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.

Top 5 Vacations for First-time VBT Travelers in 2013

Czech River Biking

If you’ve never been on an active vacation with VBT you might be wrestling with the decision of which tour you’d like to go on first. Maybe you know you want to see Italy, but which region? Or you’ve always wanted to visit Europe but you’re not sure about which part. Don’t worry, we can help you find the vacation that’s right for you. Depending upon the time of year you want to travel and which types of active and cultural activities really resonate with who you are, we have many options to choose from. To help get the ball rolling we’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 Vacations of 2013 for first-time VBT travelers. If you click on each tour name, you will be taken to that tour’s webpage where you can find traveler reviews, photos, daily itineraries and everything you’ll need to make your choice. Enjoy!

1.) The Czech Republic, Germany & Austria ​bicycling vacation
Durnstein AustriaThe heart of Central Europe is revealed on an itinerary that touches three distinct countries. Highlights of this vacation include a guided tour of historic Český Krumlov—a UNESCO World Heritage Site, crossing into Germany at a unique, pedestrian-only border crossing, lunch and conversation with a Bavarian family, and a cruise on the Danube as you admire one of the most scenic landscapes in Europe.

2.) Tuscany by the Sea biking vacation
VBT Tuscany by the Sea Biking VacationJoin VBT to discover a hidden pocket of Tuscany—the unspoiled Maremma region. Highlights of this tour include stays at charming agriturismos that produce their own wines and olive oils, cooking lessons, walking the ramparts of ancient walled cities, gelato sampling, and cycling through historic towns, nature reserves and routes with sweeping views of the sea.

3.) The Tuscan Coast biking vacation
Tuscany Biking The exquisite beauty of Tuscany unfolds before you as we cycle along breathtakingly scenic routes – including one of the most beautiful wine roads in Italy. Highlights of this tour include delicious meals prepared by the world-class chef/owner of the Agrihotel Elisabetta, riding along the Strada del Vino, learning about olive oil production from the owner of a family-owned mill, and biking to ancient hilltop castles along Tuscany’s Etruscan Coast

4.) Croatia: The Dalmatian Islands bicycling vacation
Biking CroatiaExplore an area of Croatia long revered for its fascinating history, stunning scenery and mild climate. Highlights of this tour include an authentic Croatian dinner in the home of a local family, a visit to one of the world’s last remaining stonecutting schools, beautiful coastal biking routes, and a stay on the island of Hvar—one of the world’s ten most beautiful islands according to Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

5.) Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast biking vacation
Biking to Ostuni Masseria & Trees panorama PugliaExplore a different side of Italy, where local life moves at the gentle pace of the lapping sea. Highlights of this vacation include exploring the iconic trulli homes of Alberobello with a local specialist, stays at masserie, a home-hosted lunch and olive oil tasting with a local family, and cycling along the dramatic Adriatic Seacoast to the town of Porto Badisco—famous for its azure waters and prehistoric Cervi Grottoes.

These are just a few examples of the amazing vacations that VBT offers. To request a catalog 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.