Our Journeys

The Best of Central Italy, with the Siena Palio Race and Florence
June 26 - July 6, 2016


The Best of Central Italy, with the Siena Palio Race and Florence – Summer 2016

Itinerary Details
7 nights in Tuscany
3 nights in Florence
Total 10 nights – 11 days

Price: $4,110 (with Palio ticket), $3,590 (without Palio ticket)
Single room supplement: $650
Note: If someone is not interested in the Palio race – they can either stay back at the castle or come to Siena with the group transport and then come back the same way – without having to attend the race.


DAY 0 - June 25 - Fly from US to Florence

Please depart from the US at the latest on June 25 to arrive on the morning of the 26th. We recommend you depart the US on the 24th to arrive on the 25th to have a good night's sleep before the tour begins. Contact us if you need help reserving a pre-night room accommodation

DAY 1 - June 26 - Florence arrival and transfer to the heart of Tuscany countryside

Our group will meet around 10 or 10:30 a.m. on the 26th. You will be driven from the airport of Florence to a beautiful refurbished castle/resort in the heart of Tuscany. Sleep in the Tuscan Countryside - at Castello di Montalto or similar

DAY 2 - June 27 - Tuscany - Cortona and Lake Trasimeno

Today you will drive along the shores of Lake Trasimeno to an olive oil mill that we believe produces the best olive oil in Italy. You will sample several grades of olive oil and learn how recognize the best quality. You will then enjoy a short boat ride to Polvese Island, one of three small islands on this special lake. You will stroll along the island’s perimeter to behold spectacular views of the lake and enjoy a lunch of fresh lake fish. You will have the afternoon to explore the gorgeous Tuscan hill town of Cortona, once an important center of Etruscan civilization. You will have time to stroll and discover this beautiful city centre at your own pace under the Tuscan sun (here is where the movie and the book were set). Sleep at Castello di Montalto

DAY 3 - June 28 - An introduction to Siena

Today you will head off to one of Tuscany's grand jewels: the city of Siena. You will visit the city again in a few days for the famous palio, the horse race all Sienese live for, but meanwhile you will take in some of its amazing architectural masterpieces such as the grand Cathedral and the Campo square. You will have time on your own to soak in the atmosphere of this unforgettable town, people watching, eating ice-cream and sipping wine at one of the many local great bars before heading back to the castle to enjoy a lovely afternoon! Sleep at Castello di Montalto

DAY 4 - June 29 - Volterra

Today you will visit Volterra, an ancient city founded at the very top of a steep hill. Volterra is known for its Etruscan tombs, alabaster workshops, and artisan galleries. You will start your city discovery with a stop to visit some Etruscan tombs in the outskirts of the city and will then visit the city famous Etruscan museum. You will have the opportunity to watch alabaster being carved and browse the local shops. Sleep at Castello di Montalto

DAY 5 - June 30 - Montepulciano and Pienza

This morning you will first stop in beautiful Montepulciano. You will visit the village and then sample the famous wine “Vino Nobile” at a small, family-owned winery. You will then head to Pienza, where you will enjoy an incredible landscape that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage monument. You will then sample Pienza’s amazing pecorino cheese while your guide shares the legends and traditions of the local area with you. Sleep at Castello di Montalto

DAY 6 - July 1 - Orvieto

This morning you will hit the road again to reach one of the prettiest towns in all of Central Italy - the hilltown of Orvieto. Built on a high plateau of tufa rock, this historic town will surely be a cultural highlight of your trip. Here you will behold the very frescoes that inspired Michelangelo to paint his “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel, and then visit a pastry shop that rests above a secret, mile-long Etruscan tunnel. Alessandra's friend, Maurizio, the shop's owner and an early proponent of the Slow Food Movement, will teach you a few Umbrian cooking secrets after showing you the private tunnels his father has been renovating for over 20 years ago. Sleep at Castello di Montalto

