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Italian Gusto’s Art, Cooking & Wine Tour of Tuscany
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Italian Gusto’s Art, Cooking & Wine Tour of Tuscany

offered by supplier M09767 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 8 day(s)
Group Size: 9 - 21 people
Destination(s): Italy  
Specialty Categories: Food & Wine   Cultural Journey  
Season: May
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2895 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2895 US Dollar (USD)

Based in the center of Florence at the elegant four-star Hotel Astoria, an exceptionally beautiful 16th c. palazzo, you will have this extraordinary city literally right at your doorstep. The rooms are in excellent taste, the bathrooms modern with marble details. The tour includes guided visits of Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano, Uffizi Galleries, the Accademia and Medici Chapels. Cooking lessons will be by trained chefs at some of the best restaurants in the region. Combined with a passionate look at the art, architecture and culture of Tuscany, this tour will provide the unforgettable Tuscan experience you are seeking.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival Day in Florence

Our base for the week is the Hotel Astoria, an elegant, renovated palace-the former Palazzo Gaddi-located in the heart of Florence, just blocks from the Duomo and other important sites. The hotel’s comfortable and air-conditioned rooms include hairdryers and satellite television. Their excellent breakfast buffet is served in a magnificent baroque dining room complete with frescoed ceilings. The hotel also has a first-class restaurant, housed in a beautiful frescoed conservatory. This evening at 6 p.m., we will share welcome aperitivi in the hotel’s piano bar, where you will meet your hosts and fellow participants. We'll be happy to answer any questions at this time before we head off to a welcome dinner at our favorite restaurant in Florence, Il Latini.

Day 2: Walking Tour of Florence

Today, Deborah and a local art historian will show you the wonders of Florence, considered by many to be the "Art Capital of the World." We'll tour the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (the Duomo), Ghiberti’s Baptistery doors (the “Gates of Paradise”), Giotto’s Bell Tower, Santa Croce and other important sites. Lunch will be served at a classic Florentine trattoria, followed by a free afternoon to relax, walk across the famous Ponte Vecchio or go bargain hunting in Florence’s famous open-air market, Il Mercato di San Lorenzo. Dinner will be on your own.

Day 3: Excursion to Siena and San Gimignano

This morning, we’ll travel by private motor coach to Siena--the former capital of Tuscany--where we will be met by our private guide, who will explain the intricacies of this fascinating and complex city. After the tour, you will have time to have lunch on your own and to stroll Siena’s many winding pedestrian road. In the afternoon, we'll weave our way through the rolling hills and vineyards of the Chianti countryside to the lovely medieval town of San Gimignano, a rose-colored hilltop village surrounded by well-preserved ramparts and fortress towers, which reflect its noble background (and where 'Tea with Mussolini' was filmed). San Gimignano is also famous for its dry white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which you may sample at its many wine shops lining the main thoroughfare. Dinner will be on your own back in Florence.

Day 4: Michelangelo Tour

The morning is free to do whatever you’d like. At 3 p.m., we will meet in the lounge so that Deborah can prepare you for the “Michelangelo Tour” that will follow. She will fill you in on the artistic and less-known theological philosophy of this extraordinary genius. We will then meet our guide who will lead us through the Church of San Lorenzo and the Medici Chapels, culminating with a visit to the Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the David. Following the tour, we will have dinner together at a local trattoria.

Day 5: Excursion to Lucca

Today’s excursion takes us to the charming town of Lucca, an ancient Roman stronghold and birthplace of Puccini. Upon arrival, we will have a cooking demonstration with the chef and owner of one of the finest restaurants in Tuscany, La Buca di S. Antonio. Under the rule of Napolean's sister, Lucca acquired a French touch in its cuisine, which you will note during an exquisite lunch at this very beautiful restaurant. After lunch we’ll visit the cathedral to see the famous Volto Santo, a statue of Jesus said to have been carved by Nicodemus himself at the crucifixion. You will then be free to wander this favorite Tuscan city with its sophisticated shops and genuine Italian atmosphere. We’ll return to the hotel in the early evening and dinner (or perhaps some gelato) will be on your own.

Day 6: Excursion to Greve and the Castle of Verrazano in Chianti

This morning we will visit the quintessential Chianti town of Greve, where you will have time to explore its charming piazza, full of delightful little shops. Afterwards, we will visit the 16th c. castle of Verrazzano Vineyards—home of explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano--where we will have a private tour, followed by an extensive wine tasting and lunch that is sought after by enologists worldwide. In the late afternoon, we will return to Florence where you will have dinner on your own.

Day 7: Tour of the Uffizi Galleries and Farewell Dinner

We are scheduled for our private guided tour of the world-famous Uffizi Galleries at noon. Here, the works of Cimabue, Giotto, Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, and many others will become familiar to you. The afternoon will be free to explore other Florentine gems such as the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens; the charming town of Fiesole-where you can still see remnants of the great Etruscan wall that surrounded the town--or simply to do some last-minute shopping. Our farewell dinner will be at another of Florence's great restaurants.

Day 8: The departure.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Accommodations
- Daily breakfast, most lunches and dinners including wine
- Cooking lessons
- All transportation for scheduled trips
- Private tours
- Knowledgeable and experienced guides throughout.

About This Supplier
Location: USA
Joined InfoHub: May 2003
Client Request Served: 4

Former college roommates, Deborah Patterson and Josianne Pennington, started this company to offer small-group art, cooking and wine tours in Italy. In addition to their pre-established fall and spring tours, they also customize tours for small groups. Whether it be an antiques tour, or a shopping tour, or an...

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