Day 1: Arrival in Florence and Dinner with Chef Vary
Arrive in Florence where you will be driven to your luxurious five-star apartment nestled along the banks of the Arno River. You will be staying just outside of the heart of Florence.
In the evening, you will have a family-style dinner in Chef Vary’s home! The words to describe this authentic dinner of Italian culinary tradition would be too few! The best dishes are chosen by the chef and cooked in a masterly way, not only classic pasta but “sheets” handmade with the best flours, creamy risottos, meats and roasts, handmade seasonal vegetables and homemade ice cream. Products of the land, aromas of the fields, juicy meats, wood-fired cooked bread, wines and cheeses, cabbage bruschetta and beans…welcome to Tuscany! Dishes may include meats such as rabbit, boar, pork, pheasant, quail, duck, partridge, pheasant, lamb or liver. The chef will omit any undesired ingredients and accommodate food allergies if notified in advance. A wonderfully unique experience and a meal to remember filled with great food, good conversations, new friends and wine. This is a great VIP experience without having to travel on the first day.
Day 2: Out and About in Florence
Travel by chauffeur to the very heart of Florence where your local expert will help you uncover the city’s exceptional artisanal heritage. Begin at the famed Mercato Centrale to discover handmade Florentine creations, then stroll to visit a historic apothecary celebrated for their traditional methods of perfumery. Visit an exquisite Renaissance palazzo dedicated to 20th century art before experiencing Florence’s artisan enclave of Oltrarno. Along the way enjoy lunch at an authentic “buca” before admiring the 16th century Boboli Gardens with its splendid Renaissance configuration. End your day at a noted enoteca where an expert sommelier will pair exceptional regional wines with your delectable tasting menu.
Day 3: A Castle in the Tuscan Countryside
Your day will begin with your private, English-speaking chauffeur picking you up in a Mercedes Van from your apartment. From there you will head up into the beautiful rolling Tuscan hills to a beautiful and historic castle, hidden in the countryside. Once at the castle, the ground curator will lead you on a private tour of the enchanting castle including its wine cellars and vineyards.
The castle has an incredibly rich history and was built by the Pazzi family in 1184 AD. In fact, this very castle was host to the plot to assassinate the royal Medici family in Florence. After the tour, you will have a cooking class with three courses, which includes learning to make handmade pasta, sauces, and dessert. Once you have finished cooking, it’s time to try your masterpieces along with three wines produced at the vineyards of the castle in the castle dining room. Then, you will meet your driver who will take you back to your apartment. A beautiful and intriguing castle, great food, and delicious wines are awaiting your arrival.
Day 4: Food City Adventure - Bologna
Visit an authentic cheese dairy of Parmigiano-Reggiano with tasting. Discover how "the King of all cheeses" is made in the same way since centuries ago like the Monks who invented it. You'll see first-hand the "making of" it, the salt pools and the "wheel cathedrals" – real walls of cheese, up to 20,000 in the same place! Take a tour of the plant where the worldwide famous "Prosciutto di Parma" ham is produced. Discover why the best ham can be made only in the hills of Parma where the "Marino" wind blows from the Ligurian Sea through the "Food Valley."Stop at an incredible overlook of a medieval village of Torre Chiara dominated by its romantic castle. For sure the most spectacular amidst the Castles of the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza, and Northern Italy, dating back to 1448 AD and built by Sir Pier Maria Rossi for his lover Bianca Pellegrini.
* Round-trip transportation by train
Day 5: Private Chianti Tour from Florence with Wine Tasting and Lunch in the Tuscan Countryside with Visits to the Towns of Greve and Panzano
Located about 35 km south of Florence, well off the main roads, Greve in Chianti is considered by many as the gateway to the Chianti wine region and boasts an attractive, triangular-shaped piazza that has been a marketplace since the Middle Ages. The Falorni family owns the town's three main tourist attractions: the Museo del Vino, a huge cellar where you can sample and buy wine, and the oldest butcher shop in Italy. Here you will sample a glass of wine, meats, and cheeses in the outdoor piazza. After the wine and food tasting, you will have time to explore the shops in the main square.
The next stop on this Tuscan countryside tour and just a 15-minute drive from Greve is the hamlet of Panzano in Chianti, best known for its 12th-century castle that played a crucial role in defending the Florentine Republic during the battles between Florence and Siena. The town is very pretty and quiet, one of those places where you can really soak up the atmosphere of times gone by. You will visit a popular butcher shop - Antica Macelleria Cecchini (a butcher shop + restaurant famous for its Florentine T-bone steak). Dario Cecchini, the hilarious owner, offers you witty conversation, wine, and salami when you enter his shop.
The final stop on this amazing tour is a small winery/farm where you will discover the famous Chianti wines and fine products such as extra virgin olive oil, honey, and balsamic vinegar. The private wine tour takes one hour and you will see the old winery, rich with Super Tuscans and Dincanto wines produced in a limited edition. Then you will go to the nearby Acetaia, tasting fully-aged balsamic vinegar.
Day 6: Historic Bologna and EATALY World
Bologna is the foodie capital of Italy and has a lot to offer for first time travelers! Our unique food experience will show you the best of Bologna all in one day. You will meet our guide at Piazza Maggiore for a one-hour tour of the city to discover the most important sites such as San Petronio, Palazzo d'Accursio, Palazzo Re Enzo, Palazzo del Podestà. You will then stroll the Medieval Food Market known as the Quadrilatero, the most ancient of the city. The name comes from the characteristic square shape which is reminiscent of the Roman city. The old market is bordered by the most ancient and representative monuments of the city such as the Archiginnasio (first permanent seat of Bologna University), Palazzo dei Banchi (an elegant frame which hides an old medieval house), and the Merchants Palace (today seat of the Chamber of Commerce).
The tour will include a pasta workshop where an expert “sfoglina” – pasta sheet maker – will give you an introduction on the history of handmade pasta and the region’s traditional recipes. She will teach you the secrets of making and rolling out the pasta, such as tortellini, tortelloni, and tagliatelle. Naturally, you will be provided with a pasta board, a rolling pin, and fresh ingredients so you can try creating what you’ve been shown! The pasta making class will be followed by a delicious pasta tasting.
Our professional driver will take you to discover FICO Eataly World. Here a Biodiversity Ambassador will guide you through the world’s largest agroalimentar park! After the visit you will enjoy some free time for exploring and shopping. You will be provided with a voucher for a tasting experience in one of the park restaurants of your choice. Transportation will be provided from Eataly World to the train station.
* Round-trip transportation by train
Day 7- Farewell and Departure