Overview

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Duration:
10 Days

Explore the two vastly different regions of what many travelers consider to be the best Italy has to offer in scenery, culture, food and wine.

Classic Tuscany… birthplace of the Renaissance, home to some of the world’s best cuisine, wine, and picture postcard landscapes. We’ll explore this magical land from the cobblestone streets and magnificent buildings of the ancient city of Florence to the countryside dotted with ancient castles, vineyard covered hillsides, and tiny walled towns that date to Roman times.

After Tuscany we walk into a completely different world of cuisine, culture and scenery as we journey to the Amalfi Coast, one of the most beautiful coastlines on the planet. You’ll explore tiny pastel villages perched precariously on impossibly steep hillsides that plunge into the blue water of the Mediterranean, and wander the amazing city of Pompeii, preserved by a volcanic eruption and covered in ash for almost 2000 years.

True to our “get lost” philosophy, we’ll ease into the pulse of the Italian experience and find the real Italy.

You’ll be pampered with premier 3 and 4-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.

A la Carte is a boutique-style cooking school located in the central shopping district in Lynbrook, New York. Owner and Director Polly Talbott is a Certified Culinary Professional with a Home Economics degree from Otterbein College, concentrating in food. As a food stylist and consultant, she has worked in the tri-state area for over 30 years. Her background includes restaurant management, corporate and editorial test kitchen work, product development and culinary education. She has also studied cooking in France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Morocco, Argentina and New York. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce. She is an on-camera person for Lynbrook TV.



Tour Dates & Pricing

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Florence

Arrival in Florence airport and private group transfer to your centrally located 3 Star hotel.
Check in and relax.
Florence is known as the cradle of the Renaissance, and rightfully so. The 14th century explosion of creative talent that ended the Dark Ages and forever changed the world, was born and matured in this beautiful, magnificent city. Some of the greatest names in history called Florence home: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Dante, Giotto, and the infamous Machiavelli.

Florence is known as a pedestrian-friendly city, with all of the major museums, palazzos, and squares located within easy walking distance. The friendly ambiance of this genteel Tuscan capital will set you at ease as you wander along its cobblestoned streets lined with shops and restaurants.

This afternoon you’ll meet your local Florentine guide for a 3-hour tour of Florence. They’ll lead you on a private journey of exploration throughout the city, where you’ll marvel at the fascinating story of Florence, both past and present. You’ll end with a visit of San Lorenzo Market followed by dinner inside the Market.

Day 2 - Cooking Class in Florence and Botteghe Tour

After breakfast you’ll embark on a pleasant walk of about 20 minutes to reach your private kitchen located in San Frediano, the most authentic quarter of Florence. Before starting to cook your personal chef will accompany you in a unique “botteghe walking tour“, a short shopping walk in one of Florence’s most authentic neighborhoods, avoiding the tourist packed markets. Together with your chef you’ll hunt for produce visiting our small family run butcher, vegetable stall and a “not-to-be-missed” cheese shop, before heading back to the school for your lesson. Your class lasts approximately 3.5 hours, the course is hands on. You will prepare a four course menu, using the best seasonal products and learn the secrets of making fresh handmade pasta. Wine is also included. After the lesson you’ll be able to relax and dine with the recipes you prepared

Afternoon is free to wander Florence and get lost. World class museums, art, and shopping abound. You’re free for dinner tonight, so keep your eyes open for the perfect trattoria.

Day 3 - Chianti & Siena

After breakfast at the hotel you’ll check out and board your private coach for your day exploring the charming Chianti region. Following the Chiantigiana Road you’ll stop in Greve in Chianti for a wine and salami tasting at the famous butcher Falorni. Then on to Panzano in Chianti and stop for lunch at Dario Cecchini’s “Solo Ciccia “ restaurant for lunch and wine. Time permitting you’ll be able to wander a bit in these quaint towns. In the afternoon you’ll arrive in Siena and accommodation at your 3 or 4 Star hotel:

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. To understand all of the history and customs, we'll have a private guided tour of the city by one of its citizens. 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 we’ll have an excellent dinner at one of our favorite local out-of-the-way ristorante,
featuring local specialties.

