Join Mondo Verde Expeditions on a walking journey that explores Tuscany’s renaissance cities and splendid countryside.
The journey begins in magnificent Renaissance capital of Florence and ventures to the Tuscan countryside south of Siena. In the Siena Hills region, we will make a pilgrimage to Romanesque abbeys, meander through beautiful hill towns know for their fine wines Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino and stay in a charming “agriturismo” country hotel, taking short day trips to different locations every day.
There will be plenty of time to savor the local cuisine and learn more about the delicacies that make up Tuscany’s culinary tradition.
Overnight flight from USA
Arrival in Florence
After arrival in Italy meet with Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC representative at the international exit. Transfer to our centrally located hotel. There will be free time to settle in before an introductory meeting in the early evening and a welcome dinner at a lively trattoria. Overnight Florence.
This morning an art historian guide will lead us on a half-day walking tour to see the most important Florentine masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance architecture. These include the Baptistery, the Cathedral, with Brunelleschi's Dome, and Giotto's Belltower, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Piazza della Signoria. The rest of the day is free to explore other areas of this remarkable city. Lunch and dinner on our own. Overnight Florence.
A free day to explore Florence - perhaps visiting the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery (to see Michelangelo's David), or the remarkable collection of Renaissance sculpture in the Bargello Museum - for all these, it is best to book tickets in advance. Lunch and dinner on our own. Overnight Florence.
Siena & Southern Tuscany
We leave Florence this morning and drive by private bus to Siena, where we'll meet a local guide who will lead us on a walking tour of the town. Later, we have free time for lunch, to shop, and to wander on our own before driving south to our delightful country retreat near Pienza. A delicious dinner awaits us there.
San Quirico & Bagno Vignoni
Today we follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims and merchants who once trod the Via Francigena, a Medieval route that still connects Canterbury, in England, with Rome. We start in the quiet town of San Quirico d'Orcia, adorned with ancient churches, and walk to Bagno Vignoni, where the curative waters of the its hot springs have assisted voyagers, and their feet, since ancient times. After a delicious lunch in a favorite spot, we'll return to our agriturismo hotel for some R&R before a hands-on pasta cooking class. After the lesson, we'll dine on our own creations. Overnight Pienza.
Pienza, Monticchiello & Montepulciano
A short transfer takes us to Pienza, a once sleepy Medieval farming village that was transformed, in part, by the utopian vision of local son, Pope Pius II. From this intriguing town we walk to Monticchiello, where a delicious light lunch on a panoramic terrace awaits us. A short van transfer then takes us to Montepulciano. We stop here for a wine tasting at an excellent enoteca (wine shop), before returning to our agriturismo. This evening, we'll drive into Pienza for dinner at a family-run trattoria that's become one of Pienza's most celebrated places to eat. Overnight Pienza.
We first visit a producer of pecorino cheese before travelling to Montefollonico. Here we'll visit Vittorio Innocenti's winery, parts of which date back to the 13th century, and enjoy a tasting of his excellent wines. Afterwards, lunch will be served at a delightful trattoria in the centre of the town. In the early afternoon, we return to our agriturismo to relax before heading out to dinner in one the regions finest restaurants. Overnight Pienza.
Montalcino & Sant’Antimo
Montalcino, home to one of Italy's most famous wines, Brunello di Montalcino, is our first destination this morning. Our morning walk takes us to the beautiful Romanesque abbey of Sant'Antimo, where we'll hopefully hear the monks celebrating the canonical hours in Gregorian chant. After our visit, we head back to Montalcino for a light lunch in a spectacularly panoramic enoteca. The rest of the day will be free for relaxation back at our agriturismo. This evening we dine together at our country hotel. Overnight Pienza.
Terracotta & Monte Oliveto Maggiore
A fascinating visit to a local producer of terracotta vases and sculpture is planned for this morning. Here we'll be able to see the remarkable production process and the high degree of craftsmanship involved in the creation of typically Tuscan pots, vases, and sculpture. Afterwards, we pass through San Giovanni d'Asso, famous for its truffles, on our way to visit the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, where we'll also have lunch. Dinner on our own in Pienza this evening. Overnight Pienza.
A Day to Relax
Our agriturismo is situated in beautiful countryside, with rolling hills, vineyards and olive orchards surrounding the property. An optional walk to a nearby monastery, where scenes of "The English Patient" were filmed, provides a short optional walk in the morning. A light lunch will be served at the agriturismo. Otherwise, the day is yours for relaxation, swimming. A farewell dinner at our agriturismo ends our day and our travels together. Overnight Pienza.
A transfer to Florence train station and/or airport will be provided this morning.
