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Come and join Italia Dolce Vita in this leisurely-paced tour to explore the rich history of Florence, and the traditions and culture of Umbria and Tuscany, all in the gorgeous country of Italy. Stroll the charming streets and shops of lovely towns and villages. Enjoy cooking lessons, local gourmet products, private cellar tours, tastings, and a true farm-to-table experience. Experience the authenticity of honoring the culture of the regions, and learn, live, and love the real sweet Italian life!
You will stay for two nights in Florence, accommodated in this four-star hotel in the center of the city.
The next three nights will be spent in Montepulciano in this villa. This is an ideal place in the heart of Tuscany that dates back to 1700. Its rich buffet breakfast with typical local food products will be ready to delight you each morning. The villa has a swimming pool among olive groves. You can also take a walk in the vineyards or workout in the fitness room during your stay.
The villa's rooms are located in the old Vinsantaia, where the Vin Santo sweet wine was made. The ceiling features original wooden beams which are decorated in the authentic colors of the Tuscan landscape. The simple but rustic Tuscan furnishings are nestled in their original setting, giving a casual and comfortable feel to the rooms.
You will also be spending three nights in Assisi, accommodated in this castle. This place fuses elegant atmospheres and modern day comfort, keeping an original style and ensuring its four-star hotel service. Its impeccable accommodations are suitable for any kind of vacation. Its 23 rooms, subdivided into double standard rooms, suites, and junior suites, perfectly integrate into the fortress' primary traits, preserving its intact typical medieval atmosphere.
Each and every room in this hotel is different in width, and in the presence or lack of beam ceilings, stone walls, and other features of Assisi's great historical value. The rooms have fine natural-wood furniture, in full respect of the Umbrian tradition, and are enriched with precious fabrics and wrought iron bed frames as their embellishment. Assisi also means history and legend, so you will feel like you're journeying through the past in this hotel.
The following itinerary is how Italia Dolce Vita intends to proceed with this special tour. Occasionally, they need to adjust itineraries based on a number of factors, including weather, hotel availability, and accessibility to sites. In the event that a change to the itinerary is necessary, they will make every effort to keep it to a minimum. Rest assured that it is the company's goal to make your trip an exceptional experience.
You will be picked up at the train station or at Florence Airport (FLR), and transferred to the accommodation in Florence. You will have time to relax before meeting with the group in the evening for a private and guided walking tour of the historical center of Florence. During the visit, you will see the cathedral with Brunelleschi’s famous dome, which dates all the way back to 1436 and is truly a masterpiece of the Renaissance.
You will also see the Florence Baptistery and the Piazza della Signoria, the city's political heart since the 1300’s when it was the most powerful one in Europe. You will continue to Ponte Vecchio and arrive at the Pitti Palace, which is one of the best examples of Renaissance palaces. After all this, you will enjoy a welcome appetizer and dinner in the heart of Florence.
In the morning, you will visit the Accademia Gallery with a private guide so you can skip the public tour lines. You will be able to see the beautiful sculpture named David by Michelangelo and other magnificent works. After a light lunch, you will enjoy a gelato tour of the historical gelaterie of Florence far from the tourist traps. The guide will then accompany you to discover the workshops of local artisans who still make the traditional products of Florence such as leather, gold, and ceramic.
You will also visit the San Lorenzo market where you can find Tuscan specialties like wine, olive oil, ham, cheese, truffle, and lots more. You will relax along the way with a coffee or cappuccino in one of the bars or restaurants in the city center. There will also be personal leisure time, followed by dinner in Florence.
On this day, you will visit Siena, the incredible city of the Palio. There will be a quick stop for coffee in the charming medieval town of Monteriggioni. It sits inside fortified walls built in 1204 by the Sienese people, along the ancient Roman road called Via Cassia, and is like a gateway to the Middle Ages. You will be given free time to roam the streets. A light lunch will be served in a typical trattoria.
After lunch, you will stop at Nannini. This is a famous and old coffee bar where you will sample the panforte, a cake dense with nuts, candied fruits, and spices. After refueling on this medieval snack, you will continue with a visit to the Duomo, which is home to artworks by Michelangelo and Pinturicchio. Afterwards, there will be time for shopping before you head over to the region of Val D’Orcia for the remainder of the trip. You will check in and have dinner at Villa Nottola.
