Tuscany in the palm of your hand:
This tour is an immersion in medieval and Renaissance Italy, and in its mesmerizing Cities of Art, picturesque hamlets and landscapes that have inspired so many travelers and artists throughout the centuries. It includes also fascinating Jewish sites several of which in quite unusual places.
You will be visiting many world famous towns such as FLORENCE, PISA, SIENA and LUCCA with their wonders, but also less known ones such as CARRARA the town of the renowned white marble where you will also be visiting the quarries where Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci selected the blocks of marble they used to sculpt their famous masterpieces. Not to mention the incredibly picturesque towns, many of which are part of the Unesco Heritage List, such as SAN GIMIGNANO, VOLTERRA and CORTONA and the smaller Jewish heritage sites of PITIGLIANO, known as the “little Jerusalem”, and MONTE SAN SAVINO. We have also included in the tour a location worth visiting for its significance in relation to a tragic event in WW2, SANT’ANNA DI STAZZEMA. Last, but not least, you will enjoy a balmy day on the famous Italian EASTERN LIGURIAN RIVIERA where you will discover the medieval fishing villages of LERICI, which, believe it or not, used to have a Jewish ghetto, and lovely RIOMAGGIORE. A boat cruise will take you to the famed CINQUE TERRE where a stop on land will allow you to discover this star attraction.
Like any of our Tours also this can be shortened or extended. For the latter option we invite you to have a look at all our Tours which, either partially or totally could be added to this tour.
We invite you also to check our list of 1 EXTRA DAY OPTIONS and ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES that are offered with each tour (extra cost to be advised upon request).
After visiting Italy’s beauties, if you might be interested in continuing your trip to Israel please bear in mind that we have a strong partnership with GO ASIA tour operator (https://www.goasia.it/destinazioni/israele/).
LOCATIONS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR: Florence; Siena; Pisa; Lucca; Arezzo; Carrara; Pitigliano; Sorana; Sovano; Monte San Savino; San Gimignano; Volterra; Cortona; Chianti (Kosher Winery); Monteriggioni; Sant’Anna di Stazzema; Lerici; Riomaggiore; Cinque Terre.
ELEMENTS OF INTEREST INCLUDED IN THE TOUR:
1) Jewish Heritage;
2) Art cities;
3) ”Minor Italy”: places off the beaten path, but that are worth visiting for their beauty and their typical Italian characteristics and atmosphere;
4) Nature and landscapes;
5) World War II;
Arrival at Milan Malpensa airport.
Transfer to Florence by deluxe coach. After checking in the hotel you will meet our guide and start your first tour of this city, correctly considered the “cradle” of the Renaissance.
The purpose of this initial tour is to give you the flavour of this amazing city, its incredible monuments, piazzas, palaces, and typical alleys.
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast you will start your visit of the main attractions of Florence, with the first part of the tour being taking you to the Jewish heritage attractions of Florence.
We will start with the synagogue, a splendid architectural example of the period of Jewish emancipation with its monumental aspect and lavish decorations as to symbolize the long awaited access of the Jewish population into the Italian social and civic mainstream. Inside the synagogue it also will be possible to visit the Jewish Museum, where the long and rich history of the Florentine Jews is on display.
We will then proceed to the old Jewish ghetto, established in 1570 by Cosimo de Medici, walking through some of the most picturesque streets and alleys of the old city. On the way we will pass by sites linked to local Jewish history, including those of two old synagogues, one Italian and one Levantine, used until 1962 by those Jews who refused to move out of this area when the main synagogue was completed in 1882 and most of the Jewish population moved nearby its quarters.
The tour will then take you to other major places of interest such as Ponte Vecchio, la Galleria degli Uffizi, and the Galleria dell’Accademia where you will be admiring one of the most amazing art wonders of all time: the David of Michelangelo made with a block of white marble of Carrara selected personally by the artist in a quarry we will be visiting a couple of days later.
In the late afternoon we will move to Fiesole, a beautiful town perched on top of a hill just few miles from Florence, to enjoy the lovely view overlooking the iconic Tuscan landscape shaped throughout the centuries by men, with at the back the skyline of the old town of Florence at sunset.
Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast transfer by deluxe coach to Pisa where you will meet the guide.
The tour will start from Piazza dei Miracoli with its iconic leaning tower. Then you will be walking through the old town where all the Jewish sites are located. The Jewish community of Pisa is most probably the oldest in Tuscany having settled down in the city in the year 850 AD. Throughout the centuries it increased its population as it proved quite a safe heaven for many Jews expelled from other areas of Italy and Europe. In fact, whereas in cities like Florence and Siena, both under the Medicis rule, Jews had been closed in ghettos, Pisa and Leghorn never had a ghetto. Actually they encouraged Jews expelled from other areas, such as those expelled from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1497, to settle in their territories.
