So much to do here in Florence for such a small town. There are many tours to choose from so here are a couple of two Travel Hogz thumbs up tours that are very enjoyable. For about 80 euro per person, you can have memories that last a lifetime! Sit back, grab a glass of chianti (tuscan red wine) because this travel blog section about fantastic tours has lots of info you may want to know.
A Special Day in Tuscany Tour
Our first weekend in Florence, was rainy and freezing cold weather. If you're coming in early March, be sure to check the weather and bundle up. Though it was unusually cold this year. It was 36 degrees and there was snow on the ground when we arrived. However, the adventures must go on! The first tour we took was with CIAO Florence - Italy Experts. There several tours to choose from. We chose the "Special Day in Tuscany which included Siena, San Gimignano (you have to have Italian pronunciation skills to pronounce that) and the infamous Pisa (where the leaning tower of Pisa, well you know....leans).
Siena - A medieval town dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church, and now dedicated to the Assumption of Mary.
An hour bus ride from where the group meets at the train station takes you to the heart of Siena. A different tour guide takes over and gives the history of Palio (a 4 minute, bareback, horse race of the different neighborhoods in Sienna). The town square in the photos below houses thousands of people in July every year who watch this race. It's pretty intense. Since we were the Travel Hogz were there in March, they didn't have a chance to see it. So it may be worth a try if you are there in July. Siena also has the oldest hospital in Tuscany and the only church that has 4 styles of original art work, architecture, and sculptures from famous artists such as Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Giovoni. All giving beautifying the duomo of Siena. After a amazing walk around town you may want something to eat. Pizza???? There was a pizza shop in Piazza Campo with these huge slices of pizza but the Travel Hogz voted two travel thumbs down. Florence has much better pizza!
San Gimignano - What a cute & and quaint little town. San Gimignano is an Italian hill town in Tuscany, southwest of Florence. Encircled by 13th-century walls. About 45 minutes from Siena, the tour bus arrived at a winery tucked away in the Tuscan hills. There they served appetizers, wine and lunch (cheese & meat platter, and offered a vegetarian platter a well, a chianti and an al dente pasta dish - hope you're a fan of al dente) in the wine cellar. Lunch had a very intense mood as our group sat and we chatted with the people at our table. There were three wonderful Indian women doctors who decided to getaway from a conference on their last day in Florence so they did this tour. They were the sweetest. Travel Hogz love meeting new people from all over the world and connecting with them. After lunch, the bus takes you to the center of town (about 5 -6 minutes from where we ate). You can pay 5 Euro to have a small bus take you up hill or it is a 8-10 minute walk. Frankly, it's not worth paying the 5 Euros unless you are disabled. It's a short walk less than 10 minutes.
The town was pretty much deserted at that time of year (March) but the merchants were all running full swing. One store which was extremely charming was the lavender store. Everything in the store was lavender which made a delightful scent. Walking around the old town gave a sense of peace and serenity. Supposedly they had a flavor of gelato no other city has. Since lunch is so abundant, gelato may not be an option for you.
Pisa - After a good lunch and a walk around San Gimignano, it was time to board the bus and head to Pisa. Did you know that the leaning tower leans due to flaw in architecture? Who knew?
Once in Pisa, There is a 10 minute walk to the leaning tower. The tower sits behind ancient walls. You can feel the history after passing through gate. Breath taking and very touristy, everyone is posing for their selfie as if they are holding up the tower. It's quite a scene. Two Travel Hogz were caught doing the same thing. You'll more than likely do the same. The tour ran a bit late from San Gimignano so the hogz couldn't climb to the top of the leaning tower. No worries because the T.H.A.T. (Travel Hogz Aerial Team) was able to capture some amazing footage. The Pisa Cathedral and the Pisa Baptistry were also on the same grounds. You can visit them for free and see some amazing historical decor.
CLASSIC FIAT 500 Tour Through Tuscany
After a couple of weeks, it's almost unthinkable to know that you could be missing more awesome things to do. Thank goodness for Travel Hogz as they will research the best things for your to do especially if you are in Italy for a short time. Walkaboutflorence tours was a an amazing 4 hour tour.
Driving a stick shift tiny Fiat through the hillside of the Tuscan country, breathtaking scenery, a historical lesson about wine and the most valuable olive oil, an delicious pasta lunch with bruschetta, a cheese (cheese in Florence is to die for) and meat platter, home cooked bread all overlooking the Tuscan hills makes you feel as if you are in a dream. Angel ( a little guy originally from Spain) was a great tour guide. He was extremely, friendly, very knowledgeable and easy going. So much fun in one day!