When: October 10, 2017 - October 18, 2017 (iCal)
“Loved meeting the local people and staying in a small intimate village.”
A chance to experience the remarkable natural beauty of Tuscany and its charming villages, our journey begins in Cortona. There, we will explore the Museum of the Etruscan Academy during a village walking tour, followed by an excursion through the sun-dappled countryside to a local winery. Stopping en route to Siena, we will discover the Renaissance palaces and churches of Montepulciano. In Siena are the Gaia Fountain, Mangia Tower, and the sprawling Piazza del Campo. We will also stroll Florence’s urban masterpieces, including the iconic Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiorem, and Piazza della Signoria, and stop at nearby Montaione’s Praetorian Palace.
Activity Level: Moderately Active
Price From: $3,145
Price From: $2,895 (if booked by May 2, 2017)
Includes land only; per person, based on double occupancy.
Itinerary and price are tentative and subject to change.
To avoid the disappointment of a sold out program, Register Now!
Usha Nand Sellers Ed. D., Director Tufts Travel-Learn Program, at email@example.com or 617-627-5323.
Day 1: Depart your gateway city
AHI FlexAir travelers depart their gateway city for Florence, Italy.
Day 2: Florence, Italy/Cortona
Arrive at Florence Airport and transfer to Cortona to check in at the Villa Marsili. Our AHI Travel Director will be with us throughout our journey to handle all logistics and assist with sightseeing arrangements, dinner reservations, shopping suggestions, etc. This evening, we meet for a Welcome Reception and Dinner at the Villa.
Day 3: Cortona
Our day begins with breakfast served at our hotel this morning and throughout the remainder of the trip. Cortona is nestled in the hills of the Arezzo province, and here we will learn about the history of this Tuscan town and its relationship to greater Tuscany and Italy as a whole. Seeing its exceptional Etruscan features as we stroll past historic palazzo and through piazzas, we’ll dwell in the heart of the city in the Piazza della Repubblica and stop at the town hall. We will also see the wide Brunelleschi-style columns inside the popular Romanesque cathedral built on the foundations of a pagan temple; appreciate the façade of the prominent Diocesan Museum and step inside to see The Annunciation by Beato Angelico, works by Pietro Lorenzetti, and other paintings from the medieval Sienese school; and discover stunning vistas of fertile olive groves and Lake Trasimeno from the vantage point of the town’s ancient porta. Lunch is at a local restaurant before our tour of the countryside. Traveling the Val d’Orcia region surrounding Cortona, we will pass plots of land, vineyards heavy with grapes, and red poppy fields peppered with footpaths and church steeples. We will also visit a winery and sample some vintages and local cheeses in the Brunello di Montalcino region.
Day 4: Cortona
Today is free to explore Cortona or take part in the elective excursion to Assisi and Perugia (at an additional cost). In Assisi we will check out the interior of the Church of San Francesco, which holds a Pietro di Cortona and the remains of Signorelli; stroll through town and visit the Basilica of San Francesco, which is dedicated to the town’s most famous resident, St. Francis; and step inside the Basilica of Santa Maria delgi Angeli. Lunch is at a local restaurant before we head to the hill town of Perugia to see the Fontana Maggiore and the Prior’s Palace. There is some free time here before we return to Cortona.
Day 5: Montepulciano
Departing Cortona today, we will travel through the Val di Chiana to the ancient Etruscan city of Montepulciano. En route to this walled-in city, we will stop below the hills of Montepulciano to visit the Church of the Madonna di San Biagio. Consecrated by Pope Clement VII, the church features large arches and bell towers. Our time in Montepulciano is at leisure; our Travel Director can make recommendations of places to visit. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant in Cortona.
Day 6: Siena
Siena is a treasure chest of majestic architecture, cathedrals, and museums. We’ll visit the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the site of the bi-annual Palio horse race, one of Siena’s longest standing and most anticipated cultural traditions. Surrounding the Piazza are the prominent Torre del Mangia, Piazza Chapel, and Civic Museum. Next is our visit to the Duomo, a masterpiece of Italian architecture and home to renowned works of art and sculpture. There is time at leisure in Siena for a local lunch and independent exploration.
Day 7: Florence
From the birth of Michelangelo to the death of the last Medici heir, Florence embodies a wealth of momentous Renaissance history. With a wide breadth over the River Arno and a plethora of outdoor art, Florence is often referred to as Europe’s preeminent city of art. In the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, discover how the city’s wealth of creative genius left a mark with fine art and stunning architecture. Our walk also brings us by many highlights, including the Old Palace, Ponte Vecchio, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and Piazza della Signoria. The afternoon is free for exploring Florence on our own.
Day 8: Cortona
Today, we see the artistic legacy of the Etruscans, who first settled in what now is Cortona. At the Praetorian Palace, which houses the Museum of the Etruscan Academy, we’ll see archaeological finds and Etruscan, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works of art, mosaics, and collections of engraved gems. The afternoon is free to explore Cortona or take part in the elective excursion themed around Tuscan cooking (at an additional cost). We will watch a cooking demonstration followed by a lunch of Tuscan fare. This excursion includes transportation to/from the site, lunch, and gratuities. Tonight, we’ll meet for a Farewell Reception and Dinner at the Villa Marsilli.
Day 9: Depart for your gateway city
After breakfast, we depart for the airport for return flights home. (Provided for AHI FlexAir passengers)
NOTE: Itinerary schedule may change due to local conditions. Many excursions in this program involve an element of walking.
*Price and Itinerary are tentative and subject to change