At the end of the visit you will then head to Lucca where you will discover this beautiful town with one of the best preserved defense walls surrounding it which now have become high rise boulevards where you can take pleasant strolls and bike rides and its magic cobble-stoned alleys and piazzas.
The last stop of the day will be just outside Lucca, at Villa Reale Marlia/Royal Villa Marlia which originally was built as a fortress inhabited by the Duke of Tuscany and then, throughout the centuries, was transformed into a lavish Villa with beautiful Italian gardens by its successive owners. The present lay out of both the villa and the gardens were made in the early 19th century by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi Princess of Lucca, sister of Napoleon.
Return to Florence for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast you will be heading to Carrara, the home town of the world renowned milk white marble. Check in the hotel will be done upon arrival in Carrara, following which you will meet your guide and start with a pleasant tour of the town and its main attractions. After lunch you will then drive towards the Apuane Alps’ white peaks which are white not because they’re covered in snow, but due to the Carrara marble extracted on this portion of the Alps. The scenario that you will be driving and walking through is unique. Your destination will be the Quarry and Museum Fantiscritti, one of the oldest and most famous quarries in the area. In this exact location world famed artists such as Michelangelo Buonarroti and Angelo Canova came to select the best slabs of marble to be transformed in their sublime sculptures.
The tour will then take you to Colonnata, a small typical village nested in the middle of the Apuane Alps and frozen in time with breathtaking views of the surrounding area and where the marble extraction has been the main activity for the past 2,000 years.
The last stop will be Sant’Anna di Stazzema. This is a secluded village on the Appennini range (the mountain range also known as the “backbone of Italy” because it runs from north to south through Italy) where in 1944 the German troops carried out one of the most atrocious massacres of civilians in Italy (560, practically the whole local population at the time). Here you will visit the “Parco Nazionale della Pace” (the National Peace Park), established with the purpose of keeping alive the memory of the tragic events that took place here in the summer of 1944 and to educate the new generation to the universal values of peace and justice, the “ Museo storico della Resistenza” (The historical Museum of the partisans resistance).
Return to Carrara: dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast you will drive to Lerici, a lovely sea town on the Eastern Italian riviera in the nearby region of Liguria. After meeting with the guide, you will start the tour of this quaint sea town beloved since the past by artists and writers for its natural settings, lovely gold beaches, medieval castles, and impressive villas surrounded by lavish gardens and parks.
Though it might seem strange, but Lerici had a quite important Jewish history in the 15th and 16th century. In fact, quite a consistent number of Jews from Leghorn, the same ones that at the end of the 14th century escaped from the Iberian peninsula, moved by sea to Lerici to carry on their trade and activities.
From the local Mottino square, where most probably the synagogue and the mikve were located two alleys depart to join together few hundred meters after where the gate of the old ghetto still stands. At the end of the tour of Lerici and its attractions you will depart for nearby Portovenere, one of the pearls of the Eastern Riviera. A tour of the place will show you why artists such as Dante Alighieri, Mary Shelley, George Byron and Charles Dickens, just to name few, came here for inspiration so much so that the gulf around which Portovenere is nested is called “Il Golfo dei Poeti”. From here you will be also taking the ferry to reach the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) one of the most famous coastlines in the world. Gorgeous views of the rugged seacoast dotted by these typical Ligurian five villages perched on its cliffs and around sea coves surrounded by the typical Mediterranean vegetation and by vineyards that produce wonderful local wines will make this little cruise quite memorable. If possible one or two stops will also be made for you to stroll around the alleys of one of these villages and, time permitting, to take a walk on the famed “Love path” that connects the coastline’s cliffs of all five villages.
Return to Portovenere by ferry and departure by de luxe coach for Carrara.
Dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast drive by deluxe coach to Siena. Check in the hotel where you will meet your guide with whom you will start the tour of the city.
You will be soon captivated by the charme and beauty of this city and its red-orange aura that emanates from its medieval buildings, whether palaces or monuments sorrounding their piazzas or normal buildings alongside their streets and alleys, all made with red bricks. You will be walking through the shell shaped Piazza del Campo surrounded by magnificent buildings such as the Palazzo Pubblico in Gothic style and the XIV century Torre del Mangia on the top of which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city and of the surrounding countryside. From this square the 17 streets or “contrade” mostly named after mythological or real animals spread out, that once a year partecipate in the world famous “Palio”, a reckless horse race in medieval costumes that takes place around Piazza del Campo.
You will then visit the old Jewish area of the ghetto and the synagogue inaugurated in 1786. In fact Siena was also home of a lively and numerous Jewish community which at one point counted up to five Rabbinical Schools. The size of the ghetto was such that it was almost a town inside the town. It will be possible to do kaballat Shabat in the local synagogue and then return to the hotel for Shabat dinner.
Free day to attend synagogue and/or freely stroll through the typical alleys.
