Overview

Introduction

The Tuscan landscape is dotted with lines of cypress trees, vineyard covered hills and walled towns forming the backdrop for its classic Renaissance art which flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries. 

The painter and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti, along with Leonardo Da Vinci, were two of the most prodigious talents to influence the artists that followed through the centuries. Many of their works can be viewed in Florence, one of the greatest artistic treasure-houses of the world. Where else but in Florence can so much perfection be enjoyed in such a small area? Think of Giotto, Donatello, Botticelli and Della Robbia. These and many more claim your attention at every turn.

But Florence is not only history and culture; shopping here is a delight (especially amidst the tiny jewellery shops on the Ponte Vecchio) and the Tuscan cuisine is simply delicious.

Heading south from Florence as far as Siena is the area of Chianti and the famous wine-growing region of the same name. This area which is synonymous with wine also has some of the most scenic landscapes in Italy with the town of Radda in Chianti, being one of the prettiest. Medieval streets encompass the main piazza and life here is slow paced and tranquil.

A 5km winding road, through terraces of olives and vineyards, takes you to the Etruscan hilltop town of Cortona, one of the oldest and most scenic towns in Tuscany. A stunning panorama includes fabulous views towards Lake Trasimeno beyond the Valdichiana (a rich cattle-grazing area famous for producing the Florentine ‘Bistecca’) and to the distant mountains of Amiata and Cetona.

Another Etruscan hill town occupying a commanding position above the Val d’Elsa is San Gimignano, the town of beautiful towers. The medieval charm and character remain in the square towers, narrow cobbled lanes and corners within the town’s fortified walls.

Close to the Mediterranean coast, 29km from San Gimignano, is the medieval hilltop city of Volterra, within easy driving distance of Florence, Siena and the sea. The walled town is an enchanting labyrinth of cobbled streets with parks and a wide choice of restaurants and bars. Once Etruscan and later Roman, this small town is now one of the best known centres for the turning and polishing of alabaster. Volterra is much quieter than the very popular San Gimignano and an ideal centre for touring Tuscany.

To the north of Pisa stands the small walled city of Lucca, largely ignored by foreign visitors to Tuscany possibly because it has no famous museum or palace. It is still very much a real Italian town. Strolling through the narrow paved alleys, window-shopping at either the elegant boutiques selling Italian fashion or the salumeria where ‘food’ is a work of art, the visitor experiences Italian life and style at first hand.

Home to the Palio which takes place twice in the summer (2nd July and 16th August) is Siena. This colourful event is a horse race around the cobbled main square (the Campo) with competitors from all the districts of the town (Contrade) re-enacting a medieval tradition. Siena is impossibly crowded on these two days but is so beautiful and full of colour at any time that a stroll through the narrow streets, lined with palaces, is always a spectacle.

Set on a ridge, 64km southeast of Siena, is Montepulciano, the highest of the Tuscan hill towns. Largely Renaissance in character, the centre of the town and the highest point is the Piazza Grande which affords fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. The town is also known for its red wine ‘Vino Nobile di Montepulciano’ which has been produced here since the 8th century. The local shops still offer the local variety and some still have cellars set within the original ancient tunnels.

Read more

Did you know?: The composer Giacomo Puccini (Madame Butterfly) was born in Lucca in 1858. In 1569 Tuscany was a powerful political and economic force as well as being one of the main intellectual and artistic centres in Europe.

UNESCO World Heritage sites: The historic centres of Florence, Siena, Pienza and San Gimignano; the Medici Villas and gardens of Tuscany; the grand Piazza del Duomo in Pisa and the Val d'Orcia.

The Palio: This twice-yearly (2nd July and 16th August) horse race takes place in Siena in the main square 'Piazza del Campo'. This colourful medieval event celebrates competition between neighbourhoods (contrade) to win the coveted painted silk banner 'palio'.

