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Best Reasons to Travel to the Tuscan Coast with VBT

Gregg--Vineyard Tuscan Coast

So much of southern Tuscany seems to have emerged from the earth itself. Tiny villages huddle within walls and rise atop hills as if divinely sculpted from the very stone upon which they perch. Quaint farms – many of them transformed into countryside agriturismo inns – offer up a bounty that finds its way onto famed Tuscan tables. As we cycle along its friendly Wine Roads—whose soil bear vintages so bold they can only be called Super Tuscans—we pass ancient olive groves that produce smooth elixirs beloved by the Medici family themselves. VBT will bring you the heart of the Etruscan Coast and here are some of the best reasons why you should join us.

The Cycling
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There are wonderful biking routes throughout the tour, but one of our favorites is the day we take in the scenery on a spellbinding cycle along one of the most picturesque routes in Europe, from Sassetta to Suvereto. During our ride we’ll pass cork and pine trees, medieval estates, and fields of sunflowers before arriving in Suvereto—an ancient village that dates back to the year 1000. Located on a hill overlooking the coast, the town is a true jewel full of history and art. After walking the ancient streets, we’ll continue on a thrilling downhill ride to Montioni where you’ll have the option to hop on our van and shuttle through a beautiful area of flat grazing lands, or continue riding back to our inviting country hotel.

The Agritourismi
Agriturismo Montebelli--Exterior at night

At VBT we place a certain emphasis on our guests immersing themselves into as much local culture as possible, and a big part of that are the accommodations we carefully select.  One of our favorites, the Agriturismo Montebelli—which has 91% thumbs up rate from Trip Advisor—is a gorgeous country hotel located in the Maremma region that is surrounded by olive trees, gardens and vineyards. VBT travelers will enjoy using their tennis courts and bocce courts, as well as relaxing in the outdoor pool or taking advantage of their horseback riding facilities for a leisurely ride. We’ll also dine on fresh food, much of which is grown right on the property and cooked up by the chefs at their amazing restaurant.

Wine and Olive Oil Tastings
Tuscany Olive Oil tasting
Not only will we pedal past beautiful wine roads like the Strada del Vino—which traces the Ornellaia vineyard to Bolgheri along gently rolling hills—we’ll also enjoy a tasting of some of the best varietals in our Agrihotel’s wine cantina in Collemezzano. Also, on day 6 of the tour, we’ll visit the family-owned and operated Fonte di Foiano olive oil mill in Livorno. Upon arrival we’ll meet members of the Di Gaetano family and enjoy a private tour of the press and workshop. During our tasting, Michael Di Gaetano will explain the differences among regions and how varied the flavors can be.

The Pre-Trip Extension
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The Tuscan Coast tour begins with an optional pre-trip extension of two days in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Florence is a perfect city to discover on foot because many of its attractions are centrally located in the small historic city center that stretches from Piazza del Duomo south to the Arno River. By day you can see all the masterpieces of art that are on display throughout the city and at night we’d recommend heading up to Piazzale Michelangelo, and taking in its enchanting  views overlooking the city.

To learn more about how you can visit this region on VBT’s popular The Tuscan Coast tour please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit vbt.com. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Discover Tuscany’s Maremma Region with VBT

Tuscan landscape
A hidden gem in the western reaches of Tuscany is the unspoiled Maremma region. Ancient traditions thrive here along the rugged coastal farm lands. Once the territory of the butteri—horse riding cattle herders—the area is becoming a must-see travel destination that is perfect for active travel enthusiasts and foodies alike. We’ll ride through rolling foothills and smooth vineyard laden landscapes before retiring to our farm hotels—known as agriturismi—and enjoying meals so fresh that the vegetables were picked mere minutes before being served.

Giglio Island View
They say that drama defines all things Tuscan and nowhere is this truer than in its westernmost reaches. Just add water—in the form of the azure Tyrrhenian Sea—and this cypress-dotted region of Italy is transformed from glorious to sublime. Hill towns don’t merely perch atop earthen mounds; they seem sprouted from the soft limestone tufa that hoists them above pristine fields. And ancient subterranean caves, believed to have been carved centuries ago by Etruscans—the area’s original settlers—are now used as labyrinthine wine and olive oil cellars.

That’s only one hint that you’re not in central Tuscany anymore. If you need more, put your nose to the air and Orbetello windmillbreathe in the aromatic macchia scrub of lavender and rosemary that perfume the countryside. Listen to the whisper of palm trees in soft sea breezes. Admire precise rows of prickly pear cactus, laid long ago to delineate farmers’ lands. And a visit here isn’t fully realized without feeling white sand between your toes and wading into the sea, the green island of Giglio shimmering in the distance.

Agrituismo
A new trend, agritourism, is taking hold in this land whose marshes once made it unfit for the building of civilizations. All the better that yesterday’s murky tidal flats attracted hundreds of species of birds that are here to stay, herons and storks among them. In keeping close to nature, rustic farmhouses in magnificent settings have been converted into elegant inns, where the makings for dinner are plucked straight from the garden—and cheeses appear on your plate courtesy of resident goats.

To learn more about how you can visit the Maremma region on VBT’s popular Tuscany by the Sea tour please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit vbt.com. 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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