Loading

Women’s Tuscany Tour Hub  

June 22 – June 30, 2024

All the info you need for your upcoming trip in one place! 

Getting to Italy 

Most direct international flights from the US will go to Rome (FCO) or Milan (MXP)

Florence airport (FLR) is a smaller one with less service but you may be able to find a route directly there via a transfer in another city in Europe.  You’ll want to plan to arrive in Florence no later than midday on Saturday June 22nd so you don’t miss any of the fun!

After you land and pick up your luggage it’s a 40-minute ride and ~60 euro cab ride to the Rome Termini Train station in Rome. 

 

Cabs all take Visa cards so there’s no need to worry about getting out euros. Please note your American Express card will not be accepted throughout Europe. Ubers are not as commonly available in Italy other than in Rome.

 

Trains depart frequently from Rome to Florence – you can view the schedule and purchase your ticket ahead or at the station at this link or on ItaliaRail.com. It’s approximately 1 ½ hours and ~50 euros for the trip on a high-speed train.

 

Once at the Florence train station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella), there are cabs waiting outside to take you to our hotel Palazzo Castri.  It’s an 8-minute ride and ~15 euros.

It’s a 48-minute and ~90 euro ride to the Milan train station (Milano Centrale)

 

Cabs all take Visa cards so there’s no need to worry about getting out euros. Please note your American Express card will not be accepted throughout Europe. Ubers are not as commonly available in Italy other than in Rome.

 

Trains depart frequently from Milan to Florence and it’s approximately a 2-hour trip and ~56 euros – you can view the schedule and purchase your ticket ahead or at the station at this link.


Once at the Florence train station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella), there are cabs waiting outside to take you to our hotel Palazzo Castri.  It’s an 8-minute ride and ~15 euros.

If you’re having a hard time communicating with your cab driver just show them the address on your phone to read.

 

The address for Palazzo Castri is:

Piazza dell’Indipendenza, 7
50129 Firenze

 

welcome@palazzocastri.com
Ph.+39 055 472118

Italy Arrival Instructions

You’ll need to be in Florence and checked into our hotel “Palazzo Castri” by Saturday 6/22 at 5 pm for the tour kickoff dinner that night.

Please notify Julie IMMEDIATELY via Whatsapp if you are experiencing any travel delays on your way to Italy.

Early Arrival

Our tour officially starts at the Saturday night kickoff dinner at 6 pm at our Florence Hotel.

If you’d like to arrive before our tour starts on Saturday night 6/22,  we have a block of rooms on reserve at our Florence hotel Palazzo Castri for Friday 6/21 under “Julie Hartigan Group, Arranged by Greta Guercini at S-Cape”. 

The rooms range from 360-390 euros per night but the hotel has agreed to give us a 10% discount AND to try to arrange so that you won’t need to switch to a new room for Sat 6/22 and Sun 6/23 while you’re there as part of the tour. Note: that is not guaranteed depending on the hotel room arrangements.

WHAT TO DO:

Please email Teresa and Stefania at welcome@palazzocastri.com to request your early arrival room in the “Julie Hartigan Group Block” for 6/21 at a 10% discount.

cc juliehartigan@gmail.com  &  greta.guercini@s-cape.it  so we can make SURE you’re well taken care of!

If you want another hotel option for early arrival, the Hotel Caravaggio is RIGHT next door to our Florence Hotel Palazzo Castri.  It’s a 3-star vs a 4-star hotel so their rooms are a lot less expensive ($200-$240 per night) if you just want a place to crash or if Palazzo Castri is booked.

Tour Hotel Overview 

Throughout your tour, you’ll be staying at 3 different hotels in Tuscany.

In Florence

Saturday, June 22nd – Monday, June 24th, checking out the morning of Tuesday, June 25th

 
Palazzo Castri

A 4-star luxury boutique hotel in the center of the city with a huge backyard garden, heated pool, spa, optional massages, facials, and pampering treatments.

