Day 1 - Arrival Day/ Benvenuto!
Welcome to Italy! Your boutique hotel for the next three nights is set in the historical heart of Florence.
All of the important monuments, museums and galleries are within a short walking distance. Florence is the capital of Italy's Tuscany region and cradle of Renaissance art and architecture.
Its museums, palaces, and churches are some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. After arrival and check-ins, we’ll begin with a casual orientation walking tour to point out the many highlights of this famous renaissance city; discovering its amazing architecture, quiet piazze, and stunning jewels such as the Ponte Vecchio.
In the evening, the group will meet up for introductions and aperitivo and then onto a fun dinner at a typical Florentine restaurant where we can taste the best of authentic Tuscan cuisine. (D)
Day 2 - Florence: Markets & Mysteries of the Medici
After breakfast at our hotel, We’ll start the morning out with a visit to Florence’s vibrant and colorful market scene, where you can find anything, from a tripe sandwich to a silk scarf!
Following our shopping extravaganza we’ll meet up with our expert local guide for a guided walking tour where we will be introduced to the colorful history of Florence's medieval center.
As we wind our way through the piazze and pretty side streets, past palaces, courtyards, churches and bridges (Note: We do not visit any museums or go inside any monuments).
In the afternoon enjoy some free time for lunch and to explore on your own. In the evening there is an optional Wine-Pairing Dinner*
(B, *Optional Dinner)
Day 3 - : Gardens, Seasonal Ingredients, and a Cooking Lesson
Today we are going venture out of the city to an ancient estate in the countryside. This estate and villa is a working farm and boasts a 300-year-old olive grove, vegetable gardens, orchards, chicken coop, bees, and more.
We’ll don aprons, take up a wicker basket, and set off for the vegetable and herb gardens that are overflowing with seasonal produce. Choosing the ripest vegetables, we’ll fill our baskets. Then we’ll roll up our sleeves and start cooking.
What tasty dishes will emerge from the mixture of seasonal colors and flavors? The chef will instruct you in peeling, cutting, and mixing the ingredients while providing tips and tricks for preparing recipes according to the ingredients, herbs, and olive oil that are at hand.
With the cooking done, we will sit down and savor our creations together. We’ll also have an opportunity to learn about their olive oil during a tasting session. I
n the afternoon we’ll return to the hotel. Enjoy your last evening in Florence. (B, L)
Day 4 - Chianti – Prosciutto and Wine
After checkout, we’ll meet up with our private driver and transfer to the countryside of the Chianti region – an area of Tuscany made famous by the red wine of the same name.
This is a beautiful region of terra-cotta-roofed towns and winding roads, leading through groves of olive trees, with cypress and endless vineyards stitching sun-dappled rolling hillsides – this is wine country.
We’ll stop in one of the many quaint towns where you can wander the town piazza or shops.
Our next stop is to a local farm for a tour and lunch where you can taste various products from the farm: Prosciutto, salami, extra virgin olive oil, and of course, their Chianti Classico wines.
Later, check into our countryside villa where we will stay for the next 2 nights. Group dinner with local wines. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Chianti - Goats & the Infamous Bistecca Fiorentina
We’re off to visit a small family run goat cheese farm today. The visit includes a tour of the grounds, a tour of the stables where it might be possible to see the milking or the feeding of the goats, and finally a visit to the cheese-making lab. If we arrive early enough, we might be able to assist with the cheese making.
Next you will have a light lunch and be able to taste some of the cheeses produced here, coupled with organic honey, bread, and of course wine!
Later in the evening, we’ll visit a famous butcher shop where obviously the focus is on meat. This internationally famed butcher descends from a long line of butchers and has recreated an antique-style macelleria on the site of the family shop, which was destroyed during the war.
As well as being an extremely creative butcher and an excellent cook, he's a showman who has done a lot to promote traditional food, especially the bistecca alla fiorentina.
