A customizable 9-hour shore excursion for the discerning traveler seeking an authentic Italian experience on a small-group tour with only the very best of English speaking driver guides. Discover Italy up-close in a Mercedes minivan for up to 8 people, comfortably taking you into the very heart of the city. Get the most of your time ashore by explore both the powerful 11th century maritime city of Pisa and the charming medieval walled town of Lucca.
Meet your private driver/guide at 8am close to your ship for the pleasant hour-long drive to the charming medieval city of Lucca. It is a city enclosed and protected through the centuries by an imposing 16th century wall, one of the best-preserved Renaissance defenses in Europe. The wall has helped keep the city's original features and Roman street plan intact. You may enjoy starting off your day with a bike ride on top of the walls along the beautiful tree-lined promenade where you can peer down into the palazzi and piazzas of the old city, or look up to views of the surrounding hills. Bike rental is an additional (optional) cost paid on the day of your tour; pricing is per hour. Discover the city's Roman features with San Michele in Foro, standing on the site of the original Roman forum. Strolling along the lively shopping street of Via Fillungo, you will arrive at the Basilica of San Frediano with its 6th century origins. See the tomb of Saint Zita (1278), mentioned by Dante in the Inferno, whose mummified body can be seen through glass. Discover the unique-shaped arena, Piazza Anfiteatro, constructed in the 1st century AD under Emperor Claudius with 54 arches and a cave able to hold as many as ten thousand spectators in 18 rows of seats. The Cathedral of San Martino houses the precious holy relic, the Volto Santo, a cedar-wood crucifix said to be a true portrait of Jesus sculpted by Nicodemus, an eyewitness to the crucifixion. Also see the remarkable marble tomb of Ilaria del Caretto.The city is filled with artisans and tempting delicatessens offering Tuscan specialties, and Lucca is particularly renowned for its olive oil. Not to be missed are the underground cellars of Enoteca Vanni, offering a tempting selection of wines from all over Italy. Lunch is at your own cost, and your driver can make recommendations and point you in the right direction. In the early afternoon, take the short 30-minute drive to the 11th century powerful maritime republic of Pisa. Enjoy a driving tour of the city, which will lead you to the heart of one of the most important monuments in Italy, the breathtaking Piazza dei Miracoli with its Baptistry, the Cathedral, Campo Santo cemetery, and of course, the Leaning Tower. You are free to explore some of the city on foot before meeting up with your driver for the return journey back to your ship in the port of La Spezia, with arrival at around 1700.