Europe & Africa / Italy
Tuscany and Cinque Terre Hiking Tour
Inn-Based Hiking Tour from the Tuscan Sun to the Italian Riviera
Known for its bucolic landscape, Tuscany is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. Tuscany is also the home to some of the most influential people in the history of arts and science, including Dante, Botticelli, Puccini, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo. Cinque Terre, "The Five Lands", is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera which boasts of one of the best coastline hiking trails in the world.
Days 1-2: Arrival in Florence-City Tour
You're met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for an evening on your own on arrival day. We begin a sightseeing tour of Florence the following day beginning at the Ponte Vecchio, a Medieval bridge spanning the Arno River, and continuing on to the Piazza della Signoria, the political hub of the city, and the town hall, Palazzo Vecchio. Visits to the Uffizi Gallery (works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael) and the Galleria dell'Accademia (Michelangelo's David) precede a stop at the Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Days 3-4: San Gimignano-Monteriggioni-Chianti-Siena
These two days are centered around hikes through the beautiful Tuscan countryside to the walled city of Monteriggioni, to Colle Val d’Elsa through a verdant landscape of vineyards and olive groves and to the pretty town of San Sano in Chianti. We also stroll the the multi-towered city of San Gimignano and ancient Siena to take in the sights.
Days 5-6: Pisa-Cinque Terre
We transfer from Siena to Monterosso on the coast by way of Pisa where we stop to photograph the Leaning Tower, Baptistry, Duomo and Camposanto. The next day is a trip highlight, the trek along the "Blue Trail" and "Lover's Pathway" to the five villages of Cinque Terre--Monterosso, Vernazza, Comiglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The trail hugs the hillside above the turquoise Ligurian Sea as we work our way up and down the terraces on narrow pathways, mule tracks and stone stairs. We return to Monterosso at trek's end on the local train.
Days 7-8: Portovenere-Florence
We take a boat along the shore beneath the Cinque Terre today to the medieval village of Portovenere for a final day of sightseeing, including the Gothic church of St. Peter, Romanesque church of St. Lawrence, Doria Castle and the Grotta dell'Arpaia, known as Byron's Grotto. We return to Florence late in the afternoon and have time for one last evening with our newfound friends before flying out the next day.