Depart from the U.S. for Italy. The particulars of your
arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - Arrive in Florence
VBT Air Package guests: Upon arrival at the Florence airport,
claim your luggage and clear customs. VBT's local representative will meet you
outside the customs area in your arrival terminal and will be holding a VBT
sign. Your representative will help you transfer (approximately 30 minutes) to
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 1 p.m. You may store your luggage with the Reception Desk.
You have the rest of the day free to explore the historic
city of Florence and enjoy its Renaissance architecture and famous museums with
VBT's City Information included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide. In
the evening, relax in one of the city's restaurants and sample the local
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders in Florence / Transfer to Collemezzano
VBT No-Air Package guests: Your tour starts at 12 noon at
our Florence hotel (Hotel Adler Cavalieri, via della Scala 40, Firenze, phone
+39 055 277810). Your Leaders will be in the lobby wearing VBT staff
garments. We will transfer by private
coach to Collemezzano. During our transfer, the coach will stop and you will
have the opportunity to buy lunch. If
your arrival at our Florence hotel is later than noon or if you are delayed, you
must take a taxi (approximately 60 minutes) at your own expense (approximately
100 euros/$130 USD) to the Agrihotel Elisabetta. Contact the Agrihotel
Elisabetta to advise of any travel delays or changes, and ask the Front Desk to
pass the message on to your VBT Trip Leaders. Please note: If you are arriving
from the city center, you must transfer at your own expense to the meeting
point, which is centrally located.
VBT Air Package & Pre-Trip Extension guests: This
morning, spend more free time exploring Florence's wonderful museums, shops and
cafés. Discover the 14th-century Duomo, which serves as the focal point of
Florence. Its structure and facade are symbolic of the Renaissance. Take a walk
across the Arno River on the famous Ponte Vecchio and browse the shops of the
goldsmiths and silversmiths who have replaced the butchers and grocers of
centuries gone by. See works by Caravaggio, Botticelli, Raffaello and Rembrandt
at the Uffizi Gallery. Or just relax and enjoy a cappuccino or espresso in the
Piazza del Signoria and Piazza del Duomo, where Florence's art and history
At 12 noon, meet your VBT Trip Leaders in the hotel lobby.
They will be easy to recognize as they will be wearing VBT staff garments. We will transfer by private coach to
Collemezzano. During our transfer, the coach will stop and you will have the
opportunity to buy lunch.
Once the entire group is assembled, we transfer by
motorcoach (approximately 1 hour) to the Agrihotel Elisabetta. This inviting
accommodation and its smiling owner, Luigi, will surely enchant you. After
settling in, meet your Trip Leaders for a safety and bike-fitting session
before a short a warm-up ride over gentle hills and past old farmhouses shaded
by cypress trees. Later this afternoon, our gregarious host Luigi takes us on a
guided tour of his wine cantina. Here, sample some of Luigi's varietals while
sharing the day's stories with your small group. Dinner is at the hotel
Day 4 - Explore Cecina and Costa degli Etruschi
Following breakfast, begin cycling in Cecina, a tiny village
nestled between the sea and the mountains, in the region called Costa degli
Etruschi — the Etruscan Coast. Ride through the rolling countryside, flanked by
cypress trees and fertile vineyards, as you head to Casale Marittimo, one of
several medieval hilltop towns. Once there, admire the medieval castle and the
12th-century Sant'Andrea Church before enjoying a delicious picnic prepared by
your Trip Leaders.
Afterward, continue cycling downhill through the charming
village of Bibbona, entering the fragrant Cecina pine forest as you head back
to the hotel. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a reception
featuring regional wine and bruschette, and later, dinner at the hotel.
Day 5 - Cycle Cecina Mare and the Strada del Vino
Begin your day by pedaling the Cecina Mare promenade en
route to the Strada del Vino, one of the most beautiful of Italy's wine roads.
Your route traces the Ornellaia vineyard to Bolgheri along gently rolling
hills. Bolgheri is known for its Viale dei Cipressi, a cypress-lined avenue
immortalized in the poem “San Guido” by Giosuè Carducci. You may want to stroll
along this boulevard after enjoying lunch on your own.
