Day 1 - Arrival Day/Benvenuto!
Welcome to Italy! We'll be met at the Rome airport by our private driver who will whisk us off to the Tuscan countryside. We'll stop along the way for lunch - if there is time, the stop will be in Orvieto. Our accommodations for the next 10 nights is in an agriturismo villa (authentic Tuscan farmhouse) situated in the center of Tuscany, very near the town of Cortona, made famous by Frances Mayes in her book, “Under the Tuscan Sun” and movie by the same name. Enjoy a welcome cocktail upon arrival at our accommodations and meet the villa owner for an orientation meeting and check in. Settle in to unpack, relax or stroll around the property. The rest of the afternoon/evening is yours to explore or relax. We'll conclude the day with a group welcome dinner including local wines, served in the comfort of our villa. (D)
Day 2 - Cortona: ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ with a wine-pairing lunch
Morning departure for Cortona after breakfast at our villa. Cortona, which has its roots in Etruscan history, is a quiet and romantic town nestled in the beautiful hills of the Val di Chiana in the province of Arezzo. It was made famous by Frances Mayes’ book & movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. After, we'll visit a beautiful and completely organic winery for a guided tour of their vineyards and cellar. Our tour will be followed by a fabulous wine-pairing lunch situated in beautiful surroundings with views of the vineyards, valley and hills. Dinner tonight at our villa. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Val d'Orcia & Pecorino Cheese
Today after our breakfast, we will depart for a tour of two of Tuscany’s most famous towns: Montepulciano & Pienza, set in the Val d’Orcia – what many view as the “quintessential” Tuscany. Along the way, you will breathtaking scenery: Rolling hills dotted with cyprus, miles of vineyards, and olive groves. Our first stop is Pienza, famous for its Pecorino cheese, where we will have a tasting. After lunch, it's off to the steeply sloped town of Montepulciano where you can wander the streets, stop at shops, churches and town squares. As well, we'll visit an enoteca where we can tour the ancient cellars and have a wine tasting. Head back to the villa and relax before dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Florence: Markets & Mysteries of the Medici
After breakfast at our agriturismo, and head off for a full day in the renaissance capitol, Florence. Our first stop will be the colorful markets where you can find anything: from a tripe sandwich to a silk scarf! We will then meet up with our English speaking local guide and enjoy a walking tour of Florence. During the tour our guide will point out famous sites such as the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, Piazza della Signori, Piazza della Repubblica, and more. We'll learn all about the dark secrets of Florence's famous noble families and artists with this behind the scenes & highlights tour. Enjoy time on your own for lunch. The afternoon is free for you to shop, explore art galleries or museums, or just soak in the vibrant life of one of the many piazze while having a caffè or spritz. We'll then regroup for a tour high into the hills above Florence where you can look over the city from a different perspective with plenty of photo opportunities. Dinner at our Villa. (B, D)
Day 5 - Chianti: Farm Lunch &Wine
After breakfast, we'll depart to the Chianti region – an area of Tuscany made famous by the red wine of the same name. This is a beautiful region of terra-cotta-roofed towns and winding roads, leading through groves of olive trees, with cypress and endless vineyards stitching sun-dappled rolling hillsides – this is wine country. We'll visit some quaint villages, have lunch on a local farm and experience some wine tastings. What else would you do in Chianti? Dinner at our villa with local wines. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Arezzo: Where Life is Beautiful
This morning after breakfast we head out to the Arezzo countryside. We'll stop at a stunning villa, learn its history and have a delicious wine tasting. We'll next stop in the town of Arezzo (made famous by the movie "Life is Beautiful" by Roberto Benigni) to explore . Even though the medieval center was destroyed during World War II, Arezzo still has a beautiful piazza and many historical buildings and churches as well as a Roman Amphitheater and the remains of a fortress. Here you will be able to grab lunch on your own at one of the many restaurants or cafes. We'll conclude the day with dinner including local wines, served in the comfort of our villa. (B, D)
Day 7 - Ancient Oil Mills, Olive Oil & Lunch with the Locals
After breakfast, we're going to head out to an area of Tuscany that is off-the-beaten path. We'll visit an ancient olive oil mill that still operates. Here you will see that they still crush the olives with an old stone wheel. We'll begin with a tour, followed by a tasting & lunch with the owner’s family. After our visit, we will stop at a nearby small medieval village, where you can shop, visit local artisans, or stop and smell the caffè in neighborhood bar. Dinner tonight at our villa.
