“Tasty Tuscany”

Sept 28- Oct 6, 2019

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“The Creator made Italy by designs from Michelangelo.” – Mark Twain

Adiano – Calling all AFS Foodies! Join us on a unique epicurean adventure like no other deep into Italy. We’ve led countless groups here over the years, each different and all wonderful. Since Italy is synonymous with Good Food, there’s no better way now to experience it than by savoring the sights along with gastronomical delights.

We begin in glorious Florence, spilling over with artistic treasures and splendid charm. Walking tours include the famous Mercato, a Florence leather worship, Santa Croce and more… with the opportunity to luxuriate in Grotta Giusti caves, one of the world’s best spas.

It’s impossible to describe our visit to Eataly World. Perhaps call it the “Disneyland of Food” This Agri-food Fantasyland serves up gelatos to pastas, workshops and adult-sized tricycles to help explore. Grab a map to bike or walk the 25 acres under one giant roof. There are 2 miles of biodiverse “educational paths” to take walk along, as well as 45 restaurants!  You can meet the farmers, vintners, butchers, bakers and others who create these epicurean wonders.

Not sure yet? You’ll love our exclusive hillside Tuscan villa for an authentic Italian experience and we spend a few days exploring the Chianti Countryside! Timeless Tuscany provides us postcard-perfect photos. Late September is the best time to visit. The crowds are gone, the weather near perfect and its harvest season from grapes to truffles

On to stunning Modena in the Emilia Romagna region to enjoy more exploring, where balsamic vinegars are celebrated in the same way others may celebrate fine wines. Enjoy a tour with vinegar tasting at Villa San Donnino.  Later we’ll a have rare access to one of the world’s best-known Lambrusco wineries. Finally, we visit the most enchanting walled medieval villages of Tuscany as we take to the hills to visit Volterra, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano. Each of these small villages has their own unique food specialties and views to die for. Stroll their cobblestoned streets and try wild boar sausages, regional wines or special gelatos.

You don’t have to be food-centric to join us. It’s the ultimate way for all to get a real quintessential taste of Italy. Come partake in a juicy, tasty and savory vacation for all tastes. Buono Appitito!

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Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

Download printable PDF itinerary

Sept 28 – Depart USA to Florence

Detail Trip Tips on group air and options to come

Sept 29 – Arrive Florence                                     

Benvenuti a Firenze! Welcome to Florence!

Not only is this mesmerizing city the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, the birthplace of the Renaissance! Our tour officially starts at the Florence airport at 11am where we will meet our guide and be taken to the Calzaiuoli Hotel right in the heart of Florence! (Early arrivals can simply meet us at the hotel.)

Drop our luggage and then dive immediately into the stunning city that is Florence as we begin a two-hour walking tour. It’s easy! We are right in the middle of it all! This tour helps us get oriented to the history and sites of Firenze, taking us through the Palazzo Vecchio as well as the Ponte Vecchio, along the Arno River, by the Uffizi Gallery, and the famed Duomo – the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Our walk ends with a scrumptious 3-course welcome dinner in a local restaurant, including 1 glass of local wine.

Overnight: Calzaiuoli Hotel    D

 

Sept 30 – Florence Walking Tour and Tasting    

 After breakfast, we set out again to explore Florence by foot. This half day adventure includes a visit to the Scuola del Cuoio – the famous Florence leather school and shop. Located in a Franciscan monastery where the leather traditions date back to 1294, itis home to true artisans. The selection of skins used if their craftsmanship range from fine calf leather to exotics like ostriches or crocodile. We’ll not only see how they craft their shoes, bags, clothing, belts and everything else imaginable, but we’ll also be able to shop. The school is housed in what was the living quarters for monks who maintained the astonishing Basilica of Santa Croce – right next door. To walk inside this church is to walk among some of the world’s most stunning pieces of Renaissance art – Donatello, Giotto, Gaddi, Brunelleschi, Vasari… This is also where Michelangelo is buried, as well as Rossini and Machiavelli.

