Tuscany & Emilia-Romagna for Foodies
Sample the delicacies and uncover the secrets of Europe’s most authentic old-world culinary scenes. From traditional food markets to wine tastings and pairings, gourmet dining to cooking with renowned chefs, this is a 12-day tour of gastronomic indulgence.
Explore Italy’s favourite food region and contrasts the local scenes of cities like Perugia and Florence. And expect lots of glorious Tuscan scenery as you relax in an iconic region.
Day 1 - Florence Arrival
Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Garden Visit in Florence
Enter Palazzo Pitti and you enter a palace that housed three dynasties of rulers. The Medici, masters of Florence. The Dukes of Tuscany, of the Habsburg-Lorraine House. And the House of Savoy — the last kings of Italy. Now, this vast palace houses five museums. The one you are visiting is the Palatine Gallery. If you love Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Rubens — this is paradise for you. Outside, you will ramble the wide alleys of the vast Boboli gardens. Here you will find fruit groves, a miscellany of fountains and sculptures and grottos, and sweeping views of the whole city of Florence. This is truly a royal place.
Stay at Portrait Firenze Hotel
You can’t be better placed in Florence than Portrait Firenze Hotel. Gazing over the Arno River, a few steps from Ponte Vecchio, less than ten minutes on foot to the Duomo, Uffizi and other key highlights. Instead of Renaissance, the hotel’s interior is retro haute couture from the 1950s and 1960s. And it’s glorious, an echo of dolce vita from another time. This is a wonderfully private and low-key boutique hotel. Expect discreet pampering, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Florence, and a sense of escaping to a forgotten Italian era.
Day 2 - Florence
Florence and Uffizi Highlights Tour
This is the day to make your art-loving heart glad. Begin by the Duomo. A gothic design and interior, a neo-gothic façade and a Renaissance dome (the largest brick dome ever built.) Then, Giotto’s bell tower, lovely in its colored marble patterns. From there you will stroll on to Piazza della Signoria, to admire many different sculptural and architectural styles in the statues and buildings. At the Uffizi Gallery, your guide will introduce you to the most prestigious collection of Renaissance paintings in the world. And your tour will end on the Ponte Vecchio — the iconic medieval bridge spanning the Arno River. There’s no dearth of things to marvel at in Florence.
Florence Food and Wine Tour
Surrender to new pleasures of the palate as you discover Florence’s most delicious tastes. Following your guide through the city’s streets, you will get intimately acquainted with some of Tuscany’s most distinctive dishes and wines. Tuscan cuisine mixes products from the fields, the woods and the sea. Among Tuscan wines are the world-famous Chianti and Brunello. By tasting dishes and wines — and dessert! — during a street-food tour, you will get to know the real Florence: its bustling daily life, habits, traditions and culinary pleasures locals cannot live without.
Pasta Cooking Class in Florence
If you are not content with having the best pasta during your vacations, but want to be able to make it yourself at home — then this class is for you. Besides learning to prepare the best-known kinds of pasta, you will learn the secrets of typical Tuscan pasta — the flat pappardelle and the thick hand-rolled pici. After today, you will be able to delight family and friends with a perfect Italian meal. You may find yourself looking forward to being home again…
Day 3 - Chianti Wines & Gelato
Tour of Chianti Wine Region With Tasting
Travel winding roads, discover terracotta-roofed towns, delight your eyes on sun-soaked vineyards. You will find the landscape of the soft rolling hills of the Chianti region, in the heart of Tuscany, as delightful as a sip of the red wine produced here. Then, in one of the best wineries in Chianti, you will learn about the region’s grapes and winemaking techniques — and be seduced by the wines you taste. And later you will fall in love with a Tuscan town which will take you right back into the beauty of the medieval era.
Make Pizza and Gelato in the Chianti Hills
It starts in the vineyards and cellar. Here you will see the stages of creating Chianti wine. Next the kitchen. The dessert is prepared first. Afterwards, you learn to dose flour and water carefully, to achieve just the right point for the dough. Plus how to select the best ingredients for the pizza topping. And it all goes into the wood-burning oven. You will dine on the terrace, open to the Tuscan evening and the scents of the countryside. An unforgettable pizza, delicious wine, and the best gelato. Homemade in Italy. By you.
Day 4 - Siena & San Gimignano
Pearls of Tuscany & Lunch in a Castle
Before the Renaissance, there were the Middle Ages. Middle Ages. An unfair name, you will think. Because you have just discovered Siena and San Gimignano. And you find there is nothing transitional about the Cathedral of Siena, dominating the city for eight hundred years. Nothing middling about the Town Hall palace, which has seen seven centuries come and go. Nothing mediocre about San Gimignano’s towers and houses and churches, jewels of the Romanesque and the Gothic. As you lunch in a medieval castle among the Tuscan hills, you will feel the Middle Ages were a time of wonders — an age in their own right. They deserve a better name.
