• Florence, Tuscany & Umbria: My Private Services

    In addition to private transfers, and customized services throughout Toscana & Umbria, a listing of my popular private tours.

  • Please see my Wine Tours of Italy for wine focused private daytrips into Tuscany, however most of the below in outings in Tuscany could be customized to include vineyards & wine tastings. In addition I can arrange cooking classes in Florence, or out in Tuscany, as well as throughout Italy.

    Classic Florence - 3 Hours

    Welcome to Firenze, the birth & heart of the Italian Renaissance! Today in this beautiful city you’ll take a step back in time to Renaissance Florence on this delightful walking tour featuring the main cultural highlights and treasures of the city. You’ll walk across the famed Ponte Vecchio. Lined with jewelers and you can admire the Arno River view in both directions off the bridge. Together we will stroll the charming old narrow streets just as hey were in medieval times. Perhaps you would like to stop and browse at one of the top-of-the-line Italian famous fashion boutiques or other. Then you’ll head to the Piazza della Signoria, Florence main piazza with many statues lining the piazza, including a replica of Michelangelo’s David, and Neptune’s Fountain. Here you’ll find the town hall with its clock tower, and just adjacent the famous Uffizi Galleria. Enquirer about including a visit inside to see the Renaissance masters most famous works of art. Then it’s onto the cathedral complex, known as Piazza dell’Duomo. The Duomo with its magnificent cupola by Brunelleschi, is the symbol of Firenze and Its grand bell tower by Giotto. As well just across from it is the Baptistry with Ghilberti’s beautiful Golden Doors, known as the gates of Paradise. Our final stop today will be an included interior visit of the Accademia Museum, home of the original masterpiece by Michelangelo, The David.

     

    Inclusions:

    Advanced Reservations & Entry Tickets

    Local English-speaking expert walking guide

     

    Alternate Versions of this tour:

    Secrets & Traditions of Florence - 3 Hours (Focusing on the Oltrano district and leather production shops)

    Jewish Florence - 3 Hours (Focusing on Jewish elements & history in Florence)

    Florence of the Middle Ages - 3 Hours (Focusing on the Historical elements of the Renaissance w/visit in the Palazzo Vecchio)

    The Tuscan Countryside - 9 Hours

    Full day with a private driver through the Tuscan countryside, along with a local expert guide. This wonderful tour of Tuscany’s southern hill towns will include visiting Montepulciano, Pienza (UNESCO World Heritage Site) & Montalcino. Plus a drive through the Orcia Valley a one of a kind beautiful landscape & UNESCO World Heritage Site: its gentle rolling hills to the horizon with its elegant soft greens to ochre, browns and rows of picturesque cypress trees. Many other sites will be seen today including the Abbey of S. Antimo, built by Charles the Great. We will then stop to admire the unique Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and discover the inlaid wooden works that the Benedictine monks made around year 1000, way before this technique became popular in 1400s. Then it is a nice drive through the so called "clay hills of Siena" to admire the beautiful natural colors this land offers to visitors. We will have lunch in a local trattoria that will be pre reserved for you.

     

    Inclusions:

    Advanced Reservations & All Entry Tickets

    Local English-speaking expert walking guide & all transportation.

    Treasures of the Uffizi - 3 Hours

    The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is the most famous of all the museums in Florence and is one of the most famous & important museums in the world. Originally built in 1560 to house the principal government offices of the State, the Uffizi Museum now contains some of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance. It was built by Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo I de’ Medici, to house the administrative and legal offices. With your private guide today, you will see the masters of the Renaissance with works by Botticelli, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Caravaggio and Tiziano, among others.

    The most impressive in famous of these masterpieces is in The Hall of Botticelli, as it houses two of the most famous paintings in the world: the Allegory of Spring (Allegoria della Primavera) and the Birth of Venus (Nascita di Venere). Your guide will take you through the galleries and show you to most important collections in the Uffizi. The it will be followed by a walking tour of the Piazza della Signoria and its famous statues.

