Tuscany is one of Italy’s most popular regions. Its wonderful gently rolling landscape is the perfect backdrop for ancient traditions, art and culture and a wonderful culinary heritage. The Autumn Festival is a fantastic celebration of local culture - a true harvest festival where the intense flavours of the mountains are paramount, and skilled local artisans ply their wares. We complement this with visits to Lucca, Florence and the beautiful lakes of Orta and Maggiore! A packed holiday, giving a wonderful view of two of the most popular areas of Italy.
Day 1 After a pick up from your door, transfer to your tour coach and travel to Dover for the short sea crossing to Calais. We then continue southwards to our overnight hotel near Metz.
Day 2 Departing after breakfast we continue southwards, with a break from the motorway as we drive through the Alsace, and a stop over lunchtime in one of the villages of this beautiful area – Obernai, Ribeauville or Riquewihr. Our journey takes us through Germany, into Switzerland, past Lake Lucerne and we reach our overnight hotel in the region of Lake Como in time for dinner.
Day 3 We have an early start so we can drive down into Tuscany to visit Lucca, birthplace of Puccini. A local guide will show us around this ‘City of 100 Churches’. We continue to Chianciano Terme, our base for the next four nights.
Day 4 This morning we visit Pienza, a town built in the 15th Century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is famous for its Pecorino cheese, which we will have the chance to sample during our stay. We then head for Montepulciano, packed with palatial buildings and churches, with streets that climb to the main square at the top of the hill. We have a tasting of the famous wine and local delicacies before returning to our hotel.
Day 5 It is an early start today for the highlight of this tour as we celebrate the Autumn Festival in the heart of the old town in Abbadia San Salvatore! In Sienna we board a vintage steam train for a journey into the Tuscan countryside, passing through old villages in the picturesque UNESCO listed Orcia Valley and along the ﬂanks of Monte Amiata. We then have a 40-minute coach journey to reach the traditional Tuscan village of Abbadia San Salvatore, where you will have free time to enjoy the traditional Autumn Festival. We have the chance to sample rich autumnal fruits and typical local delicacies; enjoy a range of exhibitions, folk plays and musical entertainment; all while delighting in the beautiful surroundings. At around 4.30pm we return to Chianciano by coach.
Day 6 After breakfast, we travel into Florence where we have a guided walking tour. Then stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, see the Church frescos, visit a museum or gallery and revel in the Florentine atmosphere while enjoying coﬀee in one of the many cosy cafés. We return to our hotel late afternoon.
Day 7 We leave Chianciano and travel northwards through Italy, with a stop outside Parma for a light lunch and a tasting of local specialities. We continue our journey and arrive in Stresa early evening for a welcome drink and a late dinner. (Three-night stay)
Day 8 A free day in Stresa. You might like to join your driver on a boat trip onto Lake Maggiore to the beautiful Borromean Islands (costs not included).
Day 9 We discover the beauty of Lake Orta’s enchanting little villages. We have time in the village of Orta on the shores of the lake and take a short boat trip to the island of San Guilio, home to the oldest church in the region.
Day 10 Departing Stresa, we start the journey homewards, with our overnight stop being in the area of Troyes, France.
Day 11 We continue northwards through France, reaching Calais and taking the short channel crossing to Dover. We then travel back to the local area, to be met by our taxis.
Close to the shores of Lake Maggiore, our fourstar historic hotel in Stresa is comprised of two buildings and has a restaurant, lounge and a pleasant bar. All bedrooms have TV, telephone, WiFi, safe and hairdryer. The hotel has two lifts. Tuscany
Our family-run four-star hotel is close to Piazza Italia in the heart of Chianciano Therme’s new town. It has beautiful lounge, bar, restaurant, roof terrace, outdoor swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. All bedrooms have TV, telephone, WiFi, safe, fridge and hairdryer. The hotel has a lift.