The cities of medieval Italy, of which Siena is an excellent example, come as a surprise to those accustomed to images of the Middles Ages that focus on somber Gothic cathedrals and nasty, plague-ridden, thatched-roofed hamlets. Like so much of Italy, the Middle Ages that comes down to us in art and architecture here seems colorful, gregarious, and even somewhat insouciant. That, at least, is the impression left by Siena, where you will arrive by private car from Florence for an unforgettable tour. Its cathedral, completed in 1263, is among the most exquisite in Tuscany, flaunting a bold, ornate Romanesque style and housing an incredible inlaid marble mosaic floor crafted by more than 40 artists over a period of 200 years that was described by Giorgio Vasari as “the most beautiful, largest and most magnificent floor that ever was made.” The tour continues at one of the 17 museums of the Contrada. The "contrade" (districts into which the city is divided) are the core of local social life to this day; inhabitants of each district compete against each other in preparing for the well-known Palio horse-race. The guided tour of Siena continues to its most beautiful square, Piazza del Campo, of which the Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) is the focal point. On the way back to Florence, your driver will take you to San Gimignano, known as the "city of beautiful towers." In its heyday, the town boasted 72 towers, of which 14 remain. Rising above Tuscany's Elsa Valley, they give the town the appearance of a medieval dreamscape, although nothing like anything out of a Walter Scott novel. You will view the stunning architecture of the Piazza della Cisterna, Piazza del Duomo Collegiata, and the town’s Romanesque cathedral, and continue with a stroll along a portion of the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage road. There will be plenty of time to visit shops, peruse beautiful Santa Fina pottery and other handicrafts, and purchase the local spice specialty, saffron.
- English-speaking driver and private vehicle
- Expert, licensed English-speaking guide
- Lunch in Siena (not included)
- Entrance tickets where necessary
- Walking tour of San Gimignano
- This tour lasts 8 hours from pick-up to drop-off time. Please note that the journey time between Florence and Siena is approximately one hour and 20 minutes.
- This is a private tour: your party only
- Modest attire is required in churches and basilicas; knees and shoulders must be covered.
- Please wear comfortable shoes, as this tour requires a fair amount of walking.
- Is there a dress code I should know about?
- There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered; shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is recommended that you not take large bags or backpacks on tours that include churches as storage accommodations are not usually available.
- What if there is bad weather?
- Our tours operate rain or shine!
- Is tipping customary in Italy?
- Tipping is not as customary in Italy as in the United States and is not always expected. However, it is always a kind gesture and proper etiquette to leave "a little something extra," depending on the level of service you receive.
- What happens after I've requested a booking through your website?
- Your Own Italy will send a confirmation email within 24 hours of your booking. You will then be invited to make your payment using a link that will be provided.
- Can wheelchair users go on this walking tour?
- Not all walking tours are fully accessible for wheelchair users or those with walking disabilities. However, if anyone in your group requires special accommodation, please let us know when completing the booking and we will work out suitable alternative routes.
- Can tours be modified?
- If you would prefer to customize your tour to eliminate some sites, please feel free to contact us to discuss options.
- How far in advance should I book my walking tour?
- Tours should be booked 48 hours in advance. While we cannot guarantee availability if booking occurs in less than 48 hours, we will do our best to accommodate your request.
- What are Your Own Italy’s payment terms?
- Full payment is due when the tour confirmation email is sent, within 24 hours of your booking. You will be provided with a link to our payment page. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Tours must be canceled by email 24 hours prior to the start of the tour. If cancellation is made in less than this time, Your Own Italy cannot guarantee a full refund.
- How do I amend a reservation?
- Any changes to existing reservations must be requested by email. All efforts will be made to accommodate changes, but they cannot be guaranteed.
- Is your site secure?
- Our internet site uses the SSL encryption protocol to guarantee secure transactions and complete confidentiality. We use a security certificate issued by the Security Management Company, Control Scan.
- What should I do if I have a larger group than the size suggested on the website?
- Your Own Italy is delighted to accommodate large groups. Please specify the number in your party when booking, and every effort will be made to organize a tour within the time limits provided.