Embrace the medieval charms of Tuscany's towns on a full-day trip to San Gimignano and Volterra from Siena. With an attentive local guide, walk round the Fortress of Monteriggioni, explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of San Gimignano, and visit an alabaster workshop in Volterra. Enjoy a delicious lunch on a small Tuscan farm and spend time at your leisure exploring these rustic hill towns that are steeped in rich Italian history.Numbers are limited to eight people on this small-group tour, ensuring you'll receive personalized attention from your guide.
Leave Siena in the morning and head northwest by comfortable minivan toward San Gimignano. On your way, stop at the medieval Fortress of Monteriggioni, a captivating Tuscan hill town that is one of the few whose medieval city walls remain completely intact. Walk around the stone walls encircling this charming town and learn about the area’s interesting history from your guide.From Monteriggioni, continue to the beautiful hill town of San Gimignano -- undoubtedly the highlight of your trip. Walk down the Via Francigena strip that runs through the town as your guide explains the history of this ancient pilgrimage road said to link Rome to Canterbury in England. Learn how in bygone times, Christian pilgrims would travel between cities in Italy, Switzerland, France and England on this road.After tracing the pilgrim's steps down Via Francigena, you'll have time for independent sightseeing in San Gimignano. This gorgeous, UNESCO World Heritage-listed town is as famous for its medieval architecture as it is for its scenic views. See beautiful monuments in Piazza del Duomo, or search the local shops for quality saffron spice that the town produces, known locally as ‘red gold.’ Perhaps check out Palazzo Communale and climb up Torre Grossa (own expense). The climb is steep but worthwhile -- simply for the panoramic views of Tuscany from the top!Break for lunch at a traditional, family-run farm just outside of San Gimignano, and indulge in a Tuscan feast! Your friendly Italian hosts will treat you to scrumptious platters of home-grown delicacies prepared with organic saffron, accompanied by chilled Vernaccia white wine.In the afternoon, enjoy a scenic drive farther south to Volterra. The fascinating Tuscan city is renowned for its alabaster -- the translucent stone used for centuries to create vases, lamps and other works of art. On the way, visit an authentic alabaster workshop and watch an artisan craftsman at work. In Volterra itself, you'll have approximately one hour to spend at leisure to explore the picturesque streets before returning to Siena.