Piazza dell’Indipendenza, 7

50129 Firenze

welcome@palazzocastri.com

Ph.+39 055 472118

Near Siena

Tuesday, June 25th – Wednesday, June 26th, checking out the morning of Thursday, June 27th

 
Relais della Rovere

Located in Colle di Val d’Elsa just outside of Siena, this posh hotel sits on a property that was originally home to Benedictine Monks who built the estate in 1100. It was later home to popes and cardinals and now features a pool, wine cellar, and park-like grounds to explore. 

Via Piemonte, 10 – 53034 Colle di Val d’Elsa (SI)

Tel: +39 0577 1700305

Email: info@relaisdellarovere.it

P.Iva 01116290527

In Cortona

Thursday June 27th – Saturday, June 29th, checking out & returning to Florence Sunday, June 30th

Villa Borgo San Pietro

A 17th-century villa with a pool, gorgeous gardens, and panoramic views just outside charming Cortona, famous for the book and movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”.

Soc.Agr.Residence IL BORGO s.r.l
Viale Regina Elena 11
Cortona (AR) – ITALY
P.IVA: 01519660516
Cod. Univoco: M5UXCR1​
info@borgosanpietro.com
+39 0575 612402

Emergency Contacts

Julie Hartigan

Email: juliehartigan@gmail.com 

Phone: 201-780-4176

Greta Guercini

S-Cape Travel

Email: groups@s-cape.it

Phone: +39(0)552345334

Official Tour Day-by-Day Itinerary

Please note: While on the tour we’ll have daily meetings with our designated Italy guide to go over ALL the details for the day, including where and when to meet and when we’ll be going place to place together.

Throughout the entire tour, you’ll be accompanied by Julie as well as our full-time bilingual, local resident guide Esther to answer all your questions and help you have the trip of a lifetime! 

Please ask for anything you may need so we can help you.

SATURDAY, JUNE 22

Arrive in Florence + Check Into Hotel

You’ll need to be in Florence and checked into our hotel “Palazzo Castri” by Saturday 6/22 at 5 pm for the tour kickoff dinner that night at the hotel.

If you arrive early the hotel will be happy to store your bags. They also have a beautiful backyard garden La Limonaia with comfy lounge chairs and tables, a restaurant and bar, as well as a spa you can rest in from your travels. 

You can also treat yourself to a spa treatment here by contacting the hotel ahead of time.

welcome@palazzocastri.com

Ph.+39 055 472118

The spa menu can be found here! 

6 pm – Meet & Mingle Welcome Dinner in the garden at the hotel. Get ready to meet your new travel besties for the week! Dress is casual – we’ll be taking photos to commemorate the start of our time together.

Overnight at Palazzo Castri 

DAY 1 – SUNDAY,  JUNE 23

The Beauty of Florence

We’ll start our day with an exclusive visit with the  “Atelier of Female Arts in Florence” – a unique women’s artist collective in the ultra-hip and artsy Santo Spirito Oltrano neighborhood.  You’ll see see firsthand how local female artisans create traditional and modern crafts such as jewelry, pottery, and more. You’ll meet the artists plus have plenty of time to shop! Afterwards we’ll discover and stop by an “Only in Florence” Renaissance Wine Window. After strolling over the Arno for close up peeks at the iconic Ponte Vecchio we’ll stop for lunch at the historic and beautiful Florence market Mercato Centrale to pick up lunch.  Next you’ll tap into your creative side with your choice of either a private small-group tour of the Uffizi to see Renaissance artist classics or to try your hand at oil painting in a private class. That night you’ll have free time on your own for dinner, to explore, stroll, and shop in Florence plus stop by the stunning Duomo lit up at night.  A photo opp must!

What to wear: There’s LOTS of walking today so comfy shoes are a must!