By midday, we conveniently find ourselves at the Mercato Centrale, a place where the locals come to shop. Stall after stall of fresh pasta, cheeses, meats and vegetables will beckon you in a bombardment of smells and sites. You’ll find a host of venders selling everything from grilled fish to pizzas to fresh gnocchi to gelato.

You may want to grab some things for a picnic later in one of Florence’s many piazzas. Your afternoon is free to explore all that Florence offers. We’ll point you to the most fabulous street market filled with treasures to shop till you drop.

Overnight: Calzaiuoli Hotel   B

Oct 1 – A Free Day in Florence    

Following breakfast, we have a full day to enjoy Florence at your leisure. There are numerous opportunities!!!  You may visit the Accademia Art museum where Michelangelo’s the David can be found or perhaps visit the Boboli Gardens.

We are also offering an optional pampering tour to Grotto Guisti in nearby Monsummano, considered one of the top spas in the world. This relaxing thermal hot spring grotto is considered by some to be the 8thwonder of the world. Stretching deep within the earth, it contains a labyrinth of chambers with stalactites and stalagmites, all warmed by the healing geothermal hot springs that bubble beneath the grotto. Spend your day lounging in their thermal baths and enjoying spa treatments. (Details later)

Overnight: Calzaiuoli Hotel  B

Oct 2 – Eataly World, Bologna – Modena                              

Check this place out – EATALY WORLD 


After breakfast, we travel two and half hours to spend the day at probably the most spectacular food destination you have ever experienced – Eataly World. The name says it all – featuring 20 acres representing the 20 gastro regions of Italy, Eataly is the largest agri-food park in the world. You’ll be able to sample just about any and every type of Italian cuisine you can imagine. See how olive oil is pressed, how Parmesan cheese is made, taste cured hams and so much more. It’s not just shops and restaurants, its actual experiences. Meet the cows which produce the milk for the cheeses! Hear from the farmers! There are numerous workshops you can sign up for to learn everything from pasta making to wine tastings.

After we have gorged ourselves, we continue on to the quaint UNESCO World Heritage city of Modena, known for its vinegars, its food and its cars!  Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani and Stanguellini all are based in this storied city. Our home for the next two evening is Canalgrande Hotel. Located in the heart of historic old town, this stunning hotel combines old world charm with modern conveniences. There’s so much to do in Modena Your evening is free to explore.

Overnight: Canalgrande Hotel, Modena, Italy    B

Oct 3 – Modena Food tour   B/L

Pace yourself at breakfast because today is a full day of Foodie Tours in and around Modena. Modena is known for its traditional balsamic vinegars and like tasting fine wines, tasting vinegar at the world renown Acetaia Villa San Donnino is truly an experience like no other. We will see how the vinegar is produced and learn about its different ages, aromas and styles in a beautiful and historic setting.

Our afternoon is spent at the family-owned Cleto Chiarli Winery for a tour, tasting and snack. The Modena region is the cradle for Lambrusco grape production and Cleto Chiarli is celebrated across the globe for its fine Lambrusco wines. We’ll be treated to a tour of the vineyards and the winery itself, as well as the chance to sample them.

We return to Modena for a free evening.

Overnight: Canalgrand Hotel, Modena, Italy   B

 

Oct 4 – Tuscan Villa!         

Following breakfast, we travel to Bologna, known for its arcaded streets and medieval palaces. The capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, this, too is another foodie destination. Spaghetti Bolognese, anyone?

We end the day at the spectacular Villa Palagina in Chianti region. This exclusive villa overlooks rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, covered in vineyards and olive groves. Ranked one of the best properties in Tuscany, this will be home for two days so make the most of the gorgeous terraced grounds which has gardens and two swimming pools and a restaurant that caters to your every taste. The Villa is known for its gastronomy and tonight you will enjoy it. For dinner, we will be treated to a Farmers Dinner and a glass of wine.

