10-day Small Group Tour - All inclusive land package
From Rome to Tuscany, from Piemonte to Cinque Terre on the wine route of Brunello, Chianti and Barolo
April 23 to May 2, 2019
May 7 to 16, 2019 SOLD OUT
May 21 to May 30, 2019
Sept 17 to 26, 2019
Oct 1 to 10, 2019
10 days, all-inclusive land tour
Max group size: 20
The 10-day Itinerary
Participants meet at the Hotel in Rome. Our elegant 4-star hotel is strategically located in the historical downtown, near Campo de’ Fiori, Saint Peter's Basilica, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The trip officially starts with a welcome dinner focused on regional food and wines of Lazio, the region in which we are – the region of Rome.
Breakfast and check out by 08:00 for a 3-hour scenic drive to Tuscany. We stop in Maremma to sample the local production and later at Montalcino, on the top of one of the best known wine hills of Italy.
The Brunello di Montalcino wine, made 100% of Sangiovese Grosso, has a great potential to age due to the grape’s thick skin rich in tannins. Expect some great wine tasting here!
After a short visit at the Castello and the Enoteca and some time for lunch and shopping, we depart for Castellina in Chianti where we check in at our spa-hotel located in the centre of the village, in an ancient palace of the 11th century, now restored.
Today is the day to become acquainted with the true Tuscan cuisine with our lovely mamma Vilma. Vilma works and lives in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, near Firenze where she owns a homemade pasta shop. Her passion for Tuscan cuisine is in her eyes, you will notice it right away! First of all, in the morning, after our cappuccino (remember…cappuccino is a breakfast item for Italians…..!) we blend in with the locals in the piazza, perhaps discussing politics and soccer. If you are familiar with Italian language, you recognize that beautiful Florentine accent everywhere. We then participate in a demo and hands-on pasta making seminar. We put our hands at work while making all kinds of fresh pasta shapes: tortelli, ravioli, fettuccine and more. As an Italian meal does not only include pasta, we gather around Vilma’s kitchen where we cook the rest of the meal, eat, taste wine … and perhaps even have a siesta! What a day!
We then drive to Siena where a local guide takes us through ancient palaces and narrow medieval streets to understand the myths and facts of the famous "Contrade" and the "Palio". Back to the hotel in the evening.
After breakfast we drive through the Chianti Classico hills and we stop in Radda and Gaiole in Chianti. An ancient monastery and palace hosts historical underground wine cellars. Our tour and wine and olive oil tasting are spectacular! We enjoy a guided tour through the rooms of the castle and a themed tasting.
We depart for San Gimignano the home of the first white Italian DOC wine, which is now a well-known DOCG (the top Italian wine appellation), made with Vernaccia grapes. The village is one of the most fascinating medieval towns in Italy with many stone tall towers marking the landscape. Free time here to discover the many stores and artisan products.
Breakfast and check out by 09:00. On the route to Piemonte, we will stop for a visit to a family owned Parmigiano Reggiano farm and factory near Parma with incredible cheese aging cellars. We learn all the secrets behind this DOP cheese and sample the different aging stages. Lunch at the farm. We plan to arrive to our hotel in the town of Alba late afternoon in the heart of the Barolo and Barbaresco region. We are prepared to spend the next three nights in this smiling town where the annual October truffle festival (Sagra del Tartufo Bianco di Alba) is held.
His majesty ‘The Barolo Wine’ awaits us at the Enoteca Regionale located in the magnificent castle in the town of Barolo. We learn all the different styles of Barolo with a local guide at the Enoteca. The challenge of this visit is to distinguish an old style Barolo producer from a new style Barolo producer! You will be certainly able to do it after a side-by-side tasting of the different styles. In the afternoon we are off to visit the village and some other wineries for more premium tastings. Remember: you can never have enough Barolo….
After breakfast we drive uphill to the village of Barbaresco. Some people call the Barbaresco wine the younger brother of Barolo. I totally disagree. Do you want to know why? Find the answer to this today, when we enter this world!
We start with a visit and tasting at a family run winery located in one of the best ‘cru’ – vineyards of this region. Then we stop in the main village piazza to visit a unique church, home to the Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco, after which we embark in a 'Caccia al Tartufo' in the woods with a local expert guide and his dog. Alba is in the heart of the Tartufo region, where the very rare, expensive and world famous truffle is harvested. It is used in the best restaurants all over the world.
Cinque terre: ”a cultural site of outstanding value” — World Heritage Committee.
We check out by 09:00. We stop at the University of Gastronomical Science, the first of its kind, founded by the Slow Food movement and visit the famous Banca del Vino. After a short drive through the Appennini mountains and small villages, we jump on one of the most picturesque highways in Italy: the Torino-Savona. Early afternoon we reach the coast of Liguria and our destination: the enchanting villages of Cinque Terre. The evening offers a fish based dinner paired with local Vementino wine.
Train, boat, short trail on foot. We will try them all today! From our hotel, we take the short and beautiful train ride to Riomaggiore, the first of the 5 villages. Our daily pass, included in the package, is a convenient and easy way to travel in Cinque Terre. From Riomaggiore we walk one of the most famous trails in the world called “La Via dell’Amore”. No words for this. . . Unbeatable views! Then … a boat ride to the next village! (or the train again, if you don’t feel at ease to use sea transportation). Always accompanied by Antonio, we hop from one village to the other, with free time for you to shop and discover on your own. Cinque Terre is rich with culinary products and local enoteche where to stop and try the famous Sciacchetra’ dessert wine, among the best sweet wines in the world!
We cheer our Arrivederci! with a delightful dinner! And no tears allowed, please! We will be back!!!
Our bus picks us up at the hotel in Cinque Terre in the morning and drops us at Florence central train station (about 3-hour drive).
End of tour.
Here are some end of tour options:
1) Stay a few extra days in Cinque Terre or in Florence in a hotel of your choice that we can book for you or you can book yourself.
2) Depart from Florence the same day to return home or go elsewhere by train or air. Florence has an international airport.
After the extravagance of the past days, you deserve to spend the last day of the tour in a unique site, proclaimed a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Cinque Terre are five small villages embedded like stones in the rocks, steeply descending to the sea. The best way to travel here is by train, boat or foot. Remember that this is a day to rest, enjoy the water view and the soothing sound of the waves. From the hotel, located on the sea, you can take a short train ride to any of the other villages. A convenient and inexpensive daily pass, that can be purchased at any train station, is an easy, simple way to travel in Cinque Terre. Don’t miss a walk on the world-famous trail on the sea cliff called “La Via dell’Amore”. If you want, you can also take a boat ride to complete your ‘village-hopping’ day! You will have lots of time to discover their culinary products and to stop at the enoteche to try the above mentioned Sciacchetra’. Of course, there is always wine. Man was able to cultivate these steep mountains by building terraces. The challenge is up at harvest time! Monorails with carts are driven by patient farmers who go up and down several times to harvest just a few bunches. The most cultivated grape is Vermentino, whose wine is best paired with the local fish cuisine. One of the best dessert wines I have ever tried is produced on these hills and it is called Sciacchetra’. Definitely something to try: it will make the entire trip worthwhile!