Day 4 - The Valdorcia, Pienza & Montepulciano

This morning we head south for an unforgettable excursion into southern Tuscany. Our first stop will be Montepulciano, a lovely medieval village perched on the top of a small mountain, the slopes of which are covered with vineyards dedicated to producing the unique grape Prugnolo Gentile. It’s walls are perfectly preserved and from them you can enjoy great views of the Orcia valley hills. Here you’ll enjoy some free time to wander the cobblestone streets and explore the town. Be sure to stop in one of the many wine shops and underground cellars to sample their famous vintage Nobile di Montepulciano, a full bodied red and one of the great wines of Italy. This afternoon our explorations continue in the town of Pienza, true symbol of Renaissance. Walk in the narrow romantic streets of this tiny village, home to Pope Pius II and perfectly representing the Quintessence of Tuscany over five hundred years later.

Our culinary adventures today aren’t complete, though. A visit to the Pienza area isn’t complete without seeing just how their marvelous cheeses are made! We’ll spend the rest of the day with a local farm and cheese maker in the Pienza countryside where we’ll learn how they produce their cheese, and then we’ll enjoy a wonderful cheese-based dinner, highlighting all of their farm’s production.

Day 5 - Cooking in Chianti… & San Gimignano

This morning we head north into the rolling hills of the Chianti countryside to the charming town of Castellina in Chianti. Here we’ll meet Chef Laura and join her for a walking tour of the local market of Castellina to buy ingredients for our cooking class. Then on to her wine estatein Castellina for our cooking experience in the preparation of a Tuscan menu. Of course lunch to follow with wines of the Estate, along with a tasting of their olive oils.

In the afternoon we’ll proceed into the region known as the Chianti Colli Senesi, where we’ll explore 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.

Later you’ll return to Siena and have the evening free to explore.

Day 6 - Napoli, Pompeii & Sorrento

After breakfast this morning we'll check out and depart by private coach to the South of Italy. After about four and a half hours, we'll arrive in Naples and meet our native local guide for a “ passion and culture “ tour. Prepare to discover the secretsand infinite faces of an ancient city, where different races and cultures have blended throughout the centuries. The people of Naples give life to a unique culture characterized by passion for art, music, theater, flavorand sound, The movie director John Turturro said of Naples in the famous movie PASSION: “There are places where you just go once, then there is Napoli!” After your tour we'll have lunch in one of the authentic Pizzerie to taste real Napolitano pizza!

This afternoon we'll visit one of the most famous archaeological sites of the world: Pompeii. The best local tour guides in Pompeii will take you on a fascinating journey back to the Roman Empire when Pompeii and the volcano Vesuvius were one of the most beautiful resort areas in Italy. On August 23, 79 AD, the eruption of Vesuvius buried the city of 20,000 inhabitants and entombed their culture for nearly 2000 years. Here, like nowhere else in the world, it's possible to see how the people of ancient times lived their daily lives. To visit to these world-renowned ruins is to experience life as it once was, on the shores of the Bay of Naples, in the early Empire. First, we will visit the Theater to imagine comedies and tragedies that played out upon the stage. Next, it’s on to the ornate Thermal Baths, with their dressing rooms, baths, toilets and athletic fields. These early health clubs were truly ahead of their time. The streets of Pompeii were alive with purveyors of food, clothing and - slaves. We’ll visit wine cellars, restaurants and bars. We’ll compare prices and learn of rare vintage recipes as we imagine life in this bustling metropolis of old. We’ll admire the ancient barracks, domain of gladiators, and even the infamous red light district . . .