Overnight: Villa Palagina, Tuscany Region  B/D

 

Oct 5 – Explore Volterra, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano, Tuscan Villa

The enchanting walled Tuscan hill towns of Volterra, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano are simply magical and today we visit them all. First, we explore Volterra, one of the highest in elevation with expansive views to die for. Its fortress setting begs to be explored, and as you wander, be sure to check out their alabaster artisan workshops.

Next up, Monteriggioni – a tiny medieval walled town that seems virtually untouched since it was built in 1213. Some of the best-preserved buildings in all of Italy can be found here. Our last stop is the UNESCO World Heritage site, San Gimignano, known for its numerous towers and winding streets lines with artist galleries and food shops selling wild meat sausages, truffles and pasta. Here, we will visit the town’s famous wineries for a tasting of 4 wines, and to sample of local snacks

Overnight: Villa Palagina, Tuscany Region B/L

 

Oct 6 – Arrivederci Italy

Following breakfast, we will arrange a group transfer to the Florence airport for your flight back to the United States. Arrivederci!

 

Holy poop on pasta, this will sell out before you can swallow a meatball! Limited to only 32 participants. Don’t delay, book now.

BOOK NOW  if trip full, then WAITLIST

Land Price: $ 2149

Deposit: $500

Limited to 32 participants

Included: All stated above

Not included: Gratuities

 All prices are per person twin share.  Single rooms limited per group and a single supplement applies.  Cost set by hotel/cruiseline and vary considerably.  AFS will find you a roommate match.  Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.
Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate. We write our Itineraries a year in advance. Though unlikely, we reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!

Group Air -In emailed Trip Tips when offered.

Calzaiuoli Hotel   

In the heart of Florence between the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio in the center of the elegant Via dei Calzaiuoli.

Located in the historic heart of Florence Hotel Calzaiuoli, named after the street it is in, is conveniently situated between the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio, just a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio.  This comfortable, stylish hotel is in the perfect location to experience the vibrancy of this busy, cosmopolitan city. Enjoy shopping for high couture fashion from many of the world’s best-known designers, or appreciate some of the greatest works of art of the Renaissance; it’s all within walking distance, due passi (two steps) as the locals say.

Its 54 rooms, distinguished by a mix of elegance and style, with high-quality décor in neutral, cooling colors and quality furnishings, cater perfectly to every guest’s needs.  The excellent continental buffet breakfast, with sweet and savory products, is offered in a cozy room with large windows, providing views of the Florentine streets.   From 12:00 to 8:00 pm the lounge transforms from a breakfast bar to a more coco and relaxing atmosphere, where you can have a free cup of tea, a quiet read, or sit and chat with friends.  Free WiFi and friendly service, air-conditioned rooms and a central location.

Canalgrande Hotel

The only 4-stars hotel in the heart of the old town and with its perfect location is suitable either for business or leisure customer coming to Modena.  An elegant and refined atmosphere of this ancient palace, so-called “Palazzo Schedoni”, recalls its origins of a monastery dated back to 1550.

Just 5 minutes’ walk from Modena Cathedral, Hotel Canalgrande’s rooms have air conditioning and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels. Modena Train Station is 1.2 mi away.  Free WiFi access is available in the lounge area, which features sofas and antique paintings. Guests can also relax out on the furnished terrace, surrounded by Mediterranean plants.

Nestled in the Tuscan hills, surrounded by the Chianti countryside, Villa La Palagina offers rustic-style rooms and apartments in Figline Valdarno. It features large grounds with 2 swimming pools, and a restaurant.  Rooms have satellite TV and air conditioning. Your day at La Palagina Villa begins with a generous breakfast buffet. The restaurant serves Tuscan dishes and a wide selection of wines.

Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS. Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate. We write our Itineraries a year in advance. Though unlikely, we reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”

Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!