Dreaming of a Luxury Vacation in Tuscany
Those who have a private tour of Italy on their bucket list might, for very good reason, dream of visiting Tuscany. The region’s ancient cities and picturesque towns, the culture and traditions, the beautiful countryside and coast, the vineyards, and of course all the rich flavors of the Tuscan kitchen are waiting to be discovered
Highlights of the Tuscany Region
What do you think of when you think of Tuscany? If you picture verdant countryside dotted with olive groves and wineries, and ancient villages crowning the hills – well, you’re right. Tuscany is all of that. But what doesn’t get talked about as much is the Tuscan Riviera. Tuscany is home to a number of blue flag beaches, and the upscale beach clubs of Versilia are well worth a visit.
And while you’re on the Riviera, don’t forget about the world-famous Cinque Terre. These five coastal villages are technically in the neighboring province of Liguria. But the area is easily reached from Tuscany, and this UNESCO world heritage site is definitely worth the journey.
Of course, no visit to Tuscany would be complete without seeing Florence.
As a perennial leader on any list of the world’s most beautiful cities, the Athens of the Middle Ages is a cultural jewel. Home to unique masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and others, Florence is an art lover’s dream. Avoid the crowds at the ever-popular Uffizi gallery with a private tour and be rewarded with an up close and personal experience of these artistic treasures.
But Florence isn’t the only Tuscan city that’s awash with history and culture. For centuries, Siena was a fierce rival to Florence. The gorgeous Cathedral and the Pubblico Palace are relics of Siena’s own prestigious history. And if you visit during the summer, you may be lucky enough to witness the Palio de Siena horserace that has been run in the Piazza del Campo since the medieval period.
While you’re visiting Tuscany’s UNESCO-recognized towns, don’t miss the walled medieval hill town of San Gimignano. Nicknamed the Town of Fine Towers, this well-preserved village is the closest thing you’ll find to a time machine.
The Taste of Tuscany
Tuscany is rightly famous for its wines, especially those from the Chianti region. Just outside Florence, a visit to the Antinori Chianti Classico winery provides the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the production of two of Italy’s top wines, Tignanello and Solaia. Or perhaps you’d like to visit a working farm that has the distinction of being the place where Renaissance artist Donatello used to purchase his wine. At Castello di Nipozzano, you can admire the countryside and see exquisite wine and olive oil being produced. If you’re looking to add to your collection, vintages here go back to the 1860s.
In Tuscany, wine and food are inseparable. Tuscany has a distinct cuisine all of its own, and there is no better way to experience it in than on a gourmet cooking tour. Stay in a luxurious Tuscan Villa and learn the secrets of the region’s cuisine from a master chef.
As well as being a treat for the taste buds, this offers a unique way to experience Tuscan culture. Welcoming hosts who speak your language will ensure that you have a positive immersion cooking experience far from the crowded tourist trail.
For something completely different, try a private tour of the Carrera marble caves. An exciting ride up the mountain in a 4 x 4 vehicle will take you to the place where Michelangelo and Donatello sourced their marble. You’ll learn about the history of this still active industry, and who knows? Maybe you’ll source a new countertop for yourself.
Tuscan Hot Springs and Spas
Tuscany’s natural hot springs have been drawing patrician visitors for centuries. Estruscan and Roman settlements developed round thermal baths and the Romans in particular recognized the health benefits of the mineral waters.
There are many locations tin Tuscany to bathe outdoor in natural hot springs but if you want to be pampered head to toe with a luxury spa experience, check in to the spectacular Bagni di Pisa in San Giuliano Terme.
Luxury and Unique Accommodation
Thanks to its history of wealth and power, Tuscany has no shortage of great places to stay. Looking to spend your vacation in a 12th-century castle? No problem. Castello Banfi delivers a fairytale-like experience. With just over a dozen suites available, this castle is as serene and peaceful as you could want.
What if you’re looking to vacation like a Medici, Florence’s ancient rulers and one of the most powerful families in Europe? At Villa Medicea di Lilliano, you can stay in a former holiday palace of Grand Duke Ferdinando II. Only 15 minutes from the center of Florence, the villas here feel like another world. And of course, the estate produces its own Chianti and olive oil which you can sample for yourself during a tasting event or cooking class.
If you’ve ever wanted to stay at a working winery, give the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco a try. With the chef’s creations sourced from the kitchen garden and a luxurious spa on site, a stay in one of the restored farmhouses on this estate will give you a taste of the Tuscan Dolce Vita.
Tuscany has plenty to offer the discerning traveler. Depending on whether you prefer to spend your vacation relaxing in a luxury resort or exploring the area with a private guide, a regional travel expert will design the Tuscany vacation of your dreams.