Day 1 :
Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Florence, Italy. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: FLR.

Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

Day 2 :
Florence, Italy/Cortona

Arrive at Florence Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer to the hotel and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to Cortona, and check in to Villa Marsili. Please note, if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

This evening, meet your fellow travelers during a Welcome Reception and Dinner at the villa.

Accommodations – Villa Marsili
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

Day 3 :

Start the day with a delicious breakfast served at your hotel each morning.

Discovery: The Tuscan Countryside. Travel through the patchwork of burgeoning hill country of the Val d’Orcia. Let your senses succumb to the region’s provocative beauty, a land blanketed with shimmering olive groves, bucolic farmsteads, swaying cypress trees and red poppy playgrounds. Notice the carefully tended plots of land where vineyards are heavy with grapes. These verdant properties have supported Italy’s 3,000-year heritage of savory cuisine and extraordinary wine. Spy hilltop towns and distant villages, and contemplate the historic wealth of artistic and architectural treasures left by the Etruscans, Romans and Renaissance masters. These Tuscan hills, undulating in hues of gold and emerald, are sure to be among your most treasured memories of Italy.

During your excursion, enjoy a tantalizing culinary experience at a family-owned winery in the Brunello di Montalcino region. Tour the winery and sample satisfying vintages and tasty local cheeses.

Back in Cortona, enjoy some time at leisure for lunch.

Enrichment: Cortona and its Environs. Cortona is nestled in the hills of the Arezzo province. Examine the history of this typically Tuscan town and its relationship to greater Tuscany and Italy.

Discovery: Walking Tour of Cortona. Often referred to as the Mother of Troy and the Grandmother of Rome, Cortona is believed to be one of Italy’s oldest towns. Admire Cortona’s artistic and historical treasures and, as you stroll past historic palazzo and through charming piazzas, notice the village’s exceptional Etruscan features. Dwell in the heart of Cortona in the Piazza della Repubblica, and admire the nearby 13th-century town hall. Contemplate the wide Brunelleschi-style columns inside the Romanesque cathedral, which was built on the foundations of a pagan temple. Appreciate the 11th-century façade of the prominent Museo Diocesano. Inside are splendid works from Luca Signorelli, the village’s native son, and Beato Angelico, painter of The Annunciation. After your walking tour, discover jaw-dropping vistas of fertile olive groves and Lake Trasimeno from the town’s ancient porta.

Accommodations – Villa Marsili
Meals – Breakfast

Day 4 :

Discovery: Siena. Siena claims a lofty perch atop three hills and is a treasure chest of majestic Gothic architecture, cathedrals and museums. The streets are narrow, jumbled and steep, with shrines on corners, and are bordered with ancient red brick houses and low hanging, laden clotheslines. Siena is an ideal town to explore on foot as you can study the carvings above old doorways and count the brick bridges in ancient alleys.

All roads in Siena eventually lead to the Campo, the huge main square at the heart of the city. It is shaped like an amphitheater — the Sienese like to think that it is shaped like the protecting cloak of the Virgin, the city’s patron saint. This plaza is also the site of the bi-annual Palio horse race, one of Siena’s longest standing and most anticipated cultural traditions. See the architecture surrounding the Piazza including the 14th-century Torre del Mangia, the Piazza Chapel and the Civic Museum. Then step into a true masterpiece of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture when you visit the Duomo, home to fascinating works of art and sculpture.

Free Time: Enjoy lunch at leisure and spend time exploring Siena on your own. As you discover the peaceful ambience of Siena, feel your inner pace slow during a relaxing stroll. Savor a coffee at a sidewalk café, a perfect environment for participating in local life. Meander through the winding cobblestones or climb to the top of the Torre Mangia where you can admire a landscape of sprawling grapevines and hayfields. Before departing Siena, be sure to peak into one of Siena’s many specialty food shops to taste two Sienese staples: panforte and ricciarelli.

Enrichment: Renaissance Art. Learn how the increased awareness of nature, the revival of classical learning and the more individualistic view of humanity shaped the art of the Renaissance.

Enjoy Tuscan fare for dinner at a local restaurant in Cortona while sharing your day’s highlights and adventures.

