Meander from Milan to Florence
Contemporary Milan to quaint Florence, with lots of shopping and culinary delights in between
This itinerary is great for family or friend groups, with a mix of classics and quirky. Hence, this itinerary was crafted to include the main highlights but also some unique, alternative experiences. The focus is on history, shopping, food and wine, whilst keeping quite active.
Accommodation is a nice blend of upscale 5 and 4 hotels,
with 3 nights in Milan, 2 nights in the 5-Terre and 3 nights Florence.
Day 1 - Arrival in Milano
Day 2 - Full-day in Milan with private driver and guide
To truly explore all Milan has to offer, a private driver will be at the guests’ disposal for a full day (8 hours) along with a private guide for 6 hours.
In the morning, visit the Brera Museum or Museum della Scala (Milan’s opulent Opera House), Santa Maria San Satiro and then enjoy free time for lunch.
In the afternoon, the group will be taken to Castello Sforzesco, Santa Maria della Grazie and to see the Last Supper (if it has been possible to obtain tickets in advance – which is no easy feat!). This day can be adapted to suit the group’s interests and shopping desires. Dinner reservations or suggestions can be provided upon request for dining options for this second night in Milan.
Day 3 - Full-day (8-10 hour) excursion to Lake Como
Also for this day, the group has the luxury of a driver and guide on-hand for an enjoyable exploration of all that Milan and its surrounds has to offer.
Departing in the morning from accommodation, the group shall head out of Milan to visit an esteemed shoemaking factory on the outskirts of the city for an introduction to what is one of the great arts of what is one of the world’s greatest fashion and style capitals! Next, reach Lake Como to take in the exquisite views of what has long been home to a plethora of prominent and glamorous people. Inhabited at least since the Bronze Age, today Como offers a heady mix of churches, museums, cultural and historical sites, along with great stores for food and fashion, all backdropped by stunning natural scenery.
After a brief visit of the historic center, embark on a private boat ride across the lake to reach an exclusive lunch destination at Villa d’Este. Afterwards, the driver will collect the group for the return trip to Milan, with a stop either at another village along the lake or at a design depot for an exclusive visit. Upon returning to Milan, the group will then be free to dine and spend the last night in the Lombard capital.
Day 4 - Transfer to 5-Terre with stop in Parma countryside
Hotel check out. Meet private driver for the transfer from Milan to Manarola in the 5-Terre. En route stop near Parma, where a private guide will await guests. Discover how the Italian staples of parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham are made and aged. The local artisans and specialists will explain how they have perfected these delicacies throughout the generations as the group enjoys sampling these delicious goods right at the source. Discover the complex steps of ageing the parmesan cheese over 12, 24 or even 36 months along with the authentic method of curing the famed Prosciutto di Parma. Reservations can be made in a winery/agriturismo located nearby for a lunch of local delicacies.
Following, it is possible to explore the city center of Parma with its special Cathedral and Baptistery. Arrive late afternoon/early evening in the region of Liguria, where the 5-Terre is located. Upon arrival in Manarola and hotel check-in, the group will be free to go for dinner (with suggestions available upon request) followed by an overnight stay.
Day 5 - Full-day (8-hour) excursion in the 5-Terre with local and private guide
Today is the day for hiking shoes! After meeting a guide in the morning, the group will head off to explore the Cinque Terre, being comprised of five picturesque fishing villages. Today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park, the Cinque Terre landscape is as unique as it is stunning. Each village is perched on the sides of sheer cliffs, a strategic location historically to protect the villages from military and pirate attacks. Since at least the 11th century, man has forged out farmland, olive groves and vineyards throughout this tough terrain, as well as constructing quaint houses, historic forts and defense towers, arresting churches and panoramic piazzas and terraces throughout.
The ‘Five Lands’ are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Explore the territory by boat, train or footpaths depending on the weather and individual desires. Enjoy lunch with local specialties at one of the villages with suggestions from the guide. Return to Manarola in the late afternoon, dinner at leisure and overnight.
