Saturday, October 14 to Monday, October 23, 2023
Don’t miss this opportunity to travel with Lori Chisholm on a foodie tour of Florence and the surrounding Tuscan countryside with visits to her favourite places, with her favourite local guides. Space is limited to 10 persons on a first-come, first-served basis so be sure to act fast!!!
*Please note, you will have to travel on the 13th of October to arrive for the start of the tour on the 14th.
**This tour involves extensive walking, often uphill and/or on stairs and uneven surfaces.
Check in to our 3*Hotel Corona d’Italia (www.hotelcoronaditalia.com), 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. The highlight undoubtedly will be the tour of the Accademia where we’ll marvel at Michaelangelo’s Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, the colossal David. (Alessandra may change the order of the visits.) After the tour, you can lunch on your own or follow my lead to my favourite hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop. The balance of the day is free for exploring.
This morning after a leisurely but necessarily light breakfast, we join my good friend Antoinette of Taste Florence (www.tasteflorence.com ) 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. 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 4-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 lots of time for dinner (if we still have room!).
This morning after breakfast, you’ll devote your time to the wondrous Renaissance art of the Uffizi Gallery. The finest collection of Italian paintings anywhere includes masterpieces by DaVinci, Botticelli and Michaelangelo. Take as much time as you like, enjoy lunch on your own, and continue your exploration of the churches, galleries and markets of Florence. You can join me for a visit to the lovely Santa Croce church and the leather school tucked in behind (optional extra).
Eat a light breakfast today because we 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 tasting with wine, cheese, 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 and then enjoy a light lunch with them. We should be home by 4:00
After breakfast, you are free to visit, re-visit, explore and, of course, shop for souvenirs. There are lots of options: a day trip to Pisa, Bologna, Lucca, Venice or Siena? (We are 5 minutes from the train station!.)...the Bargello Gallery?...the Pitti Palace? …a climb up the Duomo?...a wander through the Oltrarno district?
After breakfast, you will have most of the day free but we will gather at 4:00 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. (vegetarian option available) We’ll be home late but we can sleep in in the morning…
We will have the morning and afternoon free to continue exploring Florence, and to revisit our favourite shops and cafés. At 5:30, we’ll wander down to the Arno for a private boat excursion with a renaiolo as our guide (weather and water levels permitting!). And then for our farewell dinner, we’ll celebrate our fabulous week in a typical Tuscan ristorante, enjoying our last chance at true, home-cooked Italian.
Our tour is over after breakfast. Safe home or carry on!
- All transportation in a private vehicle as per the itinerary - 9 nights accommodation in a superior tourist-class 3-star hotel, based on double occupancy, wifi included - Substantial daily breakfast - 3 dinners as per the itinerary including welcome dinner, Panzano dinner featuring bistecca alla fiorentina, and farewell dinner with wine, coffee and water - 3 lunches or equivalent as per itinerary - Welcome aperitivo, Greve aperitivo - 6 activities exclusive to our group: - 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 - private boat excursion weather and water levels permitting - Admissions to: Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, San Gimignano Tower - Driver and guide gratuities ***2-hour lounge pass at Toronto airport if you submit your deposit by May 31, 2023
- Flights and transfers – the tour begins and ends at the group hotel in Florence - Beverages with meals - Expenses of a personal nature - Insurance – please contact Pauwels Travel for rates.
October 10 - 24, 2023
Tour price from Toronto: $5,295 CAD.
November 16 - 30, 2023
$8,895 including air based on double occupancy
November 23 - December 07, 2023
$4,995 based on double occupancy