Spend just over two weeks discovering the beauty of this famed part of Italy – a region that doesn’t disappoint. Tuscany & Umbria have so much to offer and so many reasons to visit. There’s the unparalleled artistic legacy with fine art and stunning architecture, fabulous cities, intriguing towns, hilltop villages and extraordinary countryside. Gourmet and wine buffs will enjoy the wonderful cuisine and wines. And with fabled rolling countryside, great roads and plenty to do and see, it’s a delight for all, especially when you settle into the wonderful hotels we have chosen for this tour.
We shall be taking the motorail to avoid the long trek down to Tuscany – although you can drive one or both ways if you prefer. The tour will then visit the beautiful cities of Florence for its Renaissance art, Siena with its striking cathedral, Pisa’s leaning tower, Lucca’s medieval walls, Etruscan frescoes at Arezzo, and the towers of San Gimignano, as well as exploring the many idyllic towns and villages, vineyards, castles and cathedrals. This really is a tour not to be missed.
We have hand-picked some beautiful, quality character hotels with great charm, in superb locations across Tuscany and Umbria. We are staying in just four hotels (three to four nights in each), so there is plenty of time to relax. You will be delighted with the quality and service of each hotel – all four or five star quality. All, of course, have suitable parking for our cars, and have been personally visited and inspected by us. We have checked the parking arrangement, the rooms, the available facilities and chosen hotels in lovely areas that we’re sure you will enjoy.
(subject to change)
The entire tour is gives travel directions from the UK, but can also be used for a fly-drive tour from Florence.
Cross either from Dover to Calais or Harwich to Hook of Holland. Take the overnight motorail service from s’Hertogenbosch, Holland to Livorno, Italy. The cars must be loaded between 11.30-13.30 and the train departs at 2.17pm. There are 2 berth sleeper cabins booked for your comfort – these are the best quality available on the motorail, with beds, not bunks. Enjoy dinner whilst travelling down the Rhine valley, followed by breakfast the next morning.
Arrive in Livorno at 11.05am. Drive 60 miles to the fabulous city of Florence. Stay for 3 nights in a truly stunning, five-star, historic hotel in Florence, overlooking the Boboli Gardens, just south of the river Arno. The public rooms and bedrooms are exquisite and the attention to detail is second to none.
Distance: 62 miles
Days 3 & 4:
Spend two days in Florence, seeing the sights. Florence’s museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo’s architectural genius.
Wander some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the “newest” area of Florence, the Oltrarno. Be sure to set aside time to see the vast and varied art collection housed in the Pitti Palace. When you grow weary of museums and monuments, head outdoors. Spend a day at the Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience an enchanting view of Florence. Florence and its magnificent treasures await your visit! The Firenze Card is included for all tour participants and includes visits to all the main museums and galleries, including the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries.
Leave Florence and head south, visiting the breath-taking medieval towers of San Gimignano on the way. Stay for 4 nights in a beautiful five-star hotel in the Chianti hills near Siena.
Distance: 85 miles
Spend the day exploring the beautiful medieval city of Siena, crammed with rich treasures. For many it is infinitely more appealing than Florence. Wander around the Piazza del Campo, the main square, also renowned for the Palio (horse race). The duomo (cathedral) is simply exquisite.
Distance: 20 miles
A day to discover the gently undulating Sienese Crete, meaning ‘craters’ – one of Tuscany’s great landscapes. Today’s drive winds past fortified towns, castles, abbeys, country churches, farms, storehouses, magnificent Renaissance cities of art and delightful spas, offering a journey through the Sienese Middle Ages.
Distance: 114 miles
Enjoy a wonderful drive around the Chianti hills, dotted with woods, wheat fields, olive trees, and vines on the hillsides, and punctuated with slender cypress trees around villas, castles, farmhouses and churches. Enjoy a lunch along with a cellar tour and wine and olive-oil tasting at a beautiful villa, whose wonderful gardens were used as the setting in the film, Much Ado About Nothing.
Distance: 97 miles
Drive south to Monte Amiata, a majestic, extinct volcano ad surrounded by hot springs, and then wind westwards past Benedictine monasteries, Romanesque churches, medieval villages and unchanged landscapes with splendid views. Head into Umbria and stay the next 4 nights at a lovely hotel near Perugia.
Distance: 97 miles
Head south to the spectacular town of Orvieto with its magnificent duomo perched high on a rocky outcrop. This is the heartland of the mysterious, ancient civilization of the Etruscans, whose legacy can be seen in the many towns they founded and in their enigmatic burial complexes or necropoli. The journey then returns via the ancient town of Todi, back to Torgiano.
Distance: 124 miles
Spend the day wandering around north east Umbria to the truly lovely town of Gubbio, and then drive through some spectacular gorges and fabulous scenery, before looping back to Torgiano.
Distance: 90 miles
Head north to Lucca, via the wonderful town of Arezzo, packed with houses and mansions in pure Renaissance style. Spend final three nights in a wonderful four-star hotel in the centre of Lucca, within the walls.
Distance: 174 miles
Enjoy a wonderful day’s drive around the north of Tuscany, visiting Pistoia and then to the ski resort of Abetone, before heading across to the delightful town of Barga and then back to Lucca.
Distance: 135 miles
Spend the day in Lucca. It is one of the few towns in Italy to have preserved its surrounding walls intact. These massive 16th century brick walls not only keep out the noise and traffic, but also add to the tranquil atmosphere. There is a lovely tree-lined promenade on top of the walls, which are 12 metres high. The town’s roman legacy is still evident with the grid pattern streets and it’s a very easy town to explore on foot.
Drive to Pisa and explore the famous leaning tower and the adjacent duomo. Then head onto Livorno. The cars must be loaded by 15.45 and the train departs at 5pm. Dinner and breakfast are both included on the train.
Distance: 34 miles
Arrive in s’Hertogenbosch at 12.40 – lunch time. Drive either to Hook of Holland for a return ferry back to Harwich, or it’s a 3 hour drive to Calais to return to Dover.
Dates: any time to suit
Duration: 17days/16 nights full tour; or 15 days/14 nights in Italy only
Mileage: (In Italy only) 1,120 miles approximately, depending on optional days
Price: £149 for a pdf tour book (emailed to you), or £185 for a printed, wire-bound copy (incl. UK P&P)
Please either email or call (+44 (0)1264 710375) to order your tour book. We shall then send you an invoice to be paid either by bank transfer or cheque. Once payment is received we shall send the tour book. This is usually the same day for a pdf copy but please allow up to 5 working days for a printed copy.
- An extensively researched and carefully designed itinerary to optimise your trip
- Tour book – includes a brief history of Tuscany & Umbria, emergency details, overview maps and detailed directions, accommodation information, and a very detailed account of everything there is to do, see and visit each day. The book eliminates the need for any other guide books.
- All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour. You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and international/European insurance cover.
- Please check with your travel and motor insurers that you are covered for travel in Italy and Europe.
- You are also required to carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, two fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker. You will also need 2 breathalyser kits for France.
- However, the most important requirement is that you take pleasure in motoring through fabulous scenery and relish individual, character hotels.
This is a photobook from our 2013 escorted group tour, but the photos will give you a good flavour of the tour. All our longer group tours (one week or more) are given a photobook as a memory of the tour.