Custom Tour: October 15-24

OCTOBER 15 – Depart from U.S.

OCTOBER 16 – Arrive in Florence. You will be met outside baggage claim and travel by taxi to the hotel. Begin the evening with cocktails on the rooftop followed by dinner at the hotel.

OCTOBER 17 – After breakfast, join Monica for a tour of Florence from a historical perspective. Gain a greater understanding of the Medici’s, once one of Italy’s most powerful and influential families whose members included popes, queens and a long line of dukes. You will learn how they used their wealth to help foster the Italian Renaissance and establish a political dynasty that ruled Florence for 300 years. You will also learn more about how they encouraged the careers of such luminaries as Michelangelo and Galileo. Following the tour Roz will introduce you to the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy. Established in 1221 by Dominican Monks, it is the oldest still-operating pharmacy in Italy, if not the world. We will return to the Santa Croce area where you can relax until dinner.

OCTOBER 18 – Today we improve our understanding of Italian wines as we travel to the beautiful Chianti region with Lawrence, our wine consultant extraordinaire. Visit two charming wineries. Wine can be shipped. Lunch is at a restaurant with a view as close to heaven on earth as you might ever find. Visit Greve before returning to Florence for dinner.

OCTOBER 19 – Today we have two optional itineraries:

  • Option 1 – Head to Montevarchi with Roz to scoop up the deals at Space Prada. Enjoy discounts of 35-75% on purses, shoes, sunglasses and accessories. Take a copy of your passport to recapture your V.A.T. when you leave the country. We will return to Florence for lunch and then continue to explore shopping on the Oltrarno and enjoy a private olive oil tasting. Dinner in Florence.
  • Option 2 – Journey to one of Tuscany’s jewels, the town of Lucca. Most of the attractions in Lucca today show its ancient history: from the trace of the Roman amphitheater that can be seen in the shape of the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro to the archeological remains under the 12th century church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata (the first city cathedral, located just around the corner from the present-day cathedral of San Martino), to the various towers and villas from the 12th to 16th centuries.
    Extraordinarily, as the city grew and modernized, the walls that surrounded the old town were maintained which was not the case for many other cities in Tuscany. The historic walls are now a pedestrian promenade where you can walk or bike. Other sites include the Piazza of San Michele with its beautiful Church of San Michele in Foro, the Basilica of San Frediano as well as the Clock Tower and Guinigi Tower. We will return to Florence for dinner.

OCTOBER 20 – Today is all about Brunello, as we journey to the charming village of Montalcino. At two of the area’s finest small vineyards you will taste what is arguably the best wine in Italy: Brunello. Lunch will be at another delightful restaurant by one of the most gracious proprietresses in Tuscany. Free evening in Florence.

OCTOBER 21 – Today we start at the market to select items for our cooking class. We will then travel to a 13th century Tuscan villa for a hands-on cooking class where you will prepare a five course meal. Enjoy wine produced on the estate while learning the fine art of Tuscan cooking. Evening in Florence.

OCTOBER 22 – Don’t forget your camera as we spend the day in the beautiful Tuscan countryside as we visit San Gimignano and Siena. In San Gimignano visit the Palazzo del Popolo Civic Museum which includes the famous Sala di Dante with frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. Travel on to Siena to visit the Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Comunale and Torre del Mangla. Dinner in Siena.

OCTOBER 23 – Today, you are in for special treat as we spend a few hours exploring the hills around Florence by ebike. These bikes are designed for ease of climbing hills and enjoying the views. We will see Fiesole as well as Piazza di Michaelangelo. We can stop for coffee and relax while snapping photos. Following the tour, we will return to Florence to wrap up our shopping. We will visit Angela Capputti’s shop which is a great place to pick up fabulous jewelry for those special friends. We will move on to a wonderful little jewelry shop where you can buy jewelry made on the premises. You will also have time to shop at the famous Piggy Market.

OCTOBER 24 – Arrivederci!