7:30 am – 10:00 am

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

9:00 am – 10:00 am 

Welcome briefing – you can bring your breakfast if you want to sleep in

Location: Palazzo Castri garden “La Limonaia”

10:00 am – 12 pm

Walk to the Atelier of Female Arts in the artsy Santo Spirito neighborhood of Florence

Visit the Atelier of Female Arts in Florence to meet the artists

Stop at the historic Medieval Babae Wine Window and stroll Santo Spirito

12:00 pm – 2 pm

Stroll across the Arno to see the Ponte Vecchio bridge up close – purchase your lunch at Mercato Centrale

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm 

Guided Tour of the Uffizi Gallery OR Oil Painting Class 

6:00 pm on

Free time to rest, shop, explore and enjoy dinner on your own – we can help make reservations ahead too

Overnight at Palazzo Castri

DAY 2 – MONDAY, JUNE 24

Taste the Magic of Florence

Today we’ll shop and taste like the locals with a private Street Food Tasting tour around Florence including the historic Sant’Ambrogio Market  – built in 1873 and the oldest central market in Florence!  Afterwards we’ll enjoy shopping, spa time at the hotel, or if you like we can advise on other activities to do in Florence. Next we’ll enjoy a relaxing boat ride down the Arno river under the beautiful Ponte Vecchio bridge and then (if you’re up for some hill walking!) we’ll do as the Florentines do and take in the sunset with wine overlooking the city from the heights of Piazzale Michelangelo. You’ll end the day with a beautiful outdoor dinner with Florentine Steak at a gorgeous garden-themed osteria.

What to wear: There’s LOTS of walking today so comfy shoes are a must!

7:30 am – 10:00 am

Open breakfast at the hotel

 

10:00 am – 10:30 am 

Walk to Sant’Ambrogio Market 

 

10:30 am – 1:00 pm 

Florence Street Food Tour! You’ll be sampling lots of classic Florentine dishes and visiting the oldest food market in Florence too so a light breakfast is recommended.

 

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm 

Free time in Florence

This is the perfect time to get a massage, go shopping, relax in the spa at our hotel, or optionally Tour & Climb the Duomo if you chose that option

 

We also have the spa at our hotel, Palazzo Castri, booked just for our group from 2:30 – 4 pm today

 

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm 

Walk to Arno Boat Ride for a relaxing down the River under the Ponte Vecchio

 

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm 

Walk to Piazzale Michelangelo

We’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Duomo at sunset with wine and local musicians.

Note: The walk to Piazzale Michelangelo involves some hills and steps to reach that beautiful view – you can opt to take a private cab if you prefer or just relax over aperitivos on your own.

 

8:30 pm – 8:45 pm 

Walk to La Beppa Fioraia Restaurant 

 

8:45 pm – 10:45 pm 

Dinner at La Beppa Fioraia, right under Piazzale Michelangelo 

 

10:45 pm – 11:15 pm 

Walk back to Palazzo Castri 

 

Overnight at Palazzo Castri 

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, JUNE 25

Taste the Tuscan Countryside

Today we’ll leave Florence to start our time in the Tuscan countryside. First stop! The beautiful town of Greve in Chianti for an exclusive, ultra modern Olive Oil tasting with a family run producer making olive oil since the mid nineteenth century where you’ll learn how to select and taste olive oil like a pro and enjoy a light lunch. . Next we’ll enjoy a private afternoon tour and wine tasting at an award winning woman run winery Castello di Monsanto, before checking into our next hotel just outside historic Siena and enjoying a posh dinner in their stunning wine cellar.

What to wear: After checking out of our hotel we’ll be out all day until dinner time. Dress comfortably to walk through the vineyard and bring what you need in a tote bag as your luggage will be stored under our transport during the day. You may not have time to change before dinner. 

 

7:30 am – 10:00 am

Open breakfast at the hotel

You’re also checking out of the hotel this morning so need to pack your bag.

 

10 am – 11 am 

Drive to the Pruneti Olive Oil Farm in Chianti

 

11:00 am – 1:00 pm 

Exclusive Olive Oil tasting experience, Light Lunch and shopping time

 

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm 

Stroll & shop in Chianti in Greve

 

2pm – 4pm

Private Tour and Wine Tasting at Castello di Monsanto family run by winemaker Laura Bianchi

 

5:30 pm – 6:00pm

Drive to our next hotel Relais della Rovere and check in

 

7pm

Private Dinner in the wine cellar at our hotel 

 

Overnight at Relais della Rovere Val d’Elsa just outside Siena

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26

Beautiful Medieval Siena!

