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The flavours of Italy

Join a small group of like-minded foodies for a memorable break in the rolling Tuscan hills. Explore some of Italy’s most delightful places, learn about the region’s rich culinary traditions and sample some of its renowned food and wine. Spend a morning at a cookery school in Florence, before discovering the glorious city on a tour. Visit Pisa and Lucca to enjoy more regional treats, and round off your holiday with a visit to a Tuscan vineyard just outside San Gimignano and a traditional Italian farmhouse lunch.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Learning the secrets of Tuscan cuisine from an Italian chef
A guided walking tour around Florence
Tasting regional specialities in Pisa and Lucca on a full-day tour
Visiting the stunning hill towns of Volterra and San Gimignano
Wine and olive-oil tastings at the Podere la Marronaia estate
Lunch in a historic Tuscan farmhouse restaurant

WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?

Five nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at a four-star hotel
Included excursions to Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Volterra and San Gimignano
Two special lunches
Food or wine tastings each day
Return flights from the UK to Pisa
Coach travel and transfers throughout
The services of a friendly, experienced Tour Manager

Full Itinerary

Day One: Fly to Italy

Fly to Italy, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your hotel close to the village of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, on the edge of the rolling, vineyard-dotted Chianti hills. Relax after your journey, begin to explore your surroundings, and perhaps head to a nearby restaurant for dinner (there is a restaurant adjacent to the hotel).

Day Two: Included cookery lesson and guided tour of Florence

After breakfast you'll take a short coach trip north to the Cradle of the Renaissance, Florence. One of Italy’s most iconic, enchanting cities, Florence is also home to the Giglio Cookery School. Here, under the expert eye of Chef Marcella, you'll be introduced to some of the techniques and ingredients of Tuscan cuisine. Cook fresh tagliatelle with tomato sauce, a rich Tuscan chicken dish and learn the art of the perfect tiramisu, before sitting down to enjoy the fruits of your morning’s labours with a complimentary glass of wine wine.

This afternoon, walk off your lunch on a guided tour of Florence. See the city's magnificent domed churches, ancient piazzas and medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge - once the heart of the Florentine butchery trade but now lined with art dealers, craft workshops and tiny stores - before returning to the hotel this evening.

Day Three: Included day-trip to Pisa and Lucca

The Tuscan cities of Pisa and Lucca are full of breathtaking architectural treasures and the echoes of history. In Pisa, on the banks of the River Arno, the green lawns of the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) are home to arguably Italy's most enduring landmark - the world-famous Leaning Tower – and to the huge circular Baptistery, the marble and mosaic decorated Duomo and the elegant arcades of the Campo Santo cemetery. Discover the sights and sample cecina - a local focaccia-like bread made with chickpea flour.

Elegant, walled Lucca was the birthplace of Puccini, and the museum at his former home, its ancient cathedral, the Torre delle Ore clock tower and the exquisite Piazza Anfiteatro, built around the city's Roman amphitheatre, are among the must-sees. Visitors with a sweet tooth can try a slice of Buccellato - a ring-shaped cake filled with sultanas and raisins, and delicately flavoured with aniseed.

You'll round off your day with a visit to Volterra, high above the Cecina and Dell’Era valleys. Here ancient Etruscan walls surround medieval streets and houses, at the heart of which lie a stunning Romanesque cathedral and the ornate Piazza del Priori. The city also boasts one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in Italy.

Day Four: Included San Gimignano vineyard tour

The charming farmhouse of Podere La Marronaia stands amid vineyards and olive groves beneath the watchful gaze of San Gimignano and its iconic tower houses. Here you'll be treated to samples of locally produced wines, including crisp Vernaccia di San Gimignano, one of Italy’s finest whites, and hand-harvested Chianti Colli Senesi red, organic olive oils and a range of traditional appetisers designed to complement the produce.

After your wine-tasting you'll have the afternoon free to explore San Gimignano, where 14 of what were formerly 72 towers rise above the town’s maze of medieval streets and piazzas, and look out across the exquisite rolling countryside around the town.

Day Five: Included Tuscan farmhouse lunch

The final food-lovers highlight of your Tuscan holiday will be a typical Tuscan lunch served in the heart of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa. This pretty village's mix of ancient fortifications, crumbling monasteries, beautiful churches, streets and squares make it a perfect place for a pre-lunch wander. You'll be welcomed to lunch by Chef Tosca, who will prepare a delicious three-course menu of local specialities - a final taste of Tuscany as your tour comes to an end.

The rest of the day will be left free for you to relax in and around your hotel.

Day Six: Fly back to the UK

Say goodbye to your hosts and your hotel, today, and head to the airport to check in for your flight home.

PRICES

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Park Hotel Chianti

This small, modern family-owned hotel stands in pretty countryside about four kilometres from the centre of the hill village of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

Further Information

Hotel transfer times

The transfer time to Lake Garda is approximately three hours from Milan and Venice airports, and one hour from Verona Airport.

Special requirements

If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

Entrance fees

Since some attractions visited offer free admission to visitors at certain times of year, we do not include entrance fees. These will be payable locally where applicable. This applies to excursions that are included in the price of your holiday and to excursions booked as optional extras.

Combining hotel transfers

We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

Meals in Italy

Guests on half-board arrangements will be served a three-course evening meal, and can expect a first course of traditional pasta or soup, a main meat or fish course accompanied by one or two types of vegetable, and a simple dessert of fruit, cake or Italian ice cream. Breakfasts will usually consist of bread rolls, jam, cereal, ham, cheese, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Menus will vary from hotel to hotel, but choice will be more limited than in a normal restaurant. In some instances, individual guests who have booked with the hotel independently may be offered a different menu from those who are staying at the hotel as part of a package tour.

Disabled access

The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Italian hotel room tax

Some regions of Italy have introduced a room tax of between 1 € and 3 € per person per night, payable directly by the guest to the hotel on check-out. You will be advised by your tour manager in resort if a particular hotel is implementing this charge.

Airport development fees

An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.

Itinerary changes

Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

Foreign Office Travel Advice

Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

Airport development fees

An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.

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