     

    Inclusions:

    Advanced Reservations & All Entry Tickets

    Local English-speaking expert walking guide

    The Accademia - 3 Hours

    Created by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1784 as a place of study for students of the nearby Academy of Fine Arts (Accademia di Belle Arti) which was the first academy of drawing in Europe, the Academy Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia) in Florence today retains some of the most beautiful works of Michelangelo. The most instantly recognized sculpture in the world, Michelangelo's incomparable David. Among the notable Renaissance works on display are an outstanding collection of 15th and 16th century Florentine paintings and Giambologna's original plaster for the Rape of the Sabine Women. In addition to the statue of David, the Accademia Museum also features the famous sculptures by Michelangelo known as the Prisoners (Prigioni)

    The tour also includes a visit to either the Medici chapels or Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the residence of Cosimo di Medici. Please let us know which you would prefer. The Medici Chapels houses some beautiful sculptures that are part of the funerary monuments of the members of the Medici family.

     

    Inclusions:

    Advanced Reservations & All Entry Tickets

    Local English-speaking expert walking guide

    Cinque Terre - 6 Hours+ transportation

    An incredible daytrip to visit the popular Cinque Terre, this tour can begin with pickup from the cruise port in Livorno, from Florence, Portofino, La Spezia, Rapallo or Santa Margherita Ligure. Please let us know where you’ll be staying to determine the length of full day and cost of day. Once your driver picks you up and brings you into the Cinque Terre, the time in the villages will be approx. 6 hours, including the park train of Cinque Terre. This is where the tour with your local expert guide truly begins as you’ll be drive to the train station at either the northern or southern entry to Cinque Terre. At the station you will meet you guide who will board the train with you and you will travel together into Cinque Terre.

     

    In this amount of time, you’ll be able to visit by train 3 of the 5 villages that make up the Cinque Terre. You can decide from Corniglia, Vernazza or Monterosso ,Riomaggiore or Manarola.

    OR

    You can choose one village today, and in addition we will hike between Riomaggiore & Manarola on the famous cliffside mountain coastal paved hiking road known as the Path of Love. Which connects these two villages on foot.

     

    Cinque Terre is a set of five cliffside villages perched on the Italian Riviera. These centuries-old seaside towns were once fishing villages. The area was later a beach resort, and today attracts visitors to its seaside trails and culinary specialties. Cinque Terre is a National Park of Italy.

     

    Villages:

    Riomaggiore: Has the characteristic tower houses that were built along the river in the village.

    Manarola: Colorful houses that are built into the hillside & water’s edge.

    Cornglia: Has narrow streets, very quaint & picturesque old town.

    Vernazza: Has a natural little harbor set into a suggestive inlet.

    Monterosso: Beautiful golden beaches and a gigantic statue of Neptune

     

    Inclusions: Local expert English speaking guide + all Cinque Terre train & driver transportation.

     

    Optional: Arrange for a private skippered boat along the coast of the Cinque Terre, as well as ferry tickets can be included if desired. We can also offer a driver for the entire day.

    Siena & San Gimigiano - 8 Hours

    Described as Tuscany’s most historic & beautiful hill town, today you enjoy an intro to Siena! Many know Siena as the famous town and location for the highly touted Palio horserace, which is conducted twice annually right in Siena’s main piazza, the Piazza del Campo. A highlight of your private guided tour today is this piazza in all its grandeur and beauty. Your guided tour will continue through town to highlight the major monuments of this historic city. Such as the Palazzo Pubblico and Siena’s fascinating Duomo, home to an amazing collection of works by Bernini, Michelangelo & Donatello.

    After lunch in a local delicious trattoria, we will travel through the Sienese hills and arrive at the medieval town of San Gimignano for a visit. Known as the Manhattan of Tuscany, this 10th century hill town looks like a city with ancient skyscrapers from a distance. Those are the 15 medieval that form its skyline. With your guide you will wonder the charming cobblestone streets and enjoy the afternoon at your leisure on own. From here you will be returned to your hotel in Florence or Tuscan region.

     

    Optional: +1 Hour

    Visit of the Contrada Museum: Headquarters of the Contrada, with the room of Victories where they take all the banners that Contrada won during the centuries, see the costumes that people wear during the historical parade before the Palio horse race and beautiful works of art that belong to the Contrada and visit the church of the Contrada where they do the blessing of the horse.

     

    Inclusions:

    Advanced Reservations & All Entry Tickets

    Local English-speaking expert walking guide & all transportation.