Medieval hilltop towns: Visit the charming towns of Montepulciano, Montalcino, Cortona, Rocca d'Orcia and Pienza surrounded bythe stunning bucolic Tuscan countryside.

Quality Wines: Tuscany is home to some of the world's most notable wine regions accounting for 33 DOC and 9 DOCG wines, The list includes Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vemaccia di San Gimignano.

Michelangelo's David: No visit to Florence would be complete without a visit to the Galeria del'Academia to witness Michelangelo's most famous masterpiece. The statue, completed between 1501 and 1503, depicts Davis before his historic victory over Goliath.

Etruscan cities: Tuscany is considered to be the cradle of Etruscan civilisation (9BC to 1AD). Ancient Etruria was centred on a confederation of twelve great Etruscan cities which included Arezzo, Cortona, Chiusi, Populonia and Volterra and which bear witness to this extraordinary civilisation.

Lucca: The city of Lucca is famous for its intact Renaissance-era walls. The rectangular grid of its historical centre preserves the Roman street plan, and the Piazza San Michele occupies the site of the ancient forum. Traces of the amphitheatre can still be seen in the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.

Panforte: A traditional Italian dessert containing fruit and nuts, and which resembles fruitcake. Dating back to 13th century Siena, documents from 1205 show that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax.

Shopping: Valdichiana Outlet Village is located in one of the loveliest spots in Tuscany, between the provinces of Arezzo and Siena. The village houses over 140 famous designer and brand shops that offer between 30-70% discounts all year round.

La Maremma Natural Park: A pristine rural landscape with an unspoilt Tuscan coastline. Low hills, Mediterranean maquis, beach and sea span the coastal area between the twon of Talamone and the Ombrone estuary.

Mount Amiata: Situated in the province of Siena, facing the gentle landscape of the Val d'Orcia, Mount Amiata is the highest (1736m) dormant volcano in Italy. A great area for sports lovers and those who want to explore this beautiful territory by bike, on foot or simply visiting the historical hamlets.

Thermal Spas: There are three thermal spas near Mount Amiata: Bagni San Filippo, Bagno Vignoni and San Casciano dei Bagni. These thermal springs flow endlessly from deep underground.

Galleria degli Uffizi (Florence): This museum houses great Renaissance works by the masters from Giotto's 'Ognissanti Maesta' and Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus' to Leonardo da Vinci's 'Annunciation' and Michelangelo's 'Holy Family'. Thoroughly brain-draining but worth seeing.

Casa Puccini: A charming museum converted from the former childhood home of the great opera composer Giacomo Puccini. It contains personal letters, opera drafts and the piano on which he created his last opera, 'Turandot'. The annual Puccini opera festival takes place in Torre del Lago (July-August).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Useful information

Talk to one of our experts

020 8568 4499

We open today at 9:15 AM

Get in touch
Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT + 1 hour

Currency

Euro

Language

Italian

Average flight times

2 hours 30 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Italy expert

Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni

Rosanna is the head of our Discovery Department which covers tailor made holidays to Portugal and the Azores, Italy and Sicily, Scandinavia and the new programme to Spain. She is our longest serving member of staff having joined in 1994 after completing an honours degree in French and Italian and subsequently working for a tour operator in Yorkshire. She is responsible for brochure writing, contracting accommodation, programme costing, computer inputting and generally troubleshoots where necessary. She has global knowledge of our tailor made programme.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8758 4722

We open today at 9:15 AM

Make an Enquiry

Please use this form to request further information about a Sunvil holiday or destination.

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify

Destination Details

Volterra, Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany

Preferred departure date *
Duration *
Party size *

Back

  • Adults(12+ yrs)
  • Children(2 to 11 yrs)
  • Infants(Under 2 yrs)
Budget range
Other comments:

Email newsletters

 

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify
Booking reference number *
Alternatively, please enter your query in the box below:

Email newsletters

 

Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Your details have been saved

Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

Sign in


New to Sunvil?

Create Account

 

Already have an account?

Password reset

Back

Close

Close