This afternoon, shuttle to the Tombolo Talasso Resort, your
deluxe hotel right on the Tyrrhenian Sea, or continue cycling on easy back
roads. Whichever you choose, we gather together a bit later for a brief Italian
language workshop with your VBT Trip Leaders. In the evening, enjoy a
home-hosted experience in a typical Tuscan countryside house. Our host Chicca
will cook dinner for us, and you are welcome to help and learn from her before
enjoying the meal at sunset under the pergola. Chicca is the founder of Cooking
in Tuscany, a culinary-gastronomic association that spreads traditional Italian
and Tuscan cuisine in Italy and abroad. The goals of the association are to
experiment with and research old traditional recipes, use and emphasize typical
products of the season, and to promote the culture and tradition of the region
through the knowledge of local products. And of course share the sense of
hospitality of an Italian family. Chicca will present a one-hour hands-on
cooking class, after which we will have the chance to dine on own own
Day 6 - Visit an olive-oil mill
After breakfast, continue riding along the historic Strada
del Vino to the family-owned and operated Fonte di Foiano olive-oil mill.
During our visit, we meet the Di Gaetano family, who leads a private tour of
the press and workshop. Taste the oil during a degustazione (sampling) on the
terrace. During your tasting, Michael Di Gaetano explains the difference
between regions and how varied the flavors can be. Afterward, enjoy an included
lunch — prepared by Michael himself, using organic and fragrant vegetables — on
the farm grounds.
We will cycle on to our hotel, stopping at Daniela's great
bicycle shop. Once you've returned, take free time to stretch out in the sand
at the hotel's private beach or take a respite in one of the five thermal
swimming pools at the Wellness Center. Tonight, your Trip Leaders can suggest a
restaurant to try in the lovely seaside village of Marina di Castagneto. Dinner
is on your own.
Day 7 - Cycle Sassetta, Suvereto and Maremma
Today's adventure from Sassetta takes you along one of the
most picturesque routes in Europe. Cycling past cork and pine trees, medieval
estates and fields of sunflowers, you arrive in Suvereto, an ancient village
whose origins date to the year 1000. Situated on the slopes of hills
overlooking the Costa degli Etruschi, it is a true jewel, rich in history and
art, set in the green valley of the river Cornia. The town displays
architectural harmony: Its ancient walls enclose paved streets lined with stone
houses, historical buildings, impressive churches and shadowy cloisters.
Continue on a thrilling downhill ride to Montioni. From here, relax and shuttle
through the Maremma, a beautiful area of flat grazing lands, or continue
riding. Then it's on to our welcoming country retreat at Agriturismo
Situated on immaculately maintained grounds with olive
trees, vineyards and wildflowers, the Agriturismo Montebelli has tennis courts,
an outdoor pool and a small spa and sauna. There is also a stable with
horseback riding facilities. After (or instead of) biking, explore the grounds,
go horseback riding, or take a dip in the hotel pool. Dinner tonight is at the
Day 8 - Explore Castiglione della Pescaia
After breakfast, cross the soft foothills of the high
Maremma, a scenic, lush landscape traversed mostly by locals. As you ride, your
Trip Leaders offer an optional, intriguing detour to visit the Etruscan site of
Vetulonia. Known as one of the most important and well-preserved necropolises
and museums of the Etruscans, this site illustrates the country's devotion to
the prevailing power in central Italy right before the Roman domination.
Later in the morning, we arrive in the lovely seaside resort
of Castiglione della Pescaia. This city's many layers of history extend from
Roman occupation through its many subsequent rulers -- the Marquis of Tuscany,
the Abbey of San Germano, Perugia, the Duke Della Corgna, the Grand Duke of
Tuscany and, in the 18th century, the Papal State. Inside the urban center,
fortified by 15th-century walls, the town and the palace of Della Corgna Dukes
remain well preserved. The four towers rising out of the Castle of Buriano are
certain to be a highlight of your day. Known as one of the most remarkable
examples of military art in Tuscany, this tenth-century castle once belonged to
the powerful Lambardi family.
Here, do some last-minute gift shopping or sunbathing on the
beach. If you prefer not to cycle, you can enjoy leisurely pursuits at the
Agriturismo Montebelli, such as a walk through the vineyards or relaxing at the
Tonight we enjoy a memorable farewell dinner together.
Day 9 - Transfer to Rome / Free Time / VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: Your trip ends at the Rome hotel
at approximately 11:30 a.m.-12 noon. You are responsible for your own transfer
to the airport for your flight home.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer to your
central Rome hotel for your final overnight stay. Your hotel room may not be
available until 1 p.m. You may store your luggage with the Reception Desk.
If you have chosen the independent Post-Trip Extension to
Rome, you will remain at this hotel for three nights. When you arrive today,
VBT's Rome representative can answer your questions and offer an optional city
walk to help you make the most of Rome. VBT's City Information in your Final
Travel Booklet includes recommendations for restaurants, museums and
transportation in Rome, and will help you explore on your own.
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast* this morning, you will transfer to the Rome
airport (approximately 40-60 minutes, depending upon traffic) for your
departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at
the designated transfer time**.
*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.
**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer
time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.