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The flavours of Italy

Combine the tastes of Tuscany with its medieval hill towns and Renaissance jewels on this very special tour.

Join a small group of like-minded foodies for a memorable break in the rolling Tuscan hills. Explore some of Italy’s most delightful corners, 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 a wonderful holiday with a visit to a Tuscan vineyard just outside San Gimignano and a traditional Italian farmhouse lunch.

What does this price include?

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

Your Itinerary

  • 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, or dine in the restaurant adjacent to the hotel.

  • A very special day awaits. After breakfast you'll take a short coach trip north to the majestic city of Florence. One of Italy’s most iconic, enchanting cities, Florence is also home to the Giglio Cookery School. This morning, under the expert eye of Chef Marcella, you'll be introduced to some of the techniques and ingredients of Tuscan cuisine. The region is famous for its fresh vegetables, herbs, olive oil, rich sauces and pasta, and you'll join the chef to cook fresh tagliatelle with tomato sauce and a rich Tuscan chicken dish, and to 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.

    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.

  • The Tuscan cities of Pisa and Lucca are full of breathtaking architectural treasures and the echoes of history.

    In Pisa, a mesmerising medieval treasure trove 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 of Pisa – 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 the composer 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 in this charming city. 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 wonderful day with a visit to Volterra, high above the Cecina and Dell’Era valleys. Here ancient Etruscan walls surround beautifully preserved medieval streets and houses, at the heart of which you'll find a stunning Romanesque cathedral and the ornate Piazza del Priori,
    lined with beautiful palazzi. The city also boasts one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in Italy.

  • Today’s included excursion takes you into the Tuscan countryside. Here, 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. You'll be treated to samples of locally produced wines, including crisp Vernaccia di San Gimignano, one of Italy’s finest whites, and a hand-harvested Chianti Colli Senesi red. There'll also be an opportunity to taste several organic olive oils (both extra virgin and flavoured) as you enjoy appetisers and snacks 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.

  • 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 hill village's mix of ancient fortifications, crumbling monasteries, beautiful churches and ornate palazzi 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 delightful taste of Tuscany as your tour comes to an end.

    The rest of the day will be left free, leaving you plenty of time to rest and relax at the hotel.

  • Bid "Arrivederci" to your hosts and transfer to the airport to board your flight home at the end of a marvellous tour crammed with unforgettable sights and gourmet experiences.

Prices

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Hotels

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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