Elba, Portoferraio, Volterra, Marciana Marina, Marciana, Alta, Rio Marina, Porto Azzurrro, Capoliveri, Florence, Capo Sant’Andrea, Piombino
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Step off the beaten path on your custom-tailored luxury vacation for a view of the unparalleled charms of Tuscany. From undulating open valleys to treasured shores, experience an unforgettable journey through the uncharted and overlooked splendors of Elba, Florence, and the surrounding beauty of Tuscany. The Mediterranean sun spreads over the rugged and lush niches of the Island of Elba. Emerald hills and cypress trees expand across the lengths of the horizon. Museums display breathtaking artwork....
Culture is the root of all things in Tuscany, emanating from the cobblestone streets and cast across the landscape in vineyards and cypress trees. The emerald hillsides are as much a part of people’s lives as the traditional prosciutto made from boar as well as the unparalleled frescoes decorating secluded churches in medieval villages. When you arrive at Florence International Airport, your private transfer greets you and welcomes you to Italy. Soon you settle into your luxurious accommodation in the heart of Florence’s historic center, where the truth in the cultural base of Tuscany comes to life.
The scent of fresh pastries blends with the savory aroma of simmering sauces. Olive groves grow outside of the city, and the Arno River separates the city center from Oltrarno, connected by a series of bridges; including the Ponte Vecchio, the Old Bridge, lined with goldsmiths and jewelers. Florence has a tangible energy and remains one of the most visited cities in the world. And yet it can maintain pockets of uncharted beauty, alongside the breathtaking art of Michelangelo and Botticelli. The narrow streets of the Oltrarno intertwine sophisticated artisan shops, woodwork and ceramics, and the distinctive traditional flavors of Tuscany. Settling into Florence is emblematic of the surrounding region, filled with endless beauty any way you turn your head.
En Route to the Waters
The emerald colors of Tuscany glisten in the morning light. The grass has a fresh layer of dew blanketing the hills, and the scenic trees complement the distant villages in the countryside. At breakfast, the aroma of fresh espresso becomes inescapable, practically overtaking every café in the city, coupled with the fresh scent of sweet brioches. Your private transfer meets you after breakfast, eager to escort you from Florence to the charming, enchanting hillside city of Volterra, surrounded by preserved medieval ramparts. Consider learning more about your experienced Tuscany travel agents, who strive to provide you with the most memorable and delightful touring experiences. The town is built on an Etruscan settlement that once claimed as many as 25,000 people at its height of power.
The cream-colored stonework rises out of the encompassing greenery, topped with red tiled roofing. The cobbled streets wind through the buildings and lead through the history of the town inside its large walls, which in some places stand more than 36 feet tall. The Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta stands behind the Palazzo del Pópolo. The church stands enlarged with a Pisan design in the 13th century, which has created the focus of the city’s skyline. The interior of the church holds a spectacle of artistry, from paintings by Tito to a Romanesque sculpture carved of notable wood. After your exploration of the Volterra, your private transfer leads you the remainder of the way to Piombino, where you board the ferry to the Island of Elba.
Inside the Pearl of the Mediterranean
The Island of Elba is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean,” surrounded by waters shimmering between three shades of blue. Rugged hills and cliffs give way to lush grasses and towering trees. Limestone fortresses stand overlooking the water. Legends of this mystical island have been whispered since Jason and Argonauts, in their search for the Golden Fleece. In the morning, you find a gentle, cool breeze blowing in from the coast. The aroma of the sea blends with the earthy scents of the island. After breakfast, your private transfer takes you to the main port city of Portoferraio, which means Iron Port. Napoleon helped set up the infrastructure of the entire island in the 19th century.
