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Glorious Florence™

In the Footsteps of Catherine de Medici ~ Florence ~ 4 Days, October 14-19, 2020

Cooking Tours
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Walk in the footsteps of Catherine de Medici in Florence and celebrate the glorious Renaissance ~ an explosion of food, art & culture!   Hosted by Lauren, this limited edition tour features the best of Florence’s food, art and music in a one-of-a-kind full immersion experience!!!

In 1519, Catherine De Medici was born in Firenze and the Medici Family, a banking dynasty, were commissioning the greatest masters to paint, create and build Florence.  With Florence pioneering itself as the center art, culinary trends and cultural traditions, it became the most important city in Europe and the richest in the world.  The trends that were made during the Renaissance era are the traditions that are carried on today.  Today, the food, wine, art and lifestyle of Florence have remained a must-see for any traveler throughout history.

Join Lauren in Florence and discover the roots of this city which started in the glorious Renaissance era.  We’ll stroll through the Piazza della Repubblica and to Santa Croce; visit the School of Florentine leather makers; tour the Sant’Ambrogio Market and cross the Ponte Vecchio, while sipping, shopping, and conversing in the City of Art.  

When we are not exploring Florence, we’ll be cooking with Chef Barbara.  The day starts off with a visit through her organic garden (weather permitting) growing beautiful fruits and vegetables of the season.  Start with a cappuccino or tea and cantucci, Tuscan biscotts, while everyone gets acquainted in Chef’s Barbara’s kitchen.  

Travel with us through the Renaissance era when Italy was blossoming with new ideas, while Catherine de Medici was marrying King Henry II of France and while the Duomo was being constructed.  Discover how Catherine introduced her Italian cooking style, chefs and ingredients to the French Court.  We will even create one of Catherine’s menus making Florentine crepes and sorbetto.

Discover la vita di tavola, a time of liberation in cooking, art, dress and table art thanks to Queen Catherine.  The Queen pioneered new cooking trends and expressed her passion in Italian hospitality with lavish dinner parties, table decorating and brought sorbetto, orange duck and onion soup to the French Court.

Walk in the footsteps Queen Catherine and the de Medici’s from October 14 to 19, 2021.

Indulge in the Italian Renaissance 

The Renaissance intellectual and artistic movement started in the Quattrocento in Italy, and Florence was its birthplace. A magical time with an artistic explosion of new food trends thanks to the sea traders who were coming from the East carrying exotic spices and coffee, as well as velvety and silk fabrics.  We can certainly give thanks to Catherine de Medici and other Italian women who turned the page on freedom for their female compatriots. Food, art, music and literature soared during the Renaissance.  It was a time of expression that followed the Dark Ages.  Italian artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Giorgio Vasari, Raphael Sanzio and Leonardo Da Vinci were dedicating their lives creating works of art such as: the statue of David, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and La Primavera, Giorgio Vasari’s Last Judgement; Titan’s Venus of Urbino; Brunelleschi’s Dome, Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise; and Fra Angelico’s San Marco frescoes.

 

Florence, Italy ~ Boutique Hotel Accommodations

Florence – 3 Nights/4 Days in Glorious Florence

Check into either our Boutique Hotel in the heart of Florence, the city of art and history.

Elegant bedrooms with private en suite baths, modern amenities including comfortable beds, security boxes, air conditioner and TV in the room.  Traditional décor is subtly blended with a touch of modern color in larger size rooms for your stay. A professional concierge is at your service, daily breakfast is included with Wi-Fi too. When you are not relaxing in your room looking out onto the River Arno, you can step out your door and find everything from designer shops, artisan boutiques, bookstores, restaurants, and of course, the Uffizi, Accademia and all Florentine museums and landmarks large and small

Florentine Food Experience

A traditional Chef’s Welcome dinner with Tuscan wine starts of our first evening in Florence!  Enjoy antipasti, pasta, a main course and dessert at our favorite trattoria.  Our week will include, a Food Lover’s Walk lead by Luca our English-speaking guide introducing you to the piazzas, quarters and best of Florence while we make our way to the  market of Sant’Ambrogio.  At the market, we’ll learn about local products from the same farmers who man their booths.  Endless rows of fruits, vegetables, kiosks with cheese, wine, salumi, bread and sweets and even vin santo – blessed wine.  During the week, we’ll also cooking in hands-on cooking classes learning Florentine favorites and even Renaissance foods too.  Taste your way through the City of Art, while discovering, sampling and visiting historic shops and landmarks.

Visits and Excursions

Italy

In Florence you will discover the amazing Galleria degli Uffizi through a private tour guided by Luca. On you own, we suggest to visit Palazzo Vecchio, Pitti Palazzo, Villa Castello (today known as the premises of the Accademia della Crusca – literary academy established in Florence in the 16th century to preserve the Italian language), Boboli Gardens, one of the most grandiose and elegant gardens in Italy, with natural architectural styles, etc. Oltrarno (which is the Left Bank of the Arno river) can be another option to consider, far away from the crowds of tourists. Oltrarno features an unspoiled atmosphere of the medieval city with a myriad of craft shops using all kind of materials. Craftsmanship is the Italians’ true genius, the conscious transmission of the beauty and wisdom that flourishes in the imagination and intelligence.

