Walkabout Tuscany tour

This item appears on page 37 of the October 2011 issue.

In Italy in July ’11, perhaps the best 80 euros (near $115) that my wife, Linnea, and I spent went for the 12-hour “Best of Tuscany Tour” with Walkabout (Via dei Neri, 30/32R, 50122 Firenze, Italy; phone +39 055 2645746 [9 a.m.-7 p.m.] or +39 328 0867738 [24-hour]), arranged through our travel agency.

In a modern motorcoach, our first stop was Siena, where we had a guided walking tour through this medieval city of ocher-yellow buildings, terra-cotta rooftops and green shutters.

The Piazza del Campo is the center of the city and the site of the 600-year-old Palio horse race. High above the city rests the gorgeous Duomo di Siena, an inspiring treasure chest of artwork.

Our second stop was a family-run estate that makes Chianti from their grapes and raises cattle for milk and meat. Four varieties of wine accompanied our multicourse lunch.

We proceeded to the hilltop town of San Gimignano, which, with its 12 skyscraping towers, is often called the Manhattan of Tuscany. We had time to clamber up and down the hills of the picturesque village, purchase a watercolor of a Tuscan scene from the artist and try some award-winning gelato.

Finally, we stopped in Pisa to view the Baptistery, Cathedral and Leaning Tower. Some of our group took the opportunity to climb the tower.

We found this to be a full and very enriching day.

Algona, IA