Tuscany must be experienced up close. Taste the Brunello. Breathe in the aroma of bread toasting in a stone fireplace, glistening with freshly pressed olive oil. Stroll through vineyards and hilltop towns. Let your eyes linger on ancient villas. Imagine the possibilities. There is no better—or closer—way to experience the heart of Italy.
1-2 You're in Italy's green heart, so called for its agricultural riches—savor black truffles, salamis and rare mountain formaggi (cheeses) | Stroll through Norcia's picturesque medieval center, the birthplace of St. Benedict and a significant center of modern monasticism | Hike the famed Altopiano di Castelluccio, a spectacular high alpine plateau in the Monti Sibillini National Park | Savor unforgettable Umbrian wines and haute cuisine at the Bianconi family's Michelin-starred Vespasia restaurant.
3-4 Follow an ancient pilgrimage route to the World Heritage city of Assisi, nestled on the flanks of Monte Subasio | Take time to explore the Gothic and Romanesque architecture in what was once the home of St. Francis | Visit historic hilltop Cortona, surrounded by 3,000-year-old Etruscan walls, and the setting for Under the Tuscan Sun | Deep in Tuscany, discover the picture-perfect landscape of the Val d'Orcia | Have a look around Renaissance-style Pienza, perhaps stopping to try the superb local pecorino cheese.
5-6 On foot to Montalcino, rows of vineyards and wildflower fields greet you at every turn | Visit the abbey of Sant'Antimo and be welcomed at charming agriturismos and enoteche | Linger over cappuccinos and some of the world's finest wines in memorable Montalcino.