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Discover the Art of Tuscany with VBT

Florence OverlookTuscany is deeply rooted in the Italian Renaissance and consequently, is home to vast troves of amazing Renaissance art whether in the form of Italian paintings, sculptures or adorned architecture. A vital component to any VBT vacation is the immersion in local culture that we facilitate on tour through home-hosted meals, lectures from local experts, cooking classes, visits to wineries and olive oil mills and of course, museums. With 5 vacations throughout Tuscany, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the finer side of Italian culture with VBT.  Here are some examples of the art you’ll find on our various Tuscan tours.

Florence: The starting point of 4 VBT Tuscan vacations including The Tuscan Coast and Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany​
Best known as the creative center of the flurry of productivity and inspiration that defined the Renaissance, Florence is Duomo Florencethe starting point for 4 out of 5 of our vacations in Tuscany and we also offer a pre-trip extension there as a chance to really get to explore the delights of this amazing city before starting your biking or walking tour. Visiting Florence museums is a must and if you choose to go on our pre-trip extension be sure to take our “Glory of Tuscany: Florence and the Accademia Gallery” tour that is tailored especially for VBT travelers. First you’ll visit the Accademia Gallery, where you’ll spend time enjoying a closer look at its many treasures, including Michelangelo’s sculptural masterpiece, David. A guided walking tour of the city concludes the Glory of Tuscany tour.
During your second day in Florence we also suggest going to the DavidUffizi Gallery—purchasing tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended—to view Botticelli’s epic paintings, Primavera and Birth of Venus, as well as works by Caravaggio, Raffaello and Rembrandt. If you can’t get enough, a short walk across the Ponte alle Grazie bridge over the Arno river will bring you to the Pitti Palace—the largest museum complex in Florence. It features several museums, including the Palatine Gallery which boasts more than 500 Italian paintings by acclaimed Renaissance artists like Raphael and Titian.

Tuscany by the Sea biking vacation
Orvieto Piazza Duomo
This popular vacation begins in the town of Orvieto, which was an important Etruscan city. After the Etruscan splendor, which was at its peak between the 4th and 6th centuries BC a period of decadence and exile followed. In fact, in 264 BC the Romans destroyed the city and nothing was left but ruins. Today you can see the collection of archaeological finds at Museo Faina, which includes more than 3,000 coins, Etruscan relics, and attic vases—all in a beautiful noble building facing the Duomo. You can also admire the Duomo’s fascinating façade from a museum balcony. We also highly recommend visiting the Duomo & San Brizio Chapel as well. It dates back to the Renaissance and features beautiful frescoes by Luca Signorelli.

Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike
The hotel we stay at in Siena is a restored monastery in the complex of San Niccolo’ Church, in the quietest part of the IMG_3180-Lcity. During our stay we’ll attend a presentation on the Italian Renaissance and the history of Siena by a local art historian, who will then join the group for dinner in a local restaurant. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was created as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. Throughout history, the residents preserved their city’s Gothic appearance, which was developed between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period, the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art.

Cycling Italy’s Middle Ages: Lucca to Pisa​
VinciOn Day 6 of this tour we’ll ride on winding, gently rolling roads through the Valdinievole valley to Vinci—birthplace of the renowned artist Leonardo Da Vinci. There we will spend time at the Castello dei Guidi, a former castle-home that now functions as a museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. We’ll visit the museum and learn about the incredible inventions of the genius.

These are just a few examples of the authentic cultural experiences you’ll have while on tour with VBT in Tuscany. 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.

Visit Some of the Most Photographed Places in Tuscany with VBT

Tuscany landscape

Tuscany is one of the most heralded regions in Italy and is known for beautiful scenery, artistic history and amazing cuisine and local vineyards. Between its Mediterranean coast, historic architecture, hilltop villages, medieval cities and rolling hills, there are plenty of chances to take some amazing pictures of Tuscany while on your vacation. With 5 tours in the region, VBT takes travelers on a variety of adventures and there will be plenty of photo ops along the way—so don’t leave your camera back at the hotel!  Here are a few of the most photographed places in Tuscany.

Val D’Orcia + Siena (found on Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​)
A7 31008 T2033TUPAX, Tuscany Italy
Between the rolling hills and chalk plains of Val D’Orcia—Orcia River Valley—is where you’ll find a lot of iconic agricultural landscapes seen in many Renaissance paintings. The cypress trees, poppy blooms and hilltop castles and villas that dot the region make for some breathtaking imagery. The area is also close to some amazing medieval villages like San Gimignano. With VBT, you’ll also visit Siena, which is the embodiment of a medieval city. Throughout history, the town has preserved its Gothic appearance, which was developed between the 12th and 15th centuries. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was created as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. Don’t miss the Siena Cathedral as the façade alone is worth the visit.

Florence (found on both The Tuscan Coast​ & Italy: The Quiet Pathways of Tuscany)
Florence Italy

Four of our Tuscan vacations begin with an optional pre-extension spending two magical days in Florence, the art lover’s paradise. Tuscany boasts more classified historical monuments than any other region in the world, and the most dazzling are in Florence. The Renaissance began here, and the period’s great works of art are on display throughout the city. Florence is a great city to explore on foot and has many attractions concentrated in the relatively small historic center stretching from Piazza del Duomo south to the Arno River. At night try heading up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which has a great view overlooking the city.

Lucca + Pisa (found on Cycling Italy’s Middle Ages: Lucca to Pisa​)Pisa
During our stay in Lucca, we’ll ride atop the city’s famous Renaissance city walls with their large and well-beaten avenues created for pedestrians and bikers. Photographers will rejoice in the views inward towards the city as well as outward towards the Apuan Alps—not too far from where Michelangelo used to personally choose the big blocks of marble that he used to craft his iconic sculptures. You’ll also spend an afternoon in Pisa at one of the most outstanding piazzas in the world: Campo dei Miracoli. Here you can get some great shots of the famous leaning tower, the cathedral, baptistery and cemetery.

Giglio Island (found on Tuscany by the Sea)
View from Giglio Castello
For classic coastal scenery, we’ll board a ferry to Giglio Island, arriving in the village of Giglio Porto. During our afternoon stay take some photos in the walled hilltop town of Giglio Castello, dominated by a fortress called the Rocca Pisana. This town is the oldest inhabited center on the island and still retains much of its medieval atmosphere. For dramatic coastal views, be sure to bring your camera to Campese Beach where we’ll eat lunch and spend some free time swimming or relaxing on the beach. Ample photography chances await you on an optional hike along the Faraglione cliffs, where some 700 different species of wildflowers and plants grow in this remote little corner of Tuscany.

These are just a few examples of the spectacular places to take photographs in Tuscany while on tour with VBT. 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, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.

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