Savor a slower pace. Experience the Italian culture first hand and create a cultural connection. Taste of Italy is more than an off the beaten path-walking and eating adventure. We provide a unique blend of hand-picked authentic cultural and culinary experiences with our friends-the locals. It means time spent with Italians in the heart of their homes at the table, to taste their culture through cuisine, cook century old recipes, and meet the artisans from the city to the countryside. If this stirs your palate and your imagination click to see out trips:
SICILY – October 2020
SARDINIA – June 2021
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A 7 DAY COURSE:
- 6 Nights 4-star Accommodations
- Private transport during tour
- Two meals and beverages per day
- Gastronomic tastings
- Day excursions to historical towns
- Regional culinary class
- Truffle Hunt with truffle meal
- Winery visits and tasting
- Private guided walking tour
- Olive oil farm visit and tasting
- Entrance to cultural Museums
- Hands on porchetta class
- Visit artisan pasta shop
- Tour and tasting of cheese making
- Airport transfer for departure
Our small group (6-10 person) tour provides an unusual experience that strays from the ordinary touristic paths. Working with born and raised Italians, we have the knowledge to share what the locals know. We take you to spend time with our friends – specialty artisans who are excited to share their personality and passion through their gastronomic art form. You will be invited in the homes, cantinas, and kitchens of skilled artisans whose passion and multiple generations of practice are demonstrated and tasted. Meet the vintner, olive oil craftsman, chef, truffle hunter, cheese maker, and butcher. Each artisan has been sought out not only for their specialized techniques, but for their knowledge and dynamic personalities, so you get a true understanding of the warmth of Italian people. The itinerary is balanced with free time to enjoy as you wish and all activities are optional. For a well-rounded adventure, as half of the week is an experience of the city and latter half in the countryside to unwind. Stroll the crooked streets of people of a different place and time, taste unusual flavors, inhale new aromas, and hear ancient sounds. Walking excursions will take you back in time, meandering tucked away cobblestone passageways in the heart of the Renaissance as well as excursions to the picturesque countryside. Come experience Italy with us.
Arrival at the Florence Airport and take a taxi to your quaint 4-star hotel in the heart of the city. Benvenuti! You will be greeted with an authentic Tuscan aperitivo and get acquainted with your group and review the week’s itinerary in the early evening. Welcome dinner together, walk to a favorite local restaurant to taste traditional Florentine dishes and Tuscan wines. Free time after dinner to explore the night life of Florence.
day 2 Morning visit to a local market to select ingredients for the cooking lesson with Chef Matteo. Visit with produce farmers and fish mongers, and sample balsamic vinegar, wild boar salami, and Tuscan herb salts. Discover what ingredients and history make the soul of Tuscan cuisine and learn how to cook the recipes. Taste the once nearly extinct Etruscan zolfino bean. For lunch, enjoy eating the feast we have just learned to prepare. The culinary lesson includes aprons and translated recipes. An afternoon of familiarization with the heart of the Renaissance. Depart for an art history walking tour with your local cultural expert, Elisa to explore Ponte Vecchio, Brunelleschi’s dome, the mark of Savonarola, Brancacci Chapel, trace the steps to Dantes house, discover architectural secrets of the city. Dinner at one of the most historical trattorias known for their bistecca fiorentina, Florentine Chianina steak cooked by wood fire since 1869.
day 3 Drive into the valley for a cheese tasting and lunch at one of the oldest organic dairy farms in Tuscany. Sample cheeses they have made since the 13th century. See how they are still making their antique recipes in the medieval tower cellar. After lunch, continue through the hills to an ancient winery for an educational and technical journey to learn the differences between the “SuperTuscan” wines and the DOCG labeled Chianti and Sangiovese varietals. Tour the ancient tunnel of barrels, visit their private museum of antique prints, and walk through the vineyards. A light charcuterie and estate rosemary honey tasting to follow. Depart for on an organic olive farm on the other side of the Arno Valley. Stroll through the ancient sculptural olive groves and taste extra virgin olive oil. Learn why the olives are so carefully harvested and cold pressed within 12 hours in order to yield the “liquid gold”. Return to Florence for a free evening. Time for exploring and enjoying an espresso in the piazza, la vita italiana!
