The Versilia Coast of Tuscany: Travels with Karen
This was a one-time departure and is longer available. Please see our other Tuscany tours!
A quote often attributed to the famed New York Times food critic, Gael Greene, “as long as there is Italy, why go anywhere else?” is one with which I definitely agree! I need an Italy “fix” every few years, and next year it is going to be an exploration of the western coast of Tuscany.
Not as well known as other areas in the region, this coast is really splendid, hugging the Mediterranean, with so many intriguing excursions. We will visit the quarries where Michelangelo chose his marble, taste great food and superb wines, visit beautiful gardens and so much more, while still having a relaxed pace to enjoy this stunning region.
There will be an optional add on for some time in Florence (either before or after) for those of you cannot go to Tuscany without spending some time in the famed Renaissance city.
I hope you will be interested in joining me for this wonderful week. The trip is limited to seven (7) people.
There are no cooking classes during this itinerary, but lots of fabulous food and wine!
Day 1, Saturday , September 14 VIAREGGIO
Private transfer from Pisa Airport to your Hotel in Versilia, Viareggio Hotel Plaza De Russie ****S . Check in and accommodation in your rooms.
Rest of the day at disposal to discover Viareggio, known today for its lively Carnival, was founded in 1172 as “castrum di Via Regia”, i.e. Castle built at the end of the via Regia, so named in honour of Emperor Barbarossa. In modern times the European nobility chose the sea town as a place to stay in winter turning Viareggio into a place of leisure renowned throughout the continent. We suggest to begin from Piazza Shelley with the Palace built by Pauline Bonaparte Borghese, sister of Napoleon. It continues with a stroll towards the dock and the Burlamacco channel, the ancient heart of Viareggio. The walk ends with a stroll along the promenade with numerous Art Nouveau buildings, some of them decorated by the artist Galileo Chini.
Welcome dinner in a local Trattoria serving fish dishes with white wine.
Day 2, Sunday , September 15 FORTE DEI MARMI
Breakfast at the hotel with morning on your own. In the afternoon excursion to Fore dei Marmi . A must-visit destination for those who love the sea and high fashion, Forte dei Marmi is one of the chicest and most up-to-date towns in Versilia. The small town attracts tourists from all over Europe every year thanks to its beautiful beach, elegant villas immersed in pine groves and the impressive view of the Apuan Alps, which serve as a majestic background behind the town.
The symbol of cosmopolitan Forte dei Marmi – in addition to the fort that gives the town its name (today the home of the Museum of Satire and Caricatures) – is the famous pier (built in 1876), historically used for loading marble extracted from the quarries onto the boats . Pizza Dinner and return overnight at the hotel.
Day 3, Monday, September 16 VIAREGGIO FISH MARKET, MARBLE QUARRIES & COLONNATA
Breakfast at the hotel . At 09:30A meet your English driver guide and visit the local fish market which takes place in Viareggio every Tuesday. Later you prroceed to
Colonnata and the Marble quarries: a visit inside the Carrara marble quarries in a 4×4 jeep with an authorized guide, drive up to enter the heart of the mountain. You will learn how marble is extracted and have the opportunity to take unique photos and videos. (Before or after the visit to the quarries, we will stop in a typical local “trattoria” to taste the famous lardo di colonnata and other local specialties,)
Imagining Michelangelo and other great artists “seeing” their works take shape from these immense marble slabs is truly fascinating, and getting to know the whole process that leads to the work of art from the mountains allows you to focus on the immense work that this involves.
Once off of the quarries we move to in Colonnata, where between lard, ham, cod, and various other amenities, of course accompanied by a by a fresh glass of white Vermentino, we will celebrate the beauty of this tour!
Return back to Viareggio, dinner on own and overnight.
Day 4, Tuesday, September 17 LUCCA AND ITS GARDENS
Breakfast at the hotel. At 9:30A meet your English speaking driver guide and transfer to Lucca. Villas and gardens have always been considered to be the quintessence of Tuscan life style. Visiting some of Tuscany’s most representative villas and parks you get to learn the essential elements of Tuscan gardening and country life. In Lucca meet your local guide and start the visit with a pleasant walk along the famous city wall before we visit the palazzo Pfanner and its famous garden, used as a location for Portrait of a Lady (1996) starring Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich.