Old Town has a network of narrow streets and hidden alleys winding near the old harbor, leading to a set of 16th-century fortresses flanking the cityscape. Explore the sights, from the Piazza Cavour to the Salinata di Napoleone. At the top of the hill is Villa Dei Mulini, Napoleon’s home during his exile on the island. The villa is now a museum preserving its former elegance when the emperor resided inside the walls. The canary yellow exterior houses lavish furnishings and a splendid library. Gold leafed posts support marble tabletops.
High ceilings dangle graceful chandeliers. Italianate gardens blossom against the azure sea in the background, providing an unparalleled view. The luxuriousness of the villa contrasts the idea of Napoleon’s “imprisonment” on Elba, and instead shows a paradise. When the sun begins to set behind the Mediterranean, you will board a boat for a spectacular cruise along the coastline, showcasing the golden color of the landscape and the simple pleasures of sipping a cool drink in the coastal breeze.
More than Unique
Tuscany is not specially known for its islands, but after your time on Elba you will equate Tuscany with the Renaissance, hilltop towns, and unforgettable island life. After breakfast, your transfer meets you at your hotel and takes you to the unspoiled nature of Cap Sant’Andrea. The closer you come to the coastline, the more narrow and windy the road becomes. Chestnut trees cascade down the hillside, highlighting the mixture of mountains and sea. The water shimmers turquoise, and you can see the powerful summit of the island’s tallest mountain, Monte Capanne, standing 3,343 feet above sea level. The bay is crystal clear, offering you a view down to the seafloor.
South of the bay, you find impervious cliffs maintaining a stronghold over the island’s past trading. You can dip your toes into the water, letting the refreshing cool temperature lap over your toes. Step out into the bay and enjoy time snorkeling along the shoreline. The calm current moves your body in a swaying motion. The rocks and mosses under the water are visible, along with sporadic fish swimming; you spot a seahorse now and again in the soft coral. With the clarity of the seawater, you can even see the remains of a shipwreck off the right tip of the island, submerged more than 30 feet below the water’s surface. It is clearly a vision of Elba you have never seen before and a version of Tuscany you could have never imagined.
In the morning, the rich and slightly bitter aroma of espresso blends with the sweet seaside scent. Today you choose to explore the island by sea once more, taking you on the water to discover the hidden wonders of the northwest coast. When you climb into the kayak, you have a relaxed ease. The current is soft against the beach, and the water is cool on your skin. When you move forward, you can feel droplets of the ocean dripping from your paddle. Your guide leads you through the water’s path alongside the coastline, taking in the Tuscan Archipelago.
Your view of the island is spectacular, showcasing the various shades of green and gray emanating from the cliffs, mountains, and flora. Cascading rocks open to tiny beaches only reachable by water, including the small bay of Caletta. When you pull your kayak up for a break, the gravelly beach is soft underneath your feet. The lighthouse of Punta Polveraia remains a sensational spot on the island, where the sunlight reflects off the water and illuminates the untouched reaches of the island in every direction. From the height of the lighthouse, you can see the whole Isle of Corsica in the distance on a clear day.
Taking in the Sights
After breakfast, the island is yours to discover at your leisure, trekking through the miles of walkways that inhabit nature, history, art, and adventure. The town of Marciana Alta stands at an altitude of 1,230 feet above sea level and remains one of the oldest towns on the island. The Pisan Fortress encompasses the majority of the town, once protecting the citizens from pirate attacks. The narrow stone streets twist around the city and beneath stone arches; petite balconies, decorated with bright flower boxes, open up to a spectacular coastal view. A funicular carries individuals to the summit of Monte Capanne, for an unadulterated panorama of the coastline and the Mediterranean Sea.
The island’s most important pilgrimage site of Santuario della Madonna del Monte is situated in the hills beyond the village. The historic church possesses a single stone that legend claims held an image of Mary, painted by a divine hand. 16th-century frescoes decorated the walls behind the high altar and were discovered in the mid 1990s. A fresh water spring pours from the outside wall and dates back to the 17th century. Whether hiking through the mountainside or along the shores of Elba, you are sure to find splendor.
