tour please click here.

Bell tower next to "Duomo di San Martino", view from Lucca city walls, Tuscany
Bell tower next to “Duomo di San Martino”, view from Lucca city walls, Tuscany

Tour 10: Cinque Terre: Full-Day Train Tour from Florence

Cinque Terre has very different landscape compared to Tuscany’s. It is a rugged region of the Italian Riveria. This tour starts from Florence and will see four of five charming villages from the Cinque Terre.

You will explore the narrow lanes and steep stairways in Vernazza, discover one of the world’s most enchanting landscapes and enjoy the beautiful beaches ( for example, the beach from Monterosso al Mare) of the ancient fishing village.

This is a bus and train excursion. For further detail information about the excursion please click here.

The colourful houses in Manarola, Cinque Terre
The colourful houses in Manarola, Cinque Terre

Conclusion

Tuscany is not only about the landscape but also the cultural tradition.  These tours offer various opportunities to experience Tuscan’s life. You will be rewarded with great value by spending limited time and paying reasonable prices for the tours.

 

 

 

 

 

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