In the 1300s this Medieval city was one of the most powerful in Europe and today we’ll take a step back in time to explore this highly walkable city including its infamous “Campo’ or town square where the annual “Palio” horse race has been held since 1482. We’ll enjoy a private cooking and pasta making class for lunch and later do a walking tour with a local woman who’s part of the Contrade (or districts who participate in the Palio race)

You’ll have free time to explore and shop before dinner at your choice of recommended restaurants or your new favorite local find.

What to wear: There’s LOTS of walking today so comfy shoes are a must! Bring a tote bag for all your shopping scores in Siena too.

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

 

8:45 am – 9:30 am 

Drive to Siena 

 

9:30 am – 10:00 am 

Walk through town to our Cooking Class at a woman owned cooking school

 

10:00 am – 3:00 pm 

Private Tuscan Cooking Class with Lunch at Scuola di Lella

 

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm 

Guided tour of Siena by local Stella Soldani including an inside peek at the Contrade clubs of the Palio horse race

 

5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Free time for shopping, dinner on your own, and exploring Siena

 

8:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Drive back to the hotel 

 

Overnight at Relais della Rovere College Val d’Elsa 

DAY 5 – THURSDAY, JUNE 27

Tiny Tuscan Hill Towns

After breakfast, we’ll head out for the day to a countryside Agriturismo (authentic working farms with in-house restaurant, events, and hotel) for a cheese-making tour and tasting, and a light farm-to-table lunch.  Next, we’ll visit Volterra, a stunning under-the-radar walled town on a mountaintop that dates back to the 8th century BC Etruscan times. Famous for its alabaster and local crafts, we’ll enjoy a private walking tour with a woman who was born and raised in Volterra to visit local artisans, and stop at a local-favorite “enoteca” or wine bar for a tasting with the owners!  After dinner on your own (if you’re still hungry that is!) we’ll return to our hotel.

What to wear: Comfortable clothes and walking shoes. We’ll be out all day so bring what you need with you in a small tote.

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

 

10 am – 11 am 

Drive to a woman, led, family run Agriturismo (working farm) outside Volterra

 

 – Fattoria Lischeto

 

11:00 am – 12 pm

Visit the farm and it’s adorable herds of sheep plus the cheese making facility

 

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm 

Lunch at the farm

 

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm 

Transfer to the town of Volterra 

 

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm 

Guided tour of Volterra’s Artisans and Etruscan history with our local guide Claudia

 

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm 

Sunset at the scenic overlook, a stop in a family run wine bar “Enoteca Scali” and dinner on your own in Volterra 

 

9:00 pm – 9:45 pm 

Drive back to the hotel 

 

 Overnight at Relais della Rovere College Val d’Elsa

DAY 6 – FRIDAY, JUNE 28

Women & Wellness

Prepare for some pampering today as we visit an outdoor spa for a soak in natural hot Thermal Baths, popular since Roman times and formed long ago by volcanoes! Next, we’ll tour the stunning hilltop town of Montalcino in the breathtaking Val d’Orcia famous for its Brunello wines. We’ll enjoy a private pottery demonstration from a local female artisan and then a once-in-a-lifetime art and music-themed wine tasting at award-winning Casato Prime Donne Winery. This all-woman-run winery founded by Donatella Cinelli Colombini is a flagship for equal opportunities for women in the wine world. We’ll end our day with a private dinner al fresco at our new hotel in Cortona.

What to wear: Travel to the spa in your bathing suit and coverup but bring a change of clothes, you’ll be able to change at the spa before heading to Montalcino and the winery. You’re also checking out of the hotel this morning so need to pack your bag and bring what you need with you for the day in a tote.

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

 

Check out of Hotel

 

9:00 am -10:00 am

Drive to Terme di Rapolano – pampering outdoor thermal spas!

 

10:00 am – 1:00 pm 

Enjoy Thermal Baths and lunch on your own at the spa

*Note* You can also book optional massages or other treatments if you like!  Here’s the menu.

