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Tuscany is one of those special places that food and wine lovers should not miss. This week long food and wine tour gives you an insiders look at the culture and traditions of this special place by focusing on the culinary delights of the Chianti region between Florence and Siena, the Val dOrcia, Montalcino and Pienza, and San Gimignano. Join a small group guided tour, meet new friends and take delight experiencing the Tuscan spirit and culture on a very personal level.
On this tour, you will stay in agri-tourismos and small bed and breakfast type of hotels around Tuscany. The agritourismo just outside of Siena, where you will spend your first two nights, offers cozy lodging, a restaurant and cooking classes, as well as vineyard and winery.
Next two nights are to be spent in Pienza, and the last two nights, you will stay at a three-generation family-owned farm just outside San Gimignano. This farm produces its own wines (Vernaccia, Rosso, and Rose), grows organic vegetables, and raises Italys renowned Chianina beef cattle, the largest and one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world.
Your tour begins in the morning when being greeted at the Florence airport and comfortably settle into a passenger van heading south through the Chianti region along the Via Chiantigiana. You will stop along the way at picturesque villages for shopping and photo shoots, getting a feel for the rhythm of the country.
First stop is Greve, gateway to the Chianti region. This small towns beautiful triangular piazza has a statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano at the entrance and at the far end is Santa Croce church. Shops and cafes line the piazza. After a morning cappuccino you will be on to Panzano to visit the bustling farmers market where you will pick up some treats for a light meal later in the afternoon. You will also visit Antica Macellera Cecchini to meet the charismatic Dario Cecchini, the most famous butcher in Italy.
With lunch treats in hand, you continue on to Castellina, in Chianti. A stroll through town and the first of many gelato stops over the week. Late afternoon, you will arrive at an agritourismo just outside of Siena where you will spend the first two nights. This bed and breakfast offers cozy lodging, a restaurant and cooking classes as well as vineyard and winery.
After check-in, you will take the short drive into Siena for a stroll to the piazza and meet your friend Dario, who will take you to the Bruco Contrada headquarters. His narrative about the history of the contrada as the social fabric of Siena, along with the video of il Palio, will help you begin to understand the uniqueness of Siena. Dinner this evening is at a chef-owned Slow Food restaurant specializing in Sienese specialties. Owned by a chef and former Palio jockey that Doug previously cooked with, the dinner is truly memorable.
After breakfast at the agritourismo, you will head back into Siena where you will be met by Rita, a knowledgeable local tour guide who leads a two-hour cultural and historical tour of this well-preserved medieval city, a UNESCO world heritage city. You will lunch at a Slow Food restaurant just off the piazza owned by your friend Renata, and then a free afternoon to wander the narrow streets, enjoy terrific shopping or just relax with an espresso and watch the city unfold.
Siena is one of Italys most beautiful cities and offers endless, treasures. In the late afternoon, you will leave Siena and return to the agritourismo for a hands-on cooking class with Elena. You will tour their winery, enjoy a wine tasting and finish with a class-prepared dinner paired with their Chianti wines.
The next morning after breakfast, you will head south toward the Val dOrcia, an area renowned for wine production and farming. The land is characterized by gentle hills and valleys dotted with picturesque towns and villages. One of these villages is Montalcino which welcomes you with its elegant, world renowned Brunello wine and its younger Rosso di Montalcino.
A wonderful walking village and wine mecca. This wine tasting is a highlight. Later in the day, you will arrive in Pienza where you will stay for the next two days. This Renaissance gem is a beautiful little town rebuilt as an ideal town in the 15th century under the direction of Pope Pius II. An early evening stroll of Pienza, another UNESCO heritage site, ends at a fabulous local restaurant.
The morning begins with breakfast, and then you are off to visit a nearby organic agritourismo that raises sheep and goats to produce Pecorino. A farm tour, cheese tasting, and terrific vegetarian lunch while enjoying beautiful views of Val dOrcia, named a UNESCO world cultural landscape in 2004.
The afternoon will find you in Montepulciano, known for another renowned wine, Nobile di Montepulciano. There will be a wine tasting, walking, and free time. Then you will return to Pienza to visit Palazzo Piccolomini, the family home of Pope Pius II. Dinner in Pienza at a small restaurant featuring local foods.
After a restful nights sleep, you will have breakfast and then you are off to San Gimignano, one of the most photographed hill towns in all of Tuscany. You will be staying two nights at a three-generation family owned farm just outside San Gimignano.
This farm produces its own wines (Vernaccia, Rosso and Rose), grows organic vegetables, and raises Italys renowned Chianina beef cattle, the largest and one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world.
Your friend and gregarious host, Sarah, will personally lead you on an insiders tour of her city. Before leaving the village you will make another gelato stop, this time at a little gelateria that was called one of the top ten places in the world not to miss in the food category!
This tour will take place in Italy, visiting the Chianti region and cities like Greve, Panzano, Siena, Val dOrcia, Montalcino, Pienza, San Gimignano, and Montepulciano.
Your Italy tour is all-inclusive, meaning that you will have three daily meals and most of them will include wine.
Please book your flight to arrive Firenze-Peretola Airport (FLR). Inn at Baldwin Creek will pick you up. The pick-up is included.