Dinner and overnight stay.
This day will be dedicated to visiting three gorgeous Tuscan hamlets.
After breakfast you will be heading to Monteriggioni where you will meet the guide. This is a beautiful example of a medieval fortified hamlet that has remained practically intact as if it were frozen in time. Then you will head towards San Gimignano, a hamlet famous for its architecture and its beautiful towers built as status and power symbols throughout the middle ages by the rich and famous families of the town. At its peak time San Gimignano counted 72 towers, practically giving the town the skyline of a modern city. Nowadays only 14 are left, but the magic of the place is still very much alive.
Next stop will be Volterra tracing its origins back to the VIII century B.C. at the time of the Etruscans. Therefore, in Volterra you will be able to see remains ranging more than 2,600 years which you will be able to admire both on the outskirts of the village as well as along its streets, piazzas and museums such as the Etruscan Museum, the Art Gallery, and the Alabaster Museum, a stone that made the fortunes of Volterra.
Return to Siena for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast the first stop will be the hamlet of Monte San Savino where you will be visiting several attractions, including the Jewish ghetto and old synagogue, mikve and cemetery.
Then you will be proceeding to Cortona, a beautiful village perched on top of a hill with an incredible scenery of the surrounding area and with a past dating back to Etruscans who in the V century B.C. settled here and whose walls still surround Cortona. Therefore, also here your visit will span over 2,500 years of history: from the Etruscan archeological site and museum to the medieval and Renaissance sites and layout of the village inside the walls.
Return to Siena: dinner and overnight stay.
Today you will be spending the day at the Cantina/Winery Giuliano where you will be able to taste also kosher wines, enjoy a lovely lunch in this beautifully located estate in the midst of a typical Tuscan scenery, take beautiful leisurely walks in the surrounding area, or simply just relax.
Return to Siena: dinner and overnight stay.
Today’s itinerary will unravel through the core of the Etruscan area where the dominant geological feature is the tuff rock shaping the landscape and out of which the three hamlets you will be visiting are made of.
The first will be Pitigliano also known as “piccola Gerusalemme” (small Jerusalem) for the large Jewish population it used to have, especially in proportion to the size of the village and of its general population. The position where Pitigliano is located is definitively peculiar and very scenic: perched right at the edge of a vertical cliff of tuff rock hanging over a canyon. You will walk through its maze of streets and alleys, see its main attractions, and visit the old ghetto, the synagogue from 1598, the oven where matzos used to be baked for Pesach, and the cemetery.
The tour will then proceed to Sovana. You will be seeing its main attractions dating from the medieval and Renaissance times such as Palazzo Pretorio, the Rocca Aldobrandesca, the Etruscan archeological area, and some of the most incredible findings of the Etruscan period hosted in the local museum.
Last stop will be Sorano, practically engraved in the tuff rock of the cliff where the village was built. Also here you will visit this charming village, its main attractions, the old synagogue built in the 15th century and in disuse since the 19th century, when the local Jews moved to Pitigliano. Here you will also take the walk around its outdoor museums through Etruscan artefacts, narrow alleys all dug out from the tuff rock and more.
At the end return to Siena: dinner overnight stay.
After breakfast and check out you will be driving to Milan where, upon arrival and check in, you will be meeting our guide and start visiting the city. Milan, the world capital city of fashion and design, is a metropolis located in Northern Italy, capital city of Lombardy, seat of the Italian Stock Exchange, and financial centre famous for the exclusive restaurants and shops. The gothic Dome, the Sforza Castle and the convent Santa Maria delle Grazie which hosts the fresco “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci are perfect examples of the artistic and cultural heritage of this city. We will visit the central Synagogue of Milan, built in 1892 and the Binario 11 (Track 11) at the Central station from where during WWII the Jews of the city and the surrounding areas were sent to the concentration camps. Packed Kosher lunch. Dinner at a kosher restaurant and accommodation at the hotel in the evening.
After breakfast and check out drive to the Malpensa airport.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|From 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023
OPTIONAL EXPERIENCES (we are open to satisfy any additional request you might have):
1)TOUR BY BOAT OF THE TUSCAN ARCHIPELAGO (Isola d’Elba)
2)DAY AT THE HOT SPRINGS (several choices);
3)ITALIAN COOKING CLASS;
4)PAINT BALL SIENA;
5)QUAD (in the Etruscan area of Sovana and Sorano)/ GO KART / BICYCLE OR HORSE RIDES;
6) SHOPPING SPREE IN A BRAND OUTLET;
KOSHER MEALS: starting from 1.100€ per person. Full-board with kosher certified pre-packaged meals, throughout the whole trip.
The tariff includes
The tariff does not include
Duration: 16 days / 15 nights
from € 5,100
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
from € 1,680 - Excluding flights
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
from € 1,400 - Excluding flights
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
from € 2,000 - Excluding flights
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