The magical allure of central Italy has remained strong for almost three millenia. Tribes, kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen, and each has left its unique mark. It began with the ancient civilizations of Etruscans and Romans, endured the invasions of other European cultures, blossomed during the Renaissance to lead Europe out of the Dark Ages, and continues to evolve even today. Tuscany has one of the world’s most perfect combinations of history, art, cuisine, landscape, culture…and of course the people who make it all come to life. The culture of the vine is prevalent in all aspects of Tuscany…with 23 DOC wines, 11 DOCG varieties, dozens of SuperTuscans and countless regional vintages, the sheer variety and quality of wines present in this iconic region is staggering.
Join us on this special private tour as we experience the annual grape harvest in Tuscany while exploring the towns and historic cities of this magical land. Led by Dr. Booze (James Romanow) , we’ll discover the best that Tuscany has to offer, at one of the most exciting times of the year!
(The good doctor is only taking a limited number of travelers for this small-group adventure…don’t get left behind!)
On this adventure we stay true to our Go Get Lost philosophy of immersing you in the culture, introducing you to plenty of the fun local characters, learning from the winemakers how they make the grapes come to life in the bottle, indulging in the superb regional cuisine while cooking alongside local experts, marveling at landscapes only a Renaissance painter could reproduce, and veering off the beaten path quite often to find the hidden gems we love. Best of all, we give you plenty of quality free time to wander, get lost, and soak up the ambiance of the area.
You’ll be pampered with premier 4 and 5-Star accommodations, local guides to show you the secrets of the area, private transfers, and a Go Get Lost tour leader to make it all run smoothly.
James Romanow is a writer and raconteur known for his witty weekly wine columns in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina LeaderPost. He appears regularly on the CTV Noon Show, Morning Show, and John Gormley Live. He also enjoys leading curious drinkers towards new and sometimes obscure beverages in his Dr. Booze® workshops.
When vacationing he can usually be found at an outdoor café sipping the drink du jour, or at a nearby winery checking out the local products.
In addition to the wine writing, his work has been published in periodicals as disparate as Airport Finance, Euromoney, The Financial Times, The Financial Post, The Globe and Mail, The Assiniboia Times, World Coffee & Tea, Plane and Pilot, Aviation International News, Oman Economic, Oman Oil and Gas, and Tourism Oman. His fiction has appeared in Story and Freefall Magazine.
Like all journalists he fancies himself a dashing artist at heart and is proudest, of course, of those last two publications which together paid him just about enough to buy the bottle of wine he had for dinner last night.
Tour Dates & Pricing
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Day 1 - Ben Venuti in Italia!
Your Italian adventure starts at mid-morning today at meeting point of the lobby of the Hotel Baglioni in Florence. (You'll be provided with detailed arrival and departure instructions to help you coordinate your flights and travel.) You'll meet your private guide, board your coach and head southeast out of the city and into the Chianti countryside. While traveling through the picturesque landscape you'll stop for a tour at the prestigious wine estate of Castello D'Ama, renown for their excellent cellars and also for their eclectic art collection. Artists from all over Italy have created works that are embedded throughout the estate, both indoors and out. Then you'll relax and enjoy a typical Tuscan lunch here, complemented by the estate's vintages. Tuscan cuisine, like all Italian regions, reflects the best of the local area. Fresh pasta is prevalent, along with salami, prosciutto, chicken, beef, and pork, with nearly everything organic and free-range, which has always been the natural way for Italians. Of course you'll find some of the world's best olive oils here, along with tomatoes, peppers and melanzane that are bursting with flavor. And the cheeses of this region are legendary, with literally dozens of varieties running the gamut from fresh and creamy to aged and robust...truly an epicurean's heaven! During your time in Italy with us you'll be introduced to some exquisite wines that can be found no where else, from marvelous honest farmhouse productions to wines from some of the top estates in the world, and everything in-between. To make it even more exciting we'll even expose you to some of the fine vintages from the other wine regions of Italia as well.
After dining we'll have a short transfer to the picturesque village of Radda, to check in to your 4-Star accommodations in a converted palazzo in the town center. After the hustle and bustle of your journey you'll get to unwind in small-town Italy!
This evening is at you leisure, you can relax after your flight, or you can choose to join a walking tour of Radda village and the countryside. Tonight you'll enjoy an excellent dinner of regional specialties...followed by a good nights sleep!
