CLASSICAL TOUR: Together with Florence and Pisa, Siena is one of the leading art cities in Tuscany and a place which has managed to preserve carefully its medieval character.
We start our guided tour with a visit to San Domenico, a church much frequented for its venerated relics of Saint Catherine, patron saint of Italy and Europe. Then we head for the magnificent palace of Monte dei Paschi bank, founded in 1472 - the oldest bank in Europe. From there we reach nearby Piazza del Campo, the unrivalled center of vivid city life. Here our guide explains the rules - and tricks!- of the Palio, Siena's breathtaking bareback horse race. With a stop at the Chigi-Saracini Palace we finally reach the Duomo with its marble pavement made with a startling sequence of 56 marble panels.
Duration: 2-2,5 hrs.
Entrance fee: Duomo: adults 3,00 € p.p. (August - October: 5,00 € p.p + 1 € p.p. for 'whisper'; students € 3 p.p. + 1 € for 'whisper').
URBAN TREKKING: This is real fun! Our itinerary through hilly town streets does not require any special physical training, but it offers a new and entertaining way to get to know the extraordinary beauties of this town known for its clear air. Through hidden streets and narrow alleys, apart from ordinary tourist routes, you will discover the history and art of one of the most visited Tuscan towns. On our gentle walk you are listening to old stories of bankers and pilgrims, of artists and Saints, hidden behind the walls of old palaces and monasteries. We recommend good and comfortable shoes!
Duration: 2-3 hrs.
THE PALIO AND THE LIFE IN A CONTRADA: The epitome of popular culture in Siena is the Palio, the bareback horse race on the Piazza del Campo. But that's just the tip of the iceberg: accompanying their members throughout their entire life, the seventeen contrade repeat on a higher level the structure of a real family. As a part of this tour you will visit a private contrada-museum in Siena, the best place to understand the social importance of the Palio.
Duration: 1,5-2 hrs.
Entrance fee: 8 € p.p
A FEW STEPS FROM SIENA
MONTE OLIVETO MAGGIORE: In 1313 Bernardo Tolomei, who belonged to a very wealthy familiy of Siena, renounced worldly life and started the life of a hermit in a place know then as the desert of Accona. During the next hundred and fifty years the monastery was built, becoming soon one of the most powerful in Tuscany.
Our tour of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, managed today by a small group of Olivetan monks, starts with the Great Cloister. Here we see the "Life of Saint Benedict," a series of frescoes, painted by Luca Signorelli and Sodoma - among the finest examples of Renaissance art. Following this we visit the church, where we focuss on its magnificent inlaid choirstalls, a work of Giovanni da Verona. Leaving the church we proceed with the refectory and the splendid library.
Duration: 1,5-2 hrs.
Entrance fee: -
WINE: Some time ago, Tuscan wine was just a pleasant every-day beverage, not a competitive product on international markets. A virtual revolution in cultivating and producing techniques has created Tuscan wines that offer outstanding quality and unbelievable variety. Our guided tour takes you from the vineyard to the final bottled product. This journey at the estate of a selected Tuscan wine-producer is an ideal way to get a short, enjoyable and profound introduction to the fascinating world of our wines. The tour will be complemented by a guided tasting of 3 types of Tuscan wine in the estate's winery or in the garden.
Duration: 1,5 - 2 hrs.
Tasting: price on request