April 20 - 30, 2018
per person, sharing twin accommodation Includes taxes/fuel surcharges of $636 Single supplement: $465.00 (limited to maximum 2) The above price allows for credit card payment. If paying by cheque please deduct $165.00 from the tour cost.
*If the tour is SOLD OUT, please contact us to be added to the waitlist.
Evening flight to Amsterdam with KLM. Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.
Morning arrival in Amsterdam where there will be a brief delay before boarding our connecting flight to Florence. Transfer by taxi to our very comfortable, three-star Hotel Corona d’Italia, centrally located at the corner of the famous San Lorenzo Market. Time to settle in, freshen up and begin our exploration of this beautiful city. We’ll meet later for cocktails before we stroll to our first Italian meal in a nearby family-owned trattoria.
After breakfast, our expert local guide, Alessandra will take us on a personal orientation walking tour of Florence. We’ll learn about Brunelleschi’s magnificent cathedral dome and Ghiberti’s Baptistry doors. After lunch on our own, we’ll re-group for a guided tour of the Accademia where we’ll marvel at Michaelangelo’s Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, the colossal David. Finally, we’ll visit the Church of Santa Croce where we’ll hear the intriguing stories of the tombs of Michaelangelo, Macchiavelli and Galileo. The balance of the day is free for exploring. (Alessandra may change the order of the visits.)
After a leisurely, but necessarily light breakfast, we join my good friend Antoinette of Taste Florence for our personal food tour through the city. During the tour we will try local regional specialities including wine and sweets. We will visit the Mercato Centrale to taste cheeses, sauces, chutneys and crostini; enjoy a tutorial tasting of balsamic vinegar and olive oils and participate in a wine tasting at a local enoteca. Naturally, we must finish up with dessert, so the tour will end at a gelateria for gelato and chocolate - fresh, natural ingredients only, here! The rest of the day is free to do as you please.
Today our driver will pick us up at the hotel in a comfortable, 16-passenger vehicle for our trip to Certaldo. There we will spend the morning with Giuseppina at her renowned cooking school. We’ll prepare a four course meal and enjoy it along with wine and leave with a souvenir apron. We’ll continue on to San Gimignano whose skyline is dominated by a multitude of medieval towers and its shops filled with art, artifacts and local products. We’ll wander, perhaps climb the torre for some breathtaking views and enjoy some of Italy’s best gelato. Our return to the hotel by 6:00 p.m. will allow us time for dinner (if we still have room!)
Eat a light breakfast today because we will have lots of locally-produced delicacies ahead of us! Once again, our driver will be picking us up, this time for a day trip to the Tuscan countryside south and west of Florence. We’ll start with a visit to a family-run cheese farm where we’ll have the opportunity to meet some farmers with a very interesting history. We’ll enjoy a vineyard walk, a tour of the dairy and cellar and then a lunch with wine, cheese, salumi, breads and olive oil. From one farm to another: it’s time to learn about olive oil from the people who harvest the olives and process them in the time-honoured way. At Tenuta San Vito, an organic agriturismo, we’ll taste their extra virgin olive oil as well as their family-produced wines. We should be home by 4:00.
After breakfast, you will have most of the day free but we will gather at 4:00pm to be picked up in our Mercedes for dinner in Panzano in Chianti. On the way, we’ll stop in the lovely little town of Greve in Chianti. Upon arrival in this town, we’ll stroll and take an aperitivo in a local enoteca. Off to a further aperitivo at the Macelleria Cecchini, home of Dario Cecchini, the world’s most famous - and infamous! - butcher. Upstairs, we will enjoy one of the most exciting meals in all of Italy: a five-course dinner, prepared in front of us, featuring bistecca alla Fiorentina, fresh bread, and unlimited Chianti. (Note: vegetarian option available!) We’ll be home late, but the following morning we will enjoy sleeping in...
We will have the morning and afternoon free to continue exploring Florence and to revisit our favourite shops and cafés. At our farewell dinner, we’ll celebrate our fabulous week in a typical Tuscan ristorante, enjoying our last chance at true, home-cooked Italian.
Return air transportation with KLM/Air France All transfers and transportation as per the itinerary Nine nights’ accommodation in a superior tourist-class 3-star hotel, based on double occupancy (single supplement $465.00); wifi included Daily breakfast Six meals as per the itinerary including welcome dinner, Panzano dinner featuring bistecca alla fiorentina, and farewell dinner Welcome aperitivo, Greve aperitivo Five activities exclusive to our group of 11: - Private historical walking tour with expert guide + whisper headsets - Private food tour (walking) with expert guide + substantial tastings - Day trip for private cooking class with lunch and wine, and visit to San Gimignano with gelato - Private day trip to the Tuscan countryside with farm visits/tours, lunch and tastings - Late afternoon/evening excursion to Chianti region Admissions to: - Accademia Gallery - Uffizi Gallery - Santa Croce - San Gimignano Tower Driver and guide gratuities Two-hour lounge pass at Toronto airport if you sign on 90 days in ADVANCE (January 20th, 2018)
Transfers to and from Toronto International Airport Beverages with meals Expenses of a personal nature Insurance – please contact Pauwels Travel for rates