     

    Alternate Versions of this tour:

    Classic Siena - 2 Hours (Walking Tour)

     

    The Medici Famiglia - 3 Hours

    The Medici’s were one of the most influential & wealthy Italian families of the Renaissance age. They were the bankers of Firenze. The Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, first attained wealth & political power in the 13th century through its success in commerce and banking. Beginning in 1434 Florence became the heart of the Renaissance with the rise of Cosimo de’ Medici, & the family’s support of the arts & humanities. While the family line died out in the 1700s, over 400 years the Medici’s were a powerhouse, produced four popes and mixed with the elite royal European families.

    Your private guided tour of the San Lorenzo district starts with San Lorenzo, the Medici’s parish church. The white and grey cruciform interior, built by none other than Brunelleschi himself, is one of the earliest and most harmonious Renaissance buildings, housing important works of art by Filippo Lippi, Donatello, Antonio del Pollaiolo and Verrocchio and the famous Old Sacristy.

     

    Your tour will continue with a visit to the Medici Chapels, two incredible jewels of the Italian architecture and art. The Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes) built in the 17C, is a high octagon entirely lined with colored marbles and semiprecious stones, a tour de force of craftsmanship in hard stones. The New Sacristy was entirely designed and decorated by Michelangelo and contains some of his finest sculptures: the beautiful tombs of Lorenzo Duke of Urbino and Giuliano Duke of Nemours.

     

    We will end in a special place.....The “Mercato Centrale”, the old food Florentine market where to find delicacies: T-bone steak, porcini mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, wine, cheese, pasta, balsamic vinegar... all your desires will be satisfied!

     

    Inclusions: Expert local English speaking walking guide

     

    Pisa & Lucca - 8 Hours

    Our Pisa & Lucca tour can be customized to begin in the region or in Florence, or from Livorno cruise port. Please make us aware of your starting point for driver pickup and proper pricing. Based on a hotel pick up in Florence, your private driver will drive you west through the Tuscan countryside and arrive in Pisa. In Pisa you’ll have free time on own to see & experience the medieval city and its Campo dei Miracoli, with its Duomo, Baptistry & the Leaning Tower. Then meet back with your driver and together you’ll depart for Lucca, an elegant Renaissance city on the western reaches of Tuscany. Lucca was made famous in the 1500’s by the silk trade.

     

    Once you arrive in Lucca you’ll meet with a local private guide who will introduction you to this beautiful city and show you its highlights today. Lucca is one of the cities most loved in all Tuscany & is surrounded by its massive walls (which you can walk atop) Once the walls lost their military importance, the top of the walls became a pedestrian promenade, today they are one of Lucca's main attractions. The area around the walls is well taken care of, with green grass and trees everywhere. They have in become a park that surrounds the city. Lucca’s winding narrow streets are dotted with interesting workshops and boutiques, as well as beautiful piazzas and churches. You’ll spend 2 hours seeing Lucca with your guide. Then you’ll have some free time on own & time for lunch on own in one of Lucca’s highly recommended restaurants, as Lucca is renowned for its incredible local cuisine.

     

    Inclusions: Private English-speaking local expert guide (in Lucca) & driver, and all transportation

    Assisi Walking Tour - 3 Hours

    You’ll start your private guided walking our of Assisi today Basilica of St. Claire in the upper town part of Assisi. The adjoining piazza will give you a picture-perfect viewpoint on the uppermost part of Assisi, including the Cathedral (Cathedral of San Rufino and Rocca Maggiore, the medieval fortress) and on the valley below in Lower Assisi (Basilica of St Mary of the Angels). Before reaching the main piazza, we will make a stopover to see the so-called Chiesa Nuova (New Church) built in the XVII century on the site where St. Francis born (his house). In the nearby Piazza del Comune, the Town Hall and some other XIII century buildings & above all, the Roman Temple of Minerva dating from the 1st century BC. On the ground floor of the People’s Captain Tower, the standard measures of medieval Assisi are worthy a look.

     

    From the main piazza, taking a beautiful backstreet with a never-ending stairway, we get to the beginning of St Francis Street that goes down to the main church. Along the way two other short stops will be made to see the Pilgrims’ Hospital and the Headquarters of the Stone Masons Guild in Assisi. Finally, a detailed tour of the inside of St Francis Upper and Lower Basilica and all its frescoes by Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.

