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“Franco will make Tuscany come to life!!”

Tuscan Sunshine Tours
Ranked #27 of 141 Food & Drink in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Tuscany by natives- visit with us Cities of art in Tuscany- the most scenery and authentic landscapes -that only natives from this country can show you- we will spend with you memorable day excursions- sharing with you all our knowledge about our territory, History, traditions, food and wines- Proud to propose also special tailored day tours transfers from to Florence and Tuscany- to better maximize our private services- at disposal-Mercedes newest - deluxe minivans and sedans provided of official tour licenses and car insurances -
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Baby buggy parking
Boston, MA
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Franco will make Tuscany come to life!!”
Reviewed 15 November 2009

We are Jeff & Susan from Boston USA and are in our mid 50's... but we live like we're in our 30's.

Our trip began November 4th and ended on the 8th in 2009. The weather was cloudy with a little rain and the temps were in the mid 60's. We researched Tuscany well before visiting last week and found all the wonderful reviews about Franco and Stefano, owners of Tuscan Sunshine Tours.

Website: www.tuscansunshinetours.it
Email: (--)
Tel: (--)
Languages: English, German, French, Italian

I emailed Franco a week before arriving to arrange a modest tour of the Chianti region and he promptly replied (within hours) with several general options and prices... any of which could be altered according to our desires. His emails were so very nice. We could tell right off the bat that he was the consumate professional... so charming and personable.

We chose a tour for 250 Euros which included the Chianti region... and that alone would have been a bargain. But, because it was foggy early in the morning, Franco brought us first to Sam Gimignano to spend some time before the fog lifted. Oh my, that medievil city is AMAZING - you MUST visit it!! That's the kind of guy Franco is... passionate about his country. He will do whatever he can to make your trip unforgettable. Not only that, but he made a stop at a city called Greve which has a butcher shop (he knew I love cooking) that is incredible - Parma-type hams and cheese cellar you would not believe!

Consider this: Franco and Stefano were employeed by a FIVE STAR hotel in Florence for many years before forming their company. Have you ever had the good fortune of being treated by these kinds of service people? They WOW you with their expertise! Well, this is what you get with these men - the highest level of service, knowledge, and experience in the field - bar none. Plus, they have the uncanniny ability of becoming your friends during the day... you will feel so comfortable with them.

When you book a tour with them, especially if this is your first time visiting, allow them to plan your stops - they are natives so they really know what you what to to see. But, they'll be accomodating to whatever you want to do or see... with good humor. Their personal guide service will generally cost between 250 and 350 Euros (full day with hotel pick-up service), but you can arrange anything you want.

And, I suggest you tour with them EARLY on your visit so you can 'pick their brains' about all the stuff you should do and see for the rest of your stay... believe me, that's important. The info they can give you is SO valuable because your time is short.

Their vehicles are top notch - recent editions of Mercedes... very nice indeed!! If you are travelling during the hot months, the AC is a godsend!! See attached pictures. We travelled in early November.

Italian drivers are nuts.. and very scary. You will not find that the case with Franco (nor I presume, from other comments, Stefano). He is a careful, concerned driver and will not scare you in the least!

I know this sounds like Franco and Stefano are my brothers (!) but trust me, I have never met them before in my life prior to last week!

Damn, I nearly forgot to mention the wine tasting and lunch we had at the Montagliani vinyard... amazing experience. My wife had a simple Tuscan pasta dish and I had rabbit, which was incredible... never had rabbit before but if it's always prepared the way they did it, I'll have it every day!

The winery is a family run business and the owner, David, is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. The family also operate the tratoria (means casual or family style) restaurant - our waitress was their daughter who is lovely and charming. Buy a small bottle of their 22 year old balsamic vinegar! The smell and taste will put you in the clouds. It's 25 Euros but will last a long time. Franco will explain the process of making this rare vinegar and show you the room where it's aging. We also bought 3 bottles of Chianti Classico wine (about 10 Euros each) and 2 small bottles of olive oil (5 Euros each). The tour of their small operation was thrilling, to say the least... it's been in existance for some 300 years and the buildings date back to the 1500's... exciting!

If I've left anything out or you want my take on anything else we experienced, just email me at jeff.lipsitt@verizon.net

I know, 250-350 Euros is a lot of money (US 350-400), but these tours are actually less expensive than most. You will only do this once, maybe, in your lifetime (like us) and it will make memories you will never forget. Save up for this - you will not regret it.

By the way, because a lot of people ask about tipping guides, it is probably not necessary to tip an owner - like Franco and Stefano - but Franco went so far out of his way to make our trip perfect, we gave him about 30 Euros extra. He used a lot of extra gasoline bringing us to places he hadn't originally intended on going to. Franco has such passion for his homeland - he truly does this work because it makes him feel great to teach people about Tuscany - and other regions close to his heart. You will learn more about Italy in one day with Franco than if you spent a year there without him!

