Day One through Four: Florence
No matter how many times one comes to Florence, it is always stunning to turn the corner and suddenly be overpowered with awe at the ochre and emerald hues of Brunelleschi’s Duomo. It towers over this center of the Renaissance, along with Giotto’s Campanile and Ghiberti’s stunning bronze Baptistry doors, all greeting you as you arrive. Our eminent guides will introduce us to the neighborhoods of Florence, and we’ll experience the city with all our senses. Between the art and the food of Florence, you will be truly tasting the Sweet Life.
Day Five through Eight: Tuscany (Pianella)
- We’ll meet a noted chef, cooking instructor, and certified olive oil taster, for a walk through myriad market stalls to enjoy a Balsamico and cheese tasting.
- At a Chianti countryside home, our guide/chef and her partner, another illustrious chef, expert in pastries and vegetables, cooking instructor, and certified sommelier, will guide us in a cooking class to prepare a delectable three-course meal for our Welcome Dinner with very special wine pairings.
- With our exceptional guides, we will explore the artistic riches of Florence, focusing in particular on the works of Michelangelo and Filippo Brunelleschi. With special presentations and visits to local sites and museums, we’ll experience the multitude of Florence’s artistic treasures.
Our journey through the Tuscan countryside will center around our home for the next few days, Pianella. A few of the places we will visit include:
- San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a town noted for its medieval towers (more than a dozen).
- Marvelous hikes though the hills of Chianti. The Black Rooster legend? We’ll learn about it. Etruscan ruins? We’ll see them… and so much more.
- Explore the Campo of Siena, considered one of the most beautiful piazzas in the world, where the famous Palio horserace is run twice a year between the different districts of the city.
- Discover the hilltop towns noted for their famed wines, Montepulciano's Vino Nobile and Montalcino's Brunello, along with Pienza, famous for its sweet sheep’s milk cheeses, Pecorino.
In your free time, enjoy the splendor of our hotel, a beautifully restored country estate which dates from the 13th century. Relax with a book under the Tuscan sun, have a swim in the heated indoor pool; step into the whirlpool or take a sauna or steam bath in the Spa; feel the burn in the gym; borrow one of the hotel’s bicycles for a jaunt in the Tuscan hills; write in your journal; and eventually, prepare for your departure.
Day Nine: Travel Day
All good things must come to pass. Say good-bye to your fellow travelers prior to your private transfer to the Florence airport or train station to begin your outgoing journey.