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Discover for yourself that there’s more to Tuscany than the popular tourist destinations with a tour that uncovers some of the region’s intriguing past and present.
Your first stop in the quiet hilltop village of Chiusdino with its steep narrow streets. Nearby is the massive ruin of the Abbey of San Galgano, built in the early 1200’s but abandoned by the late 1600’s. The elegant roofless ruin is reminder of a lost age of simplicity and faith.
It was also an age of mystery, as you’ll discover in the nearby church of Montesiepi which was built on the site of a miracle that’s still visible today. In 1180 Saint Galgano plunged his sword into a hillside rock where it has remained ever since. It is, perhaps, the inspiration for ‘The Sword In The Stone’, a story now linked to England’s legendary King Arthur.
You’ll be hungry after enjoying this snapshot of Tuscan history. Lunch is taken in a delightful nearby restaurant that was once an ancient water mill and has been restored to how it may have appeared in the medieval era.
The afternoon takes you across along country roads through picturesque olive groves, vineyards and sleepy villages until you reach another medieval town, Colle Val D’Elsa. Here you’ll find yet more surprises – a cluster of laboratories and workshops producing exquisite lead crystal. The town’s glass industry was established in the 1600’s and now up to 15% of the world’s lead crystal is made here.
Watch a demonstration of crystal being worked by skilled hands, take your time to admire the displays of finished glassware and wander through the shops or relax with a drink or an ice cream. After an unforgettable day you will be returned to your accommodation.
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