DAY 7 - July 2 - Siena

Today you will head off to one of Tuscany's grand jewels: the city of Siena. You will take in the famous Palio, the horse race all Sienese are crazy about. This is the most famous festival in Italy and you will enjoy it in grand style - watching the race from a privilege seat. You will have time on your own to soak in the atmosphere of this unforgettable day, people watching, eating ice-cream and sipping wine at one of the many local great bars before heading back to the castle. Sleep at Castello di Montalto

DAY 8 - July 3 - San Gimignano and Florence

Today you will say good bye to your country resort, and will head towards Florence. En route you will visit San Gimignano, the famous city of towers. In the 14th-century, San Gimignano had 70 towers, and although only a few still remain, the town center is well preserved. This medieval town is especially beautiful as we sit in the piazza, enjoying a glass of local Vernaccia wine or some of San Gimignano's acclaimed gelato. After a relaxed visit to this smaller city you will reach Florence and will check in at your centrally located hotel. Sleep in Florence

DAY 9 - July 4 - Florence

You will have a relaxed morning and will then take in the great wonders of Florence. In the afternoon your local guide will meet you and give you an unforgettable introduction to this essential city. As most travelers might have visited Florence before we can talk about what to see, which museum/s we can include in the visit etc. Sleep in Florence

DAY 10 - July 5 - Florence

Today you will enjoy some more of this awesome city - with a visit to one of its famous museums and a lovely farewell dinner. Sleep in Florence

DAY 11 - July 6 - Fly out of Florence

Today you will fly back to the US or start your tour extension in Italy


What is included in the trip

– Lodging: 7 nights in a charming countryside castle/inn in Tuscany and 3 nights in a carefully selected, centrally located first category hotel in Florence
– All group transportation in a deluxe air-conditioned private bus, driver expenses (food, lodging), parking fees, city entry taxes for bus
– All breakfasts and one main meal per day including wine
– The services of a professional tour leader throughout the trip (inclusive of lodging and expenses) and local guides
– Entrance to museums and attractions as per itinerary
– A great cooking class
– Wine tastings as per the itinerary
– Olive oil tasting

What is not included

– International airfare from and to the US
– Personal expenses
– Tips for your Customized Journeys guide, driver and local guides
– Travel and medical insurance.

The extra price for insurance

-Silver policy (post departure travel and medical insurance): $35 per person
-Gold policy (cancellation insurance): $180 per person if purchasing the package without the palio, and $200 if purchasing the package with the palio seats
-Cancel for any reason policy: $280 per person if purchasing the package without the palio – $300 per person if purchasing the package with the palio seats

Pre-Booked Hotels – to be confirmed

-Castello di Montalto – www.montalto.it
-NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa – www.nh-collection.com/hotel/nh-collection-firenze-porta-rossa

Please check here for the latest Covid-19 travel updates

Dear Friends & Travelers,

The safety and well-being of our clients is our top priority.

We continue to closely monitor the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and relying on recommendations from the US State Department, CDC, World Health Organization, and other relevant authorities at home and abroad.

For trips that are postponed due by Customized Journeys due to safety concerns or country closures due to Covid-19, we continue to offer these options to clients for trips with departures in 2022:

1. Join your group’s alternate date
If your trip is postponed, you will have the option of joining the future alternate date and will gladly transfer your reservation to this date.

2. Reschedule your trip on a different Customized Journeys departure
If the alternate date for your program does not work for you, we are happy to work with you to find a different date, private trip, or future program that will suit your needs and interests.

3. Receive a Future Travel Credit (FTC)
If your preference is to wait to travel, we will put your reservation on hold and apply your funds toward a future Customized Journeys travel program of your choosing. This FTC is valid for 2 years from your original departure date.

As the situation continues to evolve, we have learned that what makes sense today may be different tomorrow.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need additional information to help with your decision process.

Thank you for your commitment and understanding.

The Customized Journeys team