Returning to Renaissance Streets
The towns across Elba have designated days for their weekly markets, where fishermen sell their fresh catch, and the succulent aroma of fresh produce from local Tuscany fills the villages. After breakfast, your private transfer takes you to the harbor at Portoferraio, where you meet your ferry back to mainland Italy. The remainder of the day is yours to revel in Tuscany, whether strolling around the artistic streets of Florence or indulging in the beckoning tranquility of medieval villages around the hillsides. For a unique view of the city, you can visit the Stibbert Museum, situated on the Florentine hillsides overlooking the city.
The Stibbert Museum displays the collection of a 19th-century English-Italian gentleman named Frederick Stibbert and is spread across two large villas. Inside the villas is an assortment of European, Japanese, and Islamic armor. The antiques are arranged in a way that makes the entire collection look ready to march out of the galleries, including the poised, promenading horses. The light glistens off of the metal ornaments standing in front of Renaissance frescoes decorating the walls. Much of the European armor comes from the 16th century and ranges from Italy, Germany, and France.
Back on Track
In the morning, the image of the city returns, surrounded by a sea of lush hills and valleys instead of the Mediterranean. The city’s charm remains, whether emanating from the priceless artwork inside the Accademia or the delicious aromas of creamy gelato drifting out of a celebrated gelateria. You sip on your morning espresso and watch the city life return to the streets. The coastline feels far away, replaced by rolling hills and villas. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel, ready to escort you to Florence International Airport. Soon your flight will carry you away from the medieval towns of Tuscany and the clear turquoise waters around Elba, but the memories of your discovery of the uncharted beauties of Tuscany will remain.
- Enjoy the cool waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the crystal clear view of the seafloor on a snorkel excursion
- Discover secluded beaches around the Isle of Elba, accessible only by sea routes
- Revel in the rugged and lush landscapes of Elba on a trekking excursion that leads you around the historic cities of the island
- Visit Napoleon Bonaparte’s villa overlooking Elba’s coastline
- Explore the quaint streets and powerful ancient walls of the Tuscan town of Volterra
- Wander through the exceptional historical streets and immerse yourself in the charming ambiance of Portoferraio, Elba’s main town
- Witness one of the largest collections of antique armor in the world at a private museum on the hills of Florence
Discover Tuscany in a way you have never imagined before. On this 8-day customized best of Tuscany tour of the countryside and island life, you will experience luxury, charm, beauty, and a wealth of history of which only Italy can provide. Your journey begins in Florence, upon your arrival at Florence International Airport. Your private transfer greets you and quickly escorts you into the city where you can settle into your centrally located hotel. Become acquainted with Florence, a city known for its Renaissance art and unique ambiance similar to an open-air museum.
The following day, your private transfer will escort you to Volterra, an enchanting medieval town with ancient roots. After your exploration of Volterra, you continue westward to the port city of Piombino, where you board the ferry to Elba, an island paradise that is part of the region of Tuscany. You settle into the quiet town of Marciana Marina. Wake up to the elegant colors of the island with a private tour of Portoferraio and Napoleon Bonaparte’s historic villa.
In the evening, you can board a boat at the marina and venture out to sea for an indulgent sunset cruise around the island’s coastline. The following day, you can relax around the bay of Capo Sant’Andrea, enjoying the sunshine and even snorkeling in the clear waters. Your guide meets you the next day eager to take you out into the water for a private kayak excursion along the coastline, visiting secluded beaches or the graceful lighthouse.
Revel in an active day of hiking around the island, whether it’s exploring villages, archeological sites, or the panoramic views, the day is at your leisure. The next day, your private transfer leads you to the marina, where you board the ferry and return to mainland Italy. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore Tuscany, whether visiting medieval villages around Florence, wandering trough Pisa, or visiting unique museums. On your final morning in Tuscany, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to Florence International Airport for your flight home.
$2,195 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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