For your free time or at lunch time, the colorful San Lorenzo quarter is a great choice with its market for leather items and other things, and the restaurants in the old market.

 

Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome to Renaissance Florence!

  • Group transfer from Florence airport to  your hotel. Check in.  
  • Welcome aperitivo, where you will meet other participants and go over the week’s itinerary.
  • Chef’s Tasting dinner featuring antipasto, fresh pasta and sauce, main course, dessert and local red or white wine included.

Day 2 – Food Lover Market Tour & Galleria Degli Uffizi Tour  

  • Breakfast.  Following breakfast, we embark upon a delicious tour of Florence while making our way to the Sant’ Ambrogio market and indulging in the rich history and culture of the city.  Luca’s interest in Slow Food and local culinary traditions, along with his passion for art history makes him the perfect food and history guide for our tour.  This tour leads us to the Sant’Ambrogio.  We’ll visit the food marke, shop with Lauren and learn about the traditional and seasonal produce, while learning what to look for when buying and tips on what to cook in season.  We will visit the purveyors of local products, sample their products, and learn how to shop like a local.  We’ll taste cheese, salumi and sip wine while strolling through the stalls of this ancient market.  Following the market tour, everyone takes time out to purchase cheese, wine and products – leaving free time on your own before our afternoon museum tour.
  • At 3pm, we reunite with Luca at the Piazza Della Signoria in front of the statue of David. He will take us on private guided tour of the Galleria Degli Uffizi.  This is one of the most important Italian museums and one of the largest and best known in the world, holding a collection of priceless works from the Italian Renaissance.  (Galleria Degli Uffizi tour with museum tickets included).
  • Late afternoon, take time out on your own to shop or sip a vino in the piazza.
  • Later in the evening, we will meet for dinner at our favorite trattoria.  Antipasto, pasta, main course, dessert and vino, included.

Day 3 Cooking Class

  • Breakfast.  Following breakfast, we will tie on your apron and get cooking in the heart of Florence with Chef Barbara!  Get ready to prepare a Renaissance menu including antipasto, pasta and main course.  During the cooking class, you’ll learn techniques and cooking tips from Chef Barbara while also soaking up food notes on the history of Florentine cuisine.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the cooking class.  Delicious wine is included.  Dessert and caffe follow.     
  • Later in the afternoon, Lauren is your host along a Secret Address Walk along the Oltrarno.  We’ll stroll along cobblestone paths to our favorite Renaissance boutiques where the art of paper and leather making is displayed and made available for purchase.  We’ll also visit Florence’s famous perfume shop filled with soaps, creams, perfumes and more; made with recipes of dating back to the 1600’s made by monks.
  • Following our tour, take time to wonder through the quarter of Saint Stefano  – visiting the church and its courtyard or slip into a cozy caffè and soak up the Florentine culture.
  • Dinner in one of our favorite trattorias including a traditional Florentine dinner with a toast of wine included.  

Day 4 – Visit to the Tuscan Countryside, Wine Tasting Tour & Lunch

  • Breakfast.  Following breakfast, we’ll drive to the Tuscan countryside for a full day tour exploring the land of cypresses trees, silver olive orchards and rolling vineyards.  Take your camera and journal too, as you will want to capture and write about the beauty in the roads that take us to the countryside of Florence.  We will visit a famous wine and olive oil maker.  There we’ll visit the cantina and learn the process of their biodynamic organic grape growing process.  Discussion and wine tasting with cheese included.  Next, we’ll visit a Tuscan villa also known for their exquisite wine and vin santo.  A Tuscan lunch served under the pergola (weather permitting).  Stroll the property of this noble family who have been in the historic wine museum along the Wine Road of Chianti for centuries.  Full course lunch and wine tasting included.   
  • Day 4 – Arriverderci Florence – Until Next Time!!!

  • Breakfast served.  Group transfer to Florence Train Station or Airport.  Ciao – a presto! 

 End of the tour.

Program Includes:

  • Group transfers to and from Florence airport or Train Station.
  • 4-nights in boutique hotel accommodation.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service included.
  • 1 hands-on cooking class preparing an antipasto, fresh pasta, main course and dessert with wine included.
  • Food Lover’s Walk and Market Tour with English-speaking guide  
  • Guided visit to the Galleria degli Uffizi with English-speaking guide; museum tickets included.
  •  and 3 dinners with wine included.
  •  Full day excursion to the Tuscan Countryside visiting a famous cantina with wine tasting included; a visit to a working vineyard and villa with lunch and a wine pairing is included.
  • Welcome Bag with Chef’s apron and Prosecco toast.

Program Prices

$2,495 per person per person, based on double occupancy boutique hotel.  If you are a single traveler, please call us for the best single rate.

Check Availability

Cooking Tour is set from October 14 to 19, 2020

Other dates can be added upon request.

Rates are subject to change based on extreme currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included, airfare transfer from Florence to Paris not included.  Miscellaneous expenses and personal shopping monies, not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.