Creative World Travel
Founded 1974
Specialists in Leisurely Escorted Tours to Europe

Heart of Italy

Il Campo and Torre del Mangia in Medieval Siena
©2010 Photo by Michael Reed ~ Creative World Travel

Leisurely Escorted Tour to
Tuscany, Umbria and Rome

A Creative World Travel "No Rush" Escorted Tour

No early morning wake-up calls.
No all-day bus rides.
Structured and guided,
but with free time to enjoy as you please.

Day-by-Day Itinerary - Page 1

Depart from your home city and fly to Rome.

Arrive at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport. From the Region of Lazio, we drive north to the Region of Umbria, “the Green Heart of Italy,” and on to the Region of Toscana(Tuscany).
  We stop for lunch in historic Orvieto, famous for its cathedral and "The Miracle of Bolsena."

The Mircle of Bolsena by Raphael

Once the rival of neighboring Florence in wealth and power, the outstanding feature of Siena is its intense color. The bricks used to build the city are made from the burnt siena-colored earth giving it a harmonious look that makes the city a living masterpiece.
  Siena stands solidly planted in the Middle Ages. Perhaps preserving its original characteristics more markedly than any other city in Italy, it is today a showplace of Italian Gothic.
  Siena’s Piazza del Campo is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
  It is in the Piazza that Siena's famous Palio is held every July 2nd and August 16th. This horse race unlike any other is a no-holds-barred competition between the contrade (neighborhoods) of the city. Anything is allowed!
  Other highlights of this magnificent medieval city include (1) the Town Hall, (2) San Domenico with its relics of Saint Catherine and numerous treasures of Italian painting, (3) Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest bank, founded in 1472, and (4) the Duomo with the pulpit of Nicola Pisano.

  Siena's Duomo is built of marble and dark green stone, giving it somewhat of a zebra striped look. It contains works of art by Pisano, Donatello and brass reliefs by Lorenzo Ghiberti who created the bronze doors of the baptistry in Florence.

  During your free time in the afternoon, if you are feeling energetic, you might want to walk up to the top of the Torre del Mangia for an awesome view of Siena and the surrounding countryside.

  Be sure to buy some traditional Sienese panforte to take home, both panforte nero and panforte Margherita.
  The dark Panforte Nero, with its almonds, secret mixture of spices, candied melon, orange and pepper follows the original antique recipe which dates back to the 12th century. It's sought out by connoisseurs.
  Panforte Margherita is light colored and much more delicate, with candied citron instead of melon and a dusting of confectioner's sugar.
  Enrico Righi developed the recipe in 1879 and first offered it to Queen Margerita, who came to see the Palio with King Umberto every year.
  Panforte al Cioccolato adds cocoa to the traditional recipes.
  Also pickup a bag of cantucci ... crunchy biscotti (biscuits), rich in sugar and eggs, with tasty toasted almonds, usually accompanied by the Tuscan Vin Santo dessert wine. They also go great with an espresso or cappuccino.

  • Photos of Siena by · The Photography of QT Luong


    Well-Known Wind Instrument Artist Reno Schulz Performs in the Park in San Gimignano
    ©2013 Photo by Michael Reed ~ Creative World Travel

    San Gimignano rises on a hill (334 meters high) and dominates the Elsa Valley with its towers. Once the site of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, Saint Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes.

      The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the Via Francigena , the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it on the way to Rome.
      The patrician families who controlled the city built some 72 tower-houses (up to 50m high) as symbols of their wealth and power. Only 14 have survived but San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The city also contains masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.
      In 1348 San Gimignano's population was drastically reduced by the "Black Death" Plague, throwing the city into a serious crisis which eventually led to its submission to Florence in 1353.
      San Gimignano is famous for its Vernaccia, considered one of Italy's finest white wines since the Renaissance.

    Sculptures by Dario Tironi and Koji Yoshida at Galleria Gagliardi in San Gimignano
    Sculptures by Dario Tironi and Koji Yoshida at Galleria Gagliardi in San Gimignano. Tironi, born in Bergamo, and Yosida, born in Varese, are both graduates in Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan.
    ©2012 Photo by Michael Reed

      There is no charge to visit the Galleria Gagliardi d'arte contemporanea , located on Via San Giovanni, the main street of town, just past Porta San Giovanni, the principal gate into San Gimignano. The gallery claims to have the largest selection of contemporary ceramic sculptors in Italy, as well as a wide collection of paintings.

      At Piazza della Cisterna at the top of Via San Giovanni is Gelateria di Piazza, reknowned for its prize-winning gelato, made by master ice cream-maker Sergio Dondoli.

    Terry and Pat Ringler of Rosendale, NY with Gelato Master Sergio Dondoli, 2006 World Champion
    ©2007 Photo by Michael Reed

  • Photos of San Gimignano by · The Photography of QT Luong

  • Continue to Day-by-Day Itinerary - Page 2

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