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Italy Culinary Tours: Your Itinerary

DAY 1: Your Italy Culinary Tour Begins

Welcome to Tuscany, Italy’s rustic, tranquil and historic heartland and home to world class wine and cuisine, lush rolling landscapes, and medieval hill towns. Your culinary tour of Italy begins at Florence airport, where our driver will be waiting for you. Our destination today is Cortona, the stunning setting for the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

On our way to Cortona, we’ll visit Siena, arguably Italy’s most beautiful medieval city, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set on three hills in the Chianti region, Siena is a must-see on any visit to Tuscany. Siena’s heart is its central piazza called Il Campo, which is best  known worldwide for the famous Palio di Siena, a horse race run around the piazza twice each summer. We’ll tour the ancient town on foot, stopping at its most renowned bakery to taste the local “Ricciarelli,” a traditional Sienese cookie made from almonds, sugar, and egg whites.

We’ll then transfer to our lovely boutique hotel, walking distance to Cortona’s central piazza. Dinner tonight is at your leisure.

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours
Meals Included: None

DAY 2: Italian Cooking Class

This morning we walk a short distance to the historic center of Cortona for one of the most interesting and traditional cooking classes in Tuscany. We’ll meet Antonella, an eclectic and talented chef who is also a journalist and expert on local culture. Her charming kitchen has a massive fireplace and a view of the ancient alleys and roofs of Cortona. Working with the best seasonal ingredients, Chef Antonella will guide you in the hands-on preparation of an unforgettable meal, from antipasto to dessert, including the local pici pasta with ragù. We’ll then sit down at the large kitchen table for our hearty lunch, paired with the perfect wine. Saluti!

This afternoon we’ll tour local food producers, such as a greengrocer, a butcher, or a beekeeper. We’ll also visit a family-owned farm in the Chiana Valley, set on over 37 acres of grain, fields of sunflowers, alfalfa and beautiful vineyards. The farm house has been in the same family for four generations. All of their products are made traditionally without preservatives or dyes, including cheese that is made from raw milk and aged from from 15 days to 12 months. Learning the customs and traditions of rural life, we’ll relax at the farm and taste their various products, such as raviggiolo, ricotta and pecorino cheeses paired with Vin Santo (dessert wine), artisan jam, fresh vegetables and fruits, and extra virgin olive oil.

In the late afternoon, just in time for an aperitivo, we’ll head back to Cortona for an ice cream cocktail class. The drinks we prepare will incorporate what is available at the local artisan gelato shop that day. Examples might include a White Lady using gin, triple sec and lemon sorbet, or a strawberry daiquiri using rum, lime juice and strawberry ice cream. Perfect for a late summer afternoon!

Dinner tonight is at your leisure, assuming you still have room!

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and tastings

DAY 3: Visit the Wineries of Tuscany

Our Italy culinary tour continues as we spend the day exploring the Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and world-famous wine region. We’ll start the day at Braccesca Winery, one of the best wineries in Tuscany, for a tour, tasting and lunch. We’ll explore the vineyards and cellar of this luscious wine estate and then enjoy an exclusive, private tasting of their excellent wines including Syrah and Vino de Nobile, one of the most popular Tuscan wines. We’ll then sit down for a delicious lunch paired with Braccesca wines.

After lunch we’ll stroll the beautiful hill towns of Pienza and Montepulciano, famous for their excellent cheese and wine production. We’ll visit an artisanal cheese workshop in Pienza where you will have the opportunity to taste pecorino di Pienza cheese at different ages. And we’ll end the day at Talosa winery, where we’ll tour the cellar and taste several of their award-winning wines accompanied by local pecorino cheese and bruschetta.

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and tastings

DAY 4: Truffle Hunt & Michelin-Rated Dinner

One of the highlights of our Italy culinary tours is a truffle hunt, which takes place in a “tartufaia” (woodlands where truffles are found) on a family farm and vineyard. Together with our truffle expert and his trained dogs, we stroll through the woods as the dogs sniff out the precious truffles. You’ll even have the chance to handle the truffle dogs directly if you are interested. During the walk, our guide will give you an introduction to the world of Italian truffles, particularly the species of truffles in Tuscany. We’ll learn where and how the truffles are found, how to preserve them properly at home, how they are used in cooking, and what recipes complement them the most. After the hunt, we will head to the farmhouse with our new-found treasure, just in time for lunch al fresco that is paired with the lovely wines that are produced on-site. Our farm-to-table meal includes truffles and other local and seasonal ingredients, such as handmade pasta from flour milled on the premises, local meats and cheeses, and herbs from the garden.

As if you haven’t eaten enough phenomenal Tuscan food this week, our farewell dinner is at the Michelin-starred Il Falconiere, run by award-winning executive chef Silvia Regi Baracchi. This is a meal you may never forget!

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour
Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

DAY 5: Our Italy Culinary Tour Ends

Our culinary tour of Italy is over today, but if you want more, we can deliver! Ask us about our 3-day/2-night Florence extension, which you can enjoy either before or after your Italy culinary tour.

Optional Florence Extension

Round out your trip with our incredible extension to Florence! See more information below:

PDF For Florence Extension on an Access Trips Italy Culinary Tour
Florence Extension PDF

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Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during our trip but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.