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San Gimignano · Volterra · Chianti Wine Valley · Montepulciano · Assisi · Cooking Class · Truffle Hunt
Discover the true essence of Italy's food culture and enjoy authentic Tuscan food and wine on this escorted gastronomy group tour.
This enticing journey will take you from the west to the east coast of Italy, tasting authentic dishes and seeing some spectacular places along the way.
Day 1 – Arrival (D)
Upon arriving in the Tuscan countryside, enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel, including wine and an espresso.
Day 2 – San Gimignano & Volterra with a saffron-based lunch (B|L|T)
The excursion today brings you to a family-run farm specialized in saffron production. It is said that the sought-after Asian spice was imported to Italy in the thirteen century by a Dominican friar. After learning about the history of its cultivation in Italy during the visit of the property, we will enjoy a light lunch prepared with the unique ingredient. Then the private bus will take us to San Gimignano. Sometimes referred to as “The Manhattan of the Middle Ages” , the old center is characterized by its many towers. We will do a walking tour with a private guide who will explain how local families competed in creating them as a way of demonstrating their wealth and importance. At the end of the tour we will stop to try the award-winning gelato of Mr. Dondoli.
Day 3 – Florence & its street food classic, the lampredotto panino sandwich (B|L)
Today we will tour Florence. The guide will do a walking guided tour of the Renaissance city and its most important sights (entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio, the Accademia or the Uffizi can be organized upon request and with an additional charge) before concluding at its historic Central Market. Taste the lampredotto sandwich paired with a glass of local wine before having some free time to stroll the city and stop for a coffee along the Arno in the afternoon.
Day 4 – Chianti & traditional Tuscan dinner served with paired wines in a castle (B|T|D)
With its iconic round bottle, Chianti is more than a fabulous wine, it is a marvelous Tuscan region. We will enjoy the winding, country roads lined with cypresses passing by the vineyards in the rolling hills, and stop for a tasting at a wine cellar to try the Vin Santo, a dessert wine paired with delicious cantucci cookies. Dinner today will be served in the unique setting of a castle in Chianti. We will taste some delicious Tuscan dishes, revisited with taste and refinement and accompanied by a full bodied Chianti, and rounded off with an amber colored dessert wine, Vin Santo.
Day 5 – Transfer to Umbria with stop in Montepulciano (B|T|D) [change of hotel]
Medieval Montepulciano and its “vino nobile” is ensconced in the reveries that slowly give way to the surrounding Tuscan countryside over which it reigns supreme. Rising above the undulating hills and the other glorious vineal varieties the region proffers, the wine made on the tuff mountain has always been regarded as a drink destined for nobles. Just below the city’s soil lie a series of wine cellars with cathedral-like vaulted ceilings chisled into the rock over centuries. We will descend into the cool, semidarkness while the scents of wood, earth and fruit envelope us as we do our visit and tasting of the renowned vino in the historic heart of what lends the unique place its heritage. Afterwards we will transfer to Umbria and check into the group’s new hotel.
Day 6 – Assisi, olive oil & cooking class (B|T|L)
Today we will visit an ancient olive oil mill to do a tasting and cooking course. We will enjoy the hearty lunch we prepare before going to the heart of Assisi for a private guided walking tour of the serene city. The serene city is not only home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The licensed, private guide will lead us to see the areas pilgrims have flocked to for centuries. We will enter the Basilica di San Francesco, a UNESCO protected site for its cultural and historical importance.
Day 7 – Walking through the Borghi & truffle hunt (B|L)
Today we will have the opportunity to endeavor a truly unique experience: truffle hunting with Antonio and his tuber-sniffing dogs. After searching the woods and working up a nice appetite, we will dine on a truffle-based lunch prepared by the family hosting the adventure. In the afternoon the private bus will take us to the neighboring villages to see the sweet simplicity of the charming, historic houses and shops.
Day 8 – Departure (B)
After a lovely week of new memories made, we will depart for home today.