Exploring the Chianti Countryside
Walks Inside Florence is offering an intimate and insightful way of seeing the Tuscan countryside. Our joinable van tours mean that we have no more than 8 clients per tour, we can reach places off the beaten path that big bus tours don't, and yet do so at a reasonable cost. We are highly recommended by Rick Steves and Trip Advisor, and .. hopefully soon by you!
How it works
Our tours are for a min. 2 to a max. of 8 people and concentrate on going off-the beaten path into the local countryside. These are full days from about 9 to about 4; pick up is right at your lodgings – either from Siena or Florence- , depending on the first clients to book (If you are not staying in the city where the tour originates, we will try to give you another date or help you to meet us). Some tours include wineries (Chianti, Clay Hills), others don’t (Montagnola, Val D’Orcia). Our basic price of € 90 pp (unchanged for many years now) does not include lunch or entry fees.
A thumbnail sketch of our basic itineraries:
The borders of the Chianti region are not clearly defined but it extends from the provinces of Florence to Siena, covering all of the area between the two cities and extending to the east and west.
Our tour takes you through this Tuscan landscape, which will stun you with green, gentle hills, rolling fields of vineyards and olive groves with stops (typically) to visit an Etruscan tomb, where you will learn about this population which Tuscans descended from. Next is Vertine, a small medieval village of immaculate alleys and flower-adorned stoops, where we learn about the history of the region. Very close to the village, we stop to have lunch at a typical countryside trattoria. Finally we tour the cellars of a local (and exceptionally good) vineyard, and taste their products.
Crete Senesi (Clay Hills of Siena)
The clay hills south of Siena are often the inspiration for the iconic landscapes of Tuscany found in paintings and postcards, with the contrasting flat brushstroke-like swaths of colorful fields and majesty of lone cypress trees.
On the tour you will feast your eyes upon this unique landscape, ever-changing throughout the seasons; brilliant yellow sunflowers, rich green young wheat, or undulating rows of tilled brown soil on impossibly steep hillsides. Photographers will revel in the light upon bucolic scense of silver olive trees and flocks of sheep.
We'll visit first a 14th century monastery which houses masterpiece frescoes by Sodoma and Signorelli. Then we move on to the medieval hamlet of Lucignano d’Asso where we can enjoy the visit of a medieval hamlet and we continue on to the Montalcino area for a private tasting of the world-famous Brunello di Montalcino and lunch at a family-fun farm.
The Montagnola is our woodsy area, where locals comb the hills for mushrooms and chestnuts in season, and tourists hardly venture. We introduce the tour at an Etruscan tomb-site learning about those whom the Tuscans consider their proper ancestors. We then go on to visit the hill-top town of Colle di Val d'Elsa, the the home of Tuscany's first crystal and glass industry. The panoramic view of the picturesque town, will thrill you as we approach it, and charm you as we explore it. We will visit the lab and shop of a famous local artistan to learn about and see the crystal etching which is a local speciality. After lunch we will go off the beaten path, visiting an antique, still-functioning mill from the Medici era, and Roman bath.
Val D'Orcia and the Etruscans
Not on Mondays
Mother Nature is the undisputed protagonist in the Orcia valley. We begin with a panoramic drive through the Montepulciano area en route to the hilltown of Chianciano area, where you will visit a collection of Etruscan finds run by a club of archaeological enthusiasts to which Roberto belongs. If an excavation is ongoing we may also stop by to see it. We’ll then drive through the Val D'Orcia, having a “zero-kilometer” lunch at an organic farm where we will also learn about organic farming and enjoy a pecorino cheese-making demonstration. After lunch, we will drive to Montepulciano and after walking through the city will meet one of the last seven coppersmiths in Italy, who will share his passion and expertise by giving us a demo of his craft.
Changes and substitutions may need to be made at times for reasons beyond our control.