Travel under the Tuscan – and Umbrian – sun, on a leisurely idyll through two of Italy’s most storied regions. Ancient Etruscan hill towns, timeless landscapes, awe-inspiring art, and especially, openhearted people, render the essence of Italy. And a stay in the “Eternal City” of Rome adds the grace note to this small group tour. 

Starting at: $4,987 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi  Botticelli's <i>The Birth of Venus</i> in the Uffizi in Florence  View of the Tuscan hill town of Pienza  Traditional foods of Tuscany  Freshly made pasta  The Roman Forum  Typical residence in Tuscany hill town  The ethereal landscape of Tuscany  The dramatic facade of Orvieto's cathedral   The Etruscan town of Orvieto, sitting high above the Umbrian plain  Typical street scene in Cortona  Michelangelo's <i>David</i> in the Accademia in Florence  The quintessential Tuscan countryside, replete with rolling hills, cypress trees, and farmhouses  The legendary Roman Colosseum  The distinctive architecture of Siena Cathedral   The Palazzo Pubblico in Siena's Campo  Cathedral Santa Maria del Fior, Duomo, in Florence, Italy

Gems of Tuscany and Umbria

13 days from $4,987 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Travel under the Tuscan – and Umbrian – sun, on a leisurely idyll through two of Italy’s most storied regions. Ancient Etruscan hill towns, timeless landscapes, awe-inspiring art, and especially, openhearted people, render the essence of Italy. And a stay in the “Eternal City” of Rome adds the grace note to this small group tour. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

I would recommend Smithsonian Tours to anyone, from the novice to the most experienced traveler. Single travelers will certainly feel at home as well. I feel sure I will travel with Smithsonian again.

- Rosalee C.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

The quintessential Tuscan and Umbrian landscapes elicit images of rolling green hills replete with ripe vineyards and punctuated with tall cypress trees, while hilltop villages with fortifications and watchtowers protect precious cathedrals and artistic heritage. During our special sojourn, explore ancient Etruscan, medieval, and Renaissance towns and their many treasures and feel like a local by staying in smaller villages and savoring traditional cuisine.

Highlights Include

  • Florence: Enjoy two full days to explore the “cradle of the Renaissance.” Guided tours of the historic city center and the Accademia, Pitti Palace, and Boboli Gardens showcase some of the city’s most prized artistic treasures as does a visit to the Uffizi Gallery at your own pace. Take delight in accommodations at a country estate and an afternoon at leisure to explore independently.
  • Tuscany: Experience the charming rhythms of daily life in Cortona during a two- night stay in this hilltop town (featured in Under the Tuscan Sun), which is a classic example of Etruscan city planning and architecture. You’ll also visit medie- val Siena with its fan-shaped Piazza del Campo and fine cathedral, housing art by Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini. In Pienza, learn about the city’s influential Renaissance design and enjoy a special tasting of Montepulciano wines.
  • Umbria: Stop in the dramatic white-stone city of Assisi to witness the renowned 13th-century Basilica of San Francesco and its priceless frescoes by Giotto and Cavellini, plus the Basilica of Saint Clare. While in Umbria, stay in the hilltop town of Todi, whose Piazza del Popolo ranks as perhaps the finest public square in Italy. In scenic Orvieto, located atop a dramatic plateau, visit the famous cathedral with art work by Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli, and enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by a traditional lunch.
  • Rome: Conclude your tour in Rome and imagine the ancient city as you tour the Colosseum and Roman Forum.

I would recommend Smithsonian Tours to anyone, from the novice to the most experienced traveler. Single travelers will certainly feel at home as well. I feel sure I will travel with Smithsonian again.

- Rosalee C.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Florence, Italy

Day 2 — Arrive Florence

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, a historic country estate just 4 1⁄2 miles from the city center. Late afternoon meet your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, Tour Director, and fellow travelers at a briefing about the journey ahead, followed by a welcome dinner at the hotel. (D)

Day 3 — Florence

Today explore Florence, “cradle of the Renaissance” and still renowned as a city of art and culture. Your walking tour includes the historic city center, a World Heritage site comprising the Baptistery, Campanile, and Santa Maria del Fiore – also known as the Duomo – whose 14th-century red-brick dome by Brunelleschi remains the largest of its type ever built. At the Galleria dell’Accademia see Michelangelo’s David, as well as the sculptor’s pieces for the papal tombs. This afternoon visit another of Florence’s, and indeed Europe’s, treasured museums: the Uffizi Gallery. Here hang works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, Giotto, Caravaggio, and Botticelli, whose Primavera (Allegory of Spring) ranks as one of the most popular paintings in the Western world. Return to your hotel late afternoon; for dinner on your own tonight you may opt to return to Florence to sample Tuscan fare at one of its many restaurants. (B,L) 

