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OverviewTuscany! The word evokes a rush of senses: the sight of rolling hills covered in grapevines and olive trees, the taste of Chianti and pecorino cheese, sunlight on terra-cotta roofs, exquisite art, cathedrals, and museums, and the intimate chatter of friends whose families have been neighbors for centuries. Join us in Siena for a new program at a relaxed pace, featuring specialized excursions and plenty of time to explore and enjoy on your own. Whether you come solo or with a friend or spouse, you’re sure to return home relaxed, rejuvenated, and with new friends and renewed passions.
Designed for the independent-minded traveler, City Explorers offers a more relaxed pace with a delightful balance between guided group activities and time on your own. Our residential experts offer specialized tours of the Duomo, art museum, and contrada museums, while an in-depth walking tour and engaging language lessons prepare you for exploring on your own. Enjoy wine tastings in Chianti and Pienza, pastries in San Gimignano, and gelato in Siena, as well as a cooking class, market visits, and dinner in the home of a Sienese family. You’ll meet local residents over a glass of wine, learn about their traditions, and savor la dolce vita in an Italian town. With the luxury of time and local connections, you’ll have the freedom to be as active—and interactive—as you’d like, becoming part of the life of a Tuscan town.
Smithsonian ExpertsOur program will be led by a fascinating group of residents who will provide intimate insight into the culture and traditions of Siena. Each will share their knowledge and expertise, while giving you their own personal meaning of living and exploring Siena. A longstanding friend to our program is local art historian Maria Torchio, who will lead many of the guided walks and art historical visits. Her proud membership to the Selva Contrada will also give us great access into the world and significance of the Palio. Our journey into the culinary wonders of the region will be guided by American-born cookbook writer Pamela Sheldon Johns.
Special HighlightsAttend specialized tours of the Duomo, the art museum, and a Contrada museum, as well as an in-depth walking tour of the historic area.Participate in engaging language lessons, held in the market, museum, and over meals, which provide a level of confidence when exploring on your own and ordering at restaurants.Enjoy special tastings and sessions focused on Italian cuisine, including a cooking class with a noted cookbook author, wine tastings in Chianti and Pienza (home to some of the best reds in Italy!), pastries at the famous café Nannini, gelato at a neighborhood gelateria, neighborhood market visits, and dinner in the home of a Sienese family.Spend a few afternoons or evenings with longtime residents and their friends who are eager to share their interests—about the neighborhood contradas and the Palio horse race traditions, Italian cinema, medieval history, modern Italy, and more.Enjoy opportunities to experience the Tuscan countryside the way you want—a leisurely countryside walk or bicycle ride, garden visits, or even painting your own Tuscan landscape on canvas!With plenty of time at leisure, and our local expert available for guidance, you’ll feel comfortable and confident exploring on your own in Siena or taking a day-trip to Florence, another bike ride in the country, and so much more. Or, maybe you’ll just enjoy il dolce far niente… the sweetness of doing nothing!
World Heritage sitesThis tour features the following World Heritage sites on this tour:
See a complete list of all Smithsonian tours featuring World Heritage sites.
- Historic Center of Siena
- Historic Center of San Gimignano
- Historic Center of Florence