Join A Toast to Travel for a week of exploration where A Toast to Travel will travel with you to some of the most stunning wineries not easily found by tourists, eat at enotecas and restaurants where the locals eat, cook with resident local chefs, pursue truffles, share secret typical Tuscan recipes with you, and visit cultural sites led by local, native guides. A Toast to Travel believes that the only way to really experience a culture is to live like a local, eat where the locals do, drink where the locals do, and enjoy life like the locals do.
Situated where Siena, Florence, and Arezzo intersect, Villa Barberino is your home for the next seven days. Here, you will relax, learn to cook authentic amazing Italian dishes, make new friends, and live like a local.
The villa dates back to the 14th century and served as a political and military stronghold. Today, the villa sits nestled in cypress trees and is home to our host family which has restored it to its former beauty. We welcome you to join us and become part of the family.
Overlooking a beautiful wooded valley and a lake, full and lush is what memories are made of, and memories are exactly what you will make. You can walk the beautiful grounds when you are not cooking or participating in one of the many activities that A Toast to Travel has in store for you. You can enjoy the swimming pool, solarium, tennis courts, Italian gardens, hiking, and panoramic views at the host villa for your unforgettable and relaxing week in the Tuscan countryside where you are surrounded by olive trees, rolling hills, and the vineyards of Tuscany. Walk through the Italian gardens and while enjoying a nice glass of Tuscan wine.
Our host villa has preserved the traditional Italian charm of the property while adding modern conveniences. All of the guest rooms have private bathrooms, air conditioning, LCD TV, free Wi-Fi, hairdryer, telephone, and shower. Remember, when you are a guest, you are part of the family and this will come through in every aspect of your time with A Toast to Travel.
The following is the sample itinerary, subject to change. These experiences are fully hosted and all-inclusive once you are with the group and your hosts.
You will meet tonight around 6:00 p.m. for the welcome cocktail (aperitivo) surrounded by the beautiful hills of Tuscany and begin to sample some of the local wines and appetizers which can range from bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and local olive oil, to prosciutto and salami, while you socialize with fellow guests and toast to travel!
After the aperitivo, you will gather around the Tuscan dinner table for a meal specially prepared for you including fresh made pasta, filets of meat, fresh vegetables, and possibly the most delicious Italian desserts you’ve ever tried.
As you toast each other with the local Tuscan wine, A Toast to Travel will share with you all the exciting experiences in store for the week ahead. Pace yourself, pace yourself!
After breakfast, you will head over to a beautiful winery in Chianti, taking beautiful winding roads overlooking the beauty of Tuscany along with its historic castles, wineries, and people.
You will visit one of the most beautiful and famous wineries in Chianti for a tour, a tasting and a sit-down gourmet lunch together. After lunch, you will head to another beautiful town in Tuscany for some exploration and later in the evening, you will dine together at an authentic Tuscan restaurant. It’s time to relax and indulge in the local cuisine.
After a satisfying breakfast, you will meet as a group to be transported to Florence, one of the culturally richest cities in the world. You will start with an exclusive sit down lunch and wine pairing at an enoteca in the heart of Florentine old town where you savor the flavors, scents, colors, and moments together of cured meats, Tuscan cheese and of course, Tuscan wine.
After lunch, you will enjoy a city tour and tour of holiday markets (Florence has some of the best of them) and then, you’ll have free time for any exploration you wish to do on your own, shopping or simply enjoying a coffee at any one of the many cafes in famous town squares.
Later, you will meet as a group for dinner in the evening in Florence to enjoy one of the best Tuscan meals in town. Florence is known for great food and even better wine. This restaurant is one of A Toast to Travel’s personal favorites and at the top of the list. Buon appetito!
After breakfast and around 10 a.m., you will travel to Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you will be guided by a local on a walking tour of Siena visiting its most important sites and learning about its rich history and culture. Siena is not to be missed!
You will sit down for lunch together at a delicious local restaurant (with wine, of course) and then, you’ll have free time on your own to relax, do some shopping, or have a coffee in one of the famous town squares and simply people watch (people watching in Italy can’t be beat!).
The guided tour lasts about two hours and after lunch, you’ll have a few hours on your own to enjoy Siena as the locals do.
Later, you will meet as a group to have dinner together at a delicious restaurant in Siena for local flavor and wine! Dinner will last into the evening as you share all that Siena has to offer.
After breakfast, you will meet as a group for a hands-on cooking lesson with the resident chef to learn how the locals cook. Today, you will learn how to make local favorites, a starter, pasta, and an unforgettable sauce which you will enjoy for lunch.
You’ll have time this afternoon to enjoy the villa and relax or you may choose to go to the largest high-end luxury outlet mall and you will provide the transportation. Later, you will meet as a group in the host villa’s underground wine cellar for a tour, a conversation about its history (including the wartime escape hatches that led residents safely into the surrounding woods) and of course, to sample the wine.
Dinner tonight is a feast and prepared just for you at Villa Barberino.
After breakfast, you will meet as a group again for a hands-on cooking lesson with the resident chef but today you also learn how the locals make pastries for the holidays. You will enjoy your creations for lunch including the several holiday desserts you will learn to make.
After lunch, you have free time to enjoy the villa and relax or play in an Ultimate Hold’em tournament and enjoy more wine! But save your energy and dancing shoes for tonight! A Toast to Travel has planned a feast for New Year’s Eve along with a party to ring in the new year!
After breakfast this morning, don’t forget to take your final photos of beautiful Tuscany, the host villa, and all the new friends you’ve made. Take a last stroll in the gardens, visit the olive trees, smell the fresh Tuscan air, smiling into the sun for it’s not farewell but until next time.
Just remember, you may leave Tuscany but Tuscany will never leave you. Once you’ve experienced Tuscany, you will never forget La Dolce Vita. Besides, after having lived like a local for the week, you are now part of the family.
You will enjoy Siena and Florence city tours accompanied by an English speaking guide. Two visits to two different wineries including transportation and fees are included in the package.
This cooking holiday will take place in Tuscany, Italy.
In total, you will be served 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 6 dinners. Wine is included with all meals.
On your free time, you can join A Toast to Travel for a Texas Hold'em tournament or you may choose to visit the luxury outlet mall and A Toast to Travel will provide you the transportation. You can also go on an additional exploration Florence City.
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