Accommodations – Villa Marsili
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

Day 5 :

Discovery: A Taste of Florence. From the festive façade of Il Duomo, to the churches, palazzi and libraries built by Medici dynasty founder, Cosimo il Vecchio, Florence is a dynamic testimony to humanity’s creative genius — one that never fails to inspire awe. With a wide breadth over the River Arno and a plethora of outdoor art, it is no wonder that Florence is often referred to as Europe’s preeminent city of art. During your walking tour of Florence, visit the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and discover how the city’s wealth of creative genius left it laden with fine art and stunning architecture. Walk by the Old Palace and the legendary Ponte Vecchio where tanners, butchers and blacksmiths plied their trades centuries ago. Also see the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Piazza della Signoria and other remarkable highlights.

Free Time: The afternoon is yours to explore the wonders and gastronomic pleasures of Florence. Art lovers may choose to visit one of Florence’s world-famous museums, the Uffizi or the Galleria dell’Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David. Or perhaps you will visit the Basilica di San Lorenzo — the oldest church in Florence and the resting place of all of the principal members of the Medici family.

Enjoy a buffet dinner at Villa Marsili this evening.

Accommodations – Villa Marsili
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

Day 6 :

Enrichment: A Contemporary View of Italy. Attend an engaging discussion of Italy’s place in the European Union and an assessment of its modern-day political, economic and social status.

Discovery: Montepulciano. Depart Cortona and travel through the Val di Chiana to the ancient Etruscan city of Montepulciano. En route to this walled-in city, stop below the hills of Montepulciano for a visit to the Church of the Madonna di San Biagio. Consecrated by Pope Clement VII in 1529, the church features large arches and bell towers. In Montepulciano, walk with your group up to Piazza Grande.

Free Time: Enjoy leisure time in Montepulciano. Revel in the scents and sounds of this special town — the aroma of cappuccino and warm baked goods wafting from little shops, the perfume of fresh flowers and the bustle of the main square. Lounge in a shaded corner of Piazza Grande and revel in its captivating atmosphere. Savor the sights of local Tuscan life around you; children engaged in a lively soccer game and silver-haired women slowly make their way to market. Near the Palazzo Comunale, soak up incredible panoramic vistas, perhaps spotting Siena and Mount Cimone in the distance! Then stroll the main street from the Piazza Grande to the bottom of the hill, taking time to chat with artisans in their workshops and peek into centuries-old wine cellars filled with famous Vino Nobile.

Dine on classic Tuscan cuisine for lunch in Montepulciano.

Free Time: The remainder of your evening is at leisure in Cortona to make your own discoveries.

Accommodations – Villa Marsili
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

Day 7 :

Free Time: Join today’s Elective Excursion to Assisi, or explore the charms of Cortona on your own. Duck into one of Cortona’s many wine bars to partake in locally made refreshments or tackle some souvenir shopping.

Elective Activity: Assisi. Encounter the magnificent walled city of Assisi. Stroll through Assisi and visit the Basilica of San Francesco, which is dedicated to the town’s most famous resident, St. Francis. Step inside the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, and enjoy a lunch of delicious Italian fare before departing Assisi. Available at an additional cost.

Accommodations – Villa Marsili
Meals – Breakfast

Day 8 :

Discovery: Museum of the Etruscan Academy. Discover the artistic legacy of the Etruscans, who first settled in what now is Cortona. Visit the 14th-century Praetorian Palace. Inside, the Museum of the Etruscan Academy will astound you with archaeological finds and important Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Egyptian works of art, mosaics and collections of engraved gems. Among its prized possessions is a bronze lamp from the fifth century B.C., decorated with alternating male and female figures.

Discovery: Tuscan Cooking Presentation. Enjoy the rest of the morning immersed in Tuscan cuisine as you watch a cooking demonstration. Afterward, delight in a lunch of delicious Italian fare.

Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – Villa Marsili
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9 :
Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer to Florence Airport depart for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

NOTE: Itinerary schedule may change due to local conditions. Walking is required on many excursions, and surfaces may be uneven or unpaved, guests should be able to walk through train corridors whether the train is in motion or stopped.

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