After the visit of Pompeii we will have a short scenic drive to the seaside town of Sorrento, where we'll check in to our hotel in the center of the town. Your group leader will take you to dinner tonight to one of their favorite local restaurants. Be prepared for a totally different taste experience from Rome, as southern Italy has always been considered a separate country, both politically and gastronomically. Sorrentine cuisine reflects the best of classical Southern Italian dishes, and many of the most famous of these are at their peak here! Spaghetti with tomato sauce, stuffed eggplant, and buffalo mozzarella are local favorites, with red peppers, olives and lemons all figuring prominently in regional dishes which are best washed down with the silky white Falanghina wine. The crowning achievement of local culinary talent, however, is pizza, which was perfected here, along with the use of the tomato that was refined to an art by the local chefs. You've not lived until you've tasted the world's best pizza, pulled steaming hot from wood-fired ovens! Sorrentine cuisine is also famous for fresh Mediterranean seafood prepared as only the Italians can, with local fish, prawns, octopus and seafood salad that is nothing short of amazing. The extravagant pastries, gelatos, and ices of Sicily are also much in evidence. The rich volcanic soil gives incomparable flavor to all of the fruits and vegetables grown on the slopes overlooking Sorrento, the best hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts are grown here and find their way into many local pasta dishes and desserts. And you'll find that the grapes are no exception! Along with the food, the wines of Campania will be a wonderful discovery, as some of Italy's best (but least known outside of Italy) vintages are produced here. Along with Fiano and Falanghina, be sure to try the crowning achievement of the local vintners: Taurasi, one of the best red wines in Italy, and Lacrima Christi, (Tears of Christ), one of the most famous wines in Campania.

Day 7 - Sorrento

After breakfast today you'll join your tour leader to visit a small family farm in the hills overlooking Sorrento. Here you'll be treated to a demonstration of the traditional method of making the local Treccia and Caciottine, versions of mozzarella. Of
course you'll get to taste the products, paired with the farm's own limoncello, made with the famous local lemons. After relaxing at the farm for a while we'll continue on to the slopes of the infamous volcano Vesuvio. Although the volcano is often thought of as a forbidding, angry mountain, (and it is) it's also home to countless villages, farms and vineyards, all thriving due to the rich volcanic soil. We'll visit one of the small local vineyards for a guided tour of their cellars, followed by a wine tasting (of course) and a farm lunch.

After lunch we'll return to Sorrento and have some free time before our evenings adventure...a cooking class in a private Villa!

Villa Ida is a private residence set amidst beautifully manicured gardens, orange and lemon trees, a swimming pool, and a typical “Pergolato” adorned with beautiful locally crafted ceramic decorations. The family will warmly welcome you and make you feel at home from the moment you arrive! The property guarantees you complete privacy during your cooking classes and you are free to stroll around to smell the intoxicating fragrance of lemons and oranges that abound while marveling at the abundance of gorgeous hydrangeas that border the garden. Your cooking lesson will consist of preparing some traditional Italian dishes, with a particular emphasis on Neapolitan recipes. Although the menus vary according to season, you will begin with an appetizer, continue with a first and second course, and end with a delicious dessert, all prepared by you. The recipes will be clearly demonstrated in a warm and relaxed atmosphereby “Zia Angela”, who will share with you the secrets of preparing typical local cuisine as she learned from her mother “Ida“. Menus are selected that reflect the freshest ingredients of the season, and the vegetables featured in the menus are produced at “Tenuta Mastro Giacomo” by Zia Angela’s husband. Typical Neapolitan music will set the tone for your cooking classes. Of course an amazing dinner will follow.

If you still have the energy, later this evening you might find the bustling and vibrant nightlife of Sorrento's streets and squares invites you to find a cozy wineshop and laugh about the day's adventures with your friends over a bottle of the local vino. Finish with a late night gelato and a romantic stroll through the squares and cobblestone streets of town.

Day 8 - The Isle of Capri

This morning you'll join your tour leader for a ferry boat ride to the beautiful island of Capri for a full days exploration of this “paradise”. The Island of Capri is one of the most picturesque and visited locations in south of Italy. Its unique beauties were celebrated in ancient times and later published for the world in Homer's works. Odysseus (known in Latin as Ulysses) sailed past the island, narrowly escaping the fate of those who hear the voices of the Sirens. Thus the island has a mythical charm as well as its natural treasures, through the writings and legends of Ancient Greece. Its breathtaking landscapes and beauty stretch from the rocky caves around the island to the edge of the horizon, and has been an inspiration to poets, lovers and travelers throughout the centuries.