All participants must be in good physical condition and be well coordinated.
Journey requires getting in and out of buses, moderate walking on uneven terrain. The cobblestone streets in the historical hill towns are for the most part steep and narrow. Trails along the vineyard, olive groves and chestnut forests are for the most part dirt tracks or uneven stone paths and they become slippery when wet. Most archaeological sites are exposed to the elements. Travelers with health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and weight problems should consult their physician before traveling. It is very important and your responsibility to provide us with accurate information in order to make available to you proper advice. The length of walking activities may fluctuate from 1 hour to 3 hours walks according to the day activities. Always ask your guide before departure what to expect.
Before you depart for an extended vacation, you should consult your physician.
Make the doctor’s appointment no less then 8 week before departure. You will need some prescriptions, inoculations and perhaps some special advice that relates to your own physical condition.
If you have any special conditions or allergy that might require attention overseas, have your physician write a letter describing the nature of the condition and the treatment. Carry the letter with you. You should be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip.
Important: Be sure to bring enough of the prescription medication that you are currently taking. When you pack, make certain that you have ALL your medication in your carry-on luggage. NEVER pack any of your medications in your checked luggage.
Altitude is not a factor during our journeys in Italy.
No immunization is required to visit Italy but we highly recommend having the following vaccinations current:
- Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)
Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling. You are not at increased risk in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece.
For more information on medical considerations when traveling contact the:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
It is vital that persons with medical problems or special diet requirements make them known to us well before departure so that land operators are properly informed.
To enter Italy you must have a passport and it must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure date from Italy.
- If you have changed your name make sure that is reflected on your passport, You must always use the name as it appears on your passport for all applications, visas and identification.
- If you are getting a passport for the first time, or if your old one expired more than eight years ago, you will need to provide proof of citizenship, two passport photos, and passport fee. Please check the government pages of your telephone book to determine the most convenient location for you.
Photo Copies of Important Documents
It is a good idea to bring with you four photocopies of your passport and two copies of your airline tickets. New rules request hotels to collect passport information to except tourist from service taxes and must make a copy of your passport. By you having copies with you at time of check-in you help speed up the process. Also having copies is useful in case of documents are misplaced or stolen.
For US citizens it is only necessary to bring your valid passport and do not require a visa.
Getting to Italy
International and US airlines operate direct flights to mayor cities in Italy.
GMT/UTC +1 (+2 in summer) (Central European Time)
Start: On the last Sunday in March
End: On the last Sunday in October
Flights to Book
All our tours to Italy are programmed taking into account all arrival/departure airline schedules
Arrival & Departure Information
Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC does not purchase international airline tickets. You would need to book your own tickets online or you can contact the airlines directly or call your travel agency. Once you have the confirmed flights please send us you flight information in/out to/from Italy. We will confirm your flight out from Italy to your next destination.
Important: The Participant's airline tickets, when issued, shall constitute the sales contract between the airline companies and the Participant.
If for any reason the flight to/from Italy is cancelled because of bad weather or mechanical problems, the guest loses the first night in Italy hotel without refund and activity planed for that day. The guest is also responsible for the costs of the additional night or additional expenses where flight originated.
Currency, Banks and Credit Cards
The Euro is the official currency in Italy. The new monetary currency is the Euro which is divided as follows: bills of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500; coins of 1, 2 Euros; 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents.
The visitor can change money/traveler checks at banks, currency exchange offices and most major airports. All major tourist destinations have ATM machines available 24 hours a day. You can use credit or debit cards at ATM’s.
Credit cards are widely accepted at most restaurants, hotels and stores.
Banks in Italy are open Monday through Friday from 8:35 a.m. to 1:35 p.m. and from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.; in many tourist areas they are open non-stop from 8.30 a.m. to 4p.m. and closed all day on Saturday and Sunday and on national.
The afternoon one-hour opening may vary from city to city. Travelers’ checks can be exchanged for Italian currency at most hotels and shops and at the foreign exchange offices in main railway stations and at the airports.
The ATM’s (Automatic Teller Machines) in Italy are known as Bancomat. There are many to be found in the large cities and even in small towns. The machines operate just as they do in the U.S.; at the beginning of the transaction, it prompts the user for the preferred language.
Using a credit card, or even better, a debit card or your local bank ATM card is very easy. One must first locate either the Cirrus or BankMate symbol (on the Bancomat and on your card) to insure the card is usable on that particular unit. Cirrus and BankMate are the two most popular and widespread banking systems in the world so they are the best to have. If you are unsure about the compatibility or the banking systems, contact your credit card company or local bank.