Day 4 — Florence

On a morning tour visit Pitti Palace, the 15th-century Renaissance stronghold later owned by the Medici to house treasures they amassed as one of Tuscany’s ruling families. Now a museum, the Pitti Palace holds important collections of porcelain, silver, and costumes, as well as paintings and sculpture. It also boasts the 111-acre Boboli Gardens, a formal Italian garden with fountains, grottoes, and sculpture from the 16th- to 18th-centuries. After your tour of the palace and gardens, the remainder of the day is at leisure; you may wish to remain in Florence for independent exploration. (B,D) 

Day 5 — Siena, Cortona

Leaving Florence today, stop in the Tuscan hill town of Siena, whose ochre-colored buildings and ancient ramparts evoke the city’s medieval past and whose historic city center is a World Heritage site. Fan-shaped Piazza del Campo is one of Europe’s greatest public squares; its Duomo, with works by Bernini, Donatello, and Michelangelo, one of Italy’s finest. Set out on a guided walking tour here then have time for lunch on your own in this city known for its authentic Tuscan dishes. Continue on to Cortona, arriving mid-afternoon. (B,D)

Day 6 — Cortona

Cortona dates to pre-Roman times and today remains a classic example of Etruscan city planning and architecture. Explore this medieval gem today, including the 5th-century B.C. city walls. Tour the historic city center, and walk the steep, narrow streets that characterize Etruscan design. This is the town that Frances Mayes depicted in Under the Tuscan Sun – so you’ll also see Casa Bramasole, the 200-year-old farmhouse the author lovingly restored. (B,D) 

Day 7 — Cortona and Pienza

Travel through perhaps one of Tuscany’s most beautiful – and recognized – regions today, the Val d’Orcia, an expanse of gently rolling cultivated hills dotted with cypress trees and picturesque villages. A World Heritage site, Val d’Orcia is home to Pienza, conceived in 1459 as an ideal Renaissance town whose design influence eventually spread throughout Europe. Your tour here begins in Pienza’s historic center, with its lovely square surrounded by two palaces and the Renaissance Duomo. Walk cobblestone streets to a lookout point for breathtaking views of Val d’Orcia below. Then enjoy lunch together and a special tasting of Montepulciano wines. (B,L)

Day 8 — Cortona, Assisi, Todi

Leaving Tus-cany for Umbria today, stop in Assisi, birthplace in 1182 of St. Francis. A beautiful town with inviting plazas, winding medieval streets, and Roman ruins, Assisi claims the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi as the pinnacle of its many treasures. Tour the famed 13th-century church (now fully restored after suffering earthquake damage in 1997), seeing priceless frescoes by Giotto and Cavellini; and also visit the Basilica of Saint Clare, with 13th-century frescoes and possibly the world’s most famous cross. Enjoy time on your own for lunch and to stroll through this hilltop town as you wish before departing for the walled medieval city of Todi. (B,D) 

Day 9 — Todi

This morning explore this hilltop town in the heart of Umbria, which is little changed over the centuries and whose Piazza del Popolo ranks as perhaps the finest public square in all Italy. Flanked by a 16th-century cathedral and three grand palazzos, the square is the center of life here. Visit a local museum featuring Etruscan and Roman artifacts unearthed in the region. Then the remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy this Umbrian gem as you wish. Options abound for lunch and dinner on your own. (B) 

Day 10 — Todi and Orvieto

Today visit the popular Umbrian town of Orvieto, with its dramatic setting atop the steep walls of a flat volcanic rock (tufa). Discover this once impregnable Etruscan settlement on a walking tour. Highlights include Orvieto Cathedral, the medieval Duomo featuring a chapel with a fresco by Fra Angelico, as well as Luca Signorelli’s masterpiece, The Last Judgment. Then enjoy a small group highlight as guests at the country home of the celebrated chef of Orvieto’s Ristorante Zeppelin (a Culinary Art Institute) for a cooking lesson and lunch overlooking the vineyards. (B,L) 

Day 11 — Todi and Rome

Leave the Italian countryside today for Rome, the “Eternal City” on the Tiber whose history spans some 2,500 years. Mid-afternoon reach your hotel; dinner is on your own. (B)

Day 12 — Rome

This morning encounter ancient Rome, beginning at the Colosseum, completed in A.D. 80 to stage gladiator spectacles, and the temples of the Forum, ancient Rome’s political and legal center. This afternoon is at leisure to explore independently; tonight bid "arrivederci" to Italy at a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 13 — Depart for the U.S.

Depart early this morning for your connecting flights to the U.S. (B)