Day 5 - Truffle Hunting
Truffle Hunting and Slow Cooking in Tuscany
The charming dog sniffs around expertly. Soon, close to the roots of an old oak, you will find it: the precious truffle. Feel the thrill of scouring the woods with your guide and his dog, and unearthing this hidden delicacy. Then learn how to use it, to take pasta and scrambled eggs to another level. Live authentic Tuscan moments, in the forest and in the kitchen.
Day 6 - Emilia Romagna Food Tour
Visit Cheese Factories & More on a Emilia-Romagna Food Tour
Taste the crumbly, strong and salty D.O.P. Parmigiano-Reggiano. And sigh. Such beauty in a small bite! Today, you will learn everything about the preparation of the famed Parmigiano cheese — from meeting the cows which provide milk, to touring the warehouse where the cheese is seasoned. Your next discovery is the renowned balsamic from Modena. It’s an ancient tradition passed down from generation to generation, crafting balsamic from grapes. You will learn about the fermentation and aging process, to understand that true Balsamic is not vinegar. For these are the gastronomic joys of being in Emilia-Romagna.
Day 7 - Bologna
Emilian Cooking Class in Bologna
Lasagna, tortellini, passatelli: they all have their origin in Emilia-Romagna. So it’s only logical that this is the best place for you to learn how to prepare them. In an ancient house in a quiet pedestrian street, not far from one of Bologna’s main gates, you will discover the secrets of Emilian pasta. And of some other local dishes too. When you are back home, whenever you miss Italy, you will prepare this pasta — and feel transported right back to your days in Bologna.
Tour of Bologna
The oldest university in the world. An enormous 14th-century church with an unfinished façade. A medieval tower standing ninety-seven metres high — and a second tower with a three-metre tilt. A municipal palace where, for twenty-three years, a king was kept prisoner. Wander the streets of Bologna with your local guide. Admire the stout historic buildings that survived even Allied bombings, and hear from your guide the most curious and unbelievable stories.
Day 8 - Back to Tuscany & Wine Tasting
Brunello di Montalcino Vertical Wine Tasting in Val d'Orcia
From the long rows of vines lining the hill under the Tuscan sky, to the dark cellar vaults, your host will take you through every step of the winemaking process. Then you will follow him onto the terrace, open to the breeze and overlooking the vineyards. A typical Tuscan lunch waits. You will savour it accompanied by three wines produced on the property: Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. An experience to gladden your wine-loving heart.
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
Beautiful, centenary stone houses. Classic Florentine furnishings and décor. And peaceful views of the gentle Tuscan hills from every single window. You will just want to wander in and out of your rooms, through passages and halls, out into the gardens to the pool. You will try meals at the different restaurants, visit the gym, relax in the spa. You will want to explore and enjoy every corner of this estate, soaking in the serene abundance, the golden Tuscan magic of it all.
Day 9 - Perugia & Assisi
Guided Tour of Perugia and Assisi
Perugia and Assisi on one private tour. The first is a splendid medieval town keeping tokens of even more ancient glories. You will see a gate, a well, and a chamber tomb, all built by the Etruscans. You will also marvel at a unique fountain, whereon the whole cosmological vision of medieval Christianity is represented. You will admire the castellated and many-windowed Palazzo dei Priori, and the city squares. Assisi is smaller and humbler. And it is fitting it should be so. Is it not then the cradle and sanctuary of Francis, the man who declared himself enamoured of Lady Poverty? So it is. And something of his presence still lingers there.
Day 10 - Visit to a Pasta Factory & Wine
Tuscan Pasta Factory and Wine Tour in Pienza
If you can resist true Italian pasta, don’t waste your time here. Because this is for those who will love spending long hours on this estate — exploring the mill and artisanal pasta factory, learning how to make fresh, delicious pasta at home, and learning about the distribution of the typical Tuscan hand-rolled pici. This is for you, who will thoroughly enjoy a lunch of pasta and organic, home-made specialties, paired with the best Tuscan wine. So, those unhappy souls that can resist the best Italian pasta — they should just skip this one.
Day 11 - Cheese Tasting in Pienza
Tuscan Cheese Making Demonstration and Tasting
Discover the making of Pecorino di Pienza as you visit a cheese farm and factory. The farm owner will share his long experience with you, first introducing you to his gentle sheep, then leading you through the entire production process from milking to ageing. For lunch you will indulge in a glass of wine, home-made bread baked in a wood-oven, jams and honey — and cheese. Lots of delicious cheese.