Project Description

Italy’s Cultural Legacy: Rome & Tuscany

Fall, 2016

Travel through time as we explore Italy’s cultural and culinary legacy: from Roman ruins and medieval masterpieces to tasty Tuscan traditions and the Renaissance riches of Florence.

Italy’s contributions to the world’s cultural landscape are still felt two thousand years after the rise of the Roman Empire and lingers seven centuries beyond the dawn of the Renaissance.  ure, art, and food from the rise of the Roman Empire through the rise of the House of Medici.

Beginning in Rome, our experts share the story of the Eternal City as it shifts from a pagan empire to the center of Christianity through its ancient monuments, medieval churches, Renaissance palazzos – and of course, Roman food traditions. We explore the region’s historical transition into the medieval and early Renaissance eras while wandering the winding streets of formidable, Gothic hill forts and sleepy villages throughout Tuscany.

In Florence, we seek out Michelangelo and mozzarella; Giotto and gelato; Brunelleschi and bell towers. You’ll find there’s more to Pisa than a leaning tower and visit the world’s oldest bank in Sienna. Along the way, learn about Tuscany’s country and coastal cuisine, sample world-class wines, and learn from locals how to make a traditional meal. From Roman to Renaissance, you’ll be immersed in Italy’s cultural and culinary legacies, which lives on through it’s rich traditions, arts, and cuisine.

Trip Cost $5,200

Single Supplement: $1,200 per person, Airfare not included, Attractions, Meals and some Wine included

Features & Attractions

  • Pre-travel consulting services with one of our Travel Consultants
  • Full-time services of two travel guides
  • First-class accommodations of cultural or historical interest
  • All meals noted in itinerary
  • Limited wine with meals
  • Food or drink tastings
  • Tour guide book and reading list
  • Itinerary with an emphasis on history, culture, and regional cuisine
  • Luggage transfer between destinations
  • All ground transportation as noted in itinerary (taxis, private vans, trains, etc.)
  • All taxes and gratuities at hotels and restaurants

Itinerary

Celebrate your arrival in Rome with welcome cocktails and antipasti at the hotel. Later in the afternoon, ease into the Eternal City with a guided walking orientation of fabulous fountains, popular piazzas and, of course, a gelato break. Never hurts (even on day one) to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit. Our final stop is for dinner-with-a-view and panoramic vistas overlooking Roma as it shimmers in the evening sun. Rest well for the upcoming week of compelling art, architecture and incredible food.
Let’s start at the very beginning with a scholar-led tour of ancient Rome’s architectural and cultural legacy. An expert from our travel partner, Context Tours, recounts the story of Rome’s birth and evolution with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Coliseum, Forum, and museums and ruins on Palatine Hill. After lunch, we zip into the suburbs to visit the impressive Terme di Caracalla- a sprawling 3rd century complex that makes clear the serious business of Roman public baths. The day concludes with a traditional Roman dinner.
From pagan empire to the center of Christianity, we explore the city’s transition into the medieval and early Renaissance eras. We see the site where Julius Caesar was likely assassinated and go underground (literally) to tour the subterranean levels from which Christianity emerged; discover sculptures, mosaics, and relics of Rome’s earliest churches; and tour the ghetto where medieval Jewish populations sought refuge. After lunch, we stroll palazzos along Via Giula and across the angel-lined Ponte Sant’Angelo – leading to the Castel Sant’angelo, stronghold of the Popes. For dinner, we enjoy small bites with a Mozzarella and wine tasting.
As we journey into Tuscany, we also pass through time- from Roman to Renaissance. We bid farewell to ancient Rome with lunch in Tivoli and a visit to Villa d’Este and a stop at the innovative palace and gardens of Emperor Hadrian. Then it’s off to one of Italy’s most well preserved medieval hill-towns, Orvieto – a dramatic, walled village clinging to an impregnable rock. We visit the colorful Gothic cathedral, stroll the streets viewing the medieval palace complex, and enjoy a sampling of local wine. We spend two nights at a villa, where a traditional dinner sets the tone for the next two days in the Tuscan countryside.
From quintessential Tuscan villages to a wine tasting at a vineyard. First stop: the luminous village of Montalcino, dominated by vineyards, orchards, and a 13th century castle. Sample the famed Brunello di Montalcino and wander winding medieval streets while learning of its ancient Etruscan culture and medieval history. Then it’s off to the charming village of Pienza, a tiny medieval hamlet transformed into a Renaissance jewel. Here, we sniff out a cheese tasting (Pienza is known for its pecorino) and have free time to stroll or shop. Last stop: Montepulciano, where we learn about the regional wine industry and take a walking tour of town. Enjoy dinner and a free evening at the villa.
The first half of our day is spent in the red glow of alluring Sienna. A local historian illuminates the city’s rich history and culture through a guided walking tour of palazzos, museums, churches, pastry shops, and a visit to the world’s oldest bank. Our afternoon shifts focus to Tuscan food traditions as we head out into the Chianti countryside for a vineyard tour, wine and cheese tasting. Arrive in Florence mid-afternoon, where we spend the next three nights. Before dinner, get the lay of the land (and fabulous photos) with a walking orientation and exceptional views from a scenic overlook.
Spend the morning discovering the Renaissance riches of Florence’s Centro Storico, the historical area around the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio. We’ll visit Ghiberti’s golden baptistery doors, important sculptures, and other sites that proclaim the power and prestige of the Medici’s Florence. We make a few unexpected detours and you’re given free time to shop, visit a museum, or stroll through gardens. For dinner, we role up our sleeves, don an apron, and learn how to make homemade pizza and gelato, which serves as our dinner! You’ll leave armed with techniques and recipes to recreate an authentic Italian feast at home. 
Travel like locals via train to two remarkable cities in western Tuscany: The walled town of Lucca and the former maritime powerhouse of Pisa. After a walking tour of each, you’ll have substantial time to freely explore the medieval and Renaissance palazzos, ponti, and churches; shop for keepsakes; and learn there’s more to Pisa than the leaning tower. We lunch in Lucca and take dinner in Pisa, where we share a traditional seafood meal typical of Tuscany‘s coastal cuisine. The final evening in Florence is at your leisure.

It is up to you how your final morning in Florence is spent. Join our guides as we escort you through either the Boboli Gardens at Palazzo Pitti or the Mercato Centrale – Europe’s oldest covered food market. Or strike off on your own for shopping or to climb the duomo for breathtaking views over the city. Our tour comes to a close at noon in Florence, but we are happy to help you arrange transportation from the hotel to the airport or to your next destination.

Location

Lazio Tuscany Map

Images