Enjoy Italy and relish your time with Tuscan Sunshine Tours!

Jeff & Susan Lipsitt
(--)call us anytime and we'll be glad to tell you anything we know.

Helpful?
1 Thank BostoniansOnTheGo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
francotours, owner at Tuscan Sunshine Tours, responded to this review, 1 December 2009
Dear Jeff and Susan,
on behalf of Stefano and mine, just a big, big, thank you.
Your appreciation is improving us to continue with more passion what is our deep feeling with our land of Tuscany.
Our feeling with traditions, life, coulture is always something we like to transmit in our tours to all our Customers, as from the results of all beautiful rewievs we have.
a big Hug, Franco and Stefano
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332 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“We did not have a good time on our day with Tuescan Sunshine Tours”
Reviewed 9 November 2009

We took the tour of Siena and San Gimignano, and our guide was not nearly as helpful or knowledgeable as we had expected. We would choose a different company next time.

Helpful?
6 Thank guy_serendipity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
francotours, owner at Tuscan Sunshine Tours, responded to this review, 26 November 2009
this rewiev is a surprise. seems really away from the standard of services we usually provide.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
illinois
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“tuscany done right!!!!”
Reviewed 9 November 2009

I have done the research now all you have to do is trust in me.If you want the best this is it. My days with Stefano were perfect. He is a class act,very passionate about his country and lets you feel like old friends.Anything you need or want he is there to provide information.He was spot on with all of his recomendations.I will pass his company on to anyone i know of going to tuscany.

Helpful?
Thank tinaitaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Iowa
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
“Outstanding! Well above 5 stars!”
Reviewed 3 November 2009

We experienced a wonderful, memorable day trip last month thru the Tuscan countryside with Stefano, one of the owners of Tuscan Sunshine Tours. After reading rave reviews about them on this website, I emailed Franco and Stefano to book a day trip to Siena, San Gimignano and thru the Chianti countryside to visit a winery for a wine tasting. We only had 3 days in Florence and Franco informed me their calendar was filled, but he would provide us with a driver who could speak very good English. We were disappointed, but the company did have a great reputation, so ok. It rained the first 2 days there, yet on the morning of our tour, the fog was lifting to give us a start to a beautiful day. Also to our surprise and luck, it was Stefano who picked us up at our hotel.

We immediately had a slight change in plans: make our first stop at Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte before heading out of town. The view of Florence and hillside is breathtaking from that lookout. “No problem” and “Good choice” Stefano said.
In Siena, we toured the stunning Gothic Duomo (my favorite cathedral of all) and sipped wine on the huge il Campo, where the last wisps of fog were finally disappearing. We had lunch at a quaint ristorante in Monteriggioni (recommended by Stefano) and then off to San Gimignano, Italy’s medieval Manhattan, where Stefano pointed out their “twin towers.” We spent time checking out the walled city, made the steep climb to the top of the Torre Grossa for a fantastic view of the countryside, afterwards treating ourselves to a scrumptious gelato from a world champion gelateria. We returned to Florence on narrow farm-to-market roads thru the Chianti region and had a blast at “wine school,” tasting wine at a 13th generation winery. Before dropping us off at our hotel, he even made dinner reservations for us at wonderful little ristorante.
On the way to each place, Stefano gave us a brief history and interesting stories of the area. Once we arrived, he showed us around and explained must-see sights, allowing us enough time to explore on our own. All the while we kept thinking there was no way we could have found our way around to see all the sights we did, had we driven ourselves.
Stefano was flexible to changes, asked questions and offered suggestions to ensure the tour was what we hoped. He made several stops for me to take pictures of the Tuscan landscape - always with an amused smile on his face. Stefano is a gracious man who speaks excellent English and has a passion for his country. It was easy to tell he loves his job and wants to share his beautiful country with his passengers. The tour lasted longer than scheduled and not once did we feel rushed. Thank you very much, Stefano, for making our trip to Tuscany an unforgettable, fantastic adventure. We hope we can ride with you again.

Helpful?
Thank SharonKC214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Our tour guide was not helpful.”
Reviewed 27 October 2009

The guide which Sunshine Tours provided to us offered us almost no useful information as he drove around from one city to the next. It did not at all match the experience described on their website. When we are next back in Florence, we will look for a different tour company to assist us.

Helpful?
Thank ArtSF123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
francotours, owner at Tuscan Sunshine Tours, responded to this review, 1 December 2009
we are extremely sorry if me (Franco) or Stefano were unavailable for this tour. We have informed Customers about, proposing other possible date of tour.
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