FLORENCE & CHIANTI IN TUSCANY: A Cultural & Culinary Adventure
September 6 – 17, 2017
9/6 & 9/7, Wed & Thurs • Travel/Arrive Florence • Meals (D)
Travel from your home city to Florence, Italy. Arrive in Florence the next day. Welcome to the capital city of Tuscany! Transfer to Greve, in the heart of Chianti, a 40 minute drive from Florence. Take time to unpack and settle in to our Tuscan villa in Greve. Later that evening, meet your group of fellow travelers, tour guides and director during Orientation. We will have appetizers and a light dinner accompanied by local wines that evening at the villa. Rest, relax and take in the views!
9/8, Fri • Greve Piazza, Artisan Shops & Castello di Verrazanno • Meals (B) (D)
After breakfast, we’ll join our guides to visit our ‘base town’ of Greve, in the heart of Chianti. Enjoy wandering the boutiques, food and artisan shops. Meet the locals and have a leisurely morning getting to know Greve. In the late afternoon, we’ll visit the stunning Castello di Verrazanno for a tour of the winery, cellars and history of the castle. The vineyards go as far as the eye can see. We’ll have a dinner of gastronomic specialities prepared with ingredients from their farm on their veranda (weather permitting).
9/9, Sat • Free Morning; Panzano, Artisan Foods & the ‘Famous Butcher of Panzano’ • Meals (B) (D)
Sleep in today! We will have the morning to relax on the grounds of the villa. Later that afternoon, we’ll head to Panzano, a medieval town located a short distance from Greve. We will spend the afternoon with a well-known artisan food and wine local who ‘entertains’ while he serves tastings of local specialties (meats, cheeses, olive oil, honey) and wines. Get ready for fun and laughs with Stefano! The fun continues that evening at Dario Ceccini’s (known as the ‘Butcher of Panzano’) popular restaurant. Dario has been described as ‘..a personality, a celebrity and a butcher extraordinaire. He is a theatrical host, a show stopper and an artist.” Sit at long tables and meet locals. Enjoy Dario’s Florentine Bistecca (or whatever you wish). Mostly, laugh and take in the wonderful local atmosphere!
9/10, Sun • Truffle Hunt, Cooking Class in San Miniato • Meals (B) (L)
We will be up early to meet Massimo, a well-known truffle hunter and his dog, at his home n San Miniato, – one of the undisputed capitals of the white truffle (Tuer Magnatum Pico). These ‘Diamonds of the Land’ are sought after and coveted by gourmands from around the world. Out into the woods, we’ll follow Massimo and his dog to learn about the tradition of truffle hunting, the history, legends and the varieties of truffles. We’ll search for the truffle of the season. Afterward, we’ll take our treasures to a cooking class where we we’ll participate in a hands-on experience to make classic Tuscan truffle dishes. We may later wander through Medieval town of San Miniato, a town with much history.
9/11, Mon • Free time; Hike & Picnic, Motefioralle Winery • Meals (B) (L)
Enjoy the morning for free time at the villa. In the afternoon, we take to the Tuscan hills for a hike and picnic. Our guides will assemble a wonderful gourmet picnic with local artisan foods. In the late afternoon, we’ll visit Montefioralle Winery, a small family winery on a hilltop close to Greve. We’ll visit their farm, vineyards and cellars to learn about the production of their wines from crush through aging and bottling. We’ll taste their Chianti Classico wines from their beautiful setting at the foot of the hill of Montefioralle. That evening will be free for dinner on your own or with new friends in Greve.
9/12, Tues • Siena Cathedral & Duomo, Radda Cashmere Goat Farm • Meals (B) (D)
The beautiful Siena Cathedral and Duomo lie above the heart of Siena – the Piazza del Campo. The Cathedral and Duomo are one of the most outstanding examples of Romanesque-Gothic churches in Italy. The Siena Cathedral is filled with treasures by Michelangelo, Donatello, Pisano and frescos by Pinturicchio. Built 1215-1263 AD, the Cathedral forms a Latin cross with its distinctive dome and bell tower. The exterior is magnificent as well as the interior which is decorated in white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes. We will take a guided tour of the Cathedral and Duomo also taking note of the impressive floor consisting of 56 squares that represent scenes engraved and carved in marble. After a visit to the Piazza del Campo and lunch in Siena, we’ll head back toward Greve. On the way, we’ll make a stop in Radda to visit a cashmere goat farm. A light dinner with wines will be served later at the villa upon our return.
9/13, Wed • Organic Tuscany Cooking Class, Olive Oil Mill & San Gimignano • Meals (B) (L)
We will join Manuela and Silvio, instructors from Organic Tuscany Cooking School, in their ‘tower home’ near San Gimignano. We’ll enjoy a hands-on cooking class where we might make fresh pasta, soufflés or custard tarts paired with local wines. Sound good? This could be our best meal of the trip! The atmosphere is relaxed and informal in a private home. While at Manuela and Silvio’s, Silvio will take groups of us to a local olive oil mill to hear about the local olive harvest, pressing, production and have tastings. It doesn’t get much more real than this! Following the cooking class and meal, we’ll stop in San Gimignano to see it’s many towers, wander the streets, piazza and shops.
9/14, Thurs • Depart Greve; Florence Walking Tour, Ponte Vecchio • Meals (B) (D)
Today, we’ll depart our ‘home-away-from-home’ in Greve and head back to Florence. After checking into our hotel, we’ll take a walking tour with our guides to the South Central side if the city taking in the piazzas, palaces, Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River. No trip to Florence is complete without a saunter over this iconic bridge filled with shops jutting precariously over the water. Dinner will be in Florence at a restaurant chosen by our guides.
9/15, Fri • Accademia Gallery & Mercato Centrale • Meals (B)
Without a doubt, Michelangelo’s white marble masterpiece, the David, is what first attracts visitors to the Accademia Gallery. What is the story that inspired this sculpture? We’ll tour the Accedemia with a museum guide who will cover Michelangelo and the David, but will also show us works of art by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and other greats from the 13th and 16th centuries. Following our time at the museum, we’ll head ti Mercato Centrale for shopping, tastings and to experience the Florentine culture. Dinner will be on your own or with new friends.
9/16, Sat • The Duomo, Our Guides’ Favorite Spots, Farewell Dinner • Meals (B) (D)
One cannot go to Florence with a visit to the Cathedral of San Maria del Fiore and the Duomo. We will take a special guided tour of the main cathedral and enter the North Terrace with extraordinary views of the city and Brunelleschi’s Doumo. We will also have access to the Baptistry, the Bell Tower and Crypt which everyone will have time to tour on their own or with our guides. In the afternoon, we’ll follow our our guides to a few of their favorite spots in Florence. Our farewell dinner will be that evening in a specially selected restaurant where we can reflect on our time in Tuscany and our favorite memories. It will have been a trip filled with special people, places, experiences and not-to-be-forgotten landscapes!
9/17, Sun • Travel Home • Meals (B)
Say farewell to Italy, for now~ Travel home today from Florence.