Day 2 - The Chianti Region
This morning we'll have a typical Italian buffet breakfast at your hotel, then depart on our private coach for a day of exploring the renowned Chianti region and its quaint villages. Famous for it's scenic beauty and wine production, Chianti typifies the perfect balance of cultivated vineyards, forested hills, and quaint medieval towns. First we'll stop at the stunning Brolio Castle for a visit of its Gardens and to admire the exquisite panoramic view from atop its walls. The original formula for Chianti Classico wine was developed here by the "Iron Baron" Bettino Ricasoli in 1872, and in fact the Ricasoli family still lives in part of the castle! Then its off to the nearby Castello di Volpaia for a tour of their wine cellars and olive mill, followed by a tasting of their production.
Later we'll have a stroll through the cobblestone streets of Panzano to have lunch at the MacDario Butcher Shop, famous for its meat all over the world.
This afternoon we'll stop in the charming village of Greve in Chianti, known for its town square and many shops. Here we'll visit the family-run wine estate of Panzanello, located in the beautiful Panzano hills. After a visit to their wine cellar you'll need to roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn more about the Tuscan kitchen. The housewife and Chef Ioletta will teach you how to prepare a full Tuscan meal, which of course you will enjoy afterwards! Yet another aspect of regional cuisine, and paired with Panzanello's best wines!
Day 3 - San Gimignano and Siena
After breakfast this morning we'll check out of our hotel in Radda and head west, into the region known as the Chianti Colli Senesi region. The morning will be spent exploring the wonderfully bizarre town of San Gimignano. The high walls and narrow streets of this imposing fortress are typical of Tuscan hill towns, but the 14 medieval towers that dominate San Gimignano's skyline set it apart from all the rest. Here you can "get lost" in the maze of streets, shops, and cafes. San Gimignano is rumored to have one of the best gelato shops in all of Italy...may be worth a visit? For the not-so-faint-of-heart, a tour of the fascinating (and gruesome) Museum of Medieval Justice will provide an interesting yet terrifying glimpse of the past.
Just a few miles outside the walls of San Gimignano we'll stop at one of our favorite local family farms, San Donato to have a visit of their cellars and a tasting, followed by a light lunch. The farm covers ample acres of olive groves, vineyards, fields and forest. The farm's vineyards produce delicate white Vernaccia wine, a local specialty, along with several styles of robust Chianti. They also produces one of our favorite Tuscan olive oils, which along with the other farm products will figure prominently in our meal. The rule at their kitchen is you eat as much as you want, and then a little more!
After eating we can relax for a bit and enjoy the scenery as we make our way south to the picturesque walled city of Siena. Here we'll check in to our home for the next two days, a rustically elegant villa perched on a hill overlooking Siena.
When you combine the history of Siena with the current traditions of its inhabitants, you'll find that Siena is arguably one of the most fascinating, one of the most unique, and one of the most vibrant cultures in all of Europe! The Senese have kept alive the customs of their ancestors, and in fact live it every day. We'll have a private guided tour of the city by one of its citizens, visiting the Cathedral Complex, Piazza del Campo, and San Domenico Church, along with a very special visit to one of the private neighborhood museums, repository of all that they hold dear for hundreds of years. As you explore the city you'll marvel at the huge span of history represented in its architecture, from the Romans to the Renaissance to the Goths, Siena is a landscape of all the civilizations that have dominated here.
Tonight you are free for dinner, your guides can suggest one of their favorite eateries. Siena has an endless variety, from tiny local pizza places to ristorante that typify the best of Italy. Explore and enjoy!
The traditional after-dinner passegiatta tonight takes place in one of Italy's most beautiful squares, the Piazza del Campo. Strolling along with a gelato in hand under the soft lamplights of Siena is an experience to remember.
Day 4 - Pienza, Montalcino, and the Valdorcia
Today we board our private coach and head south into the famed wine region of Valdorcia, known worldwide for the produciton of Brunello and Nobile. This area boasts the classic Tuscan landscape of rolling hills dotted with Italian cypress, vineyards dominated by walled cities, and every other image you've ever seen on a postcard! After a tour of the town of Montalcino (epicenter of Brunello wine), we'll visit the Abbey of St. Antimo, one of the area's most peaceful valleys. Next we'll have a private tour of one of Montalcino's famed wineries, Fattoria Caparzo, seeing how their vineyards work with their cellars to produce the vintages famous all over the world. And of course during our light lunch we'll sample the results of their efforts as well! Next its on to the quirky little Renaissance town of Pienza, famous as the hometown of one of the most unusual popes, and even more famous as the center of cheese production for the region.
Or as an option, instead of Pienza we may visit the nearby medieval walled town of Montepulciano, perched on the top of a small mountain, the slopes of which are covered with vineyards dedicated to producing the unique grape Prugnolo Gentile. We'll have a short tour of the cobblestone streets of Montepulciano, then you'll have some free time to wander and shop. Be sure to stop in one of the many wine shops and sample their famous vintage of Nobile di Montepulciano, one of the great wines of Italy.