Your guide and private coach will await to whisk you from Capri's port to the beautiful town of Anacapri, perched high along the slopes of the island's mountainous terrain. Your private guide will take you on a marvelous tour of the island, with the possibility to take a chairlift to the peakof Monte Solaro, with stunning panoramic views of the mainland! You'll feel like a native as you ride the tiny island bus down to Capri-town, where you'll have a tour of the neighborhoods and sites of this timeless village. You'll also have time on your own to Get Lost and explore. Keep a sharp eye out, as this place is definitely the haunt of the rich and famous, as it has been for over 1000 years! You can easily shop til you drop, with every major fashion house in Italy represented here, often with tiny little shops barely large enough for their goods. You can be sure to find the perfect cafe to have a cool glass of wine and people watch, or enjoy a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean. At midday we'll enjoy lunch in a typical Caprese haunt, before returning back to Sorrento in the afternoon.

This evening we will mix up the traditional order of dinner courses when we walk to the nearby “Gelateria Bouganville” to meet a local gelato expert and learn how to make your own gelato! Although of Sicilian origin, the gelato of Napoli andSorrento is well-known, and the locals are understandably proud. When you taste your creation I think you'll agree! You are free for dinner tonight. Sorrento has an excellent selection of ristorante, your tour leader can direct you to their favorites

Day 9 - Positano & Amalfi

Today's adventure will take us to the south side of the Sorrentine Peninsula to visit the stunning towns of the Amalfi Coast. After we get settled by the windows of our private coach, we'll embark on a drive on one of the most breathtakingly beautiful roads in the world, the Amalfi Coast Drive. Hewn from the cliffs hundreds of feet above the blue Mediterranean, the road winds along the coastline from Sorrento to Amalfi, cutting through numerous unique and picturesque towns. You’ll feel like you’re dreaming when you will be immersed in paradisiacal landscapes surrounded by mountains, seas, trees, flowers, perfumes and distinctive architecture of the place, as in a timeless painting that you’ll never forget. Our first stop will be Montepertuso, a beautiful village completely surrounded by green hills, majestically overlooking Positano. Here you'll meet Chef Salvatore of il Ritrovo Restaurant for your hands on cooking class, followed by lunch with some excellent local wines. After lunch we'll get a firsthand look at the bizarre town of Positano, literally built on the side of the mountain! Positano is said to be the only town in the world organized on a vertical rather than horizontal plan! Pastel houses, hundreds of balconies and flower bedecked patios, and the golden dome of the town church make Positano a memorable sight. We’ll have some time to
wander the through the lanes, (and stairs), and shops of Positano as we wind our way down to the beach. A barefoot stroll in the surf with the multi-hued town of Positano towering over you is something you won’t soon forget.

Next we'll enjoy a walk around tiny Amalfi, built in a tiny picturesque valley overlooking the sea. Amalfi was a maritime power in the middle ages, rivaling Genoa and Venice, but today is just a small town nestled in one of the most stunning coastlines imaginable. The beautiful cathedral of Sant' Andrea dominates the main square of the town, and you'll find several small streets winding away up the valley, lined with shops and cafes. Truly a charming locale to get lost! This afternoon we'll return back to our hotel in Sorrento, where we can refresh, relax, and get ready for our special farewell dinner at one of our favorite Sorrento ristorante. Adventures, (and misadventures), from the trip are re-lived and laughed about, everyone and everything is toasted, addresses and e-mails are copied, and heartfelt goodbyes are exchanged with all your new lifelong friends that you "Got Lost" in Italy with.

Day 10 - Sorrento / Naples Airport

This morning after breakfast you will have a group transfer to the Naples airport.

