How to get more out of your Tuscany tour

The Italian region of Tuscany has taken on legendary status for travelers – it’s an absolute must on everyone’s list, whether they love wine, food, history, art or the simple beauty of nature. But with so many attractions, it’s easy to end up feeling like you’re rushing – and still not getting a complete experience. However, savvy travelers know that there are strategies to ensure that you’re maximizing your time while minimizing your stress. One of the best of those strategies is to go on an expertly planned Tuscany tour.

A pre-arranged itinerary makes it much simpler to just sit back and enjoy the ride – but don’t be fooled into thinking that taking a tour means having an “ordinary” experience. Tours offered by companies like Tauck will show you the greatest sights, but also give you access to exclusive opportunities to explore your destination on a deeper level. Some of those experiences simply aren’t available to those doing independent travel – which can also cost as much as 40 percent more than a Tauck tour.

It can be a challenge to pick out the highlights of a Tuscany tour, but these are some of the choicest sights and experiences that generations of travelers have fallen in love with:

* Wine tasting. Some of the world’s most sought-after wines are grown in the heart of Tuscany. Oenophiles will delight in the opportunity to sip, sample and build knowledge of the terroir that produces these renowned vintages.

* Seeing Siena. Step back in time in this charming city, where the central piazza remains a glorious example of medieval Italian architecture. In its heyday, Siena was a wealthy and powerful city-state, and that legacy lingers in its rich heritage of painting, sculpture and architecture.

* Marveling at Florence’s art. When it comes to viewing legendary works of art during your Tuscany tour, Florence has one of the greatest collections the world has ever known. From Michelangelo’s “David” at the Gallerie dell’Accademia to works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Botticelli housed within the Uffizi Gallery, it’s easy to find yourself spending hours strolling the galleries. However, to make sense of the context of the work and the world in which it was created, there’s nothing that can compete with a presentation by a local art historian, a benefit that Tauck tours builds into their itineraries.

* Indulge in dining. A note to foodies – once you’ve tasted Italian food during your Tuscany tour, it’ll be hard to ever find its equal back home. As you travel through the region, you’ll have access to some of the finest, freshest and most delicious food in the world. You’ll also be able to learn the flavors and dishes that set Tuscan cuisine apart from the favored foods of the rest of Italy. Be prepared for the dining experience of a lifetime.

Wherever you go while on a tour of Tuscany, you’ll be surrounded by thousands of years of history, fascinating culture and a lifestyle that embraces all that is enjoyable about life. If you decide on a Tuscany tour as opposed to going it alone, you’ll be free to enjoy each experience fully and create memories that are uniquely your own.