Save your appetite, as this is a hearty dinner! (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Arezzo - Where ‘Life is Beautiful’
After breakfast, we’ll check out of our accommodations and head to Arezzo - A beautiful medieval town, which has its origins in Etruscan history and later conquered by the Romans.
The town was also made famous in movie ‘Life is Beautiful’ by Roberto Benigni. Even though the medieval center was destroyed during the World War II, Arezzo still has a beautiful piazza (Piazza Grande) and many historical buildings and churches as well as a Roman Amphitheater and the remains of a fortress.
We’ll visit Arezzo’s historical center. Here you have some free time to explore, visit museums or shop, with lunch on your own.
Later, check into our agriturismo villa for the next 5 nights. (B, D)
Day 7 - Pecorino and the Val D’Orcia (Montepulciano, Pienza)
Today we depart for a tour of two of Tuscany’s most famous towns: Montepulciano & Pienza set in the Val d’Orcia – what many view as the “quintessential” Tuscany.
Our first stop is the small and charming town of Pienza where you can wander the beautiful streets and visit some of the shops. We’ll enjoy a cheese tasting of the famous local Pecorino (Sheep) cheese and lunch nearby.
Traveling on to the steeply-slopped town of Montepulciano, you are free to wander the streets, stop at shops, churches and town squares as well as visit one of the many enoteca where you can tour ancient cellars and have a wine tasting.
Dinner at our agriturismo villa with local wines. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Local History and Daily Life in Tuscany
We start the morning by learning about the life of St. Francis of Assisi who lived and trekked throughout Tuscany & Umbria.
We will visit one of the most famous sanctuaries of St. Francis.
After we’ll head to an ancient olive oil mill that has been in the same family since the 1400’s with a tour, tasting & lunch.
Then you will enjoy some free time to wander the quint alleys and streets of a small medieval village that looks no different than it did centuries ago. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Truffle Hunting & Cooking Lesson
This morning we begin the day with an exciting truffle hunting demonstration with a local truffle hunter and his dog in the woods.
Here you will learn all about this precious and delectable funghi, where to find them, and the ancient methods used in Italy to search for them. Of course, hopefully we will find some truffles!
After, roll up your sleeves as we have a cooking lesson, learning how to cook “All things truffle”.
A delicious lunch with all the dishes we have prepared and some good local wine will follow this. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Cortona - ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ & Wine-Pairing Lunch
Morning departure for Cortona, made famous by Frances Mayes’ book & movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”.
Cortona is surrounded by a countryside planted with olive trees, in which lavish villas are surrounded by large gardens and hosts many monasteries, churches and monuments.
Cortona's Etruscan walls are incorporated into the medieval walls that surround its historic center. Inside the walls, you can wander the narrow medieval streets of
Cortona's historic center. Along the walls, you'll often be rewarded with fantastic views of the valley below and Lago di Trasimeno off in the distance. Enjoy free time to shop Cortona’s fun & interesting shops and galleries, have a Caffè in a local bar, sample some gelato or just wander the alleys and streets.
We will then head out into the countryside to visit a completely organic winery for a guided tour. We will learn the interesting methods that this winery uses in their sustainable farming methods and in their biodynamic approach to their vineyards.
Our tour will be followed by a fabulous wine-pairing lunch situated in beautiful surroundings with views of the vineyards, valley and hills. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Departure Day
Early morning breakfast at our villa as we say our goodbyes.
We'll board our vans and depart for the Rome Airport (FCO).
Bid Arrivederci to Italy! (B)
Dates: September 22 - October 2, 2018
11 Days/10 Nights
Group Size: 14 Guests Maximum
Tour Cost: $4,950 per person/Dbl occupancy
Single Supplement: $775
All tours are quoted in U.S. Dollars
Space is limited to just 14 guests. Reservations are on a first come first serve basis.
To register for this tour, a deposit of 50% of the total tour price is required to secure your reservation.
Balance is due 60 days prior to travel.
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