 

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm 

Drive to the tiny Medieval hill town of Montalcino 

 

2:00 pm – 4:15 pm 

Explore Montalcino, including a private visit to a local woman pottery maker for a private pottery demo and shopping

 

4:15 pm – 4:30 pm 

Drive to the all woman led winery Casato Prime Donne 

 

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm 

Woman-led, music-accompanied Brunello wine tasting and tour. 

 

6:00 pm – 7:20 pm 

Drive to our last hotel Villa Borgo San Pietro in Cortona and Check In

 

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm 

Outdoor private dinner for our group in the garden at the hotel

 

Overnight at Hotel Villa Borgo San Pietro near Cortona

DAY 7 – SATURDAY, JUNE 29

A Final Celebration

This morning we’ll stretch our legs and take in the fresh air with a beautiful walk through the tiny, well-preserved Medieval village of Cortona. Afterward, we’ll enjoy the pool and park-like property at our hotel before our blow-out, final, celebratory dinner, and experience. We’ll visit Michelin-starred il Falconiere for a private wine-sabering experience and dinner with one of Italy’s most esteemed and awarded female chefs Silvia Baracchi. 

What to wear: Comfortable shoes for the daytime, something fun to celebrate YOU for dinner!

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

 

9:00 am – 10:00 am 

Optional! Drive to beautiful Cortona

 

10:00 am – 3:00 pm 

Shopping, walking tour, and lunch on your own

 

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm 

Drive back to the hotel 

 

3:30 pm – 7:30 pm 

Free afternoon to decompress in the pool

 

7:30 pm – 7:45 pm 

Drive to the posh resort & restaurant Il Falcionere for our Final Celebration!

 

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm 

Sabering experience & Michelin Starred tasting dinner by esteemed chef Silvia Baracchi

 

Overnight at Hotel Villa Borgo San Pietro near Cortona 

DAY 8 – SUNDAY, JUNE 30

Return to Florence

After our final breakfast together and heartfelt goodbyes to our group we’ll say Ciao for Now and head back to Florence with a full heart and memories for a lifetime!  Please note that you’ll be brought back to Florence as a group by noon to be dropped off at either the Florence Airport or Train Station to continue your travels. Any earlier departures may require private transport at your own cost which we can arrange for you.

 

You can choose to stay for additional time in Florence, take the train to Rome for a flight back home, or book optional, additional 2-day trips to Venice, or Rome to extend your time in Italy.

Complimentary Breakfast at the Hotel

 

9:00 am

Check out of our Hotel in Cortona and Pack for Further Travels

 

10:00 am – 11:30 am

Drive back to Florence from Cortona with dropoffs at the Florence Airport and the Florence Train Station (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) by 12pm

 

Note: if you need to leave early from Cortona to get back to Florence before 12pm on Sunday 6/30 we can book a private car for you at your own expense.

Trip Insurance

Please note that it’s mandatory that you obtain a minimum of $100K coverage for international medical insurance before joining us in Tuscany so we’ll be able to provide you with emergency medical care abroad if something happens to you while you’re on the trip with us. 

 

I’ve partnered with IMG to provide you with a great trip insurance option if you don’t already have one. They come highly recommended by my friend’s women’s adventure travel company which has been using them for a decade now. 

 

With IMG’s iTravelInsured® travel protection plans, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you have protection for your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs in addition to 24/7 global assistance services (including excellent medical coverage) to support you while you’re away from home. There are multiple iTravelInsured plans available (Lite, SE, LX, and GT) with varying coverages and benefit levels to suit your lifestyle and budget.

 

Download the PDF linked below to learn more about what each plan includes and you can book directly from the link below. If you’re interested in purchasing a plan or have additional questions you can reach out directly to your very own personal agent, Alex DeJesus at Alex.DeJesus@imglobal.com.

Spa Treatments

Spa Time in Florence

Our trip planners booked out the ENTIRE spa at our Florence Hotel Palazzo Castri for just our group on Monday, June 24th from 2:30 – 4pm.  The spa will also be open and available to you the entire time you’re staying in Florence (some of you are arriving early) but does require a reservation at the front desk so it doesn’t get overcrowded.  The spa has a whirlpool, sauna, steam room, etc that’s included in your stay but if you’d like a massage you can add that on too.