     

    Inclusions:

    Local English-speaking expert walking guide

    Orvieto Walking Tour - 3 Hours

    Beautiful gothic Orvieto awaits you on this private guided walking tour. Orvieto is a walled city on a hill with a single main entrance. Our starting point today is the Piazza Cahen, on the southeastern side of the rock of Orvieto, to see the remains of the medieval fortress (XIV century), the ruins of the Etruscan Temple of Belvedere and the XVI century St Patrick’s Well, which supplied water to the fortress in case of a siege, and it even one time was used in the 16th century as a place of refuge for the pope. Walking uphill along the Corso Cavour (main street), we will first visit the XIX century Mancinelli theatre, the medieval Torre del Moro and the adjoining Piazza del Popolo with the People’s Captain Palace.

     

    Orvieto sits high above the Umbrian countryside, perfectly situated on a tufa rock. The city rises dramatically up the facade of the rock giving it an enchanting fairytale story feeling. Surrounding the city are the defensive walls, built from the same tufa.

     

    Later we will take Duomo Street which leads straight to the Cathedral, considered the most beautiful example of Gothic religious architecture in all of Italy. You will have a detailed tour of both the exterior & interior of the Duomo, built to keep a famous relic associated to a Eucharistic miracle that happened in the nearby town of Bolsena. Inside the Duomo is also a magnificent fresco cycle by Luca Signorelli about the End of the World and the Final Judgement.

     

    Inclusions: Expert local English speaking walking guide

    Perugia Walking Tour - 3 Hours

    The charming Umbrian gem of Perugia. The city is spread over a hilltop and valleys and crosses the Tiber River. It is a famous for being a university town with two prominent universities, the University of Perugia founded in 1308 and the University for Foreigners. Your private guided tour starts today at the Rocca Paolina, which are the remains of an imposing XVI century fortress. Our next stop is Piazza Italia with its XIX century palaces. Then on to the Palazzo dei Priori (City Hall of Perugia), where the Gryphon and the Lion, these two bronze statues cast in the XIII century, are the symbols of the city and works by great Renaissance painters (Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Benozzo Gozzoli, Perugino, Pinturicchio and many others). In the middle of the adjoining piazza, the Fontana Maggiore, considered the most beautiful medieval fountain in the whole country, the work of Nicola & Giovanni Pisano.

     

    Opposite the fountain a stairway that leads to the first floor of the Palazzo dei Priori into the Sala dei Notari with stunning frescoes dating from the end of the XIII century which are said to probably have been painted by one of the helpers of Giotto in Assisi. Across from the fountain, on the side of the piazza is the imposing but unfinished gothic cathedral of San Lorenzo with its uncommon layout and what is supposed to be a holy relic: the wedding ring of the Virgin Mary. Close to the Cathedral the viewpoint of Colle del Sole with a breathtaking sight on Sant’Angelo, the best-preserved medieval quarter of Perugia & with its Etruscan walls, the delightful medieval center, Perugia is not only a city for the chocolate lovers but as well for artists & art lovers.

     

    Inclusions: Expert local English speaking walking guide

    The Etruscans - 9 Hours

    The Etruscans were one of the most powerful civilizations before the founding of the Roman Empire. Their civilization, now a vanished culture whose achievements set the stage not only for the development of ancient Roman art and culture but for the Italian Renaissance as well. Their civilization is believed to have peaked in Italy in 6bc. Though you may not have heard of them, the Etruscans were the first "superpower" of the Western Mediterranean who, alongside the Greeks, developed the earliest true cities in Europe. They were so successful, in fact, that the most important cities in modern Tuscany (Florence, Pisa, and Siena to name a few) were first established by the Etruscans and have been continuously inhabited since then.

     

    Today’s private tour includes important sites to the Etruscans. As we first travel down the ancient Roman Via Aurelia, where with your private English-speaking guide you’ll visit the Etruscan ruins. As the tour progresses, you’ll visit Pitigliano, known as ‘Little Jerusalem’, an ancient city perched on a hill and dug into the tuff, located in the countryside of Grosseto. Then it is on to Sorano, a village carved literally into the rocks, here you be able to explore the alleys, niches, and cellars. Next we visit Sovana. A smaller town but has preserved its charm & magic. The landscapes, the food, wine and seeing the incredible Archaeological Park Citta del Tufo will surely leave you speechless. Last we will visit the ancient site of Vitozza, and incredible opportunity for you to see this old town where early Etruscans lived for several hundred years.

     

    Inclusions:

    Private English-speaking local expert guide & driver, and all transportation

    Pickup: Any Hotel in Florence

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