HOTELS

Due to availability at the time of booking, hotels listed may change to similar hotels

Sorrento – 4 Star Hotel PlazaThe Plaza Hotel is an original location to celebrate right in the heart of Sorrento. Set on the Gulf of Naples, this modern hotel lies 4 minutes' walk from Sorrento Cathedral and 8 minutes' walk from the art-filled Museum Correale. You will be guided to the most beautiful attractions of the charming land: Capri, Ischia, the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and Herculaneum; without neglecting, places where time seems to stand still!

Florence – 3 Star Hotel Silla Beautifully located along the Arno River, Hotel Silla distinguishes itself for the excellent comforts and services it offers and a breathtaking rooftop terrace on the Arno. Within the historic Demidoff building, the congenial family-run hotel offers an expert multilingual staff. Only a few steps away from the hotel (a one minute walk) you can reach the Ponte alle Grazie and once you have crossed the bridge, you find yourself in the center of the architectural structures and works of art that have made Florence famous all over the world, such as Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Strozzi, and Palazzo Pitti.

Siena - 3 Star Hotel Santa Caterina For those visiting Siena for the first time, the historic center is often considered a perfect medieval jewel. This lovely hotel is just outside the historic center and just a few minutes' walk from Piazza del Campo, the Duomo and other artistic beauties of the city. Located in a patrician building dating back to the eighteenth century, they also have a beautiful rooftop garden with a view over the Sienese countryside, where in the summer they serve breakfast to their guests. Rooms at the Santa Caterina are furnished in an elegant and sophisticated manner, and the staff are highly renowned for their availability and courtesy.

What´s Included

  • 2 nights stay in Florence in 3-Star Hotel
  • 3 nights stay in Siena in 3-Star Hotel
  • 4 nights stay in Sorrento in 4-Star Hotel
  • 9 Breakfast, 7 Lunches, and 5 Dinners
  • 3 hours guided tour of Florence on Day 1
  • Welcome dinner in San Lorenzo market with wine included
  • Botteghe tour with Chef
  • Hands on cooking class in San Frediano cooking school with lunch and wine to follow
  • Full excursion to Chianti and Siena as per itinerary
  • Salami and wine tasting at Falorni Butcher
  • Lunch at Solo Ciccia Restaurant by Dario Cecchini
  • 2 hours guided tour of Siena
  • Dinner at Ai Vinattieri Restaurant with wine included
  • Full day excursion to Val d’Orcia ( Pienza & Montepulciano) as per itinerary
  • Visit and cheese tasting menu at Podere il casale
  • Full day excursion to Castellina in Chianti and San Gimignano as per itinerary
  • Castellina in chianti market visit
  • Hands on cooking class in a Wine Estate with lunch to follow and wine and olive oil tasting
  • Transfer from Siena Hotel to Sorrento Hotel with stop in Naples & Pompei
  • 3 hours guided tour of Naples
  • Lunch in a typical Neapolitan Pizzeria
  • Guided visit and advanced ticket reservation to Pompei
  • Dinner in a typical Trattoria in Sorrento
  • Cheese tour and light lunch to follow at the Sorgente Farmhouse
  • Hands on cooking class at Villa Ida in Sorrento with dinner to follow
  • Tour to Capri as per itinerary including lunch in Capri
  • Hands on ice cream lesson at Gelateria Bouganville
  • Full day excursion in Amalfi and Positano as per itinerary
  • Hands on cooking class at Il Ritrovo restaurant in Positano with lunch to follow
  • Farewell dinner at the Restaurant in Sorrento
  • Gratuities for meals, local guides, and coach drivers
  • Transfer from Sorrento to Naples Airport

What´s not Included

  • Airfare package
  • Arrival transfer from Florence airport to Florence Hotel
  • Visa fees, if applicable
  • Meals not 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.

This tour is wholly organized, executed, and owned by Go Get Lost…Worldwide Adventures. A la Carte Cooking School shall not be responsible for breach of contract of any intentional or careless actions or omissions on the part of Go Get Lost…Worldwide Adventures.

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