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The Tuscan Countryside

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 Florence  Italy
The Tuscan Countryside
Spend some time exploring all the treasures of Siena and its surrounding countryside. At the heart of this lovely medieval town is the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, scene of the renowned Palio horse race each summer, and the Duomo di Siena, a magnificent Roman-Gothic cathedral famed for its unique facade and black-and-white striped marble. Consider climbing the narrow steps (more than 400 of them) of Siena’s Torre del Mangia tower for unbeatable views from the top. If day-tripping from Siena through northern Tuscany, stop by the quaint town of Greve in Chianti. The unusual triangular-shaped Piazza Matteotti features famous statues and the neo-classical Santa Croce Church, and is studded with boutique shops, cafés, and enotecas. No trip to Greve is complete without a visit to Antica Macelleria Falnori—a classic butcher shop and bistro with a cheese and wine cellar and an incredible selection of cured meats, salamis, and their famous wild boar. A mile or two north of the main square is Castello di Verrazzano, a 12th century castle and historic wine estate known for their popular Chianti Classico and famous family: Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered New York Harbor (the Verrazzano Bridge is named after him). Here, you can explore the exquisite property and cellars, and taste exceptional wines, olive oil, and balsamic vinegars in a panoramic dining room overlooking the grounds. To truly overlook it all, floating over the Tuscan countryside in a hot air balloon is an experience of a lifetime. During a Ballooning in Tuscany flight, you’ll be guided on a peaceful early morning ride complete with breathtaking views of mountains, vineyards, and historic towns (from thousands of feet up), and enjoy a full Italian breakfast with prosecco upon landing.

Tuscany, Italy