Day 6 - Transfer to Florence with stop in San Miniato for a truffle experience
Check-out and meet with private driver for morning departure. The first destination is San Miniato, a small village located in western Tuscany. Enjoy a truffle experience offered by a family-run company that has been in the truffle making business since 1920. Spend the morning searching for truffles in the nearby woodlands where truffle can be found all year round. The group will be led by a master truffle hunter and his masterful truffle dog. For this fascinating activity, the dog is the real star of the hunting show! Enjoy watching the dog play his favorite game: searching for a small, smelly ‘stone’ that earns him a delicious bone-shaped treat. Then, in the company’s museum, the main steps connected to truffle hunting and processing can be understood. The visit culminates with a lunch of local product tastings with – of course! – fresh seasonal truffle. After lunch transfer to Florence with hotel check-in.
During the warmer months, a sunset cruise with aperitivo on the Arno river can be arranged in a traditional Renaiolo boat. For this activity, a guide can meet the group in a piazza near the Arno river. After a brief orientation, board a traditional Renaiolo rowboat. Enjoy Florence from a different view: the water. The activity is timed to enjoy sunset over the Ponte Vecchio whilst relishing the tales of the city shared by the engaging guide along with light snacks and prosecco. Overnight in Florence.
Day 7 - Day in Florence, private tour with Accademia plus private evening dinner crawl
This morning shall be dedicated to a private guided exploration of the Florence highlights. After meeting the guide at the guests’ accommodation, a 3-hour discovery of the fascinating history of this great city shall ensue. From its Roman origins to the proud city-state of the Republic through to Grand Ducal glory, learn more about the important historic figures such as Cosimo dei Medici, Filippo Brunelleschi, Michelangelo Buonarotti, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei. The first stop will be a visit to the Accademia museum to admire the unfinished works by Michelangelo and his unsurpassed masterpiece, the David. Afterwards, concentrate on the historic and religious center of Florence. Admire the Cathedral and the Baptistery, with its famous doors. Being the home of the Renaissance, each location is brimming with fascinating histories, complete with captivating stories of historical figures from some of the most important artistic, architectural and political periods of all time.
In the early evening, a culinary guide will await the group for a special gastronomic evening involving a private dinner crawl just for the group. Enjoy the evening from course to course and place to place. The menu includes an Italian aperitivo, fresh handmade pasta, sommelier selected wine, social feasting on Florence’s famous steak (Bistecca Fiorentina) and artisan gelato – a true itinerant Florentine feast. Progressively dine at different restaurants in one night, adding up to 4 leisurely stops with casual sightseeing in between guided tastings. The night will then be spent in Florence.
Day 8 - Full-day (8-10 hour) excursion to Siena and e-bike ride in the countryside
Visit Siena and explore the countryside by e-bike on an 8-hour exploration of this stunning area in the Tuscan countryside, on a day split between cycling and touring.
With a 9:00 am departure, be driven south towards Siena with private driver. Meet with local guide for a morning and gear up for an e-bike excursion covering some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) around the picturesque landscape. Ride down countryside lanes dotted with farmhouses, vineyards and olive trees. Afterwards, there will be free time for the group to have lunch, perhaps availing of suggestions on places to best savor the local cuisine. Following will be a transfer by van to Siena where a guide will offer a fascinating 2-hour private walking tour of the city to learn more about this red-bricked Medieval city. So rich and important was Siena that it was once part of the pilgrim’s path to Rome – the Via Francigena. Captivating details will be revealed about the Government of Nine and the famed bareback horserace, Il Palio. There is an optional visit to a Contrada museum or the bejeweled Cathedral, a treasure chest of amazing art and architecture. After this delightful exploration, the driver will meet the group for the return to Florence in the late afternoon.
Day 9 - Private half-day (5-hour) Chianti excursion with driver
This private excursion to the Chianti wine country explores the famed area between Florence and Siena known as the Chianti Classico. A licensed English-speaking driver will collect the group from their accommodation for a short drive to a countryside village such as Mercatale for a stroll and coffee break. Along the way, enjoy the stunning scenery with low-lying hills laced with shimmering olive trees, rows of vineyards and farmhouses from long ago. Then, continue on to visit a boutique winery near San Casciano, specializing in the famous Chianti Classico blend made with Sangiovese red grapes. Enjoy a tour of the estate and wine tasting. If time permits, another Chianti village can be visited for individual explorations. Options include Greve in Chianti or Panzano in Chianti before the short drive back to Florence. There will then be free time for individual activities in the afternoon.
Enjoy final dinner in Florence with suggestions and last overnight stay in the Renaissance city.