(B, L, D)
Day 8 - Truffle Hunting & Cooking Lesson
This morning we begin the day with an exciting truffle hunting demonstration with a local truffle hunter and his dog in the woods. Let's see how many we find! Next we will have a cooking demonstration & lesson – learning to cook “All things truffle” followed by a delicious lunch with all the dishes we have prepared. After our day learning about truffles, we will visit one of the many small medieval villages in the area and learn of its interesting history. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Market Day in a Local Village
Breakfast at your agriturismo. Today we will start out at a local market in a nearby ancient walled town where all the locals come to buy their fruits, vegetables and daily wares. We will continue on and visit a museum housed in an 18th century Palazzo, dedicated to the history of herbs & spices both their culinary and medicinal uses throughout the centuries. Lunch in a local Trattoria. Next, what visit to Italy would be complete without a taste of some gelato? We will visit and tour a small family owned gelateria that produces artisanal gelato – creating flavors only when the fruits or ingredients used are at their freshest and in season. And of course, this will be followed by a tasting! Return to our agriturismo for dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Chestnuts, BBQ, and a Feste
A relaxing morning with a nice fall walk and a visit to a local chestnut grove. Here we will learn about the importance of the chestnut as a food source in this area of Tuscany for centuries and why it is still celebrated today. A special rustic BBQ lunch in the “Boschetto” or woods the way Tuscan villagers have been doing it for centuries. Next we will visit a local ‘Sagra’ or feste that celebrates this particular food of the area. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Departure Day
Early morning breakfast at our villa as we say our goodbyes. We'll board our vans and depart for the Rome Airport (FCO). Bid Arrivederci to Italy! (B)
If you are continuing on with a Rome Extension tour, we will then transfer you to your hotel in Rome's city center after dropping our other guests at the airport.
Key: B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner, included
*Itineraries are subject to change. Vitalia Tours and its partners will strive to provide you with the best possible tour and experience. It is our intention to adhere to the outlined itinerary as published. However, please be advised that it may be occasionally necessary to substitute an activity due to events that cannot be predicted. Therefore, Vitalia Tours reserves the right to make changes in accommodations, tours or excursions, meals, and itineraries at any time should it become necessary or desirable.
Fall in Tuscany is a glorious time; the colors, the smells, and most importantly, the food. Throughout the countryside, the colors are brilliant, the air is cooler and there are less crowds. But also, most importantly, fall means harvest time and Tuscany is no exception. Tuscany’s autumn harvest includes truffles, porcini mushrooms, chestnuts, olives and grapes.
This season is also about celebration, marking the end of the agricultural season. In almost every town throughout Italy you can find a sagra (Sagre plural), a festival celebrating the harvest of that town’s local food and specialty. These food festivals are a wonderful chance to experience and to try the local culture, traditions and foods.
Indulge in the ultimate Tuscan gastronomic experience! Discover the hilltop towns, the regional cuisine, and boutique wineries, take cooking classes, get to know local artisans, and experience the Tuscany region. Join us this October as we make our way through the Tuscan countryside and sample and savor the flavors of fall.
Spend an afternoon with a truffle hunter and his dogs.
Tour an ancient working olive oil mill with olive oil tasting and lunch.
Visit a sheep farm that makes fragrant pecorino cheese for a tour and tasting
Meet & observe local artisans as they craft
Discover the hidden gems of Florence
Experience the vibrancy of local market days
Enjoy a hands-on cooking class learning to create authentic Tuscan specialties.
Indulge in several winery tours and tastings
Explore the small hilltop Tuscan villages and intimate locations not often visited.
Learn about the regional Tuscan cuisine and local specialty dishes.
Deposit: $2000.00 at time of booking to reserve your spot
Balance due: August 1, 2018
* There is free wifi at our accommodations
** We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance to protect your investment. This is to ensure that you are covered in the event of loss of deposit and cancellation fees, medical emergency or health expenses, personal accident, flight cancellation or delays and to protect your luggage against any loss or damage.
Arezzo - Cortona - Montepulciano - Pienza - Chianti Region - Florence - and more
October 12 - 22, 2018
Dates: October 12 - 22, 2018
11 Days/10 Nights
Group size: 6-12 Guests Maximum
Tour Cost: $4575 USD per person/double occupancy
$675 USD single supplement
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