You will visit the Renaissance gem of Pienza, the “ideal town" commissioned by Pope Pius II. You will tour the Piccolomini Palace, and stroll through its beautiful light-filled church to learn a bit about Renaissance architectural theory and Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.
Pienza is also known worldwide for pecorino cheese, the making of which is a skill once considered so valuable that women listed it on their dowry. You will get a behind-the-scenes look at the fine art of organic cheese-making. During the demonstration, the cheese maker will guide you through the entire production process, from milking to ageing.
After lunch, you will visit the famous Tuscan hill town of Montepulciano and its wonderful small artisan shops that showcase copper, mosaics, wood carvings, gold jewelry, and other precious metals. There will be a gastronomic and wine tour in the heart of town, while learning its ancient and noble beginnings.
You will visit the historic wine cellar of Gattavecchi, which is located in the center of town. You will also enjoy a farewell dinner in their medieval cantina, tasting their classic red wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. There will be time for shopping and enjoying the town before dinner.
In the morning, you will tour the hills of a territory known as Val d'Orcia aboard a vintage Fiat 500. This area is the ideal home of the most authentic farmhouses in Tuscany. A private driver will take you to enjoy nature and the genuine hospitality of the spectacular Val d'Orcia natural park.
During this season, poppies are in bloom and the famous Tuscany sunflowers give great photographic moments. You will also have stops along the way to admire the views, and taste typical local products through an authentic picnic lunch. Dinner will be pizza night in Montepulciano.
After breakfast, you will head over to the city of Perugia. You will walk around the town and enjoy a light lunch before heading over to the Perugina chocolate factory to indulge in the world of chocolates and enjoy a short hands-on lesson. There will also be personal leisure time in the afternoon. Upon arriving at Castello di Petrata, your accommodation for the night, you will have time to relax before having dinner at the hotel restaurant.
You will spend the morning on the beautiful grounds of Castello di Petrata, where you will learn the art of truffle hunting, and pick your own fruits and vegetables directly from the garden. You will also make pasta and gnocchi during a hands-on cooking lesson, then enjoy the fruits of your labor in a delightful lunch. In the late afternoon, you will set out to discover Oro di Spello. You will visit an olive oil mill, and delight in tasting and learning about this precious element.
There is a story of beauty that has grown out of the ties between the wisdom of the green land of Umbria and the age-old tradition of olive cultivation. The noble and tenacious olive, the emblematic plant of Umbria, is the base of this precious, golden essence. Oro di Spello has extracted a unique beauty formula using this pure raw material as the basis of well-being and a fundamental way of life. Dinner will be in the quaint flowered village of Spello, in a classic trattoria that features local culinary traditions.
After breakfast, you will set out to the lavender fields of Assisi to see different colors and to smell the variety of lavender aromas. Other aromatic herbs are also grown in this special place at the foothills of spiritual Assisi. You will learn to make a variety of infused teas, creams, and ointments while understanding the beneficial properties of the herbs, from detoxifying to stress-relieving.
You will stop for lunch in the wine region of Montefalco, along the Strada del Sagrantino. You will have a picnic in the vineyards where you will see the colors, touch the grapes, hear the sounds, smell the aromas, and taste all the flavors while contemplating the emotions in the land. In the late afternoon, you will visit Assisi when the crowds have left for a must-see guided tour of the St. Clare and St. Francis basilicas. You will return to Castello di Petrata for a special farewell dinner.
You will depart from Italy, carrying home with you all the fun and amazing memories of this trip. If you wish to extend your stay, Italia Dolce Vita can further assist you with other vacation ideas and proposals.
This culinary vacation will take place in the regions of Umbria and Tuscany in Italy.
All three daily meals are included in the price of this retreat. The breakfasts will be served in the respective accommodations. Lunches and dinners will be authentic Italian and gourmet meals, all paired with local wines. Italia Dolce Vita is accustomed to accommodating food allergies or preferences in their vacation planning services. They can cater to gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or kosher specifications, so please do not hesitate to let them know well ahead of the trip.
If you're feeling adventurous, Italia Dolce Vita can help you arrange other activities and services at an additional cost. They can also help you with tour extension options before or after the scheduled trip dates.
The accommodation in Assisi offers spa treatments at an additional cost.
Please book your flight to arrive at Florence Airport (FLR). Transfer from the airport is included. Italia Dolce Vita will pick you up from the airport.