Additional Treatments at the Thermal Spa

On Friday June 28th we’ll all be visiting the beautiful Terme de Rapoleno between 9am and 2 pm including time to grab lunch.  The thermal baths are included as part of your tour but if you’d like to book any additional spa treatments or massages you can do that too!

Packing List

Note: We’ll be moving around quite a bit throughout Tuscany so please pack as lightly as you can so your bag is easy for you to handle!

Be sure to check your airline’s bag check policy and weight limits and test your bag on your bathroom scale or with a luggage scale before you go.

Leave room for the goodies you’ll be bringing back with you too!  You can even pack a small light duffle inside your main bag to bring back gifts and souvenirs.

Comfortable Shoes Only

I can’t emphasize this enough! Florence and Tuscan towns are known for their hills, steps, and cobblestones.  A cute pair of white sneakers or super comfy flat sandals will work with anything you wear

Layers!

The temps in Florence and Tuscany will range from 75-80 degrees by day and drop to 52 – 58 at night.  Be sure to bring a light sweater, hoodie, or light jacket to put on at night.

A Light Tote Bag or Backpack

For some days of the tour, we’ll be out and about for much of the day so having a roomy but light bag will be helpful to carry what you need with you.

A Light Scarf or Wrap

Handy on freezing cold flights, in air-conditioned places, to cover your shoulders if you enter a church and they require it.  

Your Bathing Suit and Sunscreen

All our hotels have pools or spas to soak in AND we’ll be visiting a special indoor/outdoor Thermal Spa too – no need to bring towels

Medications & If You’re Prone to Car Sickness

Be sure to bring any OTC medications you rely on for headaches, allergies, etc, and of course your prescriptions if you have any.  If you’re prone to car sickness bring some Sea Bands or Dramamine – the beautiful Tuscan countryside is filled with windy, hilly backroads

Chargers and European Converters/Power Adapter

Be sure to pick up European/Italy converters for your cell phone charger.  Note that your hair dryer/flat iron/curling irons will NOT work with a power adapter (they often blow out!)  Our hotels all have hair dryers and if you like you can pick up an inexpensive European travel flat or curling iron on Amazon.

Optional: One FUN Outfit or Dress

You can dress really comfortably and casually for just about all of our tour.  The final celebration dinner is at a posh resort so if you like bring a fun sundress for that night! 

Pro Packing Tips

My favorite packing move when I travel for weeks in Europe is to bring one sundress (or dress/tights in winter) per day plus a jacket that goes with it all. Europeans tend to wear less athleisure than Americans so it also helps you blend right in like a local.  And fewer choices of outfits will streamline things for you.

If you prefer pants opt for darker-colored pants or shorts and plan to re-wear them several times with different tops to make your life easier! 

Packing cubes are fantastic to help you stay super organized in your luggage as you go from place to place.

 
Don’t Forget

Credit Cards & Cash

Your American Express Card won’t be accepted in Italy so be sure to travel with a Visa which will be accepted everywhere, including in taxis.   You can use your ATM card at the airport or as we travel to take out Euros so no need to worry about that before arriving.  You may want to notify your bank that you’ll be traveling internationally so they don’t think it’s suspicious card activity.

International Cell Service

Be sure to contact your cellular service provider for an unlimited international plan for the time you’ll be traveling.  Let your loved ones know to contact you over Whatsapp while you’re away – it’s the most reliable for texts and calls. We’ll be sure to share wifi logins at all of our tour stops so you can stay as connected as possible.

Group Call Dates

Join these group video calls to learn more about the trip, ask questions, and connect with your other travel buddies for the week! 

Monday 
January 22
8 pm EST
Monday
February 26
12 pm EST
Monday
April 22
5 pm EST
Wednesday
May 22
5 pm EST

Florence & Siena Restaurant Recs

Plus Rome Hotel info and must-try spots 👇🏻