After discovering the system is compatible, simply withdraw money as you would at home. Of course, in Italy the money will be dispensed as Euros, but when you return home, your bank will have converted the Euros into dollars using the best exchange rate possible. Be careful though when using credit cards, as many banks are now charging large fees of 2.5% to 4% for cash advances which negate any advantage of using the Bancomat in the first place. One's best bet is to use your regular ATM card and simply withdraw money from your account just as you would do at your local bank.
It is highly recommended to leave at home all jewelry and expensive watches. If you do bring valuables, most hotels will provide our clients with a safe deposit box located in the hotel management office. High-end hotels provide clients with a safety deposit box in the rooms. A fee may be charged for this service. MVE is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Electricity – Charging photo/video batteries
Electric Plug Details
European plug with two circular metal pins.
A visitor carrying electrical appliances to Italy should have a transformer, either obtained before leaving your country or bought at an electrical appliance shop in Italy. Plugs have round prongs, not flat; therefore an adapter plug is required.
Access to telephone, fax is available at your hotels. Some hotels provide clients with access to internet and most towns have internet cafés that are open late at night. Public telephones are available throughout Italy. Either local or international calls require the use of a phone card (Carta Telefonica) which may be purchased at any newsstand, tobacco shop or "bar"(coffee shop).
Italy's climate is as varies as its culture and cuisine. From north to south and from sea level to mountain hill towns temperatures varied dramatically. In general the ideal times to visit Italy are during the spring or fall months.
In the northern region of the country like Piedmont, Tuscany and the Ligurian Alps the winters are cold and dry. The summers in the hill towns are pleasant since the temperatures are cool compared with hot temperatures on the plains. During the winter and autumn months the plains are covered with dense fog. The best time to visit this region of Italy is during the spring and fall seasons when temperatures are delightful. During the months of September and October the wine region is busy with the harvest and provides visitor with a great opportunity to observe how some of the best wines in the world are produced.
The Italian Riviera is blessed with extraordinary mild climate during the spring and fall seasons. The sun shines most of the year. Fogs hardly ever cover the Riviera coast and the mountains and hills and rarely covered with snow providing the perfect conditions for olive and chest trees to strive.
Sicily has a Mediterranean climate. Winters are mild and the summers are very hot. Spring and autumn months are the ideal times to be in Sicily and affords the best weather.
We highly recommend that our clients visit a weather website to get the latest weather information before departure.
Casual wash and wear clothing is most appropriate during your journey. Lightweight rain gear is useful for brief showers (waterproof plastic rain ponchos, not Gore-tex, are ideal). For evenings in the city, dress as formal as you wish (establishments don’t require suits or cocktail dresses). Light/heavy long-sleeve shirts/blouses and sweater and well-insulated windbreaker is necessary for cool nights in the highlands and even the jungle.
- Lightweight hiking boot with good ankle support and tread if you have difficulty walking on uneven terrain. Other option: Good pair of walking shoes if ankle support is not necessary. Avoid if possible using white tennis shoes during the trip.
- Comfortable dress shoes for the evening.
- Rain poncho/ umbrella
- Padded socks
- Comfortable pants for walking
- Quick dry, washable shirts, Polo style shirts, long sleeves. Darker colors are best.
- Hat with brim, sunglasses, sunscreen
- “Daypack”-type backpack to carry water, camera, snacks etc.
- Sweater or sweatshirt for cooler days/evenings
- Prescription medicines, film, band-aids, sunscreen, hat
Slacks, sweaters, casual/dress-up shirts, skirts. Dinners are generally casual during our program but Italians are elegant and do dress up for dinner. No white jogging shoes or shorts to dinner. Black and other dark colors are the best color to pack for evenings.
The hotels where we stay on the walking trip have laundry service, but these services are not generally available on weekends. Check the prices; this service can be very expensive. We recommend that you pack at least some clothing that can be easily hand-washed, rinsed, and dried overnight.
Note: Our space for baggage in the bus is not infinite. Please limit your luggage to one medium-sized suitcase per person, plus a small carry-on and your backpack.
Conditions & Responsibilities
Mondo Verde Expeditions LLCand/or their employees act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel, whether by car, boat, or airplane and assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity that may be caused either by reasons of defect in the vehicle or for any reasons engaged in conveying the client or carrying out the arrangements of the tour. They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, or other causes. All such expenses will have to be borne by the passenger.
- Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC (MVE) is not responsible for extra costs caused by delays or cancellation of air, road, lake, river or trail travel due to bad weather conditions, civil or government strikes or sickness.
- Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC (MVE) HIGHLY recommends that our clients protect themselves with travel insurance to prevent any financial losses.
Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC, HIGHLY recommends that our clients protect themselves with travel insurance to prevent any financial losses.