day 4 A morning visit the Uffizi Gallery-the largest collection of Renaissance artwork in the world to see Botticelli, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Giotto, da Vinci, Michelangelo and unusual food paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Follow the footsteps of the Medici on a guided tour of the secret Vasari corridor, from the Uffizi, across the Ponte Vecchio, and ends in the Boboli Gardens. Free time and lunch on your own. Perhaps stop for gelato or visit a the family run chocolate shop established in 1936 for a chocolate vin santo truffle. Walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo for panoramic views of the city for sketching/ painting /photo opportunity. Continue to climb the many stairs to one of the finest examples of Romanesque churches in Tuscany, located in one the highest points of Florence. In the early evening, listen to the Olivetan monks and their magical Gregorian chanting. You can buy acacia honey, homemade grappa, and conserves made by the friars of the church. Dinner at the neighborhood bistro famous for their chicken liver pate’ and wine selection.
day 5 Check out of your room and depart for a countryside stay. Board our private transport early for a medieval village with a stop at an ancient pasta factory founded in 1860. A 5th generation family-run enterprise as siblings Lucia, Antonio, and Marco continue to run the company today preserving its traditions. Continue on through the Tuscan landscape to Lucca; a fortified town full of Byzantine and Art Nouveau architecture. Try the specialty brigidini, “holy” anise chips. Stop at the antique foccacceria, renowned foccaccia that they have been making since the 1900’s. Climb Torre Guingi, a fortified medieval tower house with a roof top garden, or circumnavigate the city by biking its elevated wall. Lunch on your own, free time to explore the town.After lunch, travel to the Etruscan hilltop town for a white truffle tour. Explore the woodlands with a guided expert to unearth prized truffles followed by a special truffle dinner with the truffle hunter at his home on the family terrace. Check into your hotel.
day 6 Walk around the corner for a second breakfast at the delectable pastry shop where Paolo will invite us in to taste his biscotti, pastry, cookies, cakes, and specialty ricciarelli. A morning class with 4th generation butcher to learn how to make sausage and porchetta – an herbed pork roast. Lunch on the family pergola with a view. Afternoon free to relax. Last evening together, dinner in a frescoed 15th century dining room.
day 7Arrivederci and return to Florence. Click to RESERVE your space.
*Itinerary is subject to change
bologna / emilia romagna
Arrival at your hotel in the heart of Bologna. Convene in the afternoon for aperitivo and talk about what is in store for the week. Before dinner, stroll through the historic city center home to numerous medieval towers, like the Asinelli Tower built in 1109. Walk through the vibrant arcades and lengthy porticoes to build an appetite for the first fabulous dinner of the week.
After breakfast, our Chef accompanies us by foot to the local market for fresh ingredients for a classic comfort food cooking class. In the hands on cooking class we will learn the recipes that have been homes for centuries like ragu bolognese, lasagna, and cotechino, with lunch together. After some free time, we will take an afternoon walk in the historical center with our private guide to discover Etruscan architecture of the ten gates that define the city, peculiar history of the canals and the silk industry of the Medieval Ages.
Depart for Modena with a stop in the countryside at one of the oldest balsamic vinegar producers, acetaio. Then visit an ancient (established in1860) small producer winery to sample outstanding Lambrusco di Sorbara and rare Fortana varietals. Have lunch in Modena at our favorite trattoria and try mostarda and bollito misto. Explore the Ducal Palace or Ferrari Museum. Return to Bologna for the afternoon for free time.
Free day to explore the town, climb one of the oldest towers-built in 1109, see the archaeological site of the Ancient Romans and old Roman road. Perhaps Amaro Montenegro bitters tasting, (made with more than 40 herbs), made locally since the 19th century. Option to adventure to Ravenna and its Etruscan mosaics and take a stroll along the Adriatic Sea. Go towards the Po River to Ferrara and wander through a medieval castle surrounded by a moat and taste the famous butternut squash tortelli. Convene in the afternoon for a handmade pasta lesson, tortellini, cappelletti, and agnolotti and dine together.
Pack your bag for a few nights in the countryside to an old world dairy farm stay with a 14th-century wine and salami cellars. En route, drive towards Parma with a stop in Reggio Emilia for a local specialty piadina or erbazzone, a savory tart. Drive to an artisan “King of Cheeses” tasting and demonstration to see D.O.P. Parmigiano reggiano. Then onto to Parma for a prosciutto tasting and lunch at a local osteria. Explore the Botanical Gardens or Romanesque architecture for a few hours and return to the agriturismo farm stay for dinner.
Relax at the agriturismo. Option for a leisurely bike ride along the Po River. Take a tour through the cellar where culatello has been cured since the 14th century, visit the castles’ garden and fruit orchard, explore the farm, or perhaps a boat trip through the Po Valley. Our last Farewell dinner together.
Departure, drive back to Bologna. Arrivederci! Click to RESERVE your space.
*Itinerary will be similar but is subject to change