Enjoy this 9-hour customized day trip to Volterra and San Gimignano from Florence, ideal for the discerning traveler seeking an authentic Italian experience on a small-group tour. Discover the ancient Etruscan city of Volterra and the enchanting hilltop towered town of San Gimignano. Visit Italy close up in a Mercedes minivan seating up to 7-8 people that takes you into the very heart of each of these beautiful Tuscan cities.
Meet your private driver at 9am at your centrally-located Florence hotel and set out for a pleasant hour and a half drive to Volterra, sitting on a high plateau offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding hills and boasting over 3,500 years of history.Volterra was one of the most important Etruscan cities from 4-6th centuries BC and is rich in archaeological remains, both Etruscan and Roman. The Etruscans built a 7 km ring of walls around the city and as you enter the original Etruscan gate, the Porta all'Arco, you feel you are stepping back in time.Volterra has always exploited its strategic location as well as its numerous natural resources in the land such as salt, alabaster, and copper and is still today an important center for the production of alabaster - you will see several small, jam-packed, and dusty alabaster workshops as you stroll around the town. Volterra has 3 museums of considerable artistic and historical value, with the Guarnacci Museum holding one of the most important displays of Etruscan antiquities in existence.Travel next towards San Gimignano, stopping to enjoy a wonderful Tuscan lunch at a lively osteria or farm (own expense).Continue on to the beautiful historic center of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town bears exceptional testimony to the civilization of the Italian Middle Ages in the 11-13th centuries as it groups together within a small area all the buildings typical of urban life with squares, streets, houses and palaces, wells and fountains. San Gimignano was an important place on a trade route as well as a relay point on the Via Francigena for pilgrims journeying to and from Rome.The town itself was controlled by two major rival families and was the scene of incessant conflicts between the two. As symbols of their wealth and power, there were once an incredible 72 towers rising above the rooftops, some as high as 50 meters. There are fewer towers nowadays, but the fourteen remaining are still impressive in the misty distance, forming an unforgettable skyline in the heart of an Etruscan landscape; for spectacular views, climb one of the towers.The town is renowned for its Vernaccia di San Gimignano white wine and it has also reintroduced the farming of saffron which was cultivated here in the Middle Ages and was an important part of the city’s economy. Certainly not to be missed is a visit to the Gelateria di Piazza, where Sergio Dondoli creates award-winning ice cream with flavors including Vernaccia wine sorbet. After a day discovering some of Tuscany's smaller towns, sit back, relax, and enjoy the comfortable hour's journey back to Florence with arrival at around 6pm. With your own private driver, entirely at your disposal throughout the day, this tour is flexible and if there is anything in particular that you wish to see or do, please let us know and we will do our best to incorporate this into your day.