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Discover Siena and the Chianti region with VBT

Tuscan Hilltown Biking with VBT
Some of the most picturesque biking in Tuscany is through the rolling hills of the Chianti wine region and nearby Siena. As you cycle these roads you’ll pass sprawling vineyards and medieval cityscapes as you make your way through the beautiful countryside. Travelers on our Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​ vacation will enjoy spending two days in the region biking along wine roads and absorbing the culture and history of the area’s largest city, Siena—whose historic downtown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is also the venue for one of the world’s most famous horse races, the Palio.

Siena CathedralSiena embodies medieval charm like no other city in Tuscany. Its early inhabitants indulged in their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout Siena’s history, they preserved their city’s Gothic appearance, which was mostly developed between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period, Sienese painters like Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. Architecturally, the whole city is built around one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares, the Piazza del Campo, which was created as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. VBT travelers will attend a presentation about the Italian Renaissance, the history of Siena and of the Palio by a local art historian during our stay in Siena.

The Palio horse race, which has taken place twice a year since 1656, is Palio Horse Raceheld right in the middle of the Piazza del Campo. As the spectators gather in the center of the square, riders representing their home contrade—district—race around the enlivened crowd. There are historic alliances and rivalries between contrades, and epic street celebrations lead up to and surround the races. VBT travelers are likely to see some of the festivities and decorations surrounding this famous local event during the June 20th departure of the Tuscan Hill Towns tour.

Bike Ride in ChiantiSiena is also the starting point for one of the tour’s loveliest bike rides during which you’ll explore the Chianti wine region by way of the Via Chiantigiana, a panoramic road that runs along hillside vineyards and through the sleepy hilltop villages of Radda and Castellina. These towns are the heart of the original Chianti wine region that was created in 1716, before it was expanded to include more areas within Tuscany in 1932.

These are just some examples of the experience you’ll have on our Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​ ​tour. To learn more about our Italian vacations, please click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Relax in the Spas of Montecatini Terme on VBT’s new Lucca to Pisa Biking Tour

Terme tettuccio
One of the highlights of VBT’s new Cycling Italy’s Middle Ages: Lucca to Pisaare the two days spent in and around the town of Montecatini Terme. One of the most famous things to do in Montecatini Terme is visit the town’s spas as it is considered the capital of natural hot springs in Italy. The healing properties of the thermal springs in the town have been known for centuries but it wasn’t until the late 1700’s that baths were constructed under the order of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo. He also ordered proper channels for the disposal of the thermal water as unconfined springs had created vast marshes where many hotels and spas in present day Montecatini are built.

After the completion of the thermal baths, many tourists began to flock to the town in order to “take the waters.” ByTerme di Redi the early 20th century celebrities began to frequent Montecatini—including Vivaldi and Puccini,  who even  composed parts of La Boheme here—and shops, restaurants, nightclubs and a casino soon followed. Of course the main reason everyone comes to Montecatini is that these waters actually have proven health benefits. A hydro-mineral basin that lies around 60 meters below the ground pumps out a chloride-sulphate-sodium water type that is also bacteriologically pure. Research conducted over the years has concluded the waters at Montecatini Terme have the best effect on one’s digestive and metabolic systems. Current day-spas have added many modern elements like massage, mud pack treatments and hydrotherapy in order to make Montecatini an all-around health spa retreat.

Terme excelsiorDuring your stay with VBT we’ll meet for a cocktail at the Terme Tettuccio, the heart of the Terme complex which dates back to the 1920’s, during our first night. The Terme is a complex of 9 buildings, each with its own character, staff and range of treatments. To enjoy the hot natural thermal springs, the easiest and quickest way is to access the Thermal Pool in the Terme Redi building, which is walking distance from our hotel. The thermal pool is fed with Leopoldina thermal water at 91°, excellent for rheumatic troubles and vascular disease. A vast range of both relaxing treatments with thermal water and esthetic treatments are available at the Terme Excelsior, also within walking distance from our hotel.

These are just some examples of the authentic cultural experiences you’ll have while on our new  Cycling Italy’s Middle Ages: Lucca to Pisa ​tour. Visit the www.termemontecatini.it to get familiar with the range of spa packages offered during your stay. To read more about our Italian vacations, please click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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