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The Maremma region in Tuscany is a place of salt marshes, pine trees and unexpectedly white beaches lapped by the reliable blue of the Mediterranean. Here, from your luxurious retreat in Punta Ala – you’ll split your time between pool and private-beach relaxation, indulgent spa treatments and sunset cocktails while days out in your hire car will bring you between sleepy Tuscan villages and some of Italy’s finest vineyards. In perfect contrast, the high art and higher architecture of Florence awaits, with your centuries-old accommodation setting the scene for an included tour of the city’s grand Renaissance masterpieces.
Arrive at the airport to enjoy included lounge access before your flight to Pisa, where your hire car and the leaning tower await. Then, head for the charms of Punta Ala, a pretty port town on an even prettier coastline. Your hotel here is one of Italy’s finest.
The hotel’s private beach beckons after breakfast, but then again, so do vineyards, charming medieval towns and imposing historic castles. The coastline is beguiling, as is the chic little port town of Punta Ala, whose cobbled streets, stone houses and al fresco pizzerias spill out onto a pretty headland between Pisa and the Maremma Natural Park; white sand and blue sea are always on hand to make this a superb spot for some serious downtime.
Leisurely drives through wine estates to hilltop cities, all steeped in old-fashioned architecture, and long sessions beside the hotel pool add to the relaxing mix.
Head for Florence in your hire car, first along the pretty coastline and then through the archetypal and much-lauded Tuscan countryside. Fields of sunflowers and acres of vineyards surround medieval towns all the way to the most majestic medieval city of them all – Florence. You'll stay in one of its finest hotels, a centuries-old jewel complete with cathedral views, silk-panelled walls and historic furnishings.
It’s difficult to know where to start in Florence, but an included private walking tour should help, taking in the key sights of one of Europe’s greatest art cities. Potter over the Ponte Vecchio, that famed and so often framed postcard-perfect bridge, and pause at the 15th-century Duomo, whose grand, skyline-defining dome was one of the first events of the Italian Renaissance.
In your own time, you’ll be spoilt for choice – there’s still the great masterpieces of the acclaimed Uffizi Gallery, the bronzes at the Bargello, and bars and restaurants a plenty to savour.
Linger over breakfast before a private transfer takes you through Tuscany back to Pisa for your flight home.
"Tuscany has more to offer than people may think. I’ve put this itinerary together so that you get more out of the region than just a city-break in Florence. Instead be beguiled by the beaches and charmed by the countryside before falling head-over-heels for Florence. And, the self-drive aspect allows you to get off the beaten-track to discover all of Tuscany’s hidden gems, think historic castles, cobbled streets of medieval towns and Italian vineyards – of course! This is a truly indulgent escape that revels in the romance of the region. "
Mid Season from: £2,540 pp