Lunch in a typical Trattoria. After lunch we climb the torre Guinigi, a medieval tower crowned with stone oaks from which we enjoy a magnificent view. Later In the afternoon we stop in a countryside Villa “Villa Reale Marlia or Villa Bernadini to admire other Italian gardens.
Return back to Viareggio for dinner and overnight.
Day 5, Wednesday, September 18 CINQUE TERRE
Breakfast at the Hotel. At 9:30A meet your English driving guide for an unforgettable excursion to the Five Islands: Cinque Terre is a National Park ideal for touring.. Today you will visit these fishermen villages along its spectacular rocky coast, Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia and Rio Maggiore . Transfer between these villages will be by local train of public boat depending on the weather.
Lunch and dinner on own and overnight.
Day 6 Thursday, September 19 BOLGHERI AND THE SUPER TUSCAN WINES
Breakfast at the Hotel . At 9,30 meet your English speaking driving guide to discover the “Etruscan Coast” : first stop will be at Podere Sapaio, guided tour of the wine cellar and vineyards ending with wine tasting of Volpolo and Sapaio wines. After the first wine tasting you will explore the lovely colorful village of Bolgheri, where you will have lunch . In the afternoon your excursion proceed with the visit of Petra Winery visiting the he winery projected by architect Mario Botta. After the wine tasting , take a walk in the medieval village of Suvereto and its fascinating hamlet. Return to Viareggio late in the afternoon for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 Friday , September 20 PIETRASANTA
Breakfast at the hotel. Free morning and lunch on own. In the afternoon meet your English speaking driver guide and transfer to Pietrasanta. It is sometimes called the City of the Artists or Small Athens for its marble studios and monuments. The town has Roman origins, but the modern town is named after Guiscardo da Pietrasanta who founded the town in the mid-thirteenth century. Pietrasanta was and still is an important center for marble quarrying. Marble from the region first gained fame when it was used by Michelangelo for some of his most famous works. Several international artists live or work here and there are art galleries and frequent exhibits, as well as stone-carving studios and bronze art foundries. The Bozzetti Museum is a very important museum of sculpture and sketches . Time to discover this beautiful village before dinner in a local Trattoria. Return back to Viareggio after dinner and overnight.
Day 8 Saturday, September 21
Breakfast and check and transfer to Pisa Airport
Included in the 7-Night Trip
- Hotel Plaza e de Russie **** in Viareggio in superior double single use room.
Food & Beverages
- Daily breakfast
- 3 lunches
- 5 dinners
Classes & Instructors
There are no cooking classes during this itinerary, but lots of fabulous food and wine!
- Half day excursion ( 16,00 -21,00) with English speaking driver guide to Forte dei Marmi a
- Full day excursion ( 09,30 – 17,30 ) with English speaking driver guide to Viareggio fish market + Marble Quarries & Colonnata as per program
- Full day excursion ( 09,30 – 18,30 ) with English speaking driver guide to Lucca & Villas as per program
- Guided tour of Lucca
- Full day excursion ( 09,30 – 18,30 ) with English speaking driver guide to Cinque terre as per program
- Full day excursion ( 09,30 – 17,30 ) with English speaking driver guide to Bolgheri and Suvereto as per program
- Guided visit and wine tasting at Podere Sapaio
- Guided visit and wine tasting at Petra
- Half day excursion ( 16,00 -21,00) with English speaking driver guide to Pietrasanta
Roundtrip transfers from Pisa airport to Viareggio Hotel
- Entrance and tour at the Marble quarries
- Entrance Palazzo Pfanner visit + Guinigi tower
- Entrance in a private Villa for the garden visit
- Cinque Terre Card for 1 day
Accommodations will be in Hotel Plaza e de Russie **** in Viareggio in superior double single use room.
Pricing & Tour Dates
One Week Only Pricing:
September 14-21, 2019
US$4350 per person based on double occupancy
Please note there is no single supplement for this itinerary.
Deposit of 30% ($1305) is required at time of booking.
An additional 30% payment is due by March 14.
Final payment is due by check 90 days prior to the program start date.
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