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Cultural tours around Tuscany

Here are some examples of half-day cultural tours organized by Arianna & Friends.
For any of these tours you can choose to drive your own car or ask for a personal driver service.

The medieval town Peccioli and the Estruscan Museum

One peculiarity of Tuscany is its medieval towns full of narrow crooked lanes, archways, irregular stairways, stone buildings. Discover Peccioli, formerly a castle and later turned into a proper town, and visit its interesting Etruscan museum, learning a lot about the usages and the history of this original Pre-Roman population through the recent finds belonging to a rural sacred temple.
Tasting of typical pastry in a local old fashion bar included.

The medieval town Vicopisano and the ceramic workshop

Medieval stone tower

Our tour guide will take you to visit the little town of Vicopisano, near Pisa, which is still surrounded by its safety fortifications and many ancient towers dating back to the XII Century. Here you will visit the Brunelleschi fortress located on the top of the hill. We will enter also a ceramic workshop, where the workers will show you how they create a terracotta vase and how they decorate it.

Only a few people know that the Piaggio company, the producer of the worldwide famous Vespa, is right in Pontedera, near Pisa. Discover the history of the company and the old models of the famous moped and of the other vehicles together with a lot of interesting stories and legends in the Piaggio museum. Aperitif in Pontedera, town of fashion and shopping center, included
The most fascinating Etruscan city in Tuscany, Volterra, is famous also for the handcrafted production of the ancient stone given to the city as a present by the sea… the alabaster. Here, together with one of our tour leader, you will visit a traditional alabaster workshop, where you can see how the expert hands of the workers produce a nice and elegant vase from a piece of rough stone. Tasting of excellent chocolate locally produced in a elegant bar in the centre. Free time for shopping in Volterra.

Inexpugnable fortress

The castle of the Vicars and the pasta factory in Lari
The castle of the Vicars of Lari is a perfectly conserved example of medieval fortress. It was built atop of a hill over a very strategic territory and its possession caused many wars between Pisa and Florence in the early Middle Ages. Discover what happened in its gloomy dungeons through the stories of our tour leader. The castle is located very close to a worldwide famous pasta factory. You will visit it and learn how pasta is produced using traditional methods and tools, differently from industrial production. Tasting of the locally produced cherry liquor in an old-fashion bar included.
The San Rossore Natural Park is a large protected area ranging from Marina di Pisa, just 10 kms from Pisa, to Torre del Lago, very near to Viareggio. Most of its vast territory is covered by pinewood hosting an enormous variety of wildlife, including the wild bore, the deer and above all many different species of bird. In the park the two Tuscan main rivers Arno and Serchio flow into the Thyrrhenian sea forming a unique and highly protected sandy beach. You can enjoy an unforgettable trip through the forest on board a horse carriage and get to know all the secrets of wild life of the natural reserve.
The mining industry in the Upper Val di Cecina has always been a major local activity. The Museum in Montecatini Valdicecina shows the history of mineral digging out from 1827 to 1907. Enjoy a trip into the misteries of the underground, enter the narrow galleries, discover the rusted original machinery and learn how miners used to dig and bring rock salt and alabaster above ground. You can also admire a large collection of original documents of the mining enterprise such as working programmes, pay-rolls and registers as well as outlines of the galleries and plans of the mines.

The Carhusian monastery in Calci

The monumental monastery of Calci, just 10 kms from Pisa, was foundend in 1366 by Carthusian monks. Due to a Napoleonic bill it was closed in 1808 but monks still lived there till 1972. Its central nave and its marble façade are marvellous examples of local 17th century Baroque. In the huge monumental building it is possible to visit the church, the cloister and some cells. One of the two wings of the monastery is now hosting the Museum of Natural History of the University of Pisa.

View of Lucca from Guinigi tower

If you want to get to know all the historical and artistic information about Tuscany's major art cities, Arianna & Friends organizes half-day guided sightseeings of Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. An experienced city guide will show you all main monuments of each town and will give you some detailled information not only about Tuscan history and art but also about legends, curiosities and usages of the local people. The sightseeings last usually three hours but your personal city guide can be available also for a full day.

The museum and the birth house of Leonardo da Vinci

Visiting Tuscany means to come into contact with one of the most famous geniuses of all times: Leonardo da Vinci. Vinci is the name of his birthplace, here you will visit the Museo Leonardiano, a museum dedicated to him. There you will find Leonardo's full-scale models of machines and inventions together with many of his drawings and manuscript notes. Don not forget that Vinci is a typical example of medieval village with a wonderful view on the valley all around. From the town you can have a relaxing walk on an ancient footpath running amidst olive groves and get to the birth house of Leonardo - a typical 15th century Tuscan rural dwelling.

Decorating a vase

Since earliest times the valley of the river Arno has been famous for its clayey ground and the town Montelupo, close to Florence, made an art out of this feature: the art of ceramic. Arianna & Friends organizes guided visits to the Museum of Ceramics, where you will discover the history of pottery from its origins to present production and decoration. The wonderful majolicaware of Montelupo has got always more famous and has invaded the markets of the biggest Mediterranean towns over the past centuries. Since the discovery of America the Montelupo production has taken even the Atlantic trade routes. Still today this little medieval village is the place where world famous hand-painted terracottas, ceramics and majolicas are created.

Birdwatching in the Marsh of Fucecchio

Near Vinci there is one of the most important boggy districts of the whole Tuscan territory called the Padule di Fucecchio. It is a vast wet area formed by some tributaries of the river Arno and at present it is park of such utmost beauty that a safeguard plan is being worked out to turn it into a Natural Reserve. The area is rich in rare plants and wildlife such as several species of water-lilies, small carnivorous plants, herons, cranes and black storks. Foresters count more than 150 species of birds. It is a downright paradise for lovers of nature and bird watching. Visiting the park with one of our specialized naturalistic guides is an amazing experience!
Combined tours
You can choose to combine two of the above listed half-day tours and book a full-day excursion. Combinations are possible also with our wine and food tours. Here you fine some standard prices for these combinations:

Combined wine and food + cultural tours

2 people - € 110,00 - 130,00 per person
4 people - 75,00 - 95,00 per person
6 people - 65,00 - 80,00 per person
8 people - 55,00 - 70,00 per person

Note that these prices do not include any combination with the guided sightseeings of Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Siena or San Gimignano.
f you wish a car with personal chauffeur please specify it in the booking form.

Your Tuscan friends
Property of Arianna & Friends S.r.l. - Incoming tour services - Via Mazzini, 71 - 56037 Peccioli - Pisa - Italy - info@ariannandfriends.com