After the visit we'll head back north for a stop at Podere il Casale, an organic agricultural farm. Here we'll enjoy a cheese tasting which consists of 8 samples of their own various sheep and goat cheeses made from raw milk. During the tasting they will explain the stages of cheese production from hand–milking to the final product. Meanwhile you may relax on the terrace with a breathtaking panorama of the Val d’Orcia Valley. A glass of wine from their production range , home made bread baked in their own wood-oven and jam and honey to accentuate the cheese will make this an unforgettable journey into beautiful southern Tuscany.
Tonight your will dine at your villa, to experience yet another side to the food and wine culture of the region. Siena has striven with Florence for dominance for hundreds of years, and they have made sure that their cuisine rivals their larger neighbor to the north!
Day 5 - Volterra and the Etruscan Coast
Today we explore one of Tuscany's most stunning and enthralling gems, the medieval town of Volterra. Perched on a lofty rock platform, Volterra is one of the most ancient cities in Italy. Situated above the surrounding countryside, this imposing fortified hill city boasts a dramatic, dominating view of the rugged landscape below. On a clear day you can even see the island of Corsica! Built by the Etruscan civilization that pre-dated the Romans, Volterra in fact claims a history that goes back at least 3000 years. In Etruscan times it was Velithri, one of the twelve great cities of the Etruscan Confederation, with a domain that reached from the seacoast to the mountains.
We'll have a local guide take us on a walking tour to make the Etruscan, Roman and Medieval history of Volterra come alive. You'll see that Volterra still retains much of its ancient flavor, and of particular interest are the many alabaster work shops where local artisans can often be seen carefully working the delicate translucent stone into vases and ornaments. Mined in the area since Etruscan times, Volterran alabaster has been prized by the nobility for nearly 3000 years. We'll have the opportunity to tour one of the shops and learn how the ancient art is still alive. We'll see the Arco Etrusco, the 2300-year-old Etruscan gateway to the city, the Roman theater and baths, and the medieval Piazza dei Priori. Of particular interest to art lovers is the Duomo, where we see the famous thirteenth century sculpture of The Deposition and works of Benozzo Gozzoli and Fra Bartolomeo. The tour concludes with a visit of the Baptistery situated in front of the Duomo.
We'll have time to explore the towns winding streets, shops and peaceful squares before settling in to lunch at a typical Volterran trattoria.
After lunch you can relax and enjoy the scenery as we journey west to the coast and the charming village of Castagnato Carducci . Castagneto Carducci is one of the most popular towns on the Etruscan Coast.
Perched on a hillside less than 10 km from the sea, the city center of Castagneto has grown around an imposing medieval castle located on the hilltop. The town has a pleasant city center, with several excellent panoramic viewpoints. A relaxing walk through its characteristic streets will lead you to the ancient home of the poet Giosuè Carducci houses a museum today where visitors can see the rooms where the poet lived and an archive of poems and documents related to him.
After the visit of the village we will check in at our 5-Star resort on Marina di Castagneto Carducci overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea. You'll have time to relax and freshen up before sitting down to an excellent dinner at the hotel.
Day 6 - Bolgheri and the Super Tuscan Wines
Tuscany is a land well known for its rolling hills and vineyards. The western part of the province may be lesser known, but it's no less beautiful between its sprawling wine estates, hilltop towns, and miles of sandy coastline along the crystal-clear Tyrrhenian Sea. This land, known as the Etruscan Coast, is most famous for its Super Tuscan wines. The wine production on the left bank of Tuscany began shortly after World War II when an Italian aristocrat decided to experiment with Bordeaux varieties and use French winemaking practices. With the land's rich soil and the sunny maritime climate, the wines quickly took off, and by the 1970s they were renowned around the world and considered on par — if not better — than French Bordeaux wines. Even so, it wasn't until 1994 that Bolgheri red wines received a DOC designation. Today some of the most prestigious and expensive wines in Italy are produced here.
Our first stop will be at Podere Sapaio for a guided tour of their renown wine cellar and vineyards ending with, of course, a wine tasting of Volpolo and Sapaio wines. A short distance away we'll have time to stop and explore the lovely colorful village of Bolgheri, where we'll have lunch in one of the charming local restaurants. In the afternoon our excursion proceeds with a visit of the very unique Petra Winery designed by famed architect Mario Botta. After our tour and tasting at Petra, we'll relax by taking a stroll through the medieval hamlet of Suvereto. If you are not full of wine we might have another stop at the beautiful Tenuta Argentiera wine estate for another guided tour of their cellars...and tastings of course!
Tonight we'll enjoy dinner at the seaside village of San Vincenzo at the lovely Restaurant “La Perla del Mare” owned by one of the areas rising stars of cuisine, Chef Debora Corsi.
Day 7 - Florence, Birthplace of the Renaissance
After breakfast this morning we'll have a private transfer direct to your 4-Star Hotel in Florence's city center. This morning is free for you to wander and "get lost" in the magic that is Florence. You'll soon find that it's not only cultural gems that attract visitors, but also the world-class shopping and fashion houses that rival Milan and Paris. Street vendors, small boutiques, leather shops and lesser-known designers are the strength of Florence's shopping scene...explore and enjoy! Lunch is on your own today, so be sure to keep an eye out for one of Florence's many marvelous trattorias, where you'll enjoy yet another excursion into robust Tuscan cuisine.
This afternoon an expert local guide will meet us for our private guided tour of Florence, one of the preeminent architectural and artistic treasures of Europe and birthplace of the Renaissance. We'll wander this walker-friendly city to see some of it's most iconic and famous sites. Florence is a veritable museum of unique and incomparable treasures. From the Renaissance palaces that line many of the cobblestone streets, to the historic squares and fountains dotted throughout the city, to the world-renown art and history museums, Florence has something for everyone, including the Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce Church, Piazza della Signoria and the Cathedral Complex.
Hopefully you didn't eat too much at lunch today, because as this is our final evening in magical Tuscany, tonight we have an incredible farewell dinner planned at one of our favorite local restaurants. Adventures and misadventures from the previous week are re-lived and laughed about, everyone and everything is toasted, addresses are copied and goodbyes are exchanged with all your new lifelong friends that you "Got Lost" in Italy with!
Day 8 - Arrivederci Italia!
This morning after breakfast we'll have a group transfer to the airport, where your Go Get Lost adventure will end. (Depending on your flight times, you may have the option to book a tour of the Vasari Corridor and Uffizi Gallery this morning.)
- Private local tour manager/guide for the entire tour
- Private deluxe coach 16 or 25 seats with air conditioning
- All private group transfers as per itinerary
- 2 nights’ accommodation in Radda in double classic room in 4-Star Palazzo Leopoldo, or similar
- 2 nights’ accommodation in the Siena countryside in double classic room in Villa Scacciapensieri, or similar
- 2 nights accommodation in Castagneto Carducci in double classic room in 5- Star Tombolo Thalasso Resort, or similar
- 1 nights’ accommodation in Florence in double classic room in 4-Star Hotel Baglioni, or similar
- 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners, 1 cooking class
- Lunch with wine and guided tour of the art installation at Castello di Ama
- 1 dinner in Hotel in Chianti (all group dinners include water and local wine)
- Lunch at Mac Dario butcher shop
- Hands on cooking class and dinner at Panzanello Wine Estate with wine tastings
- Lunch at San Donato Wine estate in San Gimignano area with wine tastings
- 1 dinner in Villa Scacciapensieri in Siena
- Degustation tastings at Podere il Casale in Pienza
- Lunch in a typical Trattoria Volterra
- 1 dinner at Tombolo Thalasso Resort in Castagneto Carducci
- 1 lunch in Bolgheri
- 1 Dinner with tastings menu at Restaurant La Perla del mare in San Vincenzo
- Farewell dinner at Torcicoda restaurant in Florence
- Entrance and visit of the garden of Castello di Brolio
- Visit, wine and olive oil tasting at Castello di Volpaia in Chianti
- Light lunch and visit with wine tasting at Fattoria Caparzo
- Visit and wine tasting at Podere Sapaio, Petra winery ( optional Tenuta Argentiera)
- Walking tour of Volterra with local guide
- Walking tour of Florence with local guide
- Walking tour of Siena with local guide
- Entrance fees for Santa Croce Church in Florence, Siena Contrada Museum and Cathedral
- Hotel taxes
- Group departure transfers to Florence airport on Day 8 (Please forward your airline schedule to your Go Get Lost group leader).
- Completely escorted by a Go Get Lost Tour Leader along with James Romanow (Dr. Booze®), with local guides at specified sites throughout the itinerary
- A lifetime of unforgettable memories!
What´s not Included
- Airfare package
- Airport arrival transfers, tour begins at the meeting point of the Hotel Baglioni lobby at mid-morning in Florence on Day 1, and the tour ends at the airport in Florence on the morning of day 8.
- Gratuities for meals, porterage, local guides, coach drivers, etc.
- Visa fees, if applicable
- Meals not specified in itinerary
- Beverages at meals unless specified in itinerary
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption and Medical Insurance (strongly recommended), call for details
- Single